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Car Rental Rip-Off

Vancouver
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1 post
42 reviews
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Car Rental Rip-Off

I haven't rented a car for years, so spent some time online looking for the best deal for a 18 day rental this August. I booked with Thrifty-- but imagine the problems I encountered are common to all car rental companies. What an racket!

The counter staff were abrupt and unpleasant at both our pick up and drop off locations.

My online confirmation led me to believe I'd be given a Toyota Matrix "or similar". Apparently Thrifty thinks a Toyota Yaris is "similar" to a Matrix.

What I found most disturbing were the number of hidden and/or arbitrary charges we ended up paying: The 15.6% "location surcharge" is shocking... if we'd understood this meant we'd be charged to pick up and drop the car off at the airport we'd have taken a limo both ways and still come out ahead.

Paying $11 per day for an additional driver (and being expected to pay an additional $30 per day for my 21 year old daughter to drive, which we decided not to do) is ridiculous.

I wasn't happy to pay the $200 "one-way" fee to drop the car off at another location, but at least this was expected.

I haven't been able to find out what the additional $200 "DropCharge" is for. Nor do I understand what the "fuel conservation tax" ($0.40/day) or the "vehicle fee" ($1.84/day) represent. I feel like I've been hoodwinked.

I started out thinking we got a great deal from Thrifty, but realize this was an online optical illusion.

I hope never to have to rent a car from Thrifty (or any other car rental company) again!

Vancouver
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2,335 posts
60 reviews
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1. Re: Car Rental Rip-Off

When I booked through Thrifty they gave me a estimate of the final charges that included all possible fees. I am not sure how you did not get this when you booked. Plus it is pretty common that airport rentals have surcharges. It is too bad that it cost more than you were hoping for, but it is actually pretty easy to find out full estimates on the internet before you rent a car.

Ottawa, Canada
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13,856 posts
47 reviews
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2. Re: Car Rental Rip-Off

Hi

Welcome to the CANADA TRAVEL FORUM.

And I see that you are also a Brand NEW Member of TripAdvisor… so a BIG Welcome Aboard as well !!

Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience renting a car… but really NONE of this is news. Car Rentals are one of those things where the old adage “Buyer Beware” holds true. (There have been countless expose television shows on this subject, such as Canada’s own CBC Marketplace).

As WRLDTRVLER has said, its all there in the fine print… it is a matter of knowing what you are signing off on (BEFORE you are signing it).

Good news, with your recent TA Membership, you shouldn’t make such mistakes (be taken advantage of again) in the future. What TA does best, is make Travellers aware of what are the pitfalls of travel… and how to get the most out of your holiday experience and hard-earned vacation dollars.

IF you had posted here in the TRAVEL FORUMS prior to travelling no doubt you could have gotten some great advice / support and would have known ahead of time what to look for in regards to finding a Car Rental Co.

As WRLDTRVLER said, many of these costs are the “norm” things like Rental Companies deciding on their own which models of vehicles are comparable, extras for Airport Pick-Up (location surcharge), Drop Fees for turning in a car not at the same spot you rented from originally, Additional Driver Charges, Under 25 Additional Driver Surcharges, etc (they are ALL in the fine print).

If you had checked in with TA ahead of travelling… we could have told you these things.

As it is now, although we have compassion for your situation, airing your grievances here on the FORUMS just isn’t going to get you much other than sympathy from others who have also made similar trip planning mistakes.

TA excels at giving Travellers info to make the whole travel experience less stressful… as the slogan says “Know the TRUTH then go”… or as a lot of us regular posters say “Know BEFORE you go”. Can’t really help you after-the-fact so much as we can BEFORE.

Hope we’ll see a lot more of you in the future planning your travel adventures well in advance.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Toronto
Destination Expert
for Tokyo
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23,012 posts
34 reviews
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3. Re: Car Rental Rip-Off

>> What I found most disturbing were the number of hidden and/or arbitrary charges we ended up paying: The 15.6% "location surcharge" is shocking...

If you refuse to check the terms and conditions while booking, no one really can help you. These charges are all there on the rental company websites.

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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18,669 posts
107 reviews
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4. Re: Car Rental Rip-Off

"Drop" charges (one way rental fees) are to offset the cost of the rental company getting the car back to its point of origin, as there is not always a guarantee that someone else will rent it in a reverse itinerary to yours to get it back there, so often they have to pay a driver to deadhead it. As I understand it, a lot of rental agencies are privately-owned franchises, so the cars belong to that particular office, not to the corporate brand.

I agree the list of extra fees can be a little off-putting and add much to the cost of the rental, but in my mind, it's just like buying an airline ticket - I would never get excited about an advertised deal until I get a total that includes all the taxes and fees. (And it's not just rentals in Canada that have them - rentals in the U.S. do too.) I don't understand how they were a surprise for you, because when you make a reservation, they are all fully disclosed in advance and a estimated grand total is given.

Anytime I rent a car, I usually spend a bit of time "shopping" to try and keep the cost as low as possible, sometimes re-booking if necessary. Often credit cards or other affiliations (Costco, BCAA etc.) can get you a promo code for a discount or a free additional driver, or when you book an airline ticket, you can get a discount on a car rental. I just got back from vacation and rented a car for 10 days, and wound up booking and cancelling three times before the rental I ultimately went with; my final cost (all-in) was over $150 less than the first reservation I made (which was about $150 less than most of the competition), so it definitely pays to keep checking.

One more tip - before renting, double check if you have insurance for the rental car covered by your credit card; if not, add an inexpensive rider to your own auto policy to cover a rental, rather than taking out the very expensive insurance the car rental companies offer.

5. Re: Car Rental Rip-Off

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6. Re: Car Rental Rip-Off

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This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

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Removed on: 03 March 2011, 07:27