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KOA - car rental pressure to upsell services

connecticut
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108 posts
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KOA - car rental pressure to upsell services

Aloha...I just rented from Avis (through DiscountHawaiiCarRental -- excellent service from them) and wanted to mention a disturbing trend. I was third in line at Avis and listened as the two renters ahead of me were talking to the agents. There was intense pressure to upgrade to the next level type car, and to bring the car back empty and pay Avis for the privilege of filling the tank and also to purchase insurance. The agents made it sound as though they were doing a favor for the renter. "I wouldn't want your family to be uncomfortable in a small car while on vacation". "Why waste your time filling the car with gas on your last day here?". "Do you really want to be responsible for the full price of the car if something happens?"

When I reached the counter I was prepared and turned down each offer as it was presented. The agent approached my refusals with a slightly different tactic. "Let me see if I can help you and find a really inexpensive upgrade for you". Lo and behold she did but it would have added over $200 to the rental. I refused. Miracle of miracles another upgrade materialized and this one would have added just $100. Turned that down as well. Asked if there was a Ford Fusion or Focus available -- and there was but not at the rate I had requested. Funny that last year at the same rate they gave me a Fusion....but she found an older model Ford that she could give me for just the extra $100 and she so wanted me to have the make/model I requested. I turned everything down and she rented me a Jetta...very nice no issues with the car.

I'm assuming that the agents are being told to up-sell by their companies. I don't think that this is limited to Avis, I think it's across companies. I'm actually wondering now if next time I rent I should intentionally request a smaller car than I really want and 'let them' convince me to take a larger one. Of course that could backfire if only the smaller size is available.

In any event once I managed to keep the rental at the price quoted by Discount Hawaii everything was fine and there were no further issues. I am mentioning this intensified pressure so that everyone will be prepared in advance (especially when you arrive exhausted and can't think). By all means if they offer something you do want at a reasonable price then take it. I don't mind upgrades, I just don't like pressure or being manipulated. YMMV, and since it's a car rental it definitely will.

pzp
Kauai, Hawaii
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for Kauai, Kapaa
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1. Re: KOA - car rental pressure to upsell services

This happens across all rental companies. Some clerks are worse than others. We post about this fairly frequently. Learn to say "No" firmly. As a backup, you could try "What part of no don't you understand?"

La Mirada...
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for Kauai
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2. Re: KOA - car rental pressure to upsell services

It's not just Avis, it's all of them. You had the right mind-set...just say no. We had an Alamo agent try to tell us we needed the extra insurance because our personal car insurance would not cover "Loss of Use" (which is true)...she went into detail about how long it takes to get parts from the mainland and the car might be un-rentable for weeks and we'd be responsible. I couldn't even get in a word for her rattling off. I finally said NO in a really loud voice and told her I'm using my VISA Signature card - it covers "Loss of Use". Then she shut up and quickly got our paperwork so we could get out the door and she could get on to the next person. I'm guessing the rental agents get a commission or bonus for the add-ons.

Nanaimo, Canada
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3. Re: KOA - car rental pressure to upsell services

3 chis, I believe you are right, that those agents do indeed get a commission for their upsales.

I also wonder if word came down from the BIG boss that their numbers were down, and they needed to meet a number of sales.

I like that phrase pzp. Similar to one I always used with kids, "there's an N and an O, which part don't you get"?

We declined an upgrade at Alamo once, went out back to the car, and we were upgraded anyway, no charge!

Canada
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4. Re: KOA - car rental pressure to upsell services

connecticut_lady reminds us of the various tactics that one can come upon when picking up a rental vehicle.....always a good reminder.

Just to clarify....these agents are commission based, and the more add-ons they get the customer to agree to,....the more money they make....plain and simple.

There are some agents that are really hard sell and even snide if you don,t get on board. These agents are sprinkled throughout all of the companies.

It is not uncommon for most of them to throw out the hard sell for an upgrade.often it is the car you are going to get anyway, as they are sold out in your car class. They will often phase the offer...by saying.."For an extra $15, you can upgrade to a "xyz" . What they really mean is an extra $15/ day...which can really add up over a couple of weeks.. Many folks are stunned when they see their final tally, and realize they've been had.

Another top moneymaker that travellers still seem to succumb to ....is the old"Bring it back empty" ploy. This always works to the advantage of the car company.......always. You can not drive around on fumes, and you spend the last few days of your vacation with your eyes on the fuel gauge....not a way to enjoy yourselves. You end up bringing the vehicle back with a couple of gallons at least.Some folks think they will get credit for what is in the tank.....but no.....you pay for what a full tank for that model costs, regardless of how full it is.

Edited: 09 April 2014, 22:25
Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: KOA - car rental pressure to upsell services

I am always amazed at how many people DO take the upgrades and the insurance and the bringing back the car on empty ploys! I seem to avoid most of that by prepaying on Budget (and I can cancel or even search for better pricing after prepaying.... and they hold the car for 24 hours should flights be delayed .... But on the occassion of having to go through it I usually say my NO is loud voise and my It's on my credit card which does cover loss of use .... I feel like I want to empower all the other people waiting in line to turn them down.

EDM
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79 posts
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6. Re: KOA - car rental pressure to upsell services

This is not always the case, I booked with Enterprise through Expedia this past Feb. The service was some of the best I have ever had. I paid exactly what I was quoted and 1/2 way through the term we added another driver and they waived the additional fee. I will be booking with them for our next trip to Hawaii for sure. They asked me about the fuel option but was not high pressure at all.

East Coast
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7. Re: KOA - car rental pressure to upsell services

I always say that is the specific car I wanted and I haven't figured out how to bring a car back without gas yet.

Try to get their fast break or whatever program to bypass the lines. Go to the kiosk go to the spot. Done.

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
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8. Re: KOA - car rental pressure to upsell services

Everyone's just trying to earn a living. While it can be annoying, I don't think being rude is likely to help any. You know what's weird is, this never happens to me. Possibly in Hawaii it's because I'm a resident and they decide not to hassle me, but I've never had it happened anywhere else either. Oh sure, they offer stuff but after one polite, smiley "no thanks", they always move on. The only time I've ever gone ahead with an upgrade is when the agent has offered me a free one which has actually happened a fair amount.

We hear about it enough here to know it's certainly pretty common, I've just never encountered it.

EDM
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9. Re: KOA - car rental pressure to upsell services

I agree SheaG, being rude on either side of the counter is to no ones benefit. I seem to have had the same experience as you for the most part. JOEJAX I think the fuel option is more about convenience and that almost always comes with extra cost. Some people just want to get to the airport without having to stop for fuel. Free upgrades are actually quite common depending on the vehicle class you reserved. Just don't ask for an upgrade before one is offered, that affects the free part.

washington
Destination Expert
for Maui
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10. Re: KOA - car rental pressure to upsell services

One of the saddest, and most frustrating, car rental episodes I have experienced was standing behind a young couple, obviously newlyweds, at a rental counter on Kauai. The agent was patiently, and SLOWLY, explaining every possible upgrade option and the kids were agreeing to each one.

I have kids that age and it killed me to stand there and bite my tongue. I'm sure their car rental more than doubled.

After 20 minutes or so of enduring this I walked up to the agent and gave her my name. She started in on me too...I cocked my head, raised my eyebrows and, looking over the top of my sunglasses and gave her the same look I gave my teens when they asked for money. The ole "Are you freaking KIDDING me!!" look. 3 or 4 initials later I was out of there. Felt bad that I didn't catch the young couple in the lot to let them know.

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