We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Beware Alamo Car Rental!

Ashland, Oregon
Level Contributor
5 posts
28 reviews
13 helpful votes
Beware Alamo Car Rental!

If you are planning on renting a car from Alamo in Kauai, OR ANYWHERE ELSE. be sure you understand the Fuel Service Option (FSO). If you accept that option, you will pay for a full tank of gas when you return the car NO MATTER HOW MUCH GAS YOU USED. We signed up for the option because the agent pointed out how cheap the gas was -- $3.51 a gallon. But, because we used only 5/8 tank of gas, we actually ended up paying more than $8 a gallon. When we complained, we were refunded a portion of that amount, even though the customer service agent pointed out that we had agreed to the deal. The renting agent also advised us to get Loss of Service insurance becaus there were no auto replacement parts on the island, and, in case of an accident, we would have to wait a long time while parts were delivered from the mainland by barge. Kind of hard to believe, but maybe that's true. (We didn't take the coverage.)

San Diego...
Level Contributor
4,027 posts
12 reviews
13 helpful votes
1. Re: Beware Alamo Car Rental!

Most rental car companies do this. It's pretty clear in the print what it means. Also if you had come to the forums prior we could have told you not to take the coverage.

Long Island
Level Contributor
1,661 posts
31 reviews
22 helpful votes
2. Re: Beware Alamo Car Rental!

This is not unique to Alamo nor to the island of Kauai. Every car rental company (at least the national chains) offer the fuel service option. It merely gives you the convenience of not filling up when you return the car. Not worth it in my opinion. I just don't understand why you were surprised by what you had agreed to.

Kapaa, Hawaii
Level Contributor
53,615 posts
3 reviews
5 helpful votes
3. Re: Beware Alamo Car Rental!

This is why I always tell people to read their contracts carefully. You got lucky in that they refunded part of your money. They certainly didn't have to. All of the rental companies I have dealed with offer this and I said thanks but no thanks.

Ninety percent of all goods in Hawaii are shipped in. When those barges don't come in there can be a shortage of a lot of things.

British Columbia...
Level Contributor
608 posts
1 review
4. Re: Beware Alamo Car Rental!

Thank you for letting people know about not taking this option. We used to get confused by what we should get when we were given the hard sell at the rental car counter. Now we use the kiosk and don't talk to anyone. We're much less cranky that way :-)

Level Contributor
41,952 posts
130 reviews
112 helpful votes
5. Re: Beware Alamo Car Rental!

For those that don't rent cars often this can be confusing. I warned my son when he traveled to Kauai and rented a car NOT to take this option. Unless you know for a fact that you are returning the car on fumes, never take this option. All rental car companies do this. It is not unique to Alamo. As a matter of fact I think Alamo is great. I rented an economy car from them and when I got out to the lot they were all gone. I figured they would tell me to grab the compact, but they said, "Would you like a jeep or convertible at no extra charge". I thought that was pretty nice of them.

Santa Rosa...
Level Contributor
19,263 posts
1 review
6. Re: Beware Alamo Car Rental!

I believe the prepaid tank of gas option is fully explained. All rental companies offer this option. When they say you prepay for a full tank of gas that obviously means you need to try and return the car on as low of a tank of gas as possible, to get your money's worth.

I always take the prepaid gas option and always make sure I've let it go down to almost empty. Most of the time there WILL be a bit of gas still in the tank so you really haven't saved much, moneywise. What you DO save is not having to fill up early in the morning, near the airport. As another poster said, I'm not sure why the surprise ? The way it works seems pretty obvious.

On the loss of use coverage.....this has been discussed here before and IS pushed by rental companies there, not just Alamo. It's very controversial as rental companies have no proof that they actually lost dollars when a car was tied up in a shop. I read another blog on this issue on another forum and in one case the company was required to show proof, via their logs, that they lost rental dollars. Also, their own business 'loss of use' coverage usually covers this. It's just one more way for them to cover something without having to rely on their own insurance. I would imagine that with the decreased number of rental cars available on Kauai it will become more of an issue though.

Kauai, Hawaii
Level Contributor
8,506 posts
9 reviews
14 helpful votes
7. Re: Beware Alamo Car Rental!

We do not take extra insurance, already paying AAA for coverage.

We also set them straight when walking up to the desk, and tell them no upgrades, no add on insurance, and we will refuel the car ourselves.

We also have our D/L, insurance card, and credit card, and any paper work ready to had the rental agent.

Also, living on kauai, we do not run our personal car out of fuel, or almost on empty, nor did we do that with any rental cars.

Gets to about 1/2... we refuel. Why....mainly due to our atiquated electrical generating facility, KIUC, and electrical outages....thus no way to pump fuel.

Others can drive on empty, but we chose , along with other residents not to do that. Everyone is free to do as they wish, fuel when they wish, or take insurance or let the car company fuel the rental.

I just want it simple, pull in, give em the fueled,car and the paper work, and head for the van to the terminal. We also are aware of the various gas stations on the way to the airport. There are several if coming from poipu or lihue.

One thing we definitely do upon receiving the car, is note each and every scratch, or mark, or dent, on the vehicle before leaving the lot.

Last time with, Dollar on the BI....the car was in sad shape, white with all kinds of scrapes and dark marks all over it. I filled out the proper sheet, and put it into their drop box. I was the only one that did that.....hopefully the other folks received newer cars. Ran great, and no problems.

i guess it comes down to really being aware of what the rental car companies various add ons and procedrues to take or leave, and the ramifications.

As far as the waiting for the barge....what is up with that. we have aircraft that deliver cargo several times a day. That sales guy, well probably all of them are really getting low to try and have renters take the extra coverage.

I would remind them that air cargo, Inlcuding Fed-ex, UPS, aloha, and hawaiian, etc., fly into lihue on a daily basis.

We have had two occasions, of having problems with Alamo cars, I took them back to the rental agency, and they politely and quickly upgraded us to those chrysler seibring convertables. In and out with no delays.

Mahalo for alerting us to some of the new cons, that the rental companies are trying. " Waitng for the weekly barge from young brothers, or matson, is ridiculous."


St. Louis, MO
Level Contributor
87 posts
1 review
2 helpful votes
8. Re: Beware Alamo Car Rental!

Oh yeah, just a way for them to make money. all the companies do it. They are banking on the people who aren't familiar with it. It would be too stressful to try to make sure your tank was empty when you got there to ever make it worth while, in my opinion.

Santa Rosa...
Level Contributor
19,263 posts
1 review
9. Re: Beware Alamo Car Rental!

From what the O.P. says, they tried to high pressure them into taking the "loss of use" coverage by giving them the impression that THEY, THE DRIVER, would be without a car while having to wait for parts to arrive by barge.

This is bogus. First of all, your contract is not for a specific car. It is for a category of car from that rental company. Something happens to your car, you get another one, whether you paid for that coverge or not. Contracts don't state that you'll be without a vehicle and will have to wait for parts if YOUR car breaks down. The "loss of use" coverage is to cover THEM for their loss of rents, in the case the car is unrentable. But if that happens they have their own insurance coverage for that. The coverage on their fleet of autos would cover that. Lastly, many of our own insurance policies will cover this if they try to tag the customer for it. However, it's been known that insurance companies will demand proof from them that they actually did in fact lose dollars while the car while in the shop, by requiring rental logs.

It's just one on those things where if you agree to pay for it, they're happy as a lark.

rhode island
Level Contributor
920 posts
55 reviews
24 helpful votes
10. Re: Beware Alamo Car Rental!

We haven't had any trouble with Alamo, in fact, we usually use them in Maui. This last time, however, when the gentleman at the desk couldn't get us to take the fuel, nor the insurance, he convinced my husband that we could upgrade to a jeep for just $100 for 11 days! I was over talking to the kids, and when I went back to the rental des, I was very excited about this upgrade! A jeep would be fun! Then he gave us the contract to sign, and lo and behold, it was an extra $300! When i asked the agent what the deal was, he kindly explained that he was just giving my husband a rough estimate, and didn't really have time to do the math in his head! BEWARE! They're all trying to make an extra buck at your expense.

Get answers to your questions about Lihue