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Beware of forged car rental services!

The indignities you may have faced while renting cars like rude counter personnel, lengthy waits, rejection despite a reservation in hand, poor upgrade offers etc.  are mild  forms of disciplinary abuse you get at poor car rental services. I call it absolutely kid stuff because there is a lot more you need to be careful about while renting a car. There are a number of ways you could be fooled heavily.

We were given a car with a broken gas gauge at St. Martin, and we had to return with more gas on return because we had no clue how to tally. On the other hand, $800 were kept on hold on credit card as refundable amount that we never got back.”

says Kelly Johns, a frequent user of car rental services.

This is one of the simplest examples of scams happening at poor car rental outlets. Here are a few things to guard against while renting a car at an unknown destination.

  • Very low upfront fares: I may sound odd at recommending to check on cheap fares but that’s how the game begins. When a company charges super low, say around $30 or even lesser per day, get ready to hear a refusal when you show up. You’ll experience an inadvertent upgrade, and there will be nothing you could do. The increase could be three times higher than the actual amount. Travelocity stated, ‘Car rental rates are jacked up with taxes and other assessed fees at around 25% on upgrades”.

    The one-price-on-the-phone ruse works especially well when the customer has no clue where to go, just taken a shuttle van to a remote area and wants to get on the road at all costs.

  • Insurance  add-ons: A lot of car rental companies pressurize customers for buying expensive additional insurance, despite being covered by their existing insurance or credit card coverage. "Selling additional insurance coverage, often unnecessarily duplicating  with their existing coverage, is  the primary way car rental companies increase the cost of the rental." Says,

    These additional policies are often disguised as collision damage waiver; supplemental liability protection; personal accident insurance; or personal effects coverage. And if you agree on any of these, you are more likely to pay $30 extra per day. Some companies hold an amount on your credit card if you refuse their additional insurance or may not rent you at all. So, beware of these forced yet forged policies.

  • Poorly maintained vehicles: Before you sign any contract, make sure you are fully aware of the vehicle you are hiring. Most small car rental companies keep poorly maintained vehicles, and later claim for dents or dings. Proving them wrong is difficult, therefore make sure you accept a fully maintained car. Or, take pictures of all doors and trunk to have an evidence upon return.

  • Inflated toll taxes: Most companies give a toll pass, claiming that your toll taxes are included in the amount they have charged. What happens if you don’t find any toll booth  in  between? Do  they  return?  It’s not  that  they  just  push  you  for  additional insurance, they cover undue toll charges as well. So make sure you know what and how they are charging you.

  • Restricted Mileage: This issue becomes a loud talk upon car return. Most people are not aware of restricted mileage policies sugarcoated in different terms and conditions. Knowing "in-state travel" clause at the beginning could help users define their routes properly but this is one thing that is deliberately kept shady. Yes, that means a hefty charge for violating the company's rules, a nice way to top extra money on customer’s account. Better go for unrestricted mileage contract.

  • Late fees: Different companies have different rules, and that’s where most customers fall into the pit. Some companies charge late fees on late return and refund a small share on returning earlier. Whereas, a lot of companies charge a lot higher on both conditions. Whether, you return early or get a little late on return – they are calculated with time. Let’s say, if your plan stretches out a few more hours, new charges are imposed  as late  fees  that’s higher than per  hour  rental rate, and the  accumulated amount gets double. So the nicest, in fact the safest way to rent a car is to keep a few extra hours to your rental schedule.
To be fair, not all companies scam or deceit but there are a few car rental agencies in the crowd who are responsible for people’s bad experiences. They forge small tricks for extra cuts! However, good companies offer complimentary upgrades if the reserved car is not available. So there are both kinds in the show, all you need is to dig more on terms and conditions while renting from any car rental agency.

Some car rentals argue against prepaid reservations, however they still adheres to it to safeguard their own standing in the market. If a reservation is canceled 24 hours or less within the scheduled pickup time. A small share is deducted and the rest is refunded right away – that’s classy! If you don’t show up completely, the entire amount is gone – that’s absolutely fine, I believe. So if you expect transparency from car rental agencies, try on your part too! When renting cars, you have to not only beware, but also read the fine print.

Safe travels!