19 Shady Things Car Rental Companies Do (That You Should Know About)


You have ever needed to rent a car (either because you are going on vacation or because your car is in the store and you need a backup to get around until it is done) and the first thing you start to think about is all the high costs you are going to have to pay?

Well, you are not the only one.

We’re all worried that the agent, or the website, is going to charge us all kinds of fees and programs that we don’t even need. It can be a really stressful situation.

Rental companies have a lot of tips and methods to part our money and line our pockets. Yet that is what we are here for. To inform you of all these tips. This way, you are better prepared the next time you need to hire a car.

Here are 20 Sketchy Things Car Rental Companies Are Known For.

19 They try to force their insurance on you (even if you don’t have to go through them)

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When renting a car, rental companies prefer the renter to purchase collision / loss coverage through them.

According to Smartertravel However, tenants have two other options where they can try to save money. First, the renter should check to see if their own insurance offers it, and second, many credit cards offer secondary coverage at no cost.

18 They like to rack up the costs of damage


When renters use their credit cards to pay for their rentals and get “free” coverage, they’re not happy.

According to Smartertravel, some rental companies will come up with new cost items that they hope the renter’s credit card won’t cover so the renter can buy their overpriced products anyway.

17 They constantly overbook

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It is common practice for airlines and car rental companies to overbook to compensate for no-shows.

According to Smartertravel However, airlines do offer cash compensation and a large travel voucher to anyone wishing to catch a later flight, satisfying 90% of their overbooked passengers.

Auto agencies, on the other hand, do not compensate at all and therefore receive a lot of dissatisfied customers.

16 They charge insane prices to refill the gas themselves


Most car rental companies have a “fill it up, return it” policy. If a customer returns a car without filling it, they simply add it to their bill.

According to Smartertravel, when they are forced to refuel their vehicles, they settle for a gallon rate which can sometimes be double or even triple the going rate.

15 They charge additional drivers ….

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One of the most annoying costs that a renter has to pay when renting a car is the additional cost for an additional driver.

Something that honestly should be free.

According to Smartertravel, in most areas of the United States, the going rate for an additional driver is $ 13 per day. Fortunately, some will dismiss the charge if it is a spouse, domestic partner, or business partner.

14 They play games when it comes to discounts


Rental companies are known to charge extremely high prices and then offer “big” discounts to members of AAA, AARP and other similar organizations.

According to Smartertravel however, these “big” discounts are generally only selectively applied to the very high daily rates; discounts on weekly rates tend to be much lower.

The essential ? Don’t try to get the “best” price. If the deal looks good, take it.

13 They charge you more to keep the car for a few days (than if you were to keep the car for a week)


So suppose a person goes on business and needs to rent a car for a week. Their cost for that week will be around $ 289 after tax.

Well, according to Smartertravel, for someone who only needs a car for four days, its cost will be around $ 333.

Renters must keep their vehicles for at least five days to get the weekly rate or they will pay more.

12 They like to add dummy fees


According to Smartertravel, this would be the estimated breakdown of an invoice from an airport car rental agency: base rate of $ 67, airport concession fee of $ 8, customer installation fee of $ 6 , convention center supplement and recovery of parking fines of $ 11, recovery of vehicle registration fees and excise tax reimbursement $ 4, energy surcharge $ 1, taxes $ 5.

Only the convention center fees and taxes are paid to the government, and the remainder comes from commercial activity at an airport.

11 Their included liability insurance barely covers anything


Liability insurance is more important than collision damage protection because it helps protect the driver in the event of an accident resulting in the injury of another person.

According to Smartertravel, when it comes to renting in the United States, base rates usually only cover the minimum mandatory for liability coverage in the state the renter is renting in, which is quite low and hardly covers nothing.

ten They make you think there are a lot of different car rental locations to choose from (but there actually aren’t any)


When it comes to finding the best car rental company that will offer the best discounts, renters think there are a lot of options to choose from.

According to Destination tips however, this is not true. Many different rental brands are involved with each other. For example, Avis owns Budget and Zipcar, Hertz owns Dollar and Thirty, Enterprise owns Alamo and National, and Advantage owns EZ Rent-A-Car.

9 They will charge you if they find any damage after you drop the car and leave it

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One thing a tenant always wants to make sure they do is sign the vehicle inspection form before leaving the lot.

According to Destination tips, if a renter does not sign the agreement before leaving and damage is noticed on the car, even if it did not cause it, there is a good chance that he is responsible for it.

8 They charge a lot more for anyone under 25


People under 25 will be charged more to rent a car than people over 25.


Well, according to Destination tips, car rental companies are reluctant to rent cars to young drivers, mainly because of their irresponsibility.

Don’t get too pissed off though. At one point, people under the age of twenty-five couldn’t even rent a car.

7 Upgrade costs are completely at their discretion

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This one can be a bit confusing, but in short, there is no upgrade rate.

According to Destination tips, car rental companies love to shop around with “wool on the eyes”. See, adding an upgrade cost is totally at their discretion. It all depends on what’s in the bundle at the time.

6 They have spies in the car

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Some agencies have a limit on the distance a renter can travel with their vehicle.

According to Destination advice, even venture a few kilometers outside their imaginary barrier and suffer the financial wind. There is no foiling either. Some cars actually have trackers inside the GPS units, while other companies will simply convert the rental costs into a mileage rate to determine their charges.

5 Their base prices are a lie


When it comes to renting a car, agencies should include all of their hidden charges in the overall base price.

However, according to Destination tips, they prefer to slyly claim that they are offering very low prices, but then add all the extra costs afterwards.

That’s enough to blow anyone up when it comes time to check it out.

4 Hurry up


One of the best times to travel is after a vacation weekend or a major event.

According to Destination tips, the reason is that cars that are still on the lot are not making money for the rental company, which is a problem for them. This is the time when they are much more willing to rent cars at a discounted rate, just to make sure they are making money.

3 Some charge an early return fee

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Most of the time, being on time or even early is a good thing. When it comes to rental cars, this can turn out to be a bad thing.

According to Destination tips, returning a car sooner means breaking a contract and can cost the renter their multi-day reservation discounts and even require early return fees.

2 You get taxes to fund other places

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When a person rents a car, the agency usually adds taxes labeled “stadium tax” or “downtown arena”.

According to Destination tips, they do this because some counties have a law that requires agencies to pay taxes on stadiums and arenas.

So, for a person renting a car, they can walk past a stadium and say that their tax money was spent on building it.

1 They charge daily vehicle license fees


Here’s another example of a tenant paying for something they have nothing to do with: vehicle registration fees.

According to Destination tips, in Europe, rental companies require the tenant to pay $ 5 per day on top of their bill. This means that the lessee essentially pays the vehicle taxes and permits accumulated by the company.

Sources: Smartertravel, Destination Tips

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Pamela W. Robbins