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Be Aware of Hidden Terms & Conditions by Car Rental Services

Keywords: driver;motion;auto;car;man;boy;guy;street

I’ve been advised to avoid using a car rental service in Mexico City but depending on your destination, it might be the best option.

My friends and I were planning to visit an area outside of Mexico City that isn’t serviced by public transportation, and we weren’t certain that we’d get cell service to call a cab once we wanted to return to our accommodation. So, we decided to rent a car.

Luckily, car rental prices in Mexico are low, but you have to watch out for shady practices by some companies. We found a company, Economy Car Rentals, that was offering three-day car rentals for $35 through my favorite car rental website AutoSlash. We agreed that it was a great deal and planned on adding an extra driver, which should cost an extra $5 per day.

We took an Uber to the airport and then found a woman holding an Economy Car Rentals sign in the America Car Rental booth. It’s not that uncommon for car rental companies to partner up, especially if they are small, so we hopped in the rental shuttle and drove over to the lot.

When we arrived at the America car rental lot, there were no more Economy signs to be seen. Nevertheless, we were assured that we were in the right place. We waited in line and when it was our turn they pulled up our reservation and we started going through the paperwork. The process was going smoothly until we got stuck on the insurance portion. You see: they wanted us to pay an extra $130 for insurance for three days, even though we have Chase Sapphire Reserve and get insurance through the card. They eventually pulled up the Policies and Procedures page on the America Car Rental website. Hidden under some tabs, it stated that:

“Your reservation doesn’t include CDW (Collision Damage Waiver).  All rental cars must have this coverage, you will have to acquire this coverage directly in counter. In case of not acquiring it, we reserve the right to decline the service. America Car Rental don’t accept nor have agreements with third parties as credit cards, web sites, booking engines, insurance companies or banks for the coverage of damage caused to the vehicle. This coverage does not include to other parts of the vehicle (as windows, tyres, rims, etc.), administrative fees or accessories (as GPS, baby seat, personal belongings, etc.)

Reservations made through this site include this coverage. reservations made through affiliate channels of America car rental are recommended to review their reservation to insure this coverage is included.”

But remember, we rented through Economy! We ended up making a new reservation with Alamo for just a few dollars more and heading over there to pick up our rental car. They had no such scam going on.


Have you ever had a shady car rental experience?

[Featured Image: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
strickerj July 2, 2019

The car rental industry’s version of the “Resort Fee” scam, it would seem. And really, disclosed in advance or not (which it sounds as though this wasn’t), any fee charged by the merchant at their discretion (not a tax that gets passed through) that’s mandatory in order to receive the service is a scam. I imagine it’s just used to game the OTA search, same as resort fees.

AutoSlash July 1, 2019

There's a very good reason why show ratings for each company when clicking through from our offer emails and why Economy is rated as a 2-star company and Alamo is rated as a 4-star company. As far as the terms and conditions for each rental company, those are displayed during the checkout process whether you book directly with us or via Priceline, although admittedly, the text is dense and can make your eyes glaze over, so people often skip right by it. In the US this usually isn't much of an issue, but as Dorothy famously pointed out...we're not in Kansas anymore. To that end, we've published a blog post specifically about what to watch out for when renting in Mexico: https://www.autoslash.com/blog-and-tips/posts/dealing-with-the-mexico-car-rental-insurance-scam Sorry you were inconvenienced, but happy Alamo took care of you. We look forward to saving you money on future rentals!


Well what a shocker...someone books a "too good to be true" ($35 for 3 days....REALLY?) rental car rate from a company I've never heard of through a second tier website, and they're just amazed by the fact the insurance costs more than advertised! I bet no flyertalker could have seen that one coming! The moral of the story: just book with a reputable, brand name company from the get go to avoid these unpleasant surprises. Good thing Alamo was there to bail out the author. Next time, just book direct with Alamo/Hertz/Dollar or through Orbitz (a reputable Online Travel Agent) and have the peace of mind knowing that your reservation will be honored as agreed to and advertised. Yes, in life, you really do get what you pay for!