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Four Reasons Why I Hate Renting Cars & What I’m Doing About It

Man, car rental companies. Let me tell you; I’m pretty convinced they’re out to scam their customers every chance they get. I try not to rent cars too often due to the reasons I’ll mention below, but sometimes it’s completely unavoidable. Here are five reasons why I hate renting cars.


1. Fees, Fees, and More Fees

Is the price ever really the price? You would hope so, but with car rentals, it’s rarely the case. Insurance fees, extra diver fees, car seat fees, upgrade fees (even when the car you reserved is ‘unavailable’), and more.

I thought I had seen everything, but last year when I rented a car in Fiji (you know, that beachy set of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean) I got charged a cleaning fee for having sand in the car. Not an excessive amount of sand, mind you, but a reasonable amount of sand from wearing sandals on the beach. Worse yet, they billed it as a gasoline fee, so I’m having trouble disputing it with Hertz. Grrr.

Another time, I reserved a car with Hertz in Dubai, and when I arrived to pick up my car, I found that the cost of my one-day rental was twice as much as I was expecting it to be. The reason? Apparently, their online system doesn’t correctly calculate taxes for all regions and also could have something to do with franchise locations. I wish I could tell you more, but I couldn’t get a straight answer from anyone about it. But, regardless, I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that they’re incapable of quoting prices correctly online where virtually every other multi-national company manages to be relatively competent in the same thing.

2. Upsells

I sort of touched on this above, but what’s the point of making a reservation if you’re going to give away the type of car I reserved and then try to charge me more for an upgrade?! Granted, if you refuse to pay for an upgrade they’re still going to give you a car… and if they did sell out of the car that you rented you’re going to get a free upgrade. So don’t pay for the upgrade unless you REALLY want the upgrade.

3. Actually, We’re Sold Out

In an even worse case than just your car type being sold out, car rental companies occasionally sell out of ALL cars. Even if you have a reservation, they may not have a car for you. And it’s not like airlines or hotels where the company is required to re-accommodate you in some way, shape, or form. Nope, you’re just SOL.

Luckily, I’ve never had this happen to me, but I’ve heard stories.

4. You Really Need to Read the Paperwork

I couldn’t tell you how many times a car rental agent has tried to sneak something by me. Whether it’s paying for additional insurance (like tire coverage – thank you Dublin Airport Hertz), pre-paying for gas, or God only knows what else. It shouldn’t be that hard! When I say I want to decline the insurance coverage, it should be declined — all of it!


What I’m Doing About It

If you’ve noticed a theme in some of my stories above, it starts with ‘H’ and ends with ‘ertz.’ I used to be a pretty loyal Hertz customer because I think they have a solid loyalty program. I wouldn’t pay a ton more to rent from Hertz, but I would spend a little more, and I definitely would rent when them anytime they were cheapest.

But now, I’m rethinking that strategy. I’ve had a ton of bad experiences with Hertz, and a few with Avis, but virtually none with National. That said, I haven’t been renting from National for long, but each time I have, they have gone above and beyond to make my car rental experience a good one. Something that I can’t say ever happened when renting with other car rental companies.

Of course, at this point, I’m pretty skeptical every time I rent a car. I’ve learned to always be on the lookout for something a little sketchy. But, I am optimistic that not all car rental companies are created equal. I have to hope, right?


What’re your least favorite and favorite car rental companies?


[Image: Wikimedia Commons]

Comments are Closed.
TomA March 9, 2019

I'm permanently banned from renting from Hertz over some ridiculous fee they tried to charge me and I refused to pay. The car was broken into in Hawaii. My .credit covered their loss AND loss of use and Hertz tried to charge me $125 for completing the paperwork. I've never missed that stupid company and I've permanently banned them back. :)

gkbiiii March 8, 2019

Well for the second time, I am renting Turo, which is the Air B&B for cars. This time, i have pickup and delivery from the San Jose airport. $40.00 a day, for a used silver Lexus! Bye-Bye National, Avis, Hertz!

kenn0223 February 20, 2019

I've been happy with Hertz and with Avis. The key is to not deal with people; I don't think I've talked to a person other than the exit gate person in over a year with Hertz. Apparently they are even piloting a self-service exit gate using biometrics in ATL which I hope they roll out everywhere. There is absolutely no reason the whole experience can't be self-service.

2P or not 2P February 18, 2019

This is an utterly ridiculous rant. I use Hertz frequently and am a member of #1 Club (or whatever it's now called) at 5* or PC level. In many airport locations (North America, Europe, Australia) I simply get in a car, sometimes larger than I booked, show my driving licence and am on my way. Other car hire firms have similar, Avis Preferred, National Emerald etc. Admittedly I rarely want extras such as baby seats, sat nav etc but appreciate they come with a charge if I did. Hertz, like competitors, are moving towards 'choose your own' which I really like (historically I really liked Alamo for this). I have an annual excess insurance which covers the risk if any attempt at upsell. I know that in some locales EVERY company tries to scam the petrol, in France for example I will make the agent see my receipt for petrol. Try renting from GoldCar! Like airlines, like hotels, there are things a traveller can do to make the process much smoother. Caveat emptor.

all168 February 17, 2019

if you need to rent a car a lot of times, why not apply for a chase sapphire reserve, $450 annual fee, $300 travel credit including car rental, and PRIMARY car rental insurance and even road side assistant.