Extend rental - $12 extra per day?

 
Old Apr 24, 11, 2:16 pm
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Extend rental - $12 extra per day?

Tried renting a car in PIT today. Enterprise, with whom I tried renting from totally botched things up so I went to Thrifty. Had the car, the keyless entry thing (that is a requirement for me), and was signing all of the final paperwork until I got to the paragraph that states if you return the car earlier or keep it later you have to pay $11.99 PER day. I'm sorry, aren't they in business to rent cars out? I said I wouldn't agree to that and the clerk told me "sorry, that's the rule - you could drive back out here and renew paperwork but it would have to be a new reservation created (the airport is a minimum of one hour drive from where I live). I ended up getting Super Shuttle and will use a cab service for where I need to go this week. Have others heard of this? What is the rationale? I mean there are times when you may need to keep a car longer due to your needs, right?
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Old Apr 24, 11, 2:43 pm
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The late return fee makes sense - it is extra trouble to the agency not to have a car available for those extra days, as they may base their availability for reservations on the promise that the car will be returned a certain day. If it is not returned, they would not have a car available for someone who made a reservation and showed up at the counter, necessitating transferring them to a competitor, extra paperwork, etc.

The penalty for returning early is absurd, assuming the original renter pays the agreed rental price for the whole original rental period. In this case they would have an extra car available for walk-ups. I agree that this type of penalty should be outlawed by state legislatures.

If they are simply charging $12 a day (without charging a daily rental fee) for returning early, again, this is reasonable because they are losing potential income they could have had by knowing the car would be available for those days but which they could not make reservations for because they had been told by the original renter that he would still have and pay for the car on the "early return" days.

Last edited by Doc Savage; Apr 24, 11 at 2:49 pm
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Old Apr 24, 11, 6:37 pm
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Thanks DocSavage! I have rented cars many times and have never encountered anything like this. I appreciate your insight!
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Old Apr 29, 11, 10:20 pm
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It's not a new policy--it's been in place at Thrifty for at least the last two years, maybe more.

Originally Posted by Doc Savage View Post
The late return fee makes sense - it is extra trouble to the agency not to have a car available for those extra days, as they may base their availability for reservations on the promise that the car will be returned a certain day....

The penalty for returning early is absurd, assuming the original renter pays the agreed rental price for the whole original rental period. In this case they would have an extra car available for walk-ups.
The logic for your former point applies to your latter point, too.

They base availability and rates on your estimated time. If you return it early, you're depriving them of revenue they were counting on.

Yes, they may have a car available for a walk-up, but that walk-up isn't guaranteed revenue. It may not happen. That car may sit unused for the remainder of your rental period.

If you took a large group to a location with a 1,000 car fleet and rented all 1,000 cars for a four-week period and then returned all of the cars the next day, that would represent a massive loss of opportunity for the rental agency. It would take them weeks to recover and get those cars back on the road. Since you caused that loss, is it not fair of them to attempt to recover a portion of it from you.

Now, that's an extreme example, but it scales down to more realistic levels. Actually, that $12/day fee is less than (by a good margin) the break-even rate, so it's more or less covering the average amount an early-returned car sits unused. (That is, if there's an average 50% chance an early-returned car will sit versus be rented out, then the $12/day pays for the 50% of the time the car is sitting on the lot.) In the extreme example above, the true cost to the rental company would likely be at least $25-30 per day, so $12 is not unreasonable for a more realistic occupancy model.

Last edited by jackal; Apr 29, 11 at 10:25 pm
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