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Car rental horror stories

Car rental horror stories

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Old May 30, 11, 3:48 pm
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by jpmcdonough View Post
My own "horror" story is not all that bad but it's different.

I elected to try traveling one week from DFW to my client's office in Montpelier, VT, via Bradley International (BDL) near Hartford, CT. The closest airport to Montpelier is Burlington, a 30 or 45 minute drive, but you have to connect somewhere which lends an air of uncertainty. BDL is a 3 hour drive but it's also served non-stop from DFW, so it's more predictable.

This worked, although I could have used a little more daylight driving to Vermont. (This was on Easter Sunday). The last hour was pretty dark, and I-89 is a nice picturesque road in daylight but hard to drive in the dark.

On my return trip, I was about 30 minutes south of Montpelier on I-89, driving in light rain. I spotted a wild turkey in a field up ahead, thought how cool is that, had never seen one before. But, it was raining, and the road is curvy, so I told myself, watch the road, not the turkey.

A few seconds later, the turkey flew into the front of my rental. There was a huge bang, feathers flying. I didn't know what to think. I pulled over at a rest stop, not far away, and inspected the car. There was a dent about the size of a basketball in the hood. The car ran fine. I called Hertz to report the accident, and they asked if I was near a major city. Well, no, I'm in Vermont, there are no major cities! I elected to continue to BDL.

Please note, I had never seen a wild turkey before and did not know they could fly. I have since learned that they can fly, but not very high (duh) or very far. This one probably was crossing the road to look for love, and instead got a Nissan Versa at 65 mph.

When I returned the car to Hertz, of course they asked what happened. I told them about the turkey, and it turned out I was the second renter that day to have hit a turkey.

I decline all coverages, so am still sorting it out with my auto carrier.

I had a turkey sandwich in the bar at BDL.
Thats why , I always say - buy the whole rental insurance irrespective of whether your policy covers rentals or not or if your credit card covers it. I always buy the whole package - CDW,PLI,PAP/SLI,Roadside - it is well worth the cost. And no personal policy covers for "loss of use". This is the most favorite charge by the rental car companies.

And once you buy their coverage - they take care of all the paperwork and hassle. And another thing - if you buy their coverage - they do not microscopically inspect your car for every single scratch,scrape or dent. Why so many websites and travel folks insist on not buying the rental car insurance is beyond me. Penny wise and pound foolish in my opinion.
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Old May 30, 11, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by deltheking View Post
Why so many websites and travel folks insist on not buying the rental car insurance is beyond me. Penny wise and pound foolish in my opinion.
I think car insurance companies are partially to blame. They make it a selling point that they cover rentals but neglect to mention pretty much everything you just said.

My only horror story isn't so bad. The in-laws were visiting while I lived in vegas and my wife and I went to meet them at LAS. They get in and we go to get their rental and they want to add me to the car so I can drive them around and whatnot. Well despite the fact that the in-laws were listed as drivers and their CC was on record the company wouldn't add me to the car since I didn't have a CC, just a debit card. Makes no sense, so we just walked to the next rental company over and had a car in 10 minutes, with me added as a driver.
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Old May 30, 11, 4:27 pm
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Some of the credit card companies will cover loss of use with their coverage.
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Old May 30, 11, 5:15 pm
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"Loss of use" charges should be illegal unless they can prove they were 100% booked for the time of the charges. Not 100% booked, no loss of use, no charge. It is purely a profit center for them.

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Old May 30, 11, 5:46 pm
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Originally Posted by xSTRIKEx6864 View Post
Some of the credit card companies will cover loss of use with their coverage.
I would like to know which ones. Thanks.

Also, with the 3rd party insurance- any payment that needs to be paid to a rental car company in an accident sometimes has to be paid immediately or within a certain time frame. They will send the papers to your CC company,your CC will send them to you. You send it back to CC and they send it to rental car company. Again to and fro, back and forth. You get the picture. Takes a lot of time and hassle. And gain ,no guarantee that everything will be covered. Most of the CC coverage is secondary - after your primary insurance.

Also, if you you use your own insurance and get in an accident, it is a given that your personal insurance company will jack up your rates significantly. Plus, no guarantee that they will cover. Chances of an accident in a rental car are higher certainly than with your daily car b'cos- unfamiliar area ,unfamiliar car,anxiety,new routes etc

Imagine the consequences when you realize after the accident that you are not covered . Or your personal policy refuses to cover. You are royally screwed. To save a few tens of dollars - you can get into a disasterous consequence running into thousands of dollars. As I said -Penny wise and pound foolish IMO.

Last edited by deltheking; May 30, 11 at 6:58 pm
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Old May 30, 11, 5:48 pm
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Originally Posted by planemechanic View Post
"Loss of use" charges should be illegal unless they can prove they were 100% booked for the time of the charges. Not 100% booked, no loss of use, no charge. It is purely a profit center for them.

Even though I hate that policy - fact is - rental car companies are not a charity. They have to make profits . And with margins slimming down -they have to make up somewhere or else they will go belly up. Sad, but true.
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Old May 30, 11, 6:07 pm
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one of my old coworkers bought a used rental car, the irony of it being that he was one of our sales reps so he had to drive around all day. as you would imagine, the car had various problems which i asked him about after riding in it and hearing the knocking sound coming from bottom area of the driver side.
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Old May 30, 11, 6:37 pm
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Originally Posted by deltheking View Post
Even though I hate that policy - fact is - rental car companies are not a charity. They have to make profits . And with margins slimming down -they have to make up somewhere or else they will go belly up. Sad, but true.
I have no problem with any company making a profit. What I have a problem with is a company lying about a "loss" and then asking a customer to pay the company based on that lie. If there was no "loss of use" there cannot be any charge. I am not looking for charity, only morals and ethics from the rental company.
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Old May 30, 11, 7:34 pm
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Originally Posted by jpmcdonough View Post
I had a turkey sandwich in the bar at BDL.
I would have thought a shot of Wild Turkey would have been more appropriate.
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Old May 30, 11, 8:20 pm
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I picked up a car in downtown Geneva from Avis. I was driving back to the hotel to pick up my wife and was on a major road when all of a sudden I realize that the clutch is going out. Throw on the hazards and start coasting while everybody behind me starts honking at me. There is nowhere to pull over as there are cars parked along the street.

I am able to coast down a hill and see a small road to the right. I turn and pull as far to the right as I can and then stop. No where to park as all street spots are taken. The road is narrow but it seems like there is enough room for cars to pass.

I call Avis emergency assistance and explain the problem. She says somebody will come to assist but it will take an hour. She asks where I am but I have no clue. I try and ask somebody walking by but can't understand his french. So I hand him the phone and he seems to be able to communicate my location. Avis lady tells me its all good and to just sit tight.

But then 20 minutes later a bus comes rolling down the street. It starts honking at me and I get out of the car. Bus driver is impatient and tries to go through but the bus gets stuck. I try to explain tot he driver what happened but my french is no good and her English is even worse. She is yelling at me. Finally a British passenger asks me what's wrong and translates to the bus driver. Then a bunch of guys riding the bus get off and push my car backwards so its out of the way. Everybody gets back on the bus and away they go.

Shortly after a bystander helps me push the car into an open spot on the street that has opened up. In the meantime I had called my wife and she took a tram to my location. When the Avis guy comes he determines that the car needs to be towed. He didn't have enough room for me and my wife so he pointed us to the tram and told us to go to the airport and see Avis there.

When we get to the airport, they have no idea we are coming. After making a bunch of calls they tell us that they will have a new car but we owe 600 francs (about $600) for the damage. I start explaining that it wasn't my fault and the clutch was obviously bad. I had only put 3km on the odometer.

The guy is a rather arrogant french guy and obviously thinks I am a silly American who has no idea how to drive a stick. I own a stick though so am plenty comfortable. Plus what can you really do in 3km. They won't budge but then I demand to speak to someone in the US. After I demand to speak with an Avis rep in the US they let it go and tell me they won't charge me. I get my new car and have no incidents with that for my 16 day rental.
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Old May 30, 11, 8:33 pm
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Another Roach Story

I had a cockroach experience as well in Honolulu years ago. I discovered the first roach in the car while driving around a curve by a cliff near Sandy Beach when a cockroach jumped up on the winshield directly in my line of view. I squashed it using a tissue while trying not to drive off the cliff. Ended up killing five or six more roaches using the tissues and stuffing them in the ash tray as these roaches were not very fast. When I turned in the car, I tossed the keys to the surfer dude in the car rental return lot and said "Hey, I left a few roaches in the ash tray for you." He replied "Wow, thanks man."
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Old May 30, 11, 10:44 pm
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Originally Posted by wdogg View Post
one of my old coworkers bought a used rental car, the irony of it being that he was one of our sales reps so he had to drive around all day. as you would imagine, the car had various problems which i asked him about after riding in it and hearing the knocking sound coming from bottom area of the driver side.
Its not advised to purchase a rental vehicle after it's useful life as a rental..

We're talking about renters who may not be as careful as they would be with their own vehicle.. 100% driving the rental.. once the rental is finished.. another renter renting who may not be as careful.. in a recurring cycle for up to a couple of years..
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Old May 31, 11, 11:49 am
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Originally Posted by Ancien Maestro View Post
Cockroaches?!? Ugh!!!

I've rented numerous times from OGG and I've never seen any cockroaches in the vehicle.

Interpol.. Which local rental car company did you rent from? I will make sure I avoid them..
at Hertz in Kauai I saw a family complaining to the desk that there was a rooster in the back seat. Plenty of them roaming the highways and parking lots so not too surprising.
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Old May 31, 11, 2:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Ancien Maestro View Post
Its not advised to purchase a rental vehicle after it's useful life as a rental..

We're talking about renters who may not be as careful as they would be with their own vehicle.. 100% driving the rental.. once the rental is finished.. another renter renting who may not be as careful.. in a recurring cycle for up to a couple of years..
I have to disagree, respectfully of course. I have a 2007 Pontiac G6 I bought used from Enterprise with about 25,000 miles on it. I've since put another ~50K on it with no problems.

My worst rental car horror story comes from the other side of the counter. I run a local rental department here in Durham and we rent to a lot of people who can't rent anywhere else. One of our customers was a known drug dealer whose father would rent the car, pay for it, and add his son as an additional driver. Apparently his son had been advised to stay out of a certain area and he failed to heed that warning. He was ambushed and murdered in our car, shot to death by automatic weapons. The police informed us they knew who the murderers were but could never secure a conviction. The car was also a total write off, though I wouldn't have felt comfortable renting a car that had been covered in splattered brains anyway.
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Old May 31, 11, 10:04 pm
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Originally Posted by silver-tls View Post
at Hertz in Kauai I saw a family complaining to the desk that there was a rooster in the back seat. Plenty of them roaming the highways and parking lots so not too surprising.
Lol..

I would raise the rooster roost issue as well.. if they were hanging out in the back seat.

Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
I have to disagree, respectfully of course. I have a 2007 Pontiac G6 I bought used from Enterprise with about 25,000 miles on it. I've since put another ~50K on it with no problems.

My worst rental car horror story comes from the other side of the counter. I run a local rental department here in Durham and we rent to a lot of people who can't rent anywhere else. One of our customers was a known drug dealer whose father would rent the car, pay for it, and add his son as an additional driver. Apparently his son had been advised to stay out of a certain area and he failed to heed that warning. He was ambushed and murdered in our car, shot to death by automatic weapons. The police informed us they knew who the murderers were but could never secure a conviction. The car was also a total write off, though I wouldn't have felt comfortable renting a car that had been covered in splattered brains anyway.
I agree that I should clarify.. not all rental cars purchased after the fact is bad..

In my experience being in the vehicle industry for 8 years (publisher of an auto magazine.. so I knew over 100 dealer managers).. my contacts experience with vehicles purchased from Fleets of rentals, is a higher probability of hard use, and less of a useful life.. Sure there are a few gems out there.. Maybe with a good AAA inspection, and some thorough diagnostics, and checkover.. you could find a gem..
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