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-   -   Car rental horror stories (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travelbuzz/1220590-car-rental-horror-stories.html)

Interpol May 29, 11 9:37 am

Car rental horror stories
 
Let's hear them!

Aside from general nickel-and-diming, the one story I have happened in the early 80's when I was a kid. Went to Maui for the first time with my parents and my younger sister. Picked up an economy car at OGG from a local car rental place (that has since gone out of business, thank goodness).

On the drive from OGG to Kaanapali, my sister and I in the back seat were the first to notice something terrifying in the car - cockroaches. Not just one or two, but HUNDREDS of them. Crawling all over - the doors, armrests, under the seats. Yes, it's the islands and roaches usually aren't a big deal, but this car looked like a museum insect exhibit. By the time we noticed how bad the infestation was, we were already close to Kaanapali.

When we finally were able to stop and my dad was able to perform a closer inspection of the car (and the rest of us able to get out of it), it was evident that it was way worse than we imagined. Lifting up the rubber floor mats revealed puddles of fluid that looked/smelled suspiciously like urine, and roaches and other creepy-crawlies were just swimming in it. At that point my dad decided to drive back to OGG with the rest of us (despite me and my sister's pleas to let us stay at the side of the road and wait for his return) and return the car. The trip back was that much more horrifying since we now knew what we were riding in and sitting on.

Even scarier was the reaction my dad got at the rental counter when he walked up and started chewing them out - a mixture of shrugs and "so what's the big deal?" looks. Ended up renting a brand new, roach-free car from Hertz and the remainder of the trip was fun and uneventful.

cynicalbuthopeful May 29, 11 11:04 am

just reading that gave me the creeps. Nothing would have induced me to get in that car. I would have been calling for a roadside assist.

pinworm May 29, 11 1:16 pm

Nothing so horrible as cockroaches!!!

Once I rented a PT Cruiser (Pretty Terrible Crusier) at LAS. I got no more than a mile out of the rental lot when the transmission seized and literally fell out the bottom of the car. So began a battle in which Enterprise claimed it was my fault, and I denied doing anything except driving, and because I got no more than a mile away, the ODO was the same as it was at pick up on the contract:D and several weeks later, with the help of Amex, got out of any responsibility.

Once in DEN I had the option of taking the toll road. Without a transponder, they will bill you for the mileage you drive on it based on cameras..it's about a buck per exit you pass, my total was 7 Dollars. When the rental car company got the bill, for whatever reason they sat on it for two months, thereby making the fine 75 dollars to the state of Colorado for non payment. I claimed that it was not me that sat on it, it was Dollar Rental Car. The state graciously dropped the fine, and Dollar was held responsible. All post marks showed it was received on time, and not sent to me until 60 days later after they received it. Dollar was pissed, and even though the fine was dropped they tried to charge me a 57 dollar "administrative fee.". I never paid. Never heard from them about it. Never rented from them again either.

BearX220 May 29, 11 6:37 pm

I was headed for Portland, Oregon once but accidentally reserved an Avis car in Portland, Maine. Got to Portland, OR and they had no reservation for me, obviously, but fixed me up with a car and sent me on my way.

Two weeks later I received a bill from Avis for $3,000. The Avis office at Portland, Maine had put my name on a car. Some woman drove off in it and promptly wrecked it. They had me as the renter of record although I was on the other side of the country at the time. The Avis bureaucracy was completely ridiculous and it took weeks to convince they I was not responsible.

planemechanic May 29, 11 8:17 pm

I will NEVER rent from Budget rent-a-car again.

Rented a small SUV in London for 10 days. Drove fine the whole time, no problems, no accidents, nothing. Turned it in one cold morning (late December) back to the airport lot at Heathrow, collected my paperwork and was off. Three weeks later I get a charge on my credit card for $3,000. They claimed I put gasoline in their diesel engine and ruined the engine. I had fueled the day before and still had the receipt showing the correct fuel. Despite the fact that I had their paperwork showing no damage to the car, despite the fact that I had the fuel receipt showing the correct fuel they insisted it was my problem, not theirs. The refused to investigate the problem and it took me ten months to resolve it through my credit card.

To top it all off, after I won the dispute on my credit card they sold the "debt" to a London collection agency who then tried to collect. I ignored them, and it has been three years now. But I have heard of zombie debt resurfacing ten years later. So I doubt it is over.

Never, ever, will I rent from Budget in any country ever again.

schwarm May 29, 11 9:43 pm

One time, they tried to upgrade [sic] me to an Aztek.

The horror.

Ancien Maestro May 29, 11 10:52 pm

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..:eek:

Interpol May 30, 11 12:01 am


Originally Posted by Ancien Maestro (Post 16471548)
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..:eek:

This was back in the early 1980's. I was only 11 or 12 years old then. This particular local rental company has long been out of business.

BOH May 30, 11 4:29 am

A colleague and I rented from TPA about 6 years ago, arriving quite late at night. Early the next morning we set off for an important meeting...my whole US visit from the UK was based around this one meeting.

My US colleague, who was the only named driver, accidentally ran a red light somewhere in Tampa - right in front of a traffic cop who promptly pursued us and pulled our car over. My US colleague panicked and in the space of about 20 seconds told me he had skipped a court appearance about 4 years ago when he lived in MA for some driving offence and if this showed up when the traffic cop checked him out, he may be arrested and carted off to the police station :eek:

Sure enough, his unresolved violation showed up and he was arrested by the cop and taken away, leaving me with the rental car and unable to drive. Unknown to me at the time, we we in a bad, bad part of TPA - and in a shiny new car. It was however around 06:30 in the morning so not too many folks (good or bad ones) about.

So I phoned Avis and explained the situation. All was calm - until I stated my location, then the agent said "we'll be right over to get you sir, just stay in the vehicle and lock the doors". Sure enough, 20 minutes later two Avis folks turned up and one drove me back to the airport where they completed the formalities of adding me to the insurance.

I attended the meeting by myself, my US colleague was released later the same day, financially considerably worse off :D

ajax May 30, 11 5:41 am

OMG. I cannot add anything to say that either I have been exceptionally lucky, or some of you guys have been exceptionally unlucky! Wow. Reading some of these stories makes me never want to rent a car again - or at least never skip a court date. :D

SJC1K May 30, 11 12:22 pm


Originally Posted by BOH (Post 16472291)
My US colleague, who was the only named driver, ... was ... taken away, leaving me with the rental car and unable to drive. ... [T]wo Avis folks turned up and one drove me back to the airport where they completed the formalities of adding me to the insurance.

This should not have been necessary. Ordinarily regular co-workers (people employed full-time by the named renter's company) traveling on company business are automatically allowed as additional drivers, as are spouses. Of course you may want to check this with the rental company before relying on it.

Ancien Maestro May 30, 11 1:29 pm


Originally Posted by Interpol (Post 16471741)
This was back in the early 1980's. I was only 11 or 12 years old then. This particular local rental company has long been out of business.

Thank goodness they are out of business..

and for very good reason..

Interpol May 30, 11 2:07 pm


Originally Posted by Ancien Maestro (Post 16474367)
Thank goodness they are out of business..

and for very good reason..

To this day, I still wonder what the heck someone did in that car to have it end up in that condition. I have never seen anything like it since - initially the interior looked OK until you spent any time inside and the roaches started coming out from all places - including the air vents.

BOH May 30, 11 3:13 pm


Originally Posted by SJC1K (Post 16474048)
This should not have been necessary. Ordinarily regular co-workers (people employed full-time by the named renter's company) traveling on company business are automatically allowed as additional drivers, as are spouses. Of course you may want to check this with the rental company before relying on it.

Wasn't aware of this benefit. Does it apply when I am a non-US citizen?

jpmcdonough May 30, 11 3:31 pm

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.


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