Rental Car Scams.
I hate picking up a rental car when we fly in to an airport.
It’s usually later at night, everyone is cranky, and we just want to get to our destination.
To top it off, this time we had a 2 hour drive after getting the car AND there was an hour and 15 minute wait just to get to the desk.
I could put up with all of that if I didn’t have to talk with an agent though.
This time, since I had over an hour wait I thought I would watch people’s reactions to the agent’s “suggestive selling”
Let me start at the beginning.
Car was booked in January (I looked for months, that was best price) for March break.
Car total came to $328.00 US for the time we needed it.
Let’s go through this process.
I did it online through their website.
1. Pay now or pay later – I saved about $30 to pay now – no big deal there – I knew my dates and everything else and knew that price was as good as it gets.
2. Price posted at first isn’t final price – next page you get final price after taxes – fine – no big deal there either as I expected that.
3. Many, many options like GPS, safety seats, roadside assistance, liability insurance, emergency sickness insurance, etc.
My Amex Gold Card has me covered there for insurance. We brought our child seats along and our GPS.
No additional charges – booked it on my credit card. Done. $328.00 US.
Fast forward to airport check-in.
1. People’s reactions to the agent’s “upselling” not good. Some waving their hands around, some taking over 20 minutes to get their car. This should be interesting.
2. You think you can just pick up your car after signing? WRONG!
A) Gas options – fill up your tank yourself for the “expensive way” or pay that extra fee and don’t worry about it! I did that once and had to pay way too much for that option. It is way easier to fill up the tank within a 20 minute drive of the airport yourself when you return the car – I have never had an extra charge for that.
They used to have high pressure sales on that, but they focus the high pressure on 1 thing now.
B) LIABILITY INSURANCE.
I have NEVER seen a salesperson be as misleading as what I am about to tell you.
It is very obvious they work on commission and the only way they make good money is selling you the LIABILITY INSURANCE.
Here is the exact quote from the agent.
“BASIC COVERAGE OR THE EXTENDED COVERAGE FOR THIS CAR?”
I was very tired, as I am sure most people are after getting off a plane and waiting over an hour and I said “Just basic, I don’t need that stuff”
Boom. He just made a sale. Without me knowing it.
His demeanor changed immediately and was very upbeat and seemed to be moving quicker.
The whole process seemed to speed up and about a minute later he showed me the screen where I had to sign.
Except there was one huge problem. Total – $632.00.
I was mad. I had my phone right there and showed him my total from my email. $328.00
“But sir, you wanted the basic coverage so I added it for you”
Two things about that sentence.
1. I would have chosen that when I filled out the options online the first time.
2. I never wanted any coverage, he slyly added it to my bill with obvious misrepresentation.
“I have that coverage with my Amex card and my personal insurance – don’t need anything, bring that bill back to $328.00”
Wow, his demeanor changed again. Surprise.
He spent 5 minutes trying to convince me otherwise, even though I researched this option plenty before my trip.
In the end, I got my original price.
Is this a scam? Well you may say it’s just high pressure sales, the agents just doing what the company wants, or maybe it is just normal behaviour.
Or maybe it’s part of doing business with these companies.
I got a good price on my car and paid nothing extra.
Other people got a good price and paid extra.
Free market? Capitalism? Let the buyer beware? Plenty of Competition?