Car Rental Agency Stories

I just returned from a whirlwind trip to St. Louis - basically accompanying an elderly friend to act as her chauffeur.

She had rented a car from Budget at the airport. The Budget/Avis facility at the airport is a big, busy place. So, we went in and the guy tells us that the credit card and the name on the reservation have to match. My friend tried to explain that she wasn’t going to be doing any driving at all, I was. But it didn’t matter - since she was paying for it she had to be “the driver” and I was added on as an additional driver for $13. A day.

(In retrospect I should have just said I’d pay for it, put the car in my name, etc., but I didn’t know how big of a brouhaha it would be - if we’d lose the one reservation/car entirely and have to wait for another one.)

Anyway, the car itself was $26 a day.

And the clerk tried to “upsell” us from a mid-size car to a Ford Fusion hybrid. We didn’t want the added expense, but he wouldn’t let it go. Said he’d waive the extra driver fee if we’d upgrade. So we did.

Question 1 - is that normal, for a car rental clerk to “upsell” an already made reservation?

Then, when we returned the car, I filled it up with gas before I did so.

We check it in. It’s a cold rainy night so there’s a clerk waiting in a car for people (again, very busy place). She asks me if I filled up the car and I said Yes!

So we get the receipt, and go into the office to get out of the cold while we look at the receipt, and there’s an $11 gas service fee. I can’t remember the exact term they used now - my friend has the receipt, but it was something like gas service fee.

So she went up to the counter and asked why we were being charged for gas when we’d filled up the car?

(For that matter, this fee was added without the car even being moved to see how many gallons was missing. It must have been calculated due to the mileage only).

So that was eventually taken off.

And my question is, does THAT happen to people, too, where they are charged for gas even though they’ve filled up the tank?

Any other car rental agency stories - horror or otherwise - that people would like to share?

We went on a weekend trip to Long Island NY and rented a car. Just me and my wife so we told them ahead of time we wanted an economy job. While they were checking out the car someone figured out that the license plate was not the right one for that car. After about ten minutes or more our clerk was getting very ticked off that nobody could find the right license plate, all the while the line getting longer behind us. By the fifteen minute mark she was just totally fed up and said to me, “You know what? Just take that Cadillac over there for the same price”.

So I said, OK. LOL. Not a horror story at all, but it was a VERY nice car with more power than anything I’ve driven since the muscle car days of the 1970s. It was great on those damn short on ramps on Long Island highways.

Q1: Yes
Q2: they should ask you before you leave with the car if you’re going to fill up the tank. If you say no with most companies, they’ll add a fee and/or charge you per mile/gallon.

I do Avis Preferred - car is waiting, they know my preferences, and I don’t have to actually speak to anyone - it’s great :slight_smile:

I could have sworn I saw a message here from someone who had a cousin who was vice president of Budget/Avis?

Yet now it’s gone!

This is one of the many examples of capitalism and a testament to how great it is.

A few years ago I got a chance to take my family on a vacation cross country. I don’t care for planes, and there’s no chance in hell that I’m looking to put miles on my own car, so I opted to rent a car. I wanted a car that I would look good driving in, but the wife wanted something that would get good mileage and would fit the kids comfortably. We compromised and got half of what each of we wanted.

Never again. I don’t get enough leave to want to spend that much time listening to the kids complain that there’s no leg room. I didn’t make them get so tall. Next time they can stay home and their mother and me can visit my mother in Arizona.

Usually I can just Priceline a rental for less than $10 a day and decline the insurance and the rest and its a great deal.

It’s been awhile since anyone near me has rented from the major agencies. My dad, though, rented from Avis & Hertz & had to return vehicles due to everything from heavy perfume & cigarette odors (chemically sensitive, extremely allergic type) to actual problems with the function or handling of the car. He doesn’t use them any more.

If I could remember the name of the agency I rented from while my car was in the shop, I’d give it. Once I rented a Mercury Sable that had such bad brakes I might as well have started and stopped the vehicle with my feet, as in “The Flintstones”.

As far as being offered an “upgrade”, one of my travels to Wyoming, I was promised a compact, which is what I’m most comfortable driving. I ended up driving an SUV because that was available.

Actually liked it, though, so I didn’t mind paying the extra. Matter of fact, I’m happy I had it as, in Yellowstone National Park, I had to very rapidly brake for a deer.

Enterprise is one agency I can say hasn’t been problematic. Maybe you could try them if you need to rent a car.

Common for rental companies to have the person driving pay. And don’t try and get a hotel room in vegas and have someone else pay for it – they won’t allow that either.

Yes. They want to get as much money as they can from customers. A lot of places are like that.

Clerk tried to slip that one past. Last car I had reserved, they charged $15/gallon if they had to put fuel in it. mine they just went out turned on the car, clicked the little switch so it showed “miles to empty” to make sure it was full.

Who pays? Who drives? I think there are liability and contract issues here. I’m not well versed but don’t find their policy to be unreasonable.
Upsale… yes.
Gas… either a mistake or unscrupulous local management. Always keep your gas receipt even if the gauge shows full…maybe even take a picture of the gauges.

That’s a good idea. Apparently this St. Louis trip is going to be an annual thing for the foreseeable future - so I’ll be doing that each time.

Some more info from the receipt - here’s what my friend was charged. (I mention it just because cities - or at least St.Louis - really stick it to people who need to rent a car):

Vehicle license fee 6%
Energy recovery fee .77 cents a day
11.11% Concession recovery fee
9.363% tax

Concession recovery fee - according to one definition I found this was: “essentially the rental car company charging you to recoup the amount the airport charges it to offer services there.”

Vehicle license fee - I guess drivers are charged to pay for the license plates. But after a few months that must be paid for a thousand times over.

And the energy recovery fee? I guess we’re being charged because the car rental place has to pay its employees to expend agency to man/woman their counter?

When you purchase anything at a store or place you get a service - part of the price you pay is for the businesses rent or mortgage. They just don’t put it on the receipt. The price one pays for a good or service also includes the cost to the business of paying their employees, insurance, and every other cost the business occurs.

If you want to save some money - renting at a location not at the airport is generally a little less expensive. But, you need to get there so the cost to get there ( Uber, taxi, etc., and back) probably makes it a wash.

When I go visit my mom that is what I do as I like to have my own car while visiting. She drives me to get it and again when I drop car off.

Yeah… and when I did my research I saw that the practice has been going on since the early 2000s…

Are they legally required to put the list of their nickel-and-diming on receipts, rather than just adding it into the price of the rental? I can’t be the only one who thinks OMG everytime they see that stuff.

I also drive everywhere when I go traveling on my own - all my relatives are within driving distance so I don’t need to fly.

Though I’m girding myself for a trip to Hawaii next year…