Author Topic: Rental Car Companies - Recommendations? Warnings?  (Read 1068 times)

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ladyknight1

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Rental Car Companies - Recommendations? Warnings?
« on: July 08, 2014, 10:06:34 AM »
Last minute travel requires us to use a rental car to travel to another state. I looked on a multi company booking site and picked the cheapest, Firefly, and it only required my email to reserve the car.

I then looked at the reviews on several travel forums, tripadvisor and Disboards to find that they have one of the worst customer service models in business and that many of the vehicles in their fleet are damaged and have minor mechanical issues. It surprised me, since they are owned by Hertz.

I canceled and booked a cheaper type of vehicle through Alamo. I've had good experiences with them before.

Ehellions, any car rental stories out there?

BigBadBetty

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Re: Rental Car Companies - Recommendations? Warnings?
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2014, 10:14:47 AM »
I have only rented a car twice. I have used National. I haven't had any problems with them. I am part of the Emerald Club. You can join the Emerald Club for free with this link: http://www.mousesavers.com/national-rental-car-discounts/#emeraldclub


magicdomino

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Re: Rental Car Companies - Recommendations? Warnings?
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2014, 10:29:34 AM »
When you pick up the car, walk around it taking photographs.  The clerk will walk around with you and note any dings and marks.  Be sure they are all noted, no matter how minor.   Car rental companies have been known to try and claim damage long after you turn the car in.

As far as reputable companies go, it is much like the airlines:  every company has screw-ups.  I've had good results with Enterprise, but know others who haven't.  As you have noticed, the cheapest isn't always the best choice.

ladyknight1

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Re: Rental Car Companies - Recommendations? Warnings?
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2014, 10:30:59 AM »
^ I always do that and take photos of the fuel gauge and car when I return, especially if just dropping the keys in a box due to an early flight.

We've used and had good results from Budget, Alamo and Thrifty.

SamiHami

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Re: Rental Car Companies - Recommendations? Warnings?
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2014, 10:35:34 AM »
I've used both Hertz and Enterprise without any problems.

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Lynnv

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Re: Rental Car Companies - Recommendations? Warnings?
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2014, 11:23:07 AM »
I have used all of the major national companies with minimal problems.  Don't be afraid to tell them if a car won't work for some reason.  Last time I rented a car in Las Vegas it smelled slightly of cigarette smoke despite being a non-smoking car.  It wasn't too bad in the shade in the parking garage so I figured I could live with it.  When the next day rolled around, I found that it absolutely reeked of smoke as soon as it started warming up and got worse when I cranked the AC.  Between the heat when I was out of the car bringing up the stink and the AC making it worse it managed to get pretty bad, and I was driving all day.  I was stuck in a stinky car the whole time as I couldn't get back to switch it out with a clean car.  So if you find something you think you can live with for the rental period, think about how bad it will be if something makes it worse and you are stuck with it.

Otherwise, watch for bogus fees.  I rented a car from Budget two weeks ago and only put about 60 miles on it over the weekend.  I looked at my return invoice and they charged me $13.99 for gas even though I filled up the car.  When I complained about it, they told me they always charge that much for gas on rentals if they get less than 75 miles on them as they can't easily see if it has been filled.  The fee was refunded without question when I complained which tells me that they just charge this fee and hope that people don't notice that they are getting overbilled.  I had to wait in line inside for 15 minutes to get it refunded.  Good thing I was early for my flight anyway.  I will never rent from them again if I can avoid it.  Unfortunately I travel enough for business that I may get stuck with them again at some point.

As others have said, be sure you note any preexisting damage to the car.  Some places have policies that things like scratches at the bumper (luggage scratches) won't be noted or billed, but I prefer to cover my rear and make them note all damage.

Lynn

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PastryGoddess

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Re: Rental Car Companies - Recommendations? Warnings?
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2014, 02:25:04 PM »
I recommend Mousesavers.com for car rental deals.  They are a primarily disney info site, but the car rental discounts can be used all over the world. 

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demarco

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Re: Rental Car Companies - Recommendations? Warnings?
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2014, 06:53:00 PM »
DH and I rent cars three or four times a year. One new wrinkle is that some rental companies appear to have merged and  all of our assumptions about which company was best and which was best to avoid have gone out the window.

We photograph any existing minor damage. We used to make notes of any damage on the rental agreement and have the clerk initial it but lately the clerks have been refusing to verify anything.  We have never had any problem being accused of damage we didn't cause.

Dazi

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Re: Rental Car Companies - Recommendations? Warnings?
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2014, 07:00:57 PM »
Warning

If you use your debit card (with Visa/Mc logo) instead of a dedicated credit card,  some companies will put a hold on your debit card for twice the amount of the rental.  Once you turn in the car the funds are released, but it can take several days.
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ladyknight1

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Re: Rental Car Companies - Recommendations? Warnings?
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2014, 07:11:42 PM »
I went ahead and got a credit card, since many companies don't accept debit at all, although we had no issues two years ago.

Peppergirl

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Re: Rental Car Companies - Recommendations? Warnings?
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2014, 11:15:59 PM »
Since this is part of my profession, I feel pretty qualified in answering:  Avis is the most responsive to customer complaints that I've personally dealt with.

If you're renting from a small location, be aware that it could be a franchisee and their policies can be somewhat different and more restrictive than the same brand within the corporate chain would be. 

If you need help, PM me and let me know.  I don't make commission or anything like that, so it's not a sales pitch.  ;D

Library Dragon

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Re: Rental Car Companies - Recommendations? Warnings?
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2014, 01:08:07 AM »
I generally use Budget now and am signed up for the Fastbreak program. That means they have my data on file and at most airports I can skip the line and get my car.

We rented from a really, really inexpensive place in Orlando.  We walked in and heard customers arguing  over damages with an agent.  When getting my car I made note of every scratch and stain.  They weren't happy.

The only other bad experience was with Avis in Florida. We were leaving a parking lot and had a flat tire. Immediately on the right was a tire garage.  We coasted in.  They looked at it and confirmed that it was a defect and not anything we drove over or rubbed against.  We called Avis and explained.  Since we were returning the car the next day we were told to just put the spare tire on and mention it to the agent at the airport.  No problem.  Agent was pleasant.

Then we started getting bills and letters for the tire replacement and supposed damage we caused by driving a long distance on a flat tire.  Then the phone calls started.  It took almost a year to get it dropped.  I sent copies of the time stamped receipt of the store we were in and the statement from the garage.  The addresses were obviously next to each other.

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ladyknight1

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Re: Rental Car Companies - Recommendations? Warnings?
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2014, 08:41:51 AM »
I live in Orlando and will be renting at the airport. I'm going to check and see if I have an Alamo account, since I have rented from them before.

Bales

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Re: Rental Car Companies - Recommendations? Warnings?
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2014, 09:41:56 PM »
Don't take the option to pre-pay for gas.  They make it sound like a great option to get gas at a cheap rate and not have to fill up when you return the car, but the fine print says you get charged for an ENTIRE tank of gas no matter how full it is when you bring it back.  So not worth it unless you can plan well enough to bring it back on empty.

ladyknight1

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Re: Rental Car Companies - Recommendations? Warnings?
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2014, 09:53:42 PM »
I last rented from Alamo many years ago, at least a decade. I was able to update my account and check in online for the car, I'll just have to put in my credit information the day before I pick up the car.