In 2011, the Better Business Bureau received 3,773 complaints against the auto-renting and -leasing industry. Many of the complaints were a result of billing and contracting issues.
When it comes to navigating the rental-car process, there are many little details that often leave consumers confused as they eagerly wait to get on the road.
Even though you’re excited to hit the road, take the time to inspect the car and ask questions. Car rentals can make a trip easier, but make sure you know your options, such as add-ons, before signing.
Shop around and look for hidden charges. There are several budget-travel Web sites that can give a good scope of what’s out there. Make sure to follow up with the rental car Web sites directly to see if you can snag an even cheaper rate.
Remember, though, if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t fall for the low-ball offer and make sure to always clarify which taxes, surcharges and other fees you’ll be expected to pay.
Many states have additional fees for drivers under age 25 or for multiple drivers.
If you’re traveling solo or don’t need a lot of leg room or trunk space, go for the smaller car. Often, the salesperson will steer you in the direction of an upgrade for “only a few extra dollars.” Just say no and stick to the smaller car.
Make sure that you understand where the “unlimited mileage” rates apply. Some companies have restrictions and only apply the mileage to certain states.
Many times, car rental companies will ask whether you want to prepay for gas; it’s not always necessary and it’s rarely the best deal.
Don’t forget to refill the tank before returning the car, and make sure to return on time. Some companies will charge an extra day for being late.
If you’re going to be traveling with children or fear that you’ll get lost, make sure to bring your own car seat and GPS.
There’s no need to pay for the daily fee for these items if you already have them at home.