Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Consumer Rants: Rental Fees

Every time I return a rental car, I discover a new fee added to the charge: "concession recovery fee", "emission fee" and of course the famous "we charge for gas even if the car is full" fee (read my previous rant).

2 months ago, I was charged a $30 cancellation fee by Hertz. Apparently they started this "feature" stealthily on their web site. For some rentals, when you click the final "approve" button, you actually agree to a certain sum charged to your card regardless of whether you picked up the car or not. Hertz never made this public (well, yes, it's there in small font, where you don't expect it). It didn't help that I was a gold customer, a "five star" member etc. After 3-4 phone calls and many emails, they decided I still owe them that $30.

This is usually the point where I would have told Hertz to kiss my posterior and moved to Avis, but by now, you know my opinion of that crappy company...mad

Apparently I'm not alone. This CNN article describes the myriad of ways rental companies find to nickel-and-dime their customers. Fees for tires, oils and maintenance seem to become the norm. Rental companies relocate their facilities off the airport to save money - and then turn back and charge travelers for the shuttle needed to reach their facilities. Looks like the rental companies took a page out of the airlines book. Is there any way we can fight this trend, other than join class actions?

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