Got this at work, and it’s worth a look if you travel for either business or pleasure…

We have been seeing incidents with rental car companies that appear questionable to us and I wanted to give you a heads-up on some of the issues that travelers have been dealing with.

Some travelers have been charged for damages that may or may not have occurred while the car was in their possession.  Dings, cracks, flat tires, fender damage etc.  You may want to pay a little extra attention when the car is inspected prior to signing anything.

Also, one of the rental companies has stated that they offer other options to the traveler at check-in.  You might select a car that is presented to you which is actually an upgrade.  One term that is used is ‘Intermediate’, which is equivalent to the rental agency’s ‘Mid-sized’ cars.  Other terms used by the rental companies are ‘Standard and Full’, both of which are upgrades.

We have also had incidents of travelers declining the insurances, but they have been added to the bill anyway. You may see it listed as PAE / ESP / SLI CHG.

Personal Accidents and Effects – PAE

Emergency Sickness Plan -ESP

Supplemental Liability Insurance – SLI

With this in mind, take an extra minute at the counter to check the estimated charges to ensure that you are not being overcharged.

I am sending this out to all since this information may be helpful both for professional as well as private travel.


PSA… — 9 Comments

  1. I had to rent a car for work travel from Hertz last year. There was a mix-up and I didn’t get out of there for an hour, and because of that they did not remind me to check the car and I forgot.
    When I returned it a week later, the inspection revealed a large gash in the passenger quarterpanel. I knew it couldn’t have happened on my watch, and told them so (because of where I parked daily) and it must have been on the car when I got it.
    They let it go.
    When I got out to where my wife was waiting for me, I saw the damage she had just put on our car coming to get me!
    Thank God I didn’t have to fix both.

  2. Ed- Yep, that is why I ALWAYS do a walk around and Hertz always provides a check sheet that you can note stuff on (and I’ve used more than once)…

  3. Before I drive off, I take pictures with my digital camera. If possible, I include the agent in one shot. If I find something, there will be a photo with an employee in the picture.

  4. Awhile back I rented a car on a short Hawaii vacation. Because the car that I owned was older my coverage was minimal. So I took the over priced insurance that was offered. When I returned the car the attendant noticed a ding in the rear bumper. When I said that I had purchased the coverage and it was covered, he looked and acted disappointed.
    It felt good to hand the keys over and walk away.
    I do know that my credit card would have covered the damage, eventually.

  5. Fortunately when I travel on business I can normally get away without renting a car. I hate doing it because the rental car companies do try to take advantage of weary travelers.

  6. Seeing as how I and the wife primarily travel via our Cessna (or by RV8 when I’m solo), most smaller airports are serviced by Enterprise, with some by Avis.

    Given the choice between the two, I’ll take Avis every single time.

    Too many bad experiences with Enterprise.

    I flew a Korean War vet into Wiley Post (Oklahoma City) a few years ago for a day trip to the Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. Rented from Enterprise.

    Two weeks later, I get a bill for an additional $1200 for “damages” like “scratches” a “ding” here and a “dimple” there.

    Next morning, I’m in the air right back up to OKC and in Enterprise’s face big time with digital “before and after” pictures in hand, and unknown to them, a digital voice recorder in my shirt pocket.

    Long story short, I turned EVERYTHING over to AOPA (Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association) who apparently contacted the corporate Enterprise folks and informed them of the probable loss of over a half-million private pilots’ business.

    I’ve rented twice from Enterprise since, and have always noted on paper and to the clerk that there better not be any bullobama charges after I turn in the car.

    Enterprise’s game was to “just turn this over to your insurance company and they’ll take care of it.”

    It’s a scam from the get go and I also made sure to let the folks at Allstate know.

    This kind of stuff pisses me off mightily.


  7. I don’t recall a time a rental car company didn’t try to get me in an upgrade. Like WSF pointed out, a walk around with a camera, or even the one on your phone, will often prevent the damage charges.

  8. Back over the summer, I was provided with a “premium” vehicle by the insurance company while the Pacific got worked on. Only rental car place around here is Enterprise. Got there and my premium vehicle was a dumpy looking Grand Marquis. It was dirty inside, dinged up outside but I made it a point that all dings & dirt were listed on the contract as previously being there.

    Set off for home, turned on the a/c and The smell that came out was enough to make someone sick. Smelled like fish that had been sitting in the sun for a week.

    I called them back, they told me to bring it back and upgraded me at no cost to a brand new Dodge Journey and gave me extra fuel for my trouble.

    It started off icky, but at least nobody tried to screw me out of anything in the end.