Hi Scout Here…
As we know, Dusty ran into some issues with Payless Car rental when she went on her trip to Arizona. With that in mind we decided to do a little research to find out how widespread the practice is of charging your credit card for the full rental and then adding an additional security deposit charge.
It seems that some variation of this theme is implemented by every car rental agency we researched and you really have to search. We used one site that compared the offers from various rental companies. When you clicked on your choice it calculated the amount you needed to have at the rental counter. It did not include any security fees or holds. I then went directly to the individual car rental web sites such as Payless, Enterprise, Avis, Hertz. There are many more but by this time I was finding a trend. None of the sites come right out and tell you there will be a “hold” or security deposit. If you search you can get lucky and find it.
In the web site for Payless, Dusty’s Nemesis this past trip, you can find the information by typing “deposit” into the search box. What you will find is that their charges are ” Total Lease + deposit”. Deposit varies by location.
Enterprise Car rental was a little more upfront but you still had to search. They charge the rental + 20% when the renter uses a credit card to pay. If you use cash or debit card then the security is an additional $100- $300 again depending on location or , in some cases, the type of car.
A year ago when Dusty went to Florida she rented from Enterprise. They charged her card a security deposit of $150.oo when she made the reservation. Then when she picked up the car they removed that charge or maybe changed it to the total rental. It’s possible they made an error but we verified on her charge slips that there was never a charge and a hold at the same time.
Even the premier car rental service of Hertz has a similar policy. Dusty has never rented from Hertz because they are just too expensive. To find out exactly how much you will be charged to rent a car, you need to actually call the car rental agency and ask. Be sure to get the name or ID of the representative you speak to and make a note of it on your rental documents.
In our review of all the fine print we found a number of ways car rental companies hope to put their hands in your pockets. They range from refueling charges to insurance to sur charges on frequent flyer credits. Of course they all charge about $10.00/ day for a 2nd driver.
We found a really good article about Car rentals at www.netTrav.com/travelplace.
When you pull up the home page you’ll see the tool bar. Hover your mouse cursor over the car tab and you will see a drop down. Select Tips and Advice and you will see a lot of eye-opening information.
I don’t know if this was just a new policy or if it’s more noticeable because Dusty tries not to use credit cards now and keeps really low limits. I know a lot of her friends have also stopped using credit cards so something like this “hidden” charge can really throw a monkey wrench in your travel plans.
Another thing to be aware of is the return policy. Return the car late and they will get you for another day’s rental. But did you know that if you return it early they may also charge you for the early return? There’s no financial benefit to returning it early.
When Dusty returned her car at Payless they told her she was early and would get a credit. Of course no credit was ever processed and they point to the fact that they didn’t charge her for an early return. What a racket!
So bottom line…Traveler/ car renter beware. Call your car rental agency and confirm how much you will need at the counter and what form of payment they accept, unless of course you aren’t on a tight budget and don’t mind having and extra $250- $300 tied up while you’re on vacation. Do your due diligence!
Oh yes, one more thing….Happy Traveling! 🙂