Rental Car Companies, Shady Consumer Tactics, and Company Values

Rental Car Center - George Bush Intercontinent...
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Recently I rented a car from one of the major rental car companies, and just like every other time, they had their shady consumer tactics. Here are two of the most common shady tactics used:

  • They ask if you would like basic or premium insurance without letting you that ‘none’ is an option and most major credit cards provide rental car insurance at no charge (I know about this credit card coverage first hand as my wife got into an accident with our rental car a couple years ago and the credit card company took care of everything).
  • They offer for you to pre-pay for gas at a reduced rate and casually say to bring back the tank empty if you do. They mention this because they’ll charge you for an entire tank even if you have gas in it. Unfortunately, they aren’t straightforward that you’re pre-paying for an entire tank regardless of usage if you go with this option.

As a startup, it’s important to articulate your values and outline it for everyone to see. If you want trust and respect, tactics found at this rental car company wouldn’t be part of your organization.

What else? Have you seen other shady tactics used at rental car companies?

One thought on “Rental Car Companies, Shady Consumer Tactics, and Company Values

  1. Oh dear, don’t get me started!

    A few weeks ago, I used Name your Price on priceline.com recently and got a Hertz car in San Francisco. When I showed up, they wouldn’t give me the car. Turns out that I’m blacklisted due to a 2009 dispute I had with a Hertz affiliate in Orlando. The affiliate deceived me into an “upgrade” without my permission. I got the credit card agency to cancel their upgraded charge. Hertz sent to a collection agency after me which I ignored, and blacklisted me which I found out after having paid priceline.com.

    Unrelated to that, Avis also recently assessed “damage” on a hubcap of a rental I had in Detroit. After 3 snail mail letters from them, it took several hours of my life across spread 4 days to argue my way out of it. In the end, they weren’t even able to come up with an estimate of the hubcap’s value and they dropped the issue.

    That industry is ripe for disruption. BTW, I heard there are AirBNB-style car companies now.

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