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Avoiding Auto Rental Company Tricks


We are in the last stages of our vacation in Orlando. But here is something I really want to write about and get it off my chest.

As with most vacationers in Orlando, we rented a car. This time, it was from Hertz. We did not get it directly from the airport, but instead, the company picked me up from the hotel the day after we arrived.

When I was at the counter paying them, the lady behind the counter went into their usual “upsell” questions. It was very subtle, but at the same time tricky for those who are renting a car for the first time.

Do you need any collision insurance?

Well, if you did not already know, most credit cards provide auto rental collision insurance if you charge your card when you rent a car. For me, my Amex Card did the trick. I have made it a point to call up customer service and verify this. So no problems at all with collision insurance (even though some rental companies may state that it is mandatory!). I pollitely declined their offer.

But there next question got me thinking for a while!

Sir – would you like to prepay your gas tank so you will not have to fill her up when you return the car? We will bill you $47, but is at a rate of $2.99 per gallon of gasoline

Hmmm. This one got me thinking. My instinct was to decline since most of these extras are unnecessary. I declined it and boy was I glad I did. Here’s an analysis of the situation after 6 days in Orlando.

Our hotel was only about 1 exit away from highway 4 (which is only 1 minute from our hotel). Hence, everyday, it is only a 5 minute journey to all the disney attractions (whether it is Magic Kingdon, Epcot, or Animal Kingdom). With 2 more days left on our vacation, we have only used up a quarter of gasoline (from a full tank).

On the way back yesterday, we checked the price of gasoline where we were at a Chevron station. Well, it turned out to be $3.49 per gallon. Still, it would cost me way less than $47 to fill up the gas tank before I return my car. (BTW – the car is a Toyota Corolla, which is pretty fuel efficient).

This last offer on prepaying your gasoline before you return your car is a very sneaky one indeed. I suspect most will not benefit from this unless you definitely know you will have to fill up (and use up) a full tank. Once again, if an auto rental company ask you if you want any additional features when you are at the counter, chances are you will not need them!

Have you been asked any other “upgrade feaures” by auto rental companies?

February 10, 2008 @ 4:54 am

I have been visiting this site a lot lately, so i thought it is a good idea to show my appreciation with a comment.

Jim Mirkalami

PS: I am a single dad. 😉

March 17, 2008 @ 3:37 am

Wise move i guess , marketing gimmick ,

” No free lunch ” now a days , we need to pay price for that , as I have not rent a car before , this serve as a good saving tips & reminder .


Tracy Ho


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