While renting a car is more cost-efficient than buying a vehicle, you will find that there are plenty of tricks that unscrupulous car companies will make to earn a quick buck off your back. You should beware of these cost-related tricks so that you can make better decisions in your next transaction.
Pile on the Damage Fees
Your credit card will cover, at no extra charge, several types of coverage including collision or loss damage waiver (CDW/LDW). But many rental companies will add new cost elements that credit cards will not cover with their goal being to persuade their customers to buy additional insurance or pay for more fees.
You will likely encounter these extras on your rental bill:
- Loss of use charges refer to the list-price daily rental rate when the car is out of service
- Loss of value pertains to the reduced resale value of a damaged car, even when it has been repaired and in good working condition
- Administrative fee for paperwork processing
- Costs related to the retrieval of a damaged car including towing and storage
While credit card companies and third-party insurers are generally keeping up these costs, you should still be vigilant about the fees on your rental bill. This is not to say that every car rental company is guilty of making a quick buck via additional costs but it pays to be aware.
Add on Fuel Charges
Look at the terms and conditions of the rental contract regarding the fuel policy. If it says “get it full and return it full”, you have to ask detailed questions about the policy since you may end up paying more than necessary. You should always keep the receipt for refuelling and be sure to refuel at a nearby gas station since the car rental company will require proof of returning the car with a full tank.
Charge Something for Nothing
You may be charged for an additional driver, a charge that costs absolutely nothing for the car rental company but can cost you up to $13 a day. You can avoid the charge by:
- Asking about the exclusion of domestic partners, spouses, and business associates in case of corporate rentals
- Becoming a member of the company’s loyalty program
- Renting cars via an association, such as AARP and AAA, which has a waiver
You can also avoid these additional charges by patronizing reliable and reputable car rental companies, such as Home Depot, with agents able and willing to discuss the items on your bill.