Going on a trip and planning to rent a car? Or are you just in need of a vehicle for a short period of time? Renting a car is a fairly quick thing to do, but you should be aware of these common types of scams you might encounter!
Car rental companies can sometimes be very shady in the way they do business. They often lure customers to get all sorts of extra things while renting a car, and make them pay more money that they might have expected. A little known fact is that these companies make 10 percent of their revenue from all the extras they sell to you.
Educate yourself on any possible rental car fraud – get well informed to not allow these companies to push you into paying for something you will not need! Choose smartly to find the best car rental company for you and check out all their offers in detail! Also, inform yourself about the vehicles the company gives to its customers and compare reviews about cars.
Here are the most common car rental scams you may encounter:
- Gas tank scam – most insurance companies will try to make you pay for a full gas tank before you even get a chance to get into the driver’s seat of your rental vehicle. They may offer it to you as a “reduced” price gas, but what really happens is the following: you get an offer to fill up the tank before you return the rental back to the company; so what happens next? You guessed it – the company resells the gas to the next customer as “reduced” price. The difference in price is so small, you won’t even feel it. Or, some companies may tell you it’s more convenient that they fill up the tank for you before you rent the car, resulting in you paying for higher gas prices.
- Tax and fees scams – the fees for common rental cars are usually very affordable, but you must be aware of the taxes that the country imposes, because almost all rental car companies do not include the full price in their offers. Get familiar with the basic tax and licensing fees before you make your purchase of the rent deal, or you might be unpleasantly surprised.
- Say no to upgraded costs – many companies will try to persuade you to pay for extras you can easily bring along, such as a GPS navigation device, baby seats, etc. Organize your trip efficiently and you will not need to spend more cash than you planned.
- Late, unexpected charges – you might get a bill from your insurance company months after you’ve rented from them, claiming there was a damage to the vehicle, and you must pay for the repairs. You can easily avoid that charge by demanding the company to send you proof (photos of the damage with the exact time and date stamp) or you can also ensure yourself by taking pictures of the vehicle before you rent it. Report all anomalies you find to the company.
- Rental car overdue – another sneaky scam the insurance company might try to pull on you is that they can charge you extra if you don’t return the car by a certain time on the date that you have agreed upon. To prevent this from happening, simply ask them when exactly the car needs to be returned.
Read car rental reviews –search for car rental company reviews on the web to read about the experience of other people and how they handled the problems that happened to them. You might be surprised by the number of minor problems and issues people had to deal with just because the company was trying to scam them.
Reviews can really help a lot when trying to find the best car rental company and gather all the information you can. If the company engages in unethical business practices, you will easily find numerous car reviews/complaints online from some angry customers.
Better be safe than sorry!
Some rental car agents are absolute masters in manipulating customers to pay for all these car rental extras. So instead of paying an average price for your rental you can end up paying up to 50 extra dollars per day, just for insurance.
You can avoid all these things by carefully reading everything in the contract before signing it, as the company is obligated to put it in writing.
These are the things you should definitely avoid paying for when renting a car:
- Personal accident insurance – this car rental scam is one of the oldest ones in the book. The company will make you pay for this extra which covers your medical bills if you get in an accident, but you probably already have that covered by your own health insurance.
- Supplemental liability insurance – is basically a type of insurance where it would cover the costs of other’s people property that you are responsible for damaging if an accident occurs, even the costs of medical bills. However, a regular auto insurance policy already covers it.
- Personal effects coverage – will provide coverage if a theft happens to you and your personal belongings are gone. But if you have renter’s insurance policy you are already covered, so no need to waste any more money on this extra.
- Collision damage waiver – protects you financially if your rental gets stolen. Maybe you have not been aware of this, but your credit card may offer this coverage automatically, just inform yourself. If not, it is smarter to buy that waiver from a travel agency than paying almost double to a car rental company.
Bear in mind all these details and outcomes when renting a car and you will be safe from all the potential scammers. Dedicate some time to make necessary preparations and you’ll enjoy your trip.