How Car Rental Customers Can Tackle Unexpected Heavy Fees
Onus is on clients to be aware while companies need to be more transparent
A November survey revealed by a U.K. branch of the website StressFreeCarRental.com has revealed that more than 80 percent of respondents reported being on the receiving end of high fees that they never anticipated. Some of the fees most frequently tacked onto a bill include special cleaning charges, administrative costs, unwanted insurance coverage and refueling tallies, all of which when combined could make a booking more expensive by as much as $150 US a day.
A spokesperson for StressFreeCarRental.com said that while bargains exist for clients wanting to rent a car, additional costs are possible and they are painful to the pocketbook. But those consumers can take safeguard to ensure the rental remains affordable.
“We advise customers to spend some time doing research and looking at the track record and online reviews of the companies they are thinking about using before hiring a car,” said the representative.
“It’s also a good tip to document the state of the vehicle when it is rented through taking photos on your smartphone, and when returning the vehicle, ensuring that all paperwork is complete and signed off.”
Reviewing rental agreements
Even more basic than that, consumers might want to pay closer attention to the fine print of a rental agreement before it’s inked. Many companies stress such policies as cleanliness, smoking in the rental and ensuring the fuel tank is full before a car is dropped off at check-in.
But other costs aren’t so obvious, such as the lack of consumer protection offered by a debit card, as opposed to a credit card, which usually comes with a number of transaction safeguards. Demographics also are subject to different charges, especially younger drivers who might find themselves paying more for a vehicle than their older counterparts. Then there are costs that never seem to come up like electronic toll charges or very specific drop-off procedures that may be unknown to a consumer until they’re added to the bill at the end.
Insurance is tricky, given that car rental staff will usually push for additional coverage, especially for longer trips that will rack up considerably more miles. While liability insurance is compulsory, collision is a bit more ambiguous, leaving customers in a fog over what additional coverage is required. The best solution is to check out what is covered personally before deciding on whether additional coverage is needed.
Hands-on customer service
On the other side of the transactions, it’s been determined that improved customer service has been a key element in how car rental companies have been able to weather a tempestuous 2020, whether it be a shaky economy or the loss of business due to the pandemic. Inherent in excellent customer service practices is transparency and it’s incumbent on company staff to ensure consumers are fully informed on what they’re paying for.
Fortunately, apps and rental car software management software has taken a lot of the confusion surrounding hidden costs, including programs that break down all the costs. For car rental companies, a management system like Bluebird’s RentWorks enables users to examine their rental fees and check out basic and miscellaneous charges. It’s one way to eliminate the confusion of exactly what a client is paying for without falling prey to hidden charges.