Thursday, September 1, 2016

Rental Car Fear-Mongering

I just wanted to mention that sometimes renting a car is a really crappy experience, and I sort of resent what they put you through. I realize, like everything in life, it's all about fleecing the customer and making more money, but it really stinks when you're experiencing it firsthand. We recently rented a car from Enterprise in Spain, though they collaborate with Hertz so I guess we were dealing with Hertz, and they really pushed hard on us to get the full insurance coverage on the car. I've experienced this before, maybe it was Hertz, I can't recall, but when we were in Arizona they did the same thing to us and we bit hard. This time around we resisted but it still made it a crappy experience.

Our credit card has this policy of covering any rental car for damages up to a certain amount, which is pretty high. Way more than the car we rented was worth. Naturally the rental car companies don't seem too happy about this because you aren't paying them for the insurance. Thankfully we've never had to find out how the process works, but once you indicate that you don't want the insurance, the rental company, Hertz in this case, does everything it can to scare you into regretting your decision. It didn't help that we had a big language barrier, but they kept saying you'll be responsible for $15K for damages, but if you get full coverage, you pay nothing. The problem was, the full coverage tripled the cost of the rental. It went from about $180 for a week, which is a good deal, to over $600 for the same time period. Just ridiculous.

When we went to check out the car, we had to find any prior damage that we wouldn't be responsible for, and the things that they identified as damage were so minimal, some of the scratches I could barely even see. It was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever seen. We had to be equally hardball and point out every scratch and smudge, all the while thinking that it was totally lame. I was bummed and though I'm never renting from Hertz again.

During the week that we had the car I was so bummed and stressed about even driving the thing, I just wanted to park it somewhere safe and isolated. When we drove in the big cities, it was like driving through a war zone, the traffic was insane, and parking it was a logistical nightmare. In the end we ended up okay, and when we finally turned the car in and he gave us a clean assessment, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I was done with Hertz, that's for sure.

While you can view it as an "all's well that ends well" situation, I still think it's lame how they scare you into giving them more money. I realize that's what the world has come to, but I don't think it makes it right. Then again, who really cares what I think?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Tom Magliery for the pic.

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