There are six secrets that car rental companies don’t want you to know and these secrets can save you a lot of money.
Number one: always inspect the car you’re renting with an employee before you sign anything. Car rental offices should have a vehicle inspection list that is signed before you leave the premises, otherwise you could be billed for the damage.
Number two: off airport locations are often cheaper than those at the airport. The vehicles at the airport locations often cost more due to airport fees.
Number three: fuel purchase options and insurance. You may purchase a tank of gas from the rental company at the time of rental, and return the vehicle with as little gas as you prefer. Be aware that they are unable to give you a refund for any unused fuel. However, this method eliminates the need for you to refuel the tank prior to returning. This can be very pricey if you’re not traveling far, but is a convenience.
The rental car agents enthusiastically encourage you to purchase car rental insurance or what is commonly referred to as collision damage waiver, the CDW. However, check with your insurance agent and find out if your credit card covers this. However, you will be responsible if the vehicle is damaged and the time that it is not being used, that’s a bill you will have to pay.
Number four: negotiate your upgrade. The upgrade rates don’t exist, they’re made up by sales people if you have a mid-sized reservation and you’re looking for something larger or something more fuel-efficient, you can ask for the upgrade. Don’t pay the extra fee. If not, take the reservation.
Number five: timing is everything. The largest expense incurred by a car rental company is depreciation. If the car is sitting on the lot, they want to rent it.
Number six: complain and you shall receive. Car rental companies often go to great lengths to make their customers happy. Like most companies, they want you to use them again. If there is a problem or complaint, complain to a manager and ask for a discount or a refund.
You can save even more money by using your AAA discount, AARP or even a buying club.
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