Rental Car frustrations

Renting a car wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to talk to anyone at the rental company. But there’s no way around this unless I have a Hertz Gold Card or the like. Or so I thought!

Now reserving a car was a piece of cake from the Hertz website. I liked that they didn’t require I give them my credit card number in order to make a reservation, and they even gave me the Hastings Direct contact number, their insurance provider – something they’d deal with but gave me the courtesy of being informed about.

So I reserved a car last week and then arrived in Salt Lake assuming I’d quickly be on my way to Ogden. No such luck. I waited about 30 minutes at the Hertz counter before making my way to the front of the line. Just as I was about to be helped a string of Gold Club members approached the desk and just waltz up ahead of me. One guy approached the counter and then proceeded to argue with the Hertz employee over whether or not his wife should be added to the rental agreement. I figured Gold Card members could head right out to a waiting car.

Once the rush of Gold Card members subsided, the counter person had nobody else to help but us low lifers in the loser line. I approached the counter, gave the lady my name and American Express Card. And then you know the drill from here. She tried to sell me:

  1. Three different types of insurance
  2. A larger car upgrade
  3. GPS upgrade
  4. Two tank filling options

When I told her “No to all” she said, “Well, I have to go through them all. It’s my job“. I guess her “job” is to ignore me or act like she didn’t hear what I said. This is the part I hate about renting a car.

Tip to Car Rental Companies: Stop gouging for filling the tank full of gas. Hertz charged an absurd $7.40/gallon  last week. Is it too much to ask to figure out the average amount of gas you need to fill each car and then BUILD THAT INTO THE RENTAL COST? I shouldn’t have to worry about finding a gas station close to the Salt Lake airport and you shouldn’t use this opportunity pad pad your pockets.

One other thing: Is it possible to actually drive away in the car you confirmed I reserved? It seems like every time I rent a “compact” model of car (a Toyota Corolla this time around) you never have that model or class in stock. You then try to rent me a larger car because of YOUR mistake. Last week I drove away in a Ford Mustang which was sort of cool except the seats are about 2 inches off the ground. But the teen working the Hogi Yogi drive-thru thought it was “rad”.

I’ve got good and bad news for my friend who loves Mustangs. This 2008 model was fast off the line and had a cool retro interior. But it’s not in the same league as my BMW when it comes to how it handles corners and overall balance. The Mustang was a fun weekend fling. But the BMW is the one you want in your garage.

3 thoughts on “Rental Car frustrations

  1. I am sorry to hear of your rental troubles. One question, how does that lead you to Mustang bashing? You haven’t driven my Mustang, that’s what you want in your garage! A Beamer….please?

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  2. Eric, I wasn’t trying to bash the Mustang at all. It’s not a bad car and was quite fun to drive. I especially liked its retro gauges and pep around town. It was the car Hertz gave me to drive for the weekend and I was comparing it to my 325i. If you want 0-60 speed, go with the Mustang. But if you want a sophisticated, German built machine that runs circles around the Mustang when the road turns twisty, the BMW is in a different league.

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  3. I’ve rented from Enterprise on Westlake here in downtown Seattle twice and had a very positive experience. Immediate availability, no upselling, and a very friendly staff who showed me the various buttons and gizmos. The guy who helped me the first time actually saved me money by (a) pointing out that since I had my own auto insurance policy, I really only needed the $10 extra policy, if I wanted it at all and (b) if you rent after 5pm, as long as it’s back before the start of business two days later, it only counts as one day, even though it’s more than 24 hours. That was very convenient 🙂

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