Sunday, July 25, 2010

Do All Rental Car Companies Add 45% in Fees and Taxes?

Sunday, July 25, 2010
I don’t travel as much as I used to, and it’s been quite a while since I’ve had to rent a car. So, when my husband got home from a business trip and was complaining about his rental car bill, he got my attention. I was floored by all the fees, some of which are probably imposed by local governments. All I know is that it’s ridiculous.

He rented a mid-size Volkswagen for a week, quoted at $187.93. But then, he had to pay the following fees:

Transportation Facility Charge - $1.60/day $ 9.60
Customer Facility Charge - $3.75/day 22.50
Concession Recovery Fee – 11.11% 22.17
Vehicle License Fee - $.33/day 1.98
Sales Tax – 11.5% 28.08

Total (including $187.93) $272.69

What in hell is a “Concession Recovery Fee”? And they’re charging a daily fee for licensing? Hell, why not hit customers with a fee for the lavatories, and how about depreciation on the lobby furniture? Most of those crazy fees should be lumped into one category called “WTF?” or “Bend Over”.

The fees and taxes amount to 45% of the quoted rate! (Maybe some of them are because the car was rented at the airport. If that’s the case, it might be worth it to use a remote location, if it provides free shuttle service to the airport.) It’s insane to me! Why don’t they just restate the rates, instead of calling them “Fees” to make them sound legitimate? For an unsuspecting consumer, a 45% surprise in the bill is huge.

And insurance is another issue – with all rental companies. Make sure to buy the rental company’s insurance, which is a HUGE rip-off, if your auto insurance policy doesn’t cover rental vehicle usage. Or, if you have an American Express card, check their rental car insurance. I’m told it provides complete coverage for a fraction of the cost of insurance purchased at the rental car counter.

If you get into an accident and don’t have insurance for rentals, you’ll be on the hook for actual repair cost, loss of income while the vehicle’s out of service and reduced value as a result of the damage. And you know that everything will be marked up to the max.

In fact, I’ve seen segments on news and talk shows that advise taking detailed photos of your rental car before you drive it, to show any existing scratches, dents, etc. Otherwise, they might try to charge you for repairs of those scratches and dents, or even new ones that occur after you turn the vehicle in.

And all this time, I thought financial institutions were the biggest whores . . .


Mike said...

I had not used my car since 2002. I prefer travelling by subway and bus. It is much more comfortable and cheaper to use the public transport service

bmw car parts

Editing4U said...

I agree with you, Mike, but if you live in the Detroit area, there's a woeful lack of good public transportation. We have buses only, and they're often not great. Our downtown area has the People Mover, which is fine for that limited area. Thanks for your comment.

LisaLisa said...

It is so costly these days to rent a car. My hubby and I were thinking about renting a car for a little traveling but when we saw all the added charges we just decided to take our own vehicles. So sad Detroit don't have other good transit systems.

Hope and pray all is well!!

Editing4U said...

It is too bad! We don't even have decent train service. Maybe more people would go downtown if we had trains that came in from the suburbs. Thanks for your comment!

Admin_2 said...

Try the cesspool of New Jersey where you pay a $7.00 a day Homeland Security tax. I hate New Jersey and would much rather live in NYC. Even Staten Island's landfill - Fresh Kill - is better than NJ.

Editing4U said...

Homeland Security tax?! What are they doing with that money - it must be a huge amount by now? That's disgusting. It's kind of like living in the suburbs here and working in Detroit. You have to pay the city income tax for the privilege of working there. The only good thing for you is if you live there, you're probably not renting cars. (Joe, is this you?)

Post a Comment