Car rentals, what is the catch?

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flyingaway
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Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by flyingaway » Fri May 04, 2018 2:10 am

I search for a rental car at the Miami International Airport with Expedia.com, here is what I got the prices for an Economy car for a day:

Priceless: $6
U-Save: $8
Budget: $23
Alamo: $37
Thrifty: 22

The pricess seem to differ by a lot. So do you alway rent a car with the cheapest price? What is the catch?

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ResearchMed
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by ResearchMed » Fri May 04, 2018 5:50 am

flyingaway wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 2:10 am
I search for a rental car at the Miami International Airport with Expedia.com, here is what I got the prices for an Economy car for a day:

Priceless: $6
U-Save: $8
Budget: $23
Alamo: $37
Thrifty: 22

The pricess seem to differ by a lot. So do you alway rent a car with the cheapest price? What is the catch?
There's not a chance in the world we'd select from this list by choosing "a car with the cheapest price"!

At worst, the cars would be total beaters. At "best" (maybe), there would be lots of surprise fees, and that's not a company we'd like to do business with.

RM
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student
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by student » Fri May 04, 2018 6:02 am

I only rent from big national chains. My friend once rented from a local no-name, the car was somewhat old and he needed to take the bus from the airport to the car rental building and then take another bus to the local no-name car rental place. On the other hand, another friend rented from another no-name place and was advised by the guy that he didn't need to buy their collision insurance as his credit card would cover it.

Minor edit.
Last edited by student on Fri May 04, 2018 6:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

Rupert
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by Rupert » Fri May 04, 2018 6:27 am

I cannot even imagine what a $6/day rental car in Miami would look and smell like. . . That's the catch. Stick with the national chains, where at least you know what you're getting into. Costco often has the best rates. Costco membership is often worth it just for the car rental prices.

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JoMoney
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by JoMoney » Fri May 04, 2018 6:37 am

I've never heard of "U-Save", or "Priceless"
But Budget, Alamo, and Thrifty are all major national chains.

I've had discount fares booked online at Dollar and SIXT for $10 a day, and I've heard of people getting better deals, so I'm not entirely surprised at the $6 and $8 quotes... but I would probably be suspicious if I had never rented from those companies before, and reluctant to try it if I wasn't comfortable with the location and being able to rent somewhere else if it didn't work out.

Typically, on top of the discount quote fare there are usually taxes and maybe airport specific charges so it's probably not "out the door" with those quotes. There may be other catches, like per-mile charges, if there is 'small print' with gotchas, you didn't include it in your post.
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri May 04, 2018 6:40 am

I rent the cheapest. On our last flying vacation to Florida, we rented from Firefly. The week cost us $39 with no additional fees. The desk person did offer to upgrade the Elantra to an Altima for "just" $15 more per day. Easy to say no to that. The company in some locations (Philly in particular) gets horrible reviews. Our rental was great with no issues. Firefly is a step down from one of the big rental companies, getting their cars when they his some mileage.....maybe 20k. Our car had 24k miles on it. The parent company is Hertz.

So for those saying they would only rent from the more expensive companies, would you rent from Firefly if they raised their daily price to $25 a day?
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munemaker
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by munemaker » Fri May 04, 2018 6:42 am

student wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 6:02 am
I only rent from big national chains.
Renting cars is a dirty business.

The big national chains are tough enough to deal with. I can't imagine one of these tiny firms.

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ResearchMed
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by ResearchMed » Fri May 04, 2018 6:45 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 6:40 am
I rent the cheapest. On our last flying vacation to Florida, we rented from Firefly. The week cost us $39 with no additional fees. The desk person did offer to upgrade the Elantra to an Altima for "just" $15 more per day. Easy to say no to that. The company in some locations (Philly in particular) gets horrible reviews. Our rental was great with no issues. Firefly is a step down from one of the big rental companies, getting their cars when they his some mileage.....maybe 20k. Our car had 24k miles on it. The parent company is Hertz.

So for those saying they would only rent from the more expensive companies, would you rent from Firefly if they raised their daily price to $25 a day?
Nope.
Wouldn't rent from an unfamiliar vendor, period.

It's just not worth it, in terms of safety especially, to wonder "what we'd get".
Peace of mind is worth a LOT to us. So is actual safety.

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mmmodem
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by mmmodem » Fri May 04, 2018 6:46 am

I noticed that too when I searched Miami. Here is my speculation: They are new rental brands trying to earn customer reputation so they have to attract you with low prices. They may be located far from the airport.

I almost exclusively choose the lowest rental prices. I don't care for the branding. A Toyota Corolla is just as safe from Budget as it is from Noname Bob. I've never been given old beater cars. They are up to one year old cars like any other agency. Some airports like San Diego have far off rental locations. Enterprise is a couple of miles away from the terminal. So having a far off rental location isn't a deal breaker for me as long as they have frequent shuttles to the terminals.

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snackdog
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by snackdog » Fri May 04, 2018 7:13 am

Just read the reviews for U-save and Priceless on Yelp. They are hilarious. And terrible!

https://www.yelp.com/biz/u-save-car-and ... ave+rental

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munemaker
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by munemaker » Fri May 04, 2018 8:10 am

snackdog wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 7:13 am
Just read the reviews for U-save and Priceless on Yelp. They are hilarious. And terrible!

https://www.yelp.com/biz/u-save-car-and ... ave+rental
Well, Hertz Tampa and Hertz Orlando are pretty bad too. I have rented cars at both locations:

https://www.yelp.com/biz/hertz-rent-a-car-tampa

https://www.yelp.com/biz/hertz-rent-a-car-orlando-24

adamthesmythe
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri May 04, 2018 10:53 am

flyingaway wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 2:10 am
I search for a rental car at the Miami International Airport with Expedia.com, here is what I got the prices for an Economy car for a day:

Priceless: $6
U-Save: $8
Budget: $23
Alamo: $37
Thrifty: 22

The prices seem to differ by a lot. So do you alway rent a car with the cheapest price? What is the catch?
I've heard of Thrifty (but avoid them) and I would rent from Alamo or Budget. I try to use Enterprise when practical however.

The others- there's no guarantee you'll get a lousy car but it's possible. Maybe likely. Also at that price they really have to make money somewhere so expect a hard upsell on size, insurance, and the gas lottery. That is an unseen cost (time) even if you end up declining everything.

Now for a beater rental...I once rented from Jucy Down Under- and it really WAS a beater, had been in an accident and mostly repaired, odd feeling in the steering, and with get up and go that had got up and went.

No, I don't go for the cheapest rental car.

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Pajamas
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by Pajamas » Fri May 04, 2018 11:02 am

Sometimes it is less expensive to rent a car off the airport because of surcharges added to car rentals on airport property. They usually run $3-$10 a day so it makes sense to take a shuttle van or bus to an off-site location for longer rentals.

You should check online reviews to be aware of what to watch out for even for national brands because shady practices can vary by location.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/priceless-car-rental-miami

Rupert
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by Rupert » Fri May 04, 2018 11:05 am

Pajamas wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 11:02 am
Sometimes it is less expensive to rent a car off the airport because of surcharges added to car rentals on airport property. They usually run $3-$10 a day so it makes sense to take a shuttle van or bus to an off-site location for longer rentals.

You should check online reviews to be aware of what to watch out for even for national brands because shady practices can vary by location.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/priceless-car-rental-miami
If you do this, be sure not to tell the rental car place you're coming straight from the airport. Sometimes you get charged the airport taxes even if you rent at a location not at the airport. In other words, local governments have figured out that people do this and have found ways to recapture those taxes. Then you end up paying the airport taxes plus whatever it cost you to get from the airport to the off-site rental place.

Murgatroyd
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by Murgatroyd » Fri May 04, 2018 11:40 am

If you have a Sams Club or Costco membership rent through them. You’ll save about 20% at one of the national rental companies.

RudyS
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by RudyS » Fri May 04, 2018 12:41 pm

There was just recently a thread about car rentals. I use autoslash.com to find prices. You fill out a form with details, including all discounts you might bge eligible for. Soon you get an email with prices for most all chains. Pick what you want, click, and make a reservation via priceline. Autoslash lets you sign up for updates on costs. I have used them several times. Always much better than I could get direct.

dubsem
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by dubsem » Fri May 04, 2018 1:02 pm

RudyS wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 12:41 pm
There was just recently a thread about car rentals. I use autoslash.com to find prices. You fill out a form with details, including all discounts you might bge eligible for. Soon you get an email with prices for most all chains. Pick what you want, click, and make a reservation via priceline. Autoslash lets you sign up for updates on costs. I have used them several times. Always much better than I could get direct.
For Autoslash, I read the 'how it works,' and clicked through autoslash to get to priceline. I have one question on the priceline part: have you had a bad experience with any of your reservations? It seems like you get a car from one of the well-known companies except you don't know which one at the priceline reservation.

The autoslash/priceline prices are really good compared to what I recently booked on Avis corporate.
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white_water
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by white_water » Fri May 04, 2018 1:12 pm

Rented the cheapest one time. Off airport a mile or two. Asked for a small sedan, was given a tired beater van, on the road had a hunch and just checked found rental had no spare, no jack, no lug wrench. Turned around and went back, asked for something else, got a 20 yr old Ford Ranger P.U.

Second vote for Costco and / or Budget.

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goingup
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by goingup » Fri May 04, 2018 1:17 pm

Murgatroyd wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 11:40 am
If you have a Sams Club or Costco membership rent through them. You’ll save about 20% at one of the national rental companies.
Yes. I think Costco rates are the best I've found. They also permit a second driver free. Also, there is no pre-pay, which HotWire requires. Cancellations with Costco are easy too.

jlawrence01
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by jlawrence01 » Fri May 04, 2018 1:26 pm

I rent from one of the majors - usually Hertz or Budget - OFF-AIRPORT to get the best prices.

Everytime that I have tries the "dirt cheap options", I have regretted it. I would get poorly maintained vehicles, 30 minutes of upsells, bogus claims of damages, and the like.

The few times I rent with Hertz, Avis or Alamo at the airport, I never need to talk to a human as my ar is waiting and ready.

iamlucky13
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by iamlucky13 » Fri May 04, 2018 1:40 pm

I haven't heard of the lowest two.

I have used Thrifty, which is a budget brand of Hertz. If I remember right, I had one decent experience - I think that was in Boston - and one bad experience. At the LAX Thrifty, the car was ok, but the location was badly understaffed (long waits), and they simply didn't bother to tell me I needed to call for the shuttle to the lot - and I had plenty of time to re-read my itinerary to see if I'd simply missed that, because after I did call them, it was another probably 30 minutes while they waited until they had a nearly full bus worth of customers.

Drop-off went similar. I think that was a 45 minute wait for the shuttle, and they had more than a full bus load so some customers were stuck waiting for the next shuttle. I had to hurry to make my flight.

I won't exclude Thifty automatically in the future, but if my schedule is critical, they won't be under consideration.

I wish I remembered what rental chain my parents used on a trip where I rode with them. Their rental had the rear shocks completely worn out, so that any bump that didn't affect both sides of car equally caused the car to lurch alarmingly. That's sketchy enough in good conditions, but it was snowing, and even as somebody with a fair amount of snow driving experience in a hilly area, I was on edge the entire trip in flat area. In retrospect, we should have returned the car and filed a safety complaint with the state patrol.

I suppose a combination of both experiences is the sort of thing I'd worry about with an ultra-low cost rental.

criticalmass
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by criticalmass » Fri May 04, 2018 2:01 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 10:53 am
flyingaway wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 2:10 am
I search for a rental car at the Miami International Airport with Expedia.com, here is what I got the prices for an Economy car for a day:

Priceless: $6
U-Save: $8
Budget: $23
Alamo: $37
Thrifty: 22

The prices seem to differ by a lot. So do you alway rent a car with the cheapest price? What is the catch?
I've heard of Thrifty (but avoid them) and I would rent from Alamo or Budget. I try to use Enterprise when practical however.

The others- there's no guarantee you'll get a lousy car but it's possible. Maybe likely. Also at that price they really have to make money somewhere so expect a hard upsell on size, insurance, and the gas lottery. That is an unseen cost (time) even if you end up declining everything.

Now for a beater rental...I once rented from Jucy Down Under- and it really WAS a beater, had been in an accident and mostly repaired, odd feeling in the steering, and with get up and go that had got up and went.

No, I don't go for the cheapest rental car.
Lots of interesting....information on this thread. Thrifty is a brand name of Hertz. Often times the same cars (in the same class) at the same location are shared between the two brand names.

Avis and Budget often share the same cars too. So you might obtain the same car regardless if you made your intermediate car reservation on the Avis website or the Budget website for the same location.

Also be sure you are comparing apples and oranges. Sometimes the price has all fees included, sometimes some fees included, sometimes No fees included.

criticalmass
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by criticalmass » Fri May 04, 2018 2:05 pm

Rupert wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 11:05 am
Pajamas wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 11:02 am
Sometimes it is less expensive to rent a car off the airport because of surcharges added to car rentals on airport property. They usually run $3-$10 a day so it makes sense to take a shuttle van or bus to an off-site location for longer rentals.

You should check online reviews to be aware of what to watch out for even for national brands because shady practices can vary by location.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/priceless-car-rental-miami
If you do this, be sure not to tell the rental car place you're coming straight from the airport. Sometimes you get charged the airport taxes even if you rent at a location not at the airport. In other words, local governments have figured out that people do this and have found ways to recapture those taxes. Then you end up paying the airport taxes plus whatever it cost you to get from the airport to the off-site rental place.
Generally the taxes are based on the rental location, not what you do or don't say to the person behind the counter. In some locales, they are responsible for charging airport or convention center or some other improvement tax quite a distance away from the airport etc. I rent from Avis/Budget a lot and I avoid those charges by renting at a hotel location or somewhere far away from the airport.

jlawrence01
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by jlawrence01 » Fri May 04, 2018 3:36 pm

criticalmass wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 2:05 pm
Rupert wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 11:05 am
Pajamas wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 11:02 am
Sometimes it is less expensive to rent a car off the airport because of surcharges added to car rentals on airport property. They usually run $3-$10 a day so it makes sense to take a shuttle van or bus to an off-site location for longer rentals.

You should check online reviews to be aware of what to watch out for even for national brands because shady practices can vary by location.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/priceless-car-rental-miami
If you do this, be sure not to tell the rental car place you're coming straight from the airport. Sometimes you get charged the airport taxes even if you rent at a location not at the airport. In other words, local governments have figured out that people do this and have found ways to recapture those taxes. Then you end up paying the airport taxes plus whatever it cost you to get from the airport to the off-site rental place.
Generally the taxes are based on the rental location, not what you do or don't say to the person behind the counter. In some locales, they are responsible for charging airport or convention center or some other improvement tax quite a distance away from the airport etc. I rent from Avis/Budget a lot and I avoid those charges by renting at a hotel location or somewhere far away from the airport.



Often, you don't have to go very far from the airport.

Enterprise in Cleveland is one train stop away from Hopkins.
Hertz is about 2 miles from Chicago-Midway.
Avis/Budget is about a mile from Tucson International.
Ditto in San Diego.

If you are willing to take light rail from the airport, many rental locations are adjacent to rail terminals

TravelGeek
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by TravelGeek » Fri May 04, 2018 3:44 pm

dubsem wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 1:02 pm
For Autoslash, I read the 'how it works,' and clicked through autoslash to get to priceline. I have one question on the priceline part: have you had a bad experience with any of your reservations? It seems like you get a car from one of the well-known companies except you don't know which one at the priceline reservation.

The autoslash/priceline prices are really good compared to what I recently booked on Avis corporate.
When you book through Autoslash on Priceline, you are not making an opaque booking. You are choosing the car rental agency and the reservation is essentially the same as making it on the Hertz/Avis/Alamo/... website, just hopefully cheaper due to some discount code attached to the reservation that you wouldn’t have known about.

From the OP’s list

Priceless: $6
U-Save: $8
Budget: $23
Alamo: $37
Thrifty: 22

I would only consider Budget and Alamo. Given the prices, my booking would go to Budget. Why? Because of good experiences with Alamo and Budget, because they have my data on file and I don’t have to argue with an agent after standing in line for 30 minutes, and because I cannot imagine that Priceless can afford to give me a drivable car for six bucks.

lightheir
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by lightheir » Fri May 04, 2018 3:58 pm

All these replies and virtually no real comment on what the actual "CATCH" is of these super-lost cost places by anyone.

Having used a few, there definitely are real catches that you have to be aware of, and which in my opinon, make it well worth it to spend the 'normal' amount and go Hertz or other reputable dealer that has seemingly higher per day price (but will often work out to less.)

Catches:

- Many if not most of these places are hyperaggressive about pushing unnecessary insurance on you. To the point that some of the will not even rent you the car if you can't prove in-hand that you have the coverage they insist is required to rent their cars. Of course, they won't tell you this until you are AT the counter. I've seen this happen to be at least 5 times, with families and small kids in tow, with the dad furious that the $6/day rate turns into a $80/day rate after insurance. Many of these ploys are likely illegal per many state rules, but make no mistake - the smaller the outfit, the harder they'll press you for the extra insurance. I was told point-blank three separate times with there separate dealers that they legally couldn't rent me such a car without me buying this expensive insurance, and when I pointed out this was not true with a google search in their state, they refused to budge.

- Your car will almost certainly arrive with small (and not-so-small) problems, both interior and exterior. It's not the impact on YOUR driving that will be the problem - it will be that they will suddenly call you about "X" damage that YOU caused, when in fact, it was there all along and you may have not even been aware of it. It's NOT a pleasant experience to be 3 days into your trip, have done nothing wrong, and then the engine light goes on, and then a weird knocking sound shows up. And then you notice that there are a bunch of scrapes on the rear bumper that you hope were there but aren't sure.

- Be FULLY prepared to expect a "we suddenly sold out of your chosen car despite your reservation", and now you have to rent our giant van or expensive sports car - "and we'll give you a discounted rate of only $60/day!" Yep, has happened to me as well.

- Also expect some weird fees that come out of nowhere and are not standard for car rental services. Often times these are for weird 'insurances' that you don't need, but are automatically tacked on.

- Prepare for some headache at the counter when you pick up your car. Even if you get of scot-free because you're prepared, odds are high that some other inexperienced renter who expected that $6/day rate, is freaking out at the counter before you because their final rate is now $80/day, and they'll spend lots of time ranting to the desk staff before your turn.

In summary, I've learned (the hard way, unfortunately, but suffering all of the above) that it's far more reliable and less worrisome to go with Hertz or other big-name reliable car rental service. In literally every situation I've done so, the overall rate at Hertz has been less because I've avoided these extra tacked on insurances and fees, and it was a MUCH smoother process no less.

Run like the wind from those $6/day no-name car rentals! I also feel that this sort of hard reality scenario check is much more valuable than the subjective "it's worse' commentary that most people give.

random_walker
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by random_walker » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:32 pm

Can someone with experience please comment on the "pay now and cancel before 48 hours" feature on autoslash.com ?

Here's my situation:
I have a rental car reservation through Costco.com for $700.
With Costco, you can cancel anytime. You can even just not show up and not be charged anything.

Autoslash.com is offering the same thing for $300.
Same car, same rental company (Alamo).
Autoslash wants me to pay now but I can cancel any time up to 48 hours before pick-up time.

Is the Autoslash deal too good to be true?
Is this a bait and switch?
Is this a scam?

TravelGeek
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:12 pm

random_walker wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:32 pm
Can someone with experience please comment on the "pay now and cancel before 48 hours" feature on autoslash.com ?

Here's my situation:
I have a rental car reservation through Costco.com for $700.
With Costco, you can cancel anytime. You can even just not show up and not be charged anything.

Autoslash.com is offering the same thing for $300.
Same car, same rental company (Alamo).
Autoslash wants me to pay now but I can cancel any time up to 48 hours before pick-up time.

Is the Autoslash deal too good to be true?
Is this a bait and switch?
Is this a scam?
I have never used it because the price differential between pay now (with 2 day cancel window) and pay-at-pickup time hasn't been sufficiently large that I was willing to forgo the ability to provide my loyalty membership number and skip the car rental counter. For $400 I would most definitely do that, though. (last time I looked into it, they said that National allowed you to still use the pick-your-own-car feature and provide your account number at the garage exit gate, but I haven't tried that yet; most of my rentals are with Hertz. See https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/30370109-post691.html for details).

Autoslash is in my experience a reputable company with good customer service (try asking them a question - my replies have always arrived within minutes). I would not be concerned. I book and track all my rentals through them and save lots of money (and time).

jmorgans
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by jmorgans » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:03 pm

I did a prepaid rental with National through Autoslash recently and was happy to save $50. Definitely do it!

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snackdog
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by snackdog » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:11 pm

These days it is more cost effective to use Uber or Lyft in most cities, unless you are renting the car specifically for a driving trip.

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Nestegg_User
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by Nestegg_User » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:09 pm

...don’t know about the cheap ones that the OP mentioned, but there used to be “Rent-a-Wreck”, these were always off-airport sites (some in industrial areas)

I remember a prof that would use them rather than the big boys as it was much cheaper, usually had quite a bit older cars (6-8 yr old) but also didn’t try to nickel and dime renters on minor things or upsell on insurance


....after looking at comments on the miami vendor (yep, it still exists) I found too many complaints to warrant that approach

better to stay with the “known” companies...in this case Budget, as it seems to have the best rates

prairieman
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by prairieman » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:30 pm

Just going to put a plug in for Priceline. We arrived at the counter with a Priceline reservation for a minivan for 6 passengers with luggage. The company didn’t have it. I called Priceline and was able to get the same minivan elsewhere for a higher price, and Priceline refunded us the difference.

DarkHelmetII
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by DarkHelmetII » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:38 am

1) Further distance from airport terminal
2) Rental car bus comes less frequently (if at airport)
3) Up-sell / cross-sell on things like insurance and navigation
4) Fewer people at check-in counter
5) Trying to scam you with fake / embellished damage charges


I'd say #1 is really the only dependable factor. Other factors could impact pretty much any chain. My two cents is understand the distance from airport (assuming airport pick-up) and as long as you are prepared for the other factors, no particular reason to not choose another option.

criticalmass
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by criticalmass » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:00 am

prairieman wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:30 pm
Just going to put a plug in for Priceline. We arrived at the counter with a Priceline reservation for a minivan for 6 passengers with luggage. The company didn’t have it. I called Priceline and was able to get the same minivan elsewhere for a higher price, and Priceline refunded us the difference.
Was this a traditional reservation made with Priceline as travel agent or a Name Your Own Price / Express opaque reservation?

badger42
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by badger42 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:06 am

The catch with the no-names is that you run the risk of geting beater cars and/or they'll try to scam you over nonexistant or pre-existing damages.

Renting with anybody other than the big national chains (which are bad enough) is truly not worth the hassle.

I would suggest plugging all of your memberships (Costco, Amex cards, etc etc) into autoslash.com and seeing what kind of rates you can find on something reputable.

Some of the cheaper ones are fine, just expect longer / slower lines and older cars (but still new enough!)
Budget -> owned by Avis, mostly Avis's older fleet
Alamo -> owned by National/Enterprise, mostly their older fleet
Dollar / Thrifty -> owned by Hertz, again I would expect older fleet

For $6 I'd much rather trust a bus ticket than a no-name rental.

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hand
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by hand » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:38 am

Note that there are structural reasons for car rental prices in vacation destinations such as Florida to be absurdly low in the off season.

In simple terms, rental car places load up on inventory to supply the peak, and have lots and lots (pun intended) of cars sitting idle off season.
$6/ day (plus fees, plus opportunity to upsell, plus possibility of an insurance loss covering "missed rental income") is much better than a car simply sitting idle. (Car companies do manage / suffle inventory to some degree, but Florida and other vacation destinations still end up with significant excess inventory.)

renue74
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by renue74 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:42 am

I've paid $10/day for a car from a national chain. I think I had business in Detroit one time and that was the deal.

Like others said, I would stick with a national chain. The "experience" of dealing with them is about 10 minutes in a crumby waiting area.

I have used the no-name places before...if I'm on business and driving by myself. But, if I'm on vacation with the family, I will use Alamo, Thrifty, or Enterprise. It's all still a gamble as far as the level of service you'll get. I expect none and am pleasantly surprised if I get good service.

prairieman
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by prairieman » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:04 pm

criticalmass wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:00 am
prairieman wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:30 pm
Just going to put a plug in for Priceline. We arrived at the counter with a Priceline reservation for a minivan for 6 passengers with luggage. The company didn’t have it. I called Priceline and was able to get the same minivan elsewhere for a higher price, and Priceline refunded us the difference.
Was this a traditional reservation made with Priceline as travel agent or a Name Your Own Price / Express opaque reservation?
Traditional. But the price we accepted was well below the others. The rental was for two weeks beginning on a holiday weekend in Las Vegas. Nightmare time to rent a car in Las Vegas! We reserved the van for two weeks for $400, all fees and taxes included. The next cheapest when at the counter was $720 so we paid it and later received a $320 refund from Priceline.

lazydavid
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by lazydavid » Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:28 pm

munemaker wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 8:10 am
snackdog wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 7:13 am
Just read the reviews for U-save and Priceless on Yelp. They are hilarious. And terrible!

https://www.yelp.com/biz/u-save-car-and ... ave+rental
Well, Hertz Tampa and Hertz Orlando are pretty bad too. I have rented cars at both locations:

https://www.yelp.com/biz/hertz-rent-a-car-tampa

https://www.yelp.com/biz/hertz-rent-a-car-orlando-24
Read the specific complaints though. Most of the Hertz ones are something like "I didn't get the car I reserved". Most of the U-save ones are "They charged a $250 deposit to my credit card after I had returned the car and refused to refund it. I had to file it as fraud with my CC company".

That's a BIG difference.

ponyboy
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by ponyboy » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:29 pm

We once rented an SUV in Kona. The center console had a couple cockroaches in it so we returned it and got another SUV. Nice thing was they said I could bring it back empty. Saved me around $60. Apparently cockroaches in hawaii are a thing since its hot/humid. Both SUV's were in awesome shape.

random_walker
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by random_walker » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:47 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:12 pm
random_walker wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:32 pm
Can someone with experience please comment on the "pay now and cancel before 48 hours" feature on autoslash.com ?

Here's my situation:
I have a rental car reservation through Costco.com for $700.
With Costco, you can cancel anytime. You can even just not show up and not be charged anything.

Autoslash.com is offering the same thing for $300.
Same car, same rental company (Alamo).
Autoslash wants me to pay now but I can cancel any time up to 48 hours before pick-up time.

Is the Autoslash deal too good to be true?
Is this a bait and switch?
Is this a scam?
I have never used it because the price differential between pay now (with 2 day cancel window) and pay-at-pickup time hasn't been sufficiently large that I was willing to forgo the ability to provide my loyalty membership number and skip the car rental counter. For $400 I would most definitely do that, though. (last time I looked into it, they said that National allowed you to still use the pick-your-own-car feature and provide your account number at the garage exit gate, but I haven't tried that yet; most of my rentals are with Hertz. See https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/30370109-post691.html for details).

Autoslash is in my experience a reputable company with good customer service (try asking them a question - my replies have always arrived within minutes). I would not be concerned. I book and track all my rentals through them and save lots of money (and time).
Thanks for the pointer to the flyertalk.com forums.
They have a forum dedicated to Autoslash where company reps are active.
There's a lot of up-to-date info there and they do seem legit.
Based on that, I made a reservation for $300 with the "pay now and cancel up to 48 hours before check-in" rate.
See https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/rental- ... on-47.html

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jeffyscott
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by jeffyscott » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:48 am

lightheir wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 3:58 pm
All these replies and virtually no real comment on what the actual "CATCH" is of these super-lost cost places by anyone.

Having used a few, there definitely are real catches that you have to be aware of, and which in my opinon, make it well worth it to spend the 'normal' amount and go Hertz or other reputable dealer that has seemingly higher per day price (but will often work out to less.)

Catches:

- Many if not most of these places are hyperaggressive about pushing unnecessary insurance on you. To the point that some of the will not even rent you the car if you can't prove in-hand that you have the coverage they insist is required to rent their cars. Of course, they won't tell you this until you are AT the counter. I've seen this happen to be at least 5 times, with families and small kids in tow, with the dad furious that the $6/day rate turns into a $80/day rate after insurance. Many of these ploys are likely illegal per many state rules, but make no mistake - the smaller the outfit, the harder they'll press you for the extra insurance. I was told point-blank three separate times with there separate dealers that they legally couldn't rent me such a car without me buying this expensive insurance, and when I pointed out this was not true with a google search in their state, they refused to budge.

- Your car will almost certainly arrive with small (and not-so-small) problems, both interior and exterior. It's not the impact on YOUR driving that will be the problem - it will be that they will suddenly call you about "X" damage that YOU caused, when in fact, it was there all along and you may have not even been aware of it. It's NOT a pleasant experience to be 3 days into your trip, have done nothing wrong, and then the engine light goes on, and then a weird knocking sound shows up. And then you notice that there are a bunch of scrapes on the rear bumper that you hope were there but aren't sure.

- Be FULLY prepared to expect a "we suddenly sold out of your chosen car despite your reservation", and now you have to rent our giant van or expensive sports car - "and we'll give you a discounted rate of only $60/day!" Yep, has happened to me as well.

- Also expect some weird fees that come out of nowhere and are not standard for car rental services. Often times these are for weird 'insurances' that you don't need, but are automatically tacked on.

- Prepare for some headache at the counter when you pick up your car. Even if you get of scot-free because you're prepared, odds are high that some other inexperienced renter who expected that $6/day rate, is freaking out at the counter before you because their final rate is now $80/day, and they'll spend lots of time ranting to the desk staff before your turn.

In summary, I've learned (the hard way, unfortunately, but suffering all of the above) that it's far more reliable and less worrisome to go with Hertz or other big-name reliable car rental service. In literally every situation I've done so, the overall rate at Hertz has been less because I've avoided these extra tacked on insurances and fees, and it was a MUCH smoother process no less.

Run like the wind from those $6/day no-name car rentals! I also feel that this sort of hard reality scenario check is much more valuable than the subjective "it's worse' commentary that most people give.
I use Costco, but after reading another discussion here, decided to compare Autoslash. I found the major companies were about the same as Costco, but there were several of these alternate brands that were much cheaper. Further investigation found issues like, $10 per day for second driver (including your spouse), large fees for tolls (worse than the already inflated cost from the national companies). Your post confirms my decision to stick with going through Costco.

Rebooking at Costco is easy and usually rate goes down. For our next trip, started at $308 for 9 days booked about 6 months ago, just re-booked for, I think 3rd time, and now at $220. Autoslash is showing as low as $183 (Fox) but lowest from a national company that I have heard of before is $221 (Thrifty).

Autoslash's own ratings of these cheap companies is awful, they give them 2-3 stars:
Two to three stars means "Use Caution". Book these if you are an extreme discount seeker and willing to potentially accept long lines, older vehicles in mediocre condition, hard selling for extra options, and other inconveniences.
Time is your friend; impulse is your enemy. - John C. Bogle

Starfish
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by Starfish » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:22 pm

Maybe the worst experience with a rental companies was with Hertz (very long lines, aggressive sales). And I did use among others Fox, Thrifty, some local company in costa rica etc.
So I wouldn't be so sure about a clear cutoff between "national" companies and the smaller ones.

an_asker
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by an_asker » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:32 pm

I really need to share what happened the one time I reserved a car through the local Payless (or some such). I landed at the airport after a trip abroad, and got on the shuttle. No big deal for me, as it meant a delay of 30 minutes. Go there, stood in line and when I got to the agent - whamm, I got slammed by a requirement I wouldn't even think of when renting a car.

She wanted me to furnish two recent utility bills (different ones) that proved that I resided at my address! There is no way I would have that on me. I asked, well how about if I could show you electronically (as the utilities are active online)? No dice. She wanted a hard copy of the bills. :oops:

Well, I went right out the door, caught the next shuttle back to the airport and reserved - for a higher price of course - a car through Firefly which is similar to an MVNO equivalent of Hertz! That was in the terminal and I got the car without any drama.

michaeljc70
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:39 pm

munemaker wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 6:42 am
student wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 6:02 am
I only rent from big national chains.
Renting cars is a dirty business.

The big national chains are tough enough to deal with. I can't imagine one of these tiny firms.
I agree. I'd be more worried about them trying to claim you made dents or scratches than the big chains. I'd be worried about the condition of the car too. I once rented from Ace or something like that in CA and the car was several years older than you'd get at one of the big rental companies. Though as others said, nowadays you really have to be careful even with the big rental companies. In Hawaii they tried to claim I scraped the car even though it was there and on the form. I had a fight with the manager and then just said this is over- I have a flight to catch. I threatened to dispute any additional charges. I take pictures now if there is any damage before leaving the lot.

bnes
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by bnes » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:07 pm

Call in advance, and get it in writing including all fees.
Take photos all around the vehicle.
Expect a crappy car, but be happy if it's all OK.
Chose between money and hassle/time.

batpot
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Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Post by batpot » Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:23 pm

I get a good discount through my job.
It's rare my corporate discount is ever beaten, even by the "small" companies.

That being said, booking through Chase Sapphire portal has proved to be a huge savings, as taxes tend to not be included. I recall one trip we used $70 worth of points instead of a $200+ rental after taxes and fees.
But we cancelled that card after milking it for a year.

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