Friday, 14 August 2009

Top 20 Secrets Of Car Rental - 20 Car Rental Tips!

Okay, so I've been working at this company for over 6 months now.
I feel like I can finally give you guys tips and secrets of car rental.
These tips will save you money and a lot of headache!
  1. Always make a reservation in advance! The desk price is ALWAYS higher, and by quite a bit. Shop around on travel websites and look for good deals.
  2. PRE-PAID VOUCHERS will be the cheapest option, and the rental company will "block" your card for less, because you've already paid for the entire rental! Also, Make sure you verify what extra charges you might incur on top of the pre-paid vouchers - airport fee, extra driver, baby seat, different location drop-off!
  3. Smaller car rental firms will offer better deals, but their locations will be less conveniently located and will most likely not be open 24 hours a day.
  4. Airports are expensive! Airport surcharges can reach $30!
  5. Bring your own baby seat / GPS - these will save you about $5-10 per day each.
  6. Prices vary from day rates / week rates / monthly rates. Consider taking the car for 7 days instead of 6, this may save you quite a bit. Some companies offer weekend deals, check!
  7. Bait & Switch! They'll lure you in with "$9 per day", but you'll be forced into spending an additional $20 on mandatory insurance.
  8. Insurance is expensive! In most European countries, insurance is not optional and you'll spend anywhere from 50% to 70% of the rental charge on insurance alone. CDW is the basic insurance.
  9. Rental employees will usually try and sell you supplementary insurance (NDI or LDW) This is usually not necessary. It's a sure-way of the company to get their money. IF YOU THINK that you may be involved in an accident, this will be worth your while, because you'll spare the "deductible" which is usually anywhere between $400 and $1500, depending on the car. No types of insurance EVER cover glass and tyre damage. ONLY PREPAID VOUCHERS DO ON SOME OCCASIONS!
  10. Always book the smallest car you think will fit you. Since the smallest and cheapest cars are the most commonly booked, they'll be the quickest to run out. We've often given out Intermediate sized cars even when the client booked the smallest car available. If you book at the airport or a large location, this will probably not be the case. This will more likely work in smaller locations
  11. Diversify your credit cards! A lot of times, various companies will offer better deals for different types of credit cards. American Express Centurion, Mastercard WORLD, Visa GOLD (Canada) all offer cheaper and more comprehensive insurances!
  12. Fill up right before you get to the car-return! Some companies charge 150% more for petrol! NEVER opt for the 'prepaid petrol'
  13. Additional drivers will cost you $3-10 per day. Consider whether this is really necessary. If it is, try and book this in advance, it may save you a few $$$. Some pre-paid vouchers will offer this free of charge! Try Holiday Autos or Dertour!
  14. You really don't need the International Driving License unless your license is in a non-roman alphabet print. Make sure your license is valid for the country you are traveling to!
  15. Be nice and get an upgrade! Since upgrade rates don't exist per-se, you may be able to score a better car for less! A standard upgrade will be about $10 per day, but you may be able to get a car two classes up for the same price. Negotiate and be friendly to the car rental employee, and they'll likely oblige! Note that larger cars usually use more petrol, so the upgrade may cost you dearly..
  16. Negotiate the extra-driver charge! Some employees will be likely to give it to you for free if you are nice!
  17. Call the office you're renting from! Some locations don't offer 24hr service! Don't be stuck in the middle of the night outside a closed rental office!
  18. Remember to walk around the car and have the employee show you EVERY damage there is, and mark it down. Get a copy! Make sure the spare tyre is there and that you know how to replace it in case you need to.
  19. Make sure to get the emergency number, just in case you get stuck. Cars break down a lot, and rental cars even more so than your usual car.
  20. Different countries have different car fleets. You may have booked a manual Opel Corsa, but you may be getting the automatic equivalent of that specific country. In Europe, most cars are Manual transmission, but elsewhere, manual transmissions are rare! You may not be getting a manual/automatic car. Check online with the company that you will be picking your car up from and not the one you ordered from, because there will likely be a difference!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


An employee from the main HQ came to our branch, and asked my colleague to refuel his truck.

Unbeknown to him, the truck is a diesel. He put in regular unleaded.

The next two hours were spent trying to remove all remains of the unleaded fuel, and eventually ended with a damaged engine.

Hurray for ignorance!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Fuel [2]

I sent out a replacement car to a customer who had trouble with his car, claiming all sorts of lights came on. The tow truck driver spent 3 hours getting to said customer.

When the driver dropped off the car, he noticed that the only trouble with the previous car was that the fuel light was on. The customer claims "I've never seen that light before, so I didn't know what it was."

The thing is, in the car he had, it's shaped like a fuel pump.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

I'm not lying! HONEST!

Bold - Customer (on phone)
Italics - Employee

Hi, I need a replacement car
What's the problem with the car miss?

The car-code (lock mechanism) won't let me start the car.
OK miss, I'll send a mechanic to you, and he should be there in about 2 hours. Where are you located?

I'm at a hotel in [southern most part of country, ~3 hours from nearest city] .
No, wait! I don't want a mechanic, I want a new car.

I can't send you a new car miss, because our mechanics know how to deal with this issue. The only justification for a new car would be if the mechanic fails to fix the problem or if the car's been through an accident and is not fit for driving.

Yes! THERE WAS AN ACCIDENT! We've been in an accident!
(in the background): "no no! don't say accident! say there wasn't any accident!"


Fuel [1]

Bold - Employee
Italics - Customer (On Phone)

Car Rental company, Anon speaking.
Yes Hello, I need you to replace my car.

Okay sir, (identifying customer) - What seems to be the problem?
I was driving up a steep hill and the car suddenly shut down.

Did the car give any warning, perhaps a light on the dashboard?
Yes, the NO FUEL light was on.

And was there petrol in the car?
No, it was almost empty, but I figured I could go about 30 more kilometers.

[*facepalm*] Sir, what probably happened is there was very little petrol left, and the angle the car is in stops the petrol from getting to the engine. What you need to do is either fill up or tow the car to a level location and then fill it up. Either way, you should fill up as soon as possible.
I want you to send a tow truck.

Since there is no fault in the car, this costs about $100 to be billed from your account.

If you don't want us to send a tow truck, you should probably hire one yourself then, or make a trip to the petrol station.
will do no such thing! I pay a lot of money for this car, and I am not responsible for this!

(customer actually has cheapest car available for rent)
Okay sir, then what do you suggest we do?
I want you to tow the car at your expense.

I'm not going to do that.
(rest of the call is just negotiating a solution. Nothing of interest. In the end, he agreed seeing as it's his fault... Obviously...)

Saturday, 28 March 2009


Bold - Employee
Italics - Customer

This car is too small.
Well sir, it's twice the size of what you paid for.

I want that Mercedes S350.
That's about $700 more per week

Can't you give it to me for free?
Uh. No sir.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Preemptive damage

So this customer walks in, and rents a car.
The car he's given is a regular sedan.

"So this is not a very tall car, it has a low clearance, right?"
-"Yes, that's right."

"So when you mark down scratches, can you mark a few dents at the bottom?"
-"Uh, why would I do that?"

"Well, it's a low car and it might get damaged."
-"Exactly, and you will have to pay if you damage it"

"But I don't want to pay..."
-"Then don't damage the car. I'm sorry sir, we don't work that way."