How To Avoid Getting Ripped Off By Rental Car Companies

You know, I like a good upsell every now and then but the way the rental car industry does it borderlines on scam. As most of you know, I’m in Waikiki for a family vacation. To get around the island, I ordered a rental car from Advantage through

The fun started when I went to pick up the car after landing at the airport. I ordered a full size car and got a Nissan Altima. I guess Advantage idea of full size and mine are two different things. Anyway, the upsell really begins when they asked what insurance coverage I wanted. The lady at the counter gave me two choices. I can get full unlimited coverage or their recommended coverage. She never said that insurance was option or that I can choose not to have it. She claimed that my Gold Visa does’t cover everything if I get into an accident. When I finally asked her, “What’s my third option?” Her reply was, “You assume full responsibility.” I told her that’s what I want.

Then she told me the car had a full tank of gas and that I can bring it back empty. I would be charged $3.58 per gallon for the tank of gas. This was a 20 cents savings from the gas station price. Aside from not telling you that insurance is optional, this is one of the biggest ripoffs rental car companies pull.

They charge you for a full tank but no one ever brings back an empty tank. As for the 20 cent savings, they quote the cost of premium gas, which cost 20 cents per gallon more. However, their cars run on regular so there really is no savings. I told Advantage I would not buy their gas and I’ll bring the car back with a full tank instead.

I find it highly disturbing that car rental companies no longer give customers all the choices that are available. I can only imagine how many people purchased insurance and full tanks of gas because they were never told that those things were optional.

The last upsell woud be to upgrade me to a GPS for $10.95 per day. But since I already had one, she didn’t try.