Rental car fees: Beware of hidden fees when renting a car this summer

When you book an airline ticket, airlines are now required to disclose all extra fees up front, so there are no surprises.

But that's not the case when it comes to your rental car, as one woman learned.

Great rates....at first

This is the time of year many of us rent a car for vacation.

But when Marcia Anderson started searching for a one week rental, she couldn't believe what she found!

"I found rates from $9.95 to $14.95 a day," Anderson said, "but when you went to sign up for it, it had over $110 worth of fees added on."

One Kia Rio (subcompact car) looked great at $14 a day, but another $8.60 in fees made it really $23.

Marcia says the great $149 she found ended up totaling more than $250, a result of a series of add-on fees she couldn't  begin to comprehend.

"$17.30 for a concession recoup fee?" she asked. "Then there was "$41 for a facility fee, and $8.45 for a you-drive-it tax, whatever that is," she said.

The Hidden Fees

The website SmarterTravel.com says you can expect to be hit with:

    -An airport tax, if you are renting from an airport location.

    -A concession fee, for the rental company's booth or counter inside the airport.

    -A stadium or tourism tax in some cities.

    -An under-25 penalty if you are a young driver.

    -A vehicle license fee.

    -A loss or collision damage waiver (LDW): $20 a day, if you want them to insure the car, instead of your own insurance company.

    -An extra driver fee, if you plan to have a second driver who is not your spouse.

    -And don't forget the fuel charge of $7 a gallon if you don't fill up at return time.

So the bottom line: Check fees carefully.
 
Anderson feels that websites should disclose the fees up front, like airlines do, saying "when you go to pay, some people might not notice the price, or even if you do you've already started the wheels rolling, and it's too late to back out and start over."
 
One way around fees

One way some savvy travelers save, if there's a free shuttle service from the airport: rent at a downtown or hotel location, rather than at the airport. Of course, this won't work if you have to pay a cab to get you to the rental desk.

But if you can rent at a hotel, you won't have to pay airport fees and taxes, which can be $20 a day in some areas.

That way you don't waste your money.
_____________________

Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

"Like" John Matarese on Facebook

Follow John on Twitter (@DWYM)

 

Print this article Back to Top

Comments