Rental Car Companies = Shysters

Every time I go on a trip where I rent a car, I am reminded of how shady car rental companies are. You think it’s all easy – you plan ahead and book the car ahead of time along with whatever else you need to prebook for your trip. And then you arrive.

Maybe you wait for your bags and then trek off in a shuttle bus to wherever the airport has relegated the rental agencies to, or maybe there’s a counter right there at the airport. On my last trip, we waited about an hour in the cold December weather at PHL for what the rental agency (after an annoyed call) said “we only have one bus running.” I wonder now if it was a tactic to just exhaust us into acquiescing to their tactics do once you get to their office (similar to car dealers who try to tire you into accepting their sub-optimal deals).

Upon our glorious and long-awaited arrival at the rental center we were offered every possible upgrade. Did we want a Ford Mustang? No. What about-No. Please, really, I just want the $15/day car I signed up for.  I understand the insurance offering – that to me makes sense – and yes, I understand if I crash the car I’m liable, etc etc. Aside from the upsell attempts – which are annoying, yes – the slowness in the whole ordeal is amazing. All the typing and tabbing in what I imagine is a very old green-screen database, then the dot-matrix printing and the signing and then wandering out to find the car.

Renting the car is second only perhaps to the ‘convenient hassle’ that air travel has morphed into these days.

Yes, this is a random post – here’s what spurred it on: NY Times: Renting a Car? Know the Rules of the Road (soft paywall – though I recommend you subscribe)

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