From time to time, a case comes across my desk that gets me turned upside-down, because it doesn’t make sense on so many levels. Julie Yu’s dispute with Dollar is one of them.
A few weeks ago, I shared a problem of one reader’s mandatory car rental insurance charge in Mexico. Basically, her vehicle ended up costing a lot more than she thought it would, even though she’d purchased insurance through a third party.
Turns out this happens often. But Yu experienced the same problem — with a dark twist.
Like other renters, Yu thought she’d done her homework. She researched the cheapest car rental rate in Cabo, which was through Dollar. She called the reservation number and confirmed the Mexican liability insurance requirements.
“I was assured full out-of-pocket price would be $118, with $12-per-day insurance,” she says.
But when she arrived, an agent told her the reservations agent was mistaken. The per-day insurance rate would be $25.
“What about the quote?” asked Yu.
“They always get the rate wrong,” said the rental employee.
The Dollar agent added: take it or leave it. Yu reluctantly accepted the car and the mandatory $25-per-day insurance.
And here’s where things get a little funny.
When Yu returned the car, she again mentioned the mandatory insurance, which was more than twice the rate she’d been originally given. Apparently, this didn’t sit well with the agent who was handling her return.
The agent said there was a scratch on the final inspection and charged over $300 for damages and loss of use.
We disputed this since we knew nothing was damaged during our rental period and there were multiple scratches on the bumper when we started the rental.
The agent then showed us a small, thin curvilinear scratch on the bottom of the left corner of the bumper. Again, they forced me to sign for damages or we would have missed our flight.
Twice during her rental, Yu felt as if Dollar had her over a barrel. Once when she’d been surprised by a higher insurance rate, and again when she returned her vehicle and was told to sign the damage claim … or else.
Note to anyone reading this who may be thinking of renting a car in Mexico: No one ever has you trapped, even when you’re south of the border. If you’re at the airport, there are other car rental companies to get a car from. You can walk away.
But the retributive damage claim — that’s a new one.
Yu complained to Dollar and received the following response:
I have contacted the location on your behalf, and they have responded accordingly in regards to your rental charges.
They have confirmed that the basic third party liability insurance (PLI) was charged at 209.85 pesos per day (converted from $15.00 per day). Their liability insurance ranges from $12.00 to $20.00 per day, depending on the type of vehicle rented.
I apologize if the coverage requirements were not better explained by our phone agent. I have forwarded your comments to upper management to ensure corrective training is provided internally. This information is also provided on our website, as well as during the online reservation process, under the section for local policies.