Rental car damaged after being cut off by a resort van

When Chuck Berg tried to maneuver his way back to the Le Méridien in Phuket, Thailand, on a recent visit, he ran into a little problem: a rock on the side of the road, which dented the side of his rental car.

Berg thinks Le Méridien should cover the $175 deductible because the accident wouldn’t have happened without an unfortunate series of circumstances to which the resort’s employees contributed.

Today’s “can this trip be saved” case will force us to draw a line between a hotel’s liability and a guest’s personal responsibility. And I should warn you, this is not an easy one.
Continue reading…


“I rented a car in Norfolk, but Hotwire changed the city”

Here’s a common complaint from travelers who book through so-called “opaque” sites like Priceline and Hotwire: A customer who tried to buy a particular flight, hotel or rental car, but ended up with a nonrefundable reservation in the wrong place.

That’s what happened to Michael Robinson when he tried to rent a car in Norfolk, Va., through Hotwire. His experience underscores the importance of making sure you get your itinerary right the first time in this day and age of nonchangeable reservations — especially when you’re dealing with the strict opaque sites.
Continue reading…


Priceline promised to bend the rules, but now it’s backtracking

Rules are rules, but what happens when a travel company promises it will bend them? That’s the question Rebekah Conlon wants to answer. Her rental car, booked through Priceline, was non-refundable and non-changeable, and she knew it.

But just before she arrived in Toronto to pick up the car, she got a troubling call. “A family member had passed away,” she says. “We had to abruptly change our travel plans.”

She continues,

I contacted Priceline within 10 minutes of when we were supposed to pick up the rental car and informed them of the death in the family. They said they would contact me with details about a refund.

Nice of Priceline to agree to bend the rules for her. But when Conlon followed up, Priceline backtracked.
Continue reading…


A $387 bill for a cracked windshield? You’ve gotta be kidding

Debbie Vinton saw a star on her recent vacation in Los Angeles, but it isn’t the kind that you’d want an autograph from. Instead, her car rental company asked to sign a form agreeing to cover the damage for a cracked windshield “star” on her front windshield.

It’s a decision she now regrets. The bill came to $387, not including a $50 “administrative fee” for a repair that should have cost just $50.

Vinton’s case is a reminder that you ask questions before, not after, signing a release — and always, always check the windshield.
Continue reading…


Ewwwww! 5 worst rental car smells

dog in carTravel can be an olfactory experience, by which I mean everything smells. Even your rental car.

Hertz recently teamed up with Fresh Wave to use its IAQ technology to eliminate unwanted odors in its cars. When I heard the news, I had to ask Hertz if it had a list of the worst rental-car smells. In fact, it does.

Continue reading…