It's Road-trip Season! BBB says read up before heading out to avoid unpleasant surprises.

June 18, 2013

Calgary, AB - June 18, 2013 – There's no place in the world for a beautiful road trip like Southern Alberta and the East Kootenay - but BBB warns those renting cars to read up before heading out.

“Many important details can be easily misunderstood during the car rental process,” said Sandra Crozier-McKee, president & CEO of BBB. “Whether you are renting a car for business or for pleasure, it is vital that you do your research and read the fine print before choosing a company. Make sure you understand all the fine points of the contract.”

BBB recommends the following tips to avoid unexpected charges and overspending when looking to rent a car:

  • Shop around and carefully read the fine print. There are several different budget travel websites that can provide comparison prices. Make sure to follow-up with the rental car websites directly to see if you can snag an even cheaper rate. Always remember, though, if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t automatically take the low-ball offer and make sure to always clarify which taxes, surcharges and other fees you’ll be expected to pay. Many car rental companies have additional fees for drivers under age 25 or for multiple drivers.
  • Opt for a smaller car. If you’re traveling solo, or don’t need a lot of leg room or trunk space, go for the smaller car. Often, the salesperson will steer you in the direction of an upgrade for “only a few extra dollars” because the smaller economy cars are in high demand – decide what is best for the intended use.
  • Ask lots of questions. Make sure that you understand where the “unlimited mileage” rates apply. Some rental car companies have restrictions and only apply the mileage to certain states.
  • Gas up and be on time. Many times, car rental companies will ask if you want to prepay for gas – it’s not always necessary and it’s might not be the best deal. Don’t forget to refill the tank before returning the car, and make sure to return on time. Some rental car companies will charge an extra day for being late – make sure to know their policy for early and late returns, and call if you get stuck in traffic.
  • Bring your own car seat and GPS. If you’re going to be traveling with children, make sure to bring your own car seat. It is unnecessary to pay for the daily fees if you already have one at home.
  • Don’t forget your GPS. If you have a portable GPS or can use your phone as a navigation system, avoid paying extra fees by bringing it along.