FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vancouver, BC – The sun is shining and the road beckons. Summer, for many, is about loading up a van and heading to all destinations. For many travelers, renting the proper vehicle is the only way to get around as your friends and family pile in.
“Rental cars are essential for many travelers, but rental car contracts can be complicated,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “Consumers need to read the fine print before signing the contract, and they should be aware of any extra fees that may apply. Renters need to document the physical state of the vehicle before signing. We receive the odd complaint where a rental company accuses a consumer of causing damage. It then becomes an issue when both sides are under the burden of proof.”
Unexpected costs like mileage caps, insurance and drop off fees can also change the price dramatically. Putting in a little extra time for comparison shopping before renting can save you money, and future hassles. Additional fees that may influence the overall price you pay are.
• Size and type of car, such as compact, midsize, luxury, or mini-van. Define what your needs are.
• Drop-off charges may apply if you return the car to a different location.
• Taxes for province, city, or airport.
• Within the same firm, rates may vary by location (within the same city and at the airport).
• Daily rates may be higher during certain days of the week.
• Special offers may be available during certain holidays or seasons.
• Additional driver fees may apply for extra drivers.
BBB has the following tips to help consumers avoid common rental car pitfalls:
• Go over the contract thoroughly. Understand if there are costs per kilometre or any other fees if you go out of province.
• Consider location. Renting from an airport-based rental facility often is more expensive than an off-airport location, usually because of taxes and surcharges the airport charges the rental company.
• Look for package deals. Some airlines or other travel companies may offer discounted rates if you purchase more than one service, such as a flight, rental car or hotel stay.
• Use your camera. Take a picture of the car before you leave the rental facility and when you return it. Good pictures can protect you from unfounded charges for vehicle damage. Do a walk-around and inspect the tires.
• Weigh the value of add-ons. Renting a GPS device, a child car seat or a roof rack can add to your total bill. Consider using a cell phone GPS or bringing your own car seat.
• Compare gas rates. Some companies offer to sell you a full tank of gas so you don’t have to fill up the tank before you return the car. Some expect you to have the tank as full as it was when delivered to you.
• Understand insurance. Check your personal car insurance policy before you leave home. In many cases, your policy will cover damage to a rental vehicle and you can skip insurance through the rental contract.
• Ask about late or early return fees. Some renters have been surprised at being charged a fee for returning a car early or late. If you’re traveling over a holiday or have to return the car outside of regular working hours, ask whether the office will be open or if you need to drop keys in a lock box.
• Ask for the final price. Make sure the rental agent explains all the charges before you sign the contract and drive off the lot. It can prevent surprises later.
Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor
BBB Serving Mainland BC
404-788 Beatty Street
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 365 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB Serving Mainland B.C., founded in 1939 and serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon, is one of 108 local, independent BBBs across North America. In 2016, consumers turned to BBB Serving Mainland B.C. more than 2 million times for Business Reviews and processed 7,500 complaints.