People hate hidden fees. However, there is one thing that they hate more than hidden fees, and that is being charged for something that they said they didn’t want. Dollar Rent A Car is not being accused of hiding fees from consumers, but it is being accused of charging people extra money even after denying certain services.
Reports have been coming in from all over stating that Dollar Rent A Car has been adding insurance onto people’s rentals. This wouldn’t really be a bad thing if it wasn’t for the fact that these consumers had declined the insurance to start with. Although travel groups recommend that people always opt for the extra insurance, it is still up to the consumer in the long run. If they choose to decline it, that is their choice and not the choice of the car rental company.
So far, some 100 consumers across the United States have said that they verbally declined to buy insurance for their rental car at the counter. Later these people found out that they were still charged for insurance on their final bill. To make matters worse, some lawyers believe that others may have been hit with these extra fees too and never even noticed it.
John Mattes, who is a California-based lawyer, said that Dollar Thrifty has stepped over the line here. Although these cases have taken place in the United States, there is a very good chance that this has happened in other areas of the world. Two lawsuits have already been filed, and they will be combined together to form a class-action suit against Dollar Thrifty.
Of course, Dollar Thrifty does not plan on just cough up a bunch of money for this. In fact, a spokesperson for Dollar Thrifty said that it would be vigorously defending itself in court. This should not come as a shock to anyone. After all, if Dollar Thrifty chooses not to defend itself, it is likely that more people who have been charged for insurance after declining it will come forward.
Consumer groups are now saying that the real problem is the way people decline or accept insurance. In most cases, car rental companies have people verbally accept or decline insurance. Once everything has been verbally done, the consumer signs for the transaction. The problem is that they cannot confirm what they are signing up for. There is no way of telling what that employee has added or not added.
In some cases, people are simply not sure what they are signing up for. For example, they might agree to the loss-damage waiver. When they do this, they believe that they are waiving insurance. However, in reality, they are accepting insurance on their rental car. If people are not used to renting cars, they might not know this. To top it off, it seems like these companies are doing very little to keep the confusion in check. After all, it does seem to be working in Dollar Thrifty’s favour, so why change it?
Consumer groups in both the United States and the United Kingdom have been giving people tips on how they can protect themselves from very similar situations. First and foremost, all travellers need to ask for a copy of their contract with the rental company before they leave the counter. Look over this copy. If any errors are notice, it is a good idea to deal with them right there. It might also be a good idea to use cellphones to record or videotape the verbal agreement.