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Trip Report Payless Car Rental Montreal – hidden geographic restrictions

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Payless Car Rental Montreal – hidden geographic restrictions on ‘unlimited miles’

A few months ago I booked a car on Travelocity to go from Montreal to a location 600 km away and back again. Naturally like a fool I gravitated to the cheapest option – Payless car rental based in the Montreal airport hotel, an independent franchise. What a delight when on the screen I saw unlimited miles; however little did I realize there was a hidden clause on the next tab of the page under geographical restrictions saying unlimited miles is only for the province of Quebec.

Anyway I went ahead and booked the car and also 2 hotel rooms in my destinations for the 3 day vacation. The day before our journey I went over to the location and was straight off asked where I was going, and like an honest bloke I said such and such place. I was immediately nailed with the ‘then sir, unlimited miles does not apply.’ I was reeling. Should I cancel and get another car? Should I try to negotiate? It was too late to cancel my vacation. This was the classic bait and switch.

I left the place and sat in the lobby to think for a bit; it’s interesting that when I dropped of the car later I saw 2 fellows cancel their reservation on the spot. Anyway it was too late so I went ahead and got the car, and begged them to lower my over distance fees. I hate getting surprised like this. I hate losing control over my destiny, and being at the mercy of others. Anyway through their infinite magnificent grace and mercy they decided to extend by daily km allowance out of province and to reduce my charge per over km. Nonetheless when I brought the car back I was hit with a huge excess charge. Of course the smart fellow behind the counter blamed it on me, saying it was my fault I did not read the fine print. How convenient. I wonder how the credit card companies like it now, in North America, that the governments are forcing them to vomit the sneaky fine print out into bold letters in boxes above the sign here line.

I wanted to be a bit of a smartass so I asked the guy, what if I lied and said I would drive around aimlessly inside Quebec. He said, well sir we will check this on the audit of the contract, with the satellite location finder records showing you left Quebec, and we will then hold you in infraction of the contract. So don’t try that – honesty is the best policy always. By honesty I mean the complete truth, not part of it.

By the way this geographic limitation is quite bizarre. I only see this in Quebec only with Payless of course. I used to live in Boston for 10 years and regularly rented cars there for unlimited mileage and I never saw any geographic restrictions. I looked around other rental agencies and I think unlimited only applies to Canada, and entering the USA is altogether another aspect. These is in general a cautionary tale – call ahead and confirm that the unlimited miles means what it says; calls the agent you used [online or otherwise] and the rental firm. Finally get it in writing that it is indeed unlimited.

Conclusion – ‘Payless’ means ‘Getless’, and you end up paying the same as others, through tricks and games and deception.

Located in the Lobby of the Hilton Hotel
12505 Cote de Liesse
Dorval, Quebec H9P 1B7

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