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General Car Rental Pricing Question

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Can anyone explain this? On major car rental web sites when entering the rental dates - the default time of rental is always "noon" for both pick-up and return. As an example, let's say the rental rate comes up at $18 per day. However, if I tell the system that I'm arriving at 10AM and returning the car at 10AM, the price is $28 per day. If I want the car at 10AM and want to return it at 1PM - again, the price goes up PER DAY. Not just an extra few hours charge or even an entire extra day's charge at the lower rate.

I suppose I could just ignore the system, booking the noon time period regardless. However, DH changed his flight once and arrived an hour early at a rental desk. They were in a complete tailspin, had to "void" the original contract and write a new one at a higher rate and then put through a "refund request" for the difference between high and low rental rate. What a waste of time.

Very frustrating. Any insight?

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