Rental car companies - gd. and bad

Old Sep 10th, 2004, 08:33 AM
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Rental car companies - gd. and bad

We'll be renting a car on our upcoming trip. Which companies have you found to be good and reliable ? More importantly, which ones have given you trouble and we should avoid ?
Thanks a bunch !
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 08:41 AM
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I always rent a mid-size with Dollar in various US cities, and have never had a problem. I also like their quick return procedure where I don't even have to enter the office.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 09:01 AM
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I'm happy with Hertz and my AAA discount. Sometimes Enterprise has good deals.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 09:07 AM
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In my opinion, none is as good as Hertz. I pay a premium to rent from them!
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 09:56 AM
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I agree with Statia and like Dollar. I have never had an issue with them and they often beat other's rates for me.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 10:02 AM
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My worst two experiences ever were with Alamo.

Hertz once couldn't provide us with a car that we had reserved weeks and weeks ahead for a busy "convention" destination.

I have been thrilled with Dollar, but once again I'll suggest that if you are going to rent through them be sure to join their free FastLane program first to save a lot of time and trouble in pick up. (Actually that's a good suggestion for any company).
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 10:12 AM
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My two experiences in the US with hire cars have been with Alamo and Dollar.

Alamo - rubbish (tatty car, v slow service, car was 20 minutes late being returned and we got screwed)

Dollar - excellent - brand new car - good customer service
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 10:14 AM
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Rent through Priceline, save a bunch of money and don't look back.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 10:18 AM
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Can recommend: Avis, Dollar, Alamo.

Can't recommend: Budget.

P.S. Suggest you save all the fine print for special discounts/promotions.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 12:07 PM
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Thanks for all your hints. Just found out Dollar does not allow one-way . We need to drop off at another airport.
I better get busy ! 2 weeks left .....
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 12:12 PM
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jenny,
I had a bad experience with Budget at the Long Beach, California airport in which they refused to rent me a car because a check of my driver's license (wrongly) indicated I had been in 3 accidents within the past 3 years. I have since cleared up my driver's record with the dmv and it is now accurate in that I was involved in 1 accident during the summer of 2004. However, my point is that certain companies such as Budget who also own Avis donot disclose this information at the time you make your reservation. I was fortunate in that an Alamo employee overheard my dilemma about being stranded in southern California without a car and rented one to me. I think Hertz also follows the policy of Budget and Avis. Your driver's license is run through a national clearinghouse and even if the information is inaccurate certain companies will not rent you a car at that time. I had to obtain a copy of my driver's abstract and then submit an application to have the 2 false entries removed. It took 5 months to accomplish this. I understand the car rental companies have every right to protect their vehicles, but something should be mentioned about their policy at the time of booking. Just be aware.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 12:13 PM
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Hertz is simply the best! (I've used pretty much all the rental car companies). I love the never lost system the company offers (small extra fee per day, I think it's around $9 per day).
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 12:27 PM
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Hello. What makes one rental car better than another rental car? My husband and I were going to be renting a car from Thrifty. When people say Hertz is the best, what makes them better? Also, does anyone have any input on Thrifty? Thanks!
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 01:09 PM
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One time we were totally stranded in New York (La Guardia) by snow cancellations. Finally got a flight next day and it was cancelled for mechanical reasons. NO flights again. It was going to be two more days before we could get anywhere west.

Hertz was the only place that would give us a car for 1 way drop off in Chicago (near Midway airport). AND they were the only ones still open and still with available cars after 10:30pm that night when the second flight was also cancelled.

We've also used Dollar, Avis, Alamo, Enterprise and Budget. We have never used Thrifty. Dollar and Alamo have given us mid-sized cars that have looked like they have been in roller derby. They (Dollar) gave me choice in Phoenix on any car in the lot and all were so banged up, it was hard to pick. Also had very bad luck in San Diego.

We have had mixed luck with cleanliness of the vehicle with most of the above, except for Enterprise and Hertz. Hertz actually reduced the bill upon arriving in Chicago that time, because we drove straight through and had it for under 24 hours. We split the car cost with a couple in the same predicament as us and also got a free round trip flight to anywhere in the USA from the airlines. Hertz is more money usually, for a reason. The product and availability is better. Service can be very good with others, such as Dollar's fast lane- but you might need to be a very frequent car renter to get that status.

I am going to try through Priceline next time, as suggested. Hertz really is good though.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 01:46 PM
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Budget does one-way rentals, whihc occasionally can be cheaper than same-office return. They DO mention the traffic-record check in their rental agreement (online, at least). To avert roblems with computer glitches or old info that has been cleared up, I guess it would be prudent to ask them to pre-approve your record when you reserve the car.

One more thing: Budget has never pressured me to take all sorts of extra coverages (collision); I had a terrible time wtih Enterprise over that.

vacatinbound: Although some car-rental companies actually have bad cars (dirty, smell like smoke,whatever), the main difference is service: Having the right car, courtesy, efficient checkin and out, etc. Other factors to consider are individual circumstances like one-way rentals, convenient office location, etc.

Most auto rental companies give discounts for AAA and AARP.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 01:54 PM
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Dollar does not allow one way? Between what two cities. Or were you not using the website correctly? In the past six months I have done four different Dollar rentals all one way and all four were different pickups and return locations -- eight locations in all! Of course if they don't have a location at one end of your plans, that would make a difference.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 02:03 PM
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Hertz:
--does not "nickel and dime" me for gas. If I say it's full when I return it, they accept that.
--does not waste my time by "inspecting the car for damage" when I return it.
--is VERY quick to replace a car that has any mechanical issues
--is usually competitive, pricewise. Maybe more than Dollar or Enterprise, but not by much. I don't know if my "American Express Everyday Savings" code is available for all Amex users, but I save 15% immediately.

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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 02:04 PM
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I've rented from most of the majors, and I'm of the opinion that any of them can be good or bad on any given day, depending on the location and circumstances (just like any airline could be good on one flight and bad on the next).

That being said, I've have generally consistent service and decent quality from Hertz, Avis and National, and I almost always go to these three first when I'm pricing a new rental. They might be a bit more expensive at times, but I'm willing to pay a bit of a premium for a consistent experience. I tried Thrifty once last Thanksgiving, because it was cheaper, and arrived at the IAH rental facility at 11pm, only to find they'd run out of cars (not a problem thanks to Avis).

I'm not positive, but I think you can sign up for Hertz #1 Club without any fee. That provides you with a slightly higher level of service (not Gold privileges, but sometimes a separate check-in line and access to discounts). Avis also has a preferred service that is free. Those might be worth looking into.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 04:10 PM
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Hertz is my favorite. I either use a AAA member discount w/ a AAA coupon or
I use a Costco member discount w/ a Costco coupon -- whichever is cheaper.
Service is always great and you can get GPS.

For rental car discounts you can check www.rentalcodes.com
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 04:22 PM
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We use Avis and Hertz and get a great discount through our boatus membership. The worst IMO, Alamo.
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