When rental car companies run out of inventory

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by traveltoomuch, Feb 15, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Inspired by this thread, which was asking about one-way rentals:

    I'd like to hear about your experiences when rental car companies don't have cars.

    While most of us have encountered sell-outs in some car classes ("sorry, we don't have the midsize car you reserved, would you like an extended cab pickup or a 2-door?"), what about "we have nothing at all"?

    I've only seen that once, at an off-airport Avis. Their nearest competitor was also out - some local fluke. What struck me was how poorly Avis handled it - unlike what I'd expect from a hotel, they did not arrange to get me a car at the nearest airport and pay for a cab to get there. Instead, they totally left me to my own devices. In the end I did go to the airport, and I rented from Avis, but they would not honor the rate plan from the local location. Customer service threw me some bone after-the-fact, but it wasn't a good experience on the whole.

    One fall-out is that I rarely travel with only one rental reservation now - I prefer to have reservations with at least two companies. And Avis is often the backup, not the primary.
     
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  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Obligatory Seinfeld reference:



    (for you young'uns, Seinfeld was a popular sitcom in the 1990s, broadcast on a device called "television" which received signals over the airwaves, similar perhaps to Wifi except one-way)
     
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  3. bigx0

    bigx0 Gold Member

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    Most rental car companies don't penalize you if you don't show up. Most hotels do. It goes both ways.
     
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  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Some rental companies like Hertz offer (and often push) prepaid rentals. Are they going to set aside cars for those who have prepaid rentals, or are they "overbooking" like airlines?
     
  5. bigx0

    bigx0 Gold Member

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    I don't know. I suspect hotels, airlines and car rental companies all overbook to a degree but if you pay in advance you've got a case. If it's a no penalty reservation, not so much ;). That said, I've certainly seen guarantees from hotels; and airlines are required to offer compensation if you get bumped. I don't recall the same for car rental contracts, even pre-paid ones, in fact, the contracts are full of warnings about charges if the renter doesn't show and not a word about the company not fulfilling its side of things.
     
  6. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    I had a better experience with Advantage Rent-a-Car at ORD last year. Their rep was out at the shuttle pickup stop informing all arriving customers that the company had overbooked and arranged for us to rent from a competitor. Afterwards they reimbursed the difference between the amount paid to the competitor and the reserved rate. It was still a slight inconvenience, but I had an insane "reserved rate" (about $15/day) -- so can't complain too much.
    I don't usually get such courtesy from the consolidated majors.
     
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  7. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    One of my favorite Seinfeld scenes!
     
  8. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    I'm curious why Avis is in the picture with you at all after your experience. Why give them any more business at all? Make someone else the backup.
     
  9. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Fair question. Maybe because I haven't figured out how to reliably get good rates with another backup? Maybe because (until recently), I only had skip-the-line memberships with two companies, and Avis was one? In other words, laziness. The other side of it is that most rental companies have disappointed me at some time or another. If I completely cut each out after only one infraction, I'd be walking. I've tended to stick with Avis and Hertz, having had a good ratio of good v. bad experiences with both.

    Have any good discount codes/techniques that you love, especially for National?
     
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  10. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    Your P2 membership gives you Emerald Club Executive Status.
    Not familiar with it though. I have been a Hertz rental guy so far but in my coming March 2 day rental from Seattle airport, I am considering National.

    upload_2014-2-17_9-7-1.png
     
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  11. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    I know, and likewise. (That's my new skip-the-line membership!)
     
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  12. bigx0

    bigx0 Gold Member

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    Personally, my experiences have been WAY better with National than with Hertz but that's just one person's opinion. I may just frequent different locations.
     
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  13. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    I just used my Emerald Club Executive Status 2X at BDL. It was nice to be able to walk out of the airport shuttle and simply pick a car from a couple of rows of ready-to-go vehicles with-the-keys-in-them, and then just get in and drive to the exit booth! Others on the shuttle from the airport w/o EC Executive status had to be reminded that they needed to stay on the shuttle and go to the office to rent a car!

    Had a big Chrysler 300 last w/e, a Nissan Maxima this w/e. No major complaints, all National personnel were quite courteous, and, with electronic receipt sign-up, you just drop off the rental car upon return, and get back on their shuttle to the airport. A free upgrade came with this status.
     
  14. neimarcp

    neimarcp New Member

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    I had most probelms in cars rent.
     

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