Understanding Your USA Car Rental Agreement

Hi all,

Apologies for the lack of posts recently I’ve been helping test out some new features we are going to add to usrentacar.co.uk, the first will hopefully be ready to launch next week and looks very promising.

Today’s post is about understanding your USA car rental agreement before you collect your vehicle.

Upon arrival in the U.S. you will be required to sign a rental agreement, this agreement is the contract between yourself (driver) and the car rental supplier (Alamo, Budget, Dollar etc). This is a legally binding contract and should be treated as such. We recommend you fully read and understand this document before signing it. Here are some items to look out for;

1. Rental Agreement No.

Designated by the Rental Agreement number, the rental agreement must be completed at the rental pick up location and should be carried with you in case you are required to prove you are legally in posession of the vehicle.

2. Car Serial Number

Designates the vehicle rented on the rental contract.

3. Rental Date, Time, Office

Shows the date, time, and rental station to return the vehicle, in which the vehicle was rented.

4. Return Date, Time, City

Shows the requested date, time, and rental station to return the vehicle without incurring any additional charges.

5. Allowable Drivers

Lists the drivers who are authorised to drive the vehicle. Extra drivers may be added at the time of rental and in some cases aftecolection. Additional charges may apply for additional drivers or underage drivers.

6. Additional Options/Other Information

Lists the additional options that may have been selected, such as, an upgrade of car, personal protection options, fuel options, etc.

7. Charges

Lists the itemisation of charges associated with the rental. As our rentals are pre-paid all the insurances we include (What’s Included) will be listed as $0.00, any additional charges will be noted here and should be queried if you do not recognise them.

The lead name on the confirmed reservation (the primary renter) must be the person whose credit card is used to pay any charges.

8. Rental Signatures

Confirms the terms of the rental agreement by all persons listed on the rental agreement.

example Alamo rental agreement:

 The rental agreement is very important and you should not feel rushed or pressured to be quick if you are at the head of a long queue; remember the queue is there problem not yours.

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Florida Car Hire Peak Season Charges For 2012

Hi all,

In late July and early August I posted about our suppliers releasing 2012 rates for Florida Car Hire which in itself was a bit of a novelty, in the past we have generally received bookable rates after the Summer peak season has finished, roughly around October time, so the early bird rates were much appreciated.

The interesting thing about these new rates is the introduction of a Florida peak season surcharge. Now I’ve been in car rental for around 10 years and this is the first time I can ever recall our suppliers issuing a peak season surcharge on rentals in Florida for Summer (July and August) and Winter (Christmas) 2012 so far in advance. At present there are peak season surcharges in place in every other location in the states apart from Florida.

We’ve had moments when suppliers have sold out or issued surcharges due to limited volume. They are usually issued a couple of weeks before pick up, at most a month, and are usually on the specialist vehicles like the Convertible and 12 & 15 seater minivans  but we’ve never received a full peak season surcharge a year in advance.

The terrible Tsunami that struck Japan this year caused problems for the car rental companies as supply of maintenance parts all but dried up, this did cause a very real shortage of available cars to rent, which utlimatley lead towards suppliers giving the option to contractors to either take an added surcharge or a very early stop sale.

How does this effect 2012

Suppliers are predicting that demand for USA car hire will exceed supply. Some of the main suppliers have actually decreased the amount of vehicles they have for hire and with a buoyant domestic market suppliers are proving more profitable by selling to their U.S. customer base.

The larger suppliers who have actually grown their fleet, for example Alamo, I imagine will want to protect themselves from the knock on effect caused by other suppliers selling out. I know that sounds weird, as surely they’d be happy with the extra business?

However companies like Alamo Rent A Car have contracts in place with major companies based on availability which they would not want to risk.

In my opinion peak season surcharges in Florida are here to stay for the time being, although over time we may see it become more vehicle specific, convertibles, 7, 8, 12 and 15 seater minivans spring to mind.

Remember these surcharges are not exclusively given to us, these surcharges are levied to all car hire brokers and tour operators in the UK and Europe.

Here at usrentacar.co.uk we are trying our best to swallow as much of the surcharge as possible and pushing our suppliers to extend the early bird rates we have at present for as long as possible, remember you can reserve your Florida Car Hire with a £50 deposit, the balance being due 8 weeks prior to departure.

What’s your take on Florida peak season surcharges?

regards,

James

 Florida car hire

Yes Your Car Hire Does Included Breakdown Cover

Morning all,

I just thought I’d take the opportunity to clarify the differences between Basic RoadSide Assistance (breakdown cover), which is included within your car hire rate; and Advanced RoadSide Assistance which is not.

All usrentacar.co.uk rates include basic RoadSide assistance regardless of supplier, vehicle or rate you pick. Both our Inclusive rate and our Gold rate include basic roadside assistance/breakdown cover.

What is basic RoadSide Assistance

Basic Roadside assistance is provided in the event that a vehicle has a mechanical failure (excluding damage to tires).

Customer’s are advised to contact the supplier directly (not via usrentacar.co.uk), the supplier will provide a replacement vehicle or suitable alternative to get you back on the road in the quickest time possible.

What is Advanced RoadSide Assistance?

Advanced RoadSide assistance or RoadSafe, is an optional extra provided by the supplier locally. It is paid for locally and you enter in to the agreement for this extra upon arrival.

Advanced RoadSide Assistance offers

  • Battery Service; if you’ve left the lights on or something similar and the battery has gone flat, the supplier will send someone over to get the car started.
  • Fuel Service; If you run out of petrol the supplier will delivery 2 gallons of petrol straight to you, day or night.
  • Flat Tire Service; the supplier will come out and fit the tyre for you.
  • Lock out Service; if you’ve locked your keys inside the vehicle the supplier will send out a specialist to gain entry.

The cost of this option extra varies per location and per supplier. The important thing to note is that this is an optional extra; you do not have to purchase this.

If you do purchase this locally and then get to your accommodation and realise that you don’t actually need this extra, most suppliers offer a 24 hrs. satisfaction guarantee which means you can simply call them and they will remove it from your rental and refund the difference.

To Clarify

usrentacar.co.uk rates include basic breakdown cover. Advanced breakdown cover (advanced roadside assistance, roadsafe) is an optional extra offered locally.

Hope you find this helpful .

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Will They Try And Sell Me Something Extra?

Hi all,

Today’s post covers our friends on the desks. The guys and girls of Alamo, Budget and Dollar who process your orders locally and provide you with your first taste of American customer service.

Commission

Now the first thing to remember is that these guys all work on commission, they are generally paid a small basic wage and boost this by earning commission on the optional extras they sell locally, for example upgrades, GPS systems, advanced RoadSide assistance and Toll Passes.

They are obviously within there rights to offer you these extra’s, you are not obligated to take them and should never feel bullied in to accepting them.

Tip: Both Alamo and Dollar Rent A Car offer a 24 hours satisfaction guarentee on anything purchased locally. So if after upgrading or adding something locally you have a touch of buyers remorse, simply call the number provided on the documentation given to you at the time of rental and these charges will be removed.

Scare Tactics

Now the vast majority of the rental staff are excellent and are very much focused on customer services, as is the American way.

However, one bad apple can spoil the bunch and although I have not heard of these type of tactics being deployed to our customers I have read of other car rental staff operating some of the practises described below.

Advanced RoadSide assistance

We have covered this one on a recent blog, remember your rental comes with basic roadside assistance this covers you for mechanical failure. The reservations staff locally may try to sell you advanced roadside assistance which covers instances such as losing your keys, running out of petrol and a lock out service.

You do not need this extra to rent the vehicle, I have heard of instances of hard sell where customer have been told they must have this extra to rent the vehicle! This is not true.

Vehicle Upgrades

Vehicle upgrades are the no. 1 way for rental operatives to earn additional commission. Now as above, most of the guys and girls will be very upfront about the total cost of your upgrade and you will be fully aware of the total amount.

However, again not through our suppliers; but I have heard of instances of customers complaining that the agent locally did not make it clear that the upgrade was per day, for example “the cost of your upgrade is $40″ when the actual cost is $40 per day.

Personal Accident Insurance

Not as commonly sold as in the past, this optional extra served the same purpose as your own Travel Insurance.

Toll Pass

One of the latest optional extra to be offered locally is the Toll Pass also called SunPass, Ezpass or pass 24. This pass allows you to take advantage of the special automated lanes and speeds up your drive.

Florida is slowly phasing out all manned toll booths but until then it is worth bearing in mind that dependant upon where you are going in Florida you may only come across one or two booths.

The Reality

Customer complaints regarding our suppliers are below the industry standard of 2% so the majority of the time they are doing things correctly. The idea of this post is to help raise awareness and perhaps arm you with a little knowledge and not to scare you. Most of the guys on the desks do a great job and your own car hire usa reviews support this.

Key Points

  • Make sure you know exactly what is included in your rental – http://www.usrentacar.co.uk/whatsincluded.aspx
  • Make sure you read and fully understand the rental agreement you sign locally.
  • Double check your rental agreement and contact the supplier if you require clarification.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

James

Wait Time with usrentacar.co.uk®

Hi all,

Apologies if I’m boring you with our new car hire app, but the launch has been very exciting for us and I cannot promise that these posts will stop any time soon :-) .

Over the weekend, supported by a very good download Friday, the usrentacar.co.uk app reached the giddy heights of 67th in the app store travel  chart! For a niche car hire app we feel this is a great achievement so a BIG thank you to all of those who have downloaded it.

Now back to the main point of this post.

One of the main and unique parts to the usrentacar voucher app is our Wait Time feature.

What is Wait Time?

The Wait Time feature tells our customer’s the average time it takes  to collect their vehicle from their specific location with their specific supplier.

How does it work?

The Wait Time system is ultimately run by you, the app user. When you collect your rental using our app, you are given the option to add your own Wait Time, these wait times are collected by our app which then displays the average time of collection at that location with that supplier.

Why are you telling us this now?

The reason I mention this is we have just had our first set of results back which I thought I’d share. A lot of the wait times were provided from collection at Orlando International Airport and Los Angeles Airport.

  • Collection with Dollar from Los Angeles Airport – 15 mins
  • Collection with Alamo from Orlando International Airport – 20 mins
  • Collection with Dollar Orlando International Airport – 30 mins
  • Collection with Dollar from Tampa International Airport – 10 mins
  • Collection with Alamo from Maui Airport – 15 mins
  • Collection with Alamo from San Francisco Airport – 10 mins

So get involved with the new Wait Time feature and add your own time by downloading our app from Itunes – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/usrentacar/id427152889?mt=8&ls=1#

regards

James

Car Hire USA Reviews

Hi all,

Today I thought I ‘d share a few of the latest reviews that have been submitted for each supplier. Our reviews are all written and submitted by real customers who have used our services and replied to our car hire review request.

Alamo Rent  A Car

Mr T Kenna – “I am very pleased with your company and service provided.”

Mr I Lipsey – “best experience i have renting a car from the u.k.”

Mr R Brewster – “Alamo have moved to Tampa airport which speeds up the time to collect the car.The biggest positive that I have with Alamo is that they allow you to select which car you get from their pool of cars within the range that you order and also that the cars tend to be low mileage.”

Budget Rent A Car

Mr D Sawyer – “Could not fault budget on this occasion.”

Mr D Kirby – “Very speedy service – excellent car – only one of view companies that do an 8 seater 4×4. Made booking over the phone. Would definately rent from usrentacar.co.uk again.”

Mr B Limacher – “Fast efficient collection & return as usual. Car in very clean condition, 8000 miles previous use”

Dollar Rent A Car

Mr S O’Neil – “We have used usrentacar before so we thought we would use them again and as always you couldn”t fault them.We had our rental with dollar but unfortunatly we had our hire vehicle broken into we phoned dollar with the details and crime number we were covered with everything usrentacar said in its policy nothing was a problem we drove car back to airport and exchanged for another one.we will use usrentacar again”

Mr M Sutherland – “top class service, at a top class centre”

Mr J Wallace – “good service no problems at all with pick up, or drop off and the vehicle run perfectly”

Some great reviews here!

Our customer reviews can be seen within our search results and are organised specifically to you location and car category.

Are your experiences of hiring with these suppliers similar?

regards,

James

 Florida car hire

Alamo Rent A Car’s 24 Hour Satisfaction Guarantee

Hi all,

I thought you might be interested in Alamo Rent A Car‘s 24 Hour Satisfaction Guarantee and perhaps raise awareness of this product. This subject was covered in our recent podcast but I thought it might be handy to write about it just in case you missed it.

Upon arrival you maybe offered additional optional extra’s or upgrades including child seats, personal accident insurance and additional drivers. Alamo’s 24 hours satisfaction guarantee states.

24 HOUR SATISFACTION GUARANTEE: If you are dissatisfied with any option that you pre-purchased upon arrival you can simply contact us either via telephone or visit any Alamo location within 24 hours and we will refund it. You will not be able to get a refund on any signed for pre-purchased optional extra after this time.

So if you get to your hotel or villa and decide that you actually didn’t require the upgrade or optional extra you’ve purchased then you can simply follow the advice offered above. Obviously if you have upgraded your vehicle you will have to return it and Alamo may request it is returned from the location it was collected from.

Click here for more information about rental agreements

What do you think about this Alamo Satisfaction Guarantee?

Regards,

James

 car hire USA

J.D. Power and Associates Car Hire USA Report

The 15th J.D. Power and Associates car hire USA customer satisfaction report was released today with a positive message, car rental service has returned to pre-recession levels after declining to lower levels during the past two years.

Now in its 15th year, the study measures overall customer satisfaction with renting cars at airports by examining six factors (listed in order of importance): costs and fees; pick-up process; rental car; return process; reservation process; and shuttle bus/van.

Overall satisfaction averages 750 on a 1,000-point scale in 2010, improving from 733 in 2009 and 734 in 2008. Satisfaction with the reservation process; pick-up process; shuttle bus/van; and costs and fees have achieved three-year highs. Each of the rental car companies included in the study has improved in 2010, compared with 2009.

“Improvement in the rental car industry occurs across all aspects of the customer experience,” said Stuart Greif, vice president of the travel practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “By quickly improving their operations as the market started coming back, rental car companies started reversing the negative impact on satisfaction that cuts and deferred investments had during the downturn.  Satisfaction snapping back in 2010 is a testament to the industry doing its best to balance the tension between customer satisfaction and hard economic realities during this period.”

Enterprise who own Alamo Rent A Car, ranks highest in customer satisfaction among rental car companies for a seventh consecutive year and performs particularly well in all six factors. Enterprise is followed in the rankings by National and Hertz, respectively.

Incidence of reported problems has decreased to 9 percent in 2010, compared with 11 percent in 2009. Vehicle pick-up and billing are the areas with the highest rates of reported problems.

“While it’s possible to exceed expectations when resolving a customer problem, which could elevate satisfaction levels even above those of a problem-free experience, this situation is a rare exception,” said Greif. “It’s important to note that 22 percent of problems experienced by customers go unreported, which means there was never an opportunity to resolve them. The bottom line is that prevention of problems is a far better strategy than service recovery for achieving high satisfaction levels.”

In addition to increased satisfaction with rental car companies in 2010, customer loyalty and advocacy have also improved from 2009. In 2010, one-third of business travelers and 28 percent of leisure travelers indicate they “definitely will” rent from the same brand again—marking increases of 2 percent and 5 percent, respectively, from 2009. Advocacy rates have increased by 3 percent among business travelers and 6 percent among leisure travelers from 2009. In 2010, 30 percent of travelers in both groups say they “definitely will” recommend their rental car company.

The 2010 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study is based on more than 11,500 evaluations from business and leisure travelers who rented a vehicle at an airport location within the previous 30 days. The study was fielded between October 2009 and September 2010

See Car Rental rating here

 car hire USA

7 Reason’s To Pick Alamo Rent A Car with usrentacar.co.uk

Hi all,

To end the series on “which supplier to pick on usrentacar.co.uk“ and alamo rent a carfollowing on from Dollar Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car we give you Alamo Rent A Car.

About Alamo Rent A Car

Alamo Rent a Car started in 1974 with four locations in Florida, pioneering the concept of Unlimited Free Mileage. Immediately carving its niche in the leisure car rental industry, Alamo Rent A Car focused its mission on providing a fun, low-cost, high-value rental experience to family and leisure travelers.

Alamo Rent A Car quickly became one of the country’s largest vacation rental providers with programs to accommodate and encourage leisure travel. To facilitate the increase in leisure travelers, Alamo Rent A Car constructed state-of-the art rental plazas geared to serve hundreds of customers per hour in a modern, ultra-spacious environment. The first rental plaza opened in Tampa, Fla., in 1982, with more following in other major leisure destinations including Orlando, Fla., home of the world’s largest rental facility. In 1985, Alamo Rent A Car introduced a new customized rental agreement the size of an airline ticket, and Instant Alamo Rent A Car, a program that stored a traveler’s individual rental information for instant reference.

Reason’s to pick Alamo Rent A Car on usrentacar.co.uk

  • Alamo Choice Product – Alamo are the originators of the choice product, allowing customers to select their make and model from the category they have booked. Participating locations in the Alamo choice product can be found here.
  • Orlando Car Hire Locations – Alamo boast some great exclusive Orlando collection points, for example Disney Car Care and the Disney Dolphin location.
  • Pre Registration - Alamo Rent A Car offer usrentacar.co.uk customers a way to speed up their USA car hire locally by allowing a speedy check in service at participating locations, check out our pre-registration page.
  • Largest Fleet – When peak season hits (Summer and Christmas) availability can run short. Out of all the suppliers Alamo boast the largest and youngest fleet in the U.S.
  • Use a Visa Debit - Upon arrival you will be expected to leave a card as a deposit, for a long time suppliers have stipulated this must be a credit card, however Alamo will now accept a Visa Debit Card.
  • Young Drivers Package – Alamo Rent A Car offer some great deals for drivers under 25 in Florida, California and most of the USA through usrentacar.co.uk. Check our our Young Drivers page.
  • Voucherless - Oh no, you’ve lost your car hire voucher! Don’t fear with usrentacar.co.uk through Alamo Rent A Car, you don’t even need your voucher to collect your vehicle.

What is your opinion of Alamo Rent A Car?

Who is your favourite USA car rental company?

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Dollar Rent A Car Now Accepting Visa Debit For Security Deposit

Hi all,

Back in July I blogged about Alamo’s decision to accept Visa debit cards and quipped that I hoped other companiesvisa-debit-logo would follow suit.

Well fair play to Dollar Rent A Car for stepping up to my challenge and getting in touch with me yesterday to confirm that usrentacar.co.uk customers can now leave an imprint of a visa debit card for their deposit.

Upon arrival you will generally be asked to leave this information in the form of a pre-authorsiation, meaning any charges incurred during the rental, i.e. child seats; late return etc will be debited from the imprinted card, in the past this has always had to be a credit card.

Its great news that Dollar has agreed to do this and now we can only hope Budget Rent A Car follow suit… over to you Budget…

Please note that this article was correct at the time of posting, terms and conditions can change at any time without warning. Please  check our terms and conditions for clarification.

Kind regards,

James

 car hire USA


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