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

Dollar And Avis/Budget Provide Joint Statement Regarding Takeover

Hi all,

When Dollar Rent A Car decided not to take the Hertz offer and enter in to advanced talks with Budget Rent A Car the stumbling block would always be proving to anti trust regulators that the consumer would be the winner, here is the latest joint statement from Avis/Budget and DTAG (Dollar /Thrifty)

As previously reported, following the termination of Dollar Thrifty’s merger agreement with Hertz Global Holdings Inc., Dollar Thrifty and Avis Budget have been cooperating to pursue antitrust regulatory clearance of a potential acquisition of Dollar Thrifty’s common stock by Avis Budget.

During this period, Avis Budget and Dollar Thrifty have presented to the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) a jointly held view that the potential transaction would not reduce competition in the rental car industry. Each believes that intense competition from Enterprise/Alamo/National and Hertz/Advantage, as well as numerous smaller brands, would continue after the proposed transaction. In addition, Avis Budget has expressed the view that a merger with Dollar Thrifty would result in significant cost savings and other operational efficiencies. These synergies and the increased ability of the combined company to compete against other competitors in the marketplace will benefit all rental car consumers, particularly Dollar Thrifty’s core leisure customers.

Avis Budget and Dollar Thrifty believe substantial progress has been made in the discussions with the FTC on these issues, but the FTC’s position with respect to the competitive issues remains uncertain. The two companies have produced millions of pages of documents and provided vast amounts of data to the FTC regarding the car rental industry and their respective businesses as part of a “Second Request” review process. Avis Budget and Dollar Thrifty each have notified the FTC of their intention to certify substantial compliance with the Second Requests on a timetable that would require an official decision from the FTC by the end of March or early April.

As the FTC review process continues, Avis Budget and Dollar Thrifty remain focused on building their individual businesses to drive continued growth and maximize value for shareholders. Dollar Thrifty and Avis Budget reiterate that they have no agreement with respect to any merger or other business combination, and that there can be no assurance that any such transaction (or the terms thereof) can be agreed upon.

Do you think this joint merger will benefit the consumer?

I will of course keep you updated as more information becomes available.

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Avis Budget’s Response To Hertz’s Comments Over Dollar Thrifty


Hi all,

Interesting statement from Avis Budget today -

Hertz has today stated that if the Dollar Thrifty stockholders reject the Hertz merger, Hertz will end all efforts to acquire Dollar Thrifty.  Based on this commitment, Avis Budget is now prepared to agree to pay a reverse termination fee of $20 million in a merger agreement with Dollar Thrifty.  Avis Budget has always said that as long as Hertz had matching rights, Avis Budget would not consider a reverse termination fee.  Now that Hertz has in effect eliminated those matching rights, Avis Budget is prepared to offer such fee.
 
If Dollar Thrifty stockholders do not approve the Hertz transaction at the special meeting tomorrow:
 
1. Avis Budget will continue to actively pursue the acquisition of Dollar Thrifty, including commencing an exchange offer at our recent offer price no later than 10 business days after the meeting.  Such offer will be subject only to the conditions in the merger agreement previously provided (as adjusted for an exchange offer structure with a minimum tender condition, for modification of credit agreements, and to assure that Hertz honors the commitments made in its statement earlier today) and the Dollar Thrifty disclosure schedules previously delivered to us.
2. Avis Budget will continue to actively pursue antitrust clearance.  As previously disclosed, Avis Budget has committed to sell assets representing $325 million of revenues (of which not more than $250 million are U.S.), demonstrating our commitment to attaining antitrust approval.
3. Avis Budget will commit to sign the merger agreement previously provided, with an additional provision to assure that Hertz honors the commitments made in its statement.
4. In light of continuing questions related to reverse termination fees, Avis Budget will agree to pay a $20 million reverse termination fee in the merger agreement with Dollar Thrifty.

Who will win the battle…

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Dollar Car Hire Orlando Locations

Hi all,

Thought I’d mention this page http://www.usrentacar.co.uk/dollar_locations_orlando.aspx that our web orlandonerds have made.

Using google maps it plots the available locations Dollar Rent A Car have in the Orlando area. We thought this maybe helpful to those people who don’t wish to collect from an airport location or who wish to collect half way through their holiday.

As we now have live availability with Dollar Rent A Car you can now check available vehicle categories up to 15 minutes before collection! Also we offer free one way rentals within Florida so you could always collect from a downtown location but return it to the airport?

Is there another location you’d like us to map or have we missed something?

Kind regards,

James

 Florida car hire

Budget Car Hire Increases Dollar Car Rental Bid

The battle for ownership of Dollar Rent A Car took another turn last night ascarental Avis Budget returned with an improved offer. Back in August I blogged about how Dollar had declined Budgets initial advances and how Hertz looked favourite to purchase Dollar.

However Budget has returned with an improved offer of around $1.36 Billion for the Tulsa based car rental giant. The cash portion of the Avis offer for Dollar Thrifty has been raised from $39.25 to $40.75 per share.

“We are confident that the Dollar Thrifty shareholders will prefer the premium Avis Budget offer to the Hertz offer,” Avis Budget stated.

The improved offer may still be shunned due to the opposition the deal might encounter via antitrust regulations.

Dollar Thrifty shareholders are due to attend a special meeting on September 16 to consider the Hertz offer.

“In the event that the Hertz transaction is rejected by the special meeting, we will commit to sign the merger agreement we previously delivered to Dollar Thrifty at any time within five days of that meeting,” Avis Budget said.

It’s clear that whoever completes the deal will have increased their market share and obtained the only USA Car Rental supplier to make a profit in 2009.

Will keep you all posted.

Regards,

James

 car hire USA


Bad Behavior has blocked 1129 access attempts in the last 7 days.