How NOT to Get Caught by the Rental Car Rip-Off When Traveling for Golf

Rental Car Companies Are Not Always Honest

I just came back from a wonderful golf trip to Naples, Florida. Great golf, good times with good friends. But the fun ended when I got back home and saw my credit card bill! The rental car company I used: ____get Rental had charged me $222.00 for insurance I didn’t want and specifically denied! Yikes! I don’t know about you, but $222.00 is not small change to me, and I was really put out. Here’s the story.

2014-Chrysler-Town-and-Country-Minivan-Van-Touring-Front-wheel-Drive-LWB-Passenger-Van-Photo-3Sixteen of us from my Tee Club (four groups of four golfers each) were traveling on this golf vacation. When we arrived at the airport the driver for each group went to the rental car counter to sign contracts, pick up keys, etc. I was the designated driver for our group and together with another golfer headed for ___get Rental. Everything was fine, all the paperwork ready to go, but when the agent – his name was Lester, asked if I wanted any additional insurance, i.e. Loss Damage Waiver* (see definition below) which is $27.99/day, I said NO! He argued with me, warning that the insurance was a good idea, just for protection, etc. I told him, I was fine. No added insurance, please. He then prepared the final document, turned the digital tablet to me and pointed to all the little spots where I was to initial and agree to the contract.

Well you know how things go: Dozens of people all lined up for cars, everyone anxious to get going. I made the mistake of believing Lester, the agent, had followed my instructions and I did not read the contract carefully. I initialed all the spots he told me to initial, I got a copy of the contract and headed for the garage. In hindsight I was stupid. The waiting crowd, the eager golfers ready to hit the road got into my head and I signed the contract without reading it again. I believe, dear agent Lester took advantage of the situation and had me confirm a contract with insurance I specifically said I did not want.

So I’m stuck. I’ve been back and forth with ___get Rental and the best they can do is knock off $48…. as a courtesy for my troubles. Well that’s something, and perhaps I should be grateful for that. But I believe when it comes to rental car companies you’ve got to have your wits about you.

I’ve done some research since and this is what I’ve learned:

  • The credit card I used comes with an automatic Loss Damage Waiver insurance as a benefit if you use the card to rent a car.
  • My own auto insurance (Geico) also covers this same insurance, in fact my current policy is in full effect for a rental car

So I was already doubly covered before I ever put stylus to that contract.

My advice to you: if you’re going to rent a car for your next golf vacation

  1. Check with your credit card company and see what benfits they offer
  2. Check with your auto insurance company and see if you already have insurance that will protect you
  3. Don’t be intimidated by the crowd at the rental counter and don’t assume that the agent is going to follow your instructions. READ THE CONTRACT before you sign.

Have you been ripped off by a rental car company? Add your comment in the space below!

 •Loss Damage Waiver: An agreement with an auto rental company in which the renter is released from liability for physical damage to the vehicle in exchange for a fee, subject to the terms of the rental agreement or a state statute if one exists. It is not insurance but a contractual obligation subject to many restrictions. In some contracts, the renter may be able to choose either a full damage waiver or one that holds the renter responsible for damage only over a certain specified amount, sort of an inverse deductible. The rental agreement typically stipulates that purchasing the damage waiver is not mandatory.

 

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