Summer rental car rates

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Night Ranger

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I booked a car from a small town in Indiana,( Newcastle). I was driving to Ashville Ohio. When I went to pickup the car they bring out a real beater Crown Vic. I had no choice but to hit the highway with it and it actually turned out to be a great car for the trip.
One of the absolute best travel vehicles we have ever owned was a 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis, the Crown Vic's cousin. The other one was my beloved 1972 VW Type II Westphalia but that's an entirely different story.

Those land yachts were built for taking long trips with their smooth ride and plenty of horsepower. Body on frame construction was great for road dampening and gas mileage was not that bad. We had reached that stage in our lives where we enjoyed our creature comforts especially on long road trips. Parking and tight traffic were different issues but we'd still have one if Ford had not discontinued them years ago. As long as your rented Crown Vic started, ran, and stopped you were good to go.
 

Night Ranger

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And if it was any dark color or plain white, a lot of people slowed down when they saw you coming. ;)
True that. Our older son owned a 1998 Crown Vic with the police interceptor package that he bought cheap at an auto auction. It was white, had both spotlights and a push bar on the front, and screamed COP CAR. As a joke I popped the plugs for the antenna holes and installed some junk CB radio antennas. Until you saw his license plate you would swear it was a cop car. "Cop motor, cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks, . . ." If you've seen The Blues Brothers you know the lines even if their car was a Dodge.
 

MARC Rider

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Arriving at ANC, no such model/make was available, but, for the same price, I was given a brand new Ford Focus with less than 2000 miles. This was my first SUV that I have ever driven.
Do you mean a Ford Escape? I own a Ford Focus, and while it's a perfectly good car, I would not consider it an SUV by any stretch of the imagination. By the way, Ford doesn't sell the Focus in the US any more, but they were still selling a few back in 2019.
 

MARC Rider

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In all of my years of renting cars, I don't think I've ever been able to specify the make and model of a rental. In fact, I consider myself lucky if I get within one category of what I order. Fortunately, this usually means an upgrade. My favorites are from the Enterprise in South Boston, where I call a day or two before and remind them that I want my compact SUV with 4WD or all-wheel drive. When I get there, instead of getting the RAV4 type "compact" SUV, I've gotten a Mercedes one time, and a Range-Rover the other at no extra charge. But I'm picky on the 4WD because they once rented me an SUV with 2 wheel drive that got stuck at the bottom of a slope on an icy driveway.

On the other hand, when I rented for official travel, we had to order the cheapest smallest car unless there were a lot of people in the party. And while the rental agencies sometimes gave us upgrades for free, usually, they obliged us. Thus, I was once stuck driving from Baltimore to Ohio in the absolute smallest roller skate sold by Chevrolet, and this over the Pennsylvania Turnpike through a thunderstorm and some pretty windy weather.
 

Bob Dylan

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In all of my years of renting cars, I don't think I've ever been able to specify the make and model of a rental. In fact, I consider myself lucky if I get within one category of what I order. Fortunately, this usually means an upgrade. My favorites are from the Enterprise in South Boston, where I call a day or two before and remind them that I want my compact SUV with 4WD or all-wheel drive. When I get there, instead of getting the RAV4 type "compact" SUV, I've gotten a Mercedes one time, and a Range-Rover the other at no extra charge. But I'm picky on the 4WD because they once rented me an SUV with 2 wheel drive that got stuck at the bottom of a slope on an icy driveway.

On the other hand, when I rented for official travel, we had to order the cheapest smallest car unless there were a lot of people in the party. And while the rental agencies sometimes gave us upgrades for free, usually, they obliged us. Thus, I was once stuck driving from Baltimore to Ohio in the absolute smallest roller skate sold by Chevrolet, and this over the Pennsylvania Turnpike through a thunderstorm and some pretty windy weather.
As a retired Government hand also, this sure rings True!😉
 

flitcraft

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We rented a car at National Airport from Hertz and prepaid. Yesterday we arrived post CL trip and picked it up no problem. Their garage was close to empty, though, and we were told to pick either available car from the President's Circle area, although we are not PC members.. I had been advised to prepay in advance, since the car rental companies hate having to refund customers and will save their cars for high level elite customers, which we are not, and prepayers. Worked for us...
 

Michigan Mom

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I wonder how they (the car companies) feel about third party discounters like Priceline, Hotwire, Kayak, Expedia etc. That's where I'm seeing the lowest rates. On Priceline, you have to put in credit card info to reserve, and supposedly not charged until pickup.
 

west point

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2 items.
1. If possible do not rent at airport and save those franchise fees. Find locations that do not have franchise fees.
2. Do what my daughter did. Had a very long trip for 1 month. Decided to buy a good used car. Transferred insurance to car and stored regular car. Drove all over for 5 weeks and then sold car for $200 less than purchase. That saved 12,000+ miles on her regular car. Only one minor problem for rental substitute.
 

Bob Dylan

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I've never rented a Car with an Amtrak Package( Ticket/ Car/Hotel) but have rented from Hertz to get Amtrak Bonus AGR Points during " Deals".

Wondering if anyone is getting cheaper prices on their car rental by doing this?( usually Hotels were Cheaper when booked thru a Travel Site or Directly with the Hotel)
 

Michigan Mom

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Update for this thread. Hertz left us high and dry, as the saying goes. Booked a few weeks in advance, called to confirm, called again to reconfirm the day before, on the actual day, no cars available anywhere in SE Michigan.
Travel is really unpredictable right now.
 

Bob Dylan

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Update for this thread. Hertz left us high and dry, as the saying goes. Booked a few weeks in advance, called to confirm, called again to reconfirm the day before, on the actual day, no cars available anywhere in SE Michigan.
Travel is really unpredictable right now.
Wonder if they're renting them.out to the first arrivals and leaving later arrivals SOL like yall?

I have a friend that works for Hertz @ the Austin Airport, and he says that all their cars are booked Daily, and people with reservations are landing and finding No Cars to be had!

We have horrible Public Transit here!
 

Michigan Mom

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Well, I think what they are doing is accepting reservations for cars they know they don't have. I mean you're offered a choice of vehicles, which is cute. When it gets to day of travel, they parcel out what stock they have to whoever paid the most, and everyone else is SOL. I've emailed their Customer Service twice and been ignored. This is basically fraud, no, let me restate, it is completely and totally fraud. It's a phantom reservation and will likely not be honored. Tell your friend that works at Hertz that they are messing with peoples' lives and I will never do business with that company again. Not ever, ever, ever. Hertz declared bankruptcy during the pandemic and has apparently emerged in a strong financial position, so spare me any tales of woe, Hertz, about selling off cars or laying off employees. You were supposed to use PPP funds to retain employees. Customers and employees get screwed, some execs probably got bonuses.
 

Bob Dylan

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Well, I think what they are doing is accepting reservations for cars they know they don't have. I mean you're offered a choice of vehicles, which is cute. When it gets to day of travel, they parcel out what stock they have to whoever paid the most, and everyone else is SOL. I've emailed their Customer Service twice and been ignored. This is basically fraud, no, let me restate, it is completely and totally fraud. It's a phantom reservation and will likely not be honored. Tell your friend that works at Hertz that they are messing with peoples' lives and I will never do business with that company again. Not ever, ever, ever. Hertz declared bankruptcy during the pandemic and has apparently emerged in a strong financial position, so spare me any tales of woe, Hertz, about selling off cars or laying off employees. You were supposed to use PPP funds to retain employees. Customers and employees get screwed, some execs probably got bonuses.
Are there any Lawyers interested in a Class Action Lawsuit advertising?
 
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flitcraft

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Are there any Lawyers interested in a Class Action Lawsuit advertising?
Sadly, a class action lawsuit is unlikely to work for this situation. In cases where the damages are relatively low--under a thousand dollars per victim--the main benefit of class actions are to prevent that particular bad behavior from occurring in the future. (Which is why I am in favor of class actions even when class members get small compensation. As the old saying goes, steal a million dollars from someone and you go to jail, steal ten dollars from a million people, and it's just business...)

Here, Hertz will claim that the pandemic caused unforeseeable problems for them--the lockdown drove down car rentals to a tiny trickle, but used car prices skyrocketed since nobody wanted to use public transit. Naturally, given a cash flow from rentals of about zero, Hertz shed its cars into the booming used car market with the intent to buy new ones when things improved. But by then, there was a computer chip shortage making many new cars unobtainable. So...this is why the rental car garages are ghost towns and only very gradually filling back up.

Should they have still continued to have reservations that appeared to be available online? Of course not. That was and is indefensible. But a class action suit can't award appropriate damages to individuals, since each person's out of pocket expenses will differ due to their circumstances--and class action suits are only allowable when damages are consistent across the class members.

A better solution for individuals being screwed by companies like Hertz is to take them to small claims court in your jurisdiction. Easy, cheap, you don't need (and usually can't even have) a lawyer. Argue fraud and breach of contract, have receipts if possible for expenses, and add a claim for money for lost opportunity, vacation days that got wasted, etc. I'd ask for a thousand dollars over provable expenses. Hertz will likely default and not bother to show up, you'll probably get your judgment then automatically.
 
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me_little_me

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Should they have still continued to have reservations that appeared to be available online? Of course not. That was and is indefensible. But a class action suit can't award appropriate damages to individuals, since each person's out of pocket expenses will differ due to their circumstances--and class action suits are only allowable when damages are consistent across the class members.
Not true about consistent across class members. Look at stock class actions. Each person has to list the shares they bought and sold (along with price and dates) of the stock of the sued company and what they get is their portion of their "loss" based on how many people file and what the total payout is.
 

flitcraft

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Without blundering too far into Class Action Forum territory, determining the damages in stock class actions is a simple matter of arithmetic. What a class action suit against a rental car company would have to show to get a class certified is that common questions of law and fact predominate over individual questions, and in addition that the class action procedure is the most efficient way to resolve the dispute in question. Given the high hurdles to class certification erected by the US Supreme Court, I still think that the damages questions would be fatal to class certification. The consequences of not having a car available would differ for each plaintiff--did they miss a funeral, or a wedding, or a graduation, or a family picnic, or a business meeting, or a job interview, or a non-refundable flight, or a trip through Glacier National Park, etc etc etc. Was an alternative vehicle or date offered, and why was it insufficient in this case? Those damages questions would all turn on the specific facts of each case. So, again, I am skeptical that a class action would even get certified let alone prevail.

But there is another reason that I think that small claims court would be a better route to pursue. Federal court judges as a group have become increasingly conservative and pro-business in recent years. On the other hand, state trial judges and magistrates that regularly hear small claims cases are more likely to understand that what might objectively seem like 'small potatoes' cases affect people's lives and deserve justice just as much as the big-bucks cases. Not only that, but the delay in getting a class action certified, then through discovery, then onto a trial date and a potential appeal, means that compensation, even if it comes, isn't coming for years. Small claims courts will issue the mandate for a judgment in a matter of weeks when you win.
 

Michigan Mom

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Flitcraft, thanks for posting the excellent advice as maybe others could benefit... this is an extremely stressful time which is partly why I needed a rental in the first place. Would love to stick it to them for $1000 and the sense of satisfaction but I just plain don't have the time. No, Hertz escapes cleanly. I will hate them for the rest of my life.

Sadly, a class action lawsuit is unlikely to work for this situation. In cases where the damages are relatively low--under a thousand dollars per victim--the main benefit of class actions are to prevent that particular bad behavior from occurring in the future. (Which is why I am in favor of class actions even when class members get small compensation. As the old saying goes, steal a million dollars from someone and you go to jail, steal ten dollars from a million people, and it's just business...)

Here, Hertz will claim that the pandemic caused unforeseeable problems for them--the lockdown drove down car rentals to a tiny trickle, but used car prices skyrocketed since nobody wanted to use public transit. Naturally, given a cash flow from rentals of about zero, Hertz shed its cars into the booming used car market with the intent to buy new ones when things improved. But by then, there was a computer chip shortage making many new cars unobtainable. So...this is why the rental car garages are ghost towns and only very gradually filling back up.

Should they have still continued to have reservations that appeared to be available online? Of course not. That was and is indefensible. But a class action suit can't award appropriate damages to individuals, since each person's out of pocket expenses will differ due to their circumstances--and class action suits are only allowable when damages are consistent across the class members.

A better solution for individuals being screwed by companies like Hertz is to take them to small claims court in your jurisdiction. Easy, cheap, you don't need (and usually can't even have) a lawyer. Argue fraud and breach of contract, have receipts if possible for expenses, and add a claim for money for lost opportunity, vacation days that got wasted, etc. I'd ask for a thousand dollars over provable expenses. Hertz will likely default and not bother to show up, you'll probably get your judgment then automatically.
 
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OBS

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Flitcraft, thanks for posting the excellent advice as maybe others could benefit... this is an extremely stressful time which is partly why I needed a rental in the first place. Would love to stick it to them for $1000 and the sense of satisfaction but I just plain don't have the time. No, Hertz escapes cleanly. I will hate them for the rest of my life.
Sorry about your Hertz experience, but wishing you all the best with your challenges...
 

willem

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[...] Hertz will likely default and not bother to show up, you'll probably get your judgment then automatically.
But how does one then collect? If the Hertz franchise in Tucson (for example) doesn't have a car for me, do I need to go back to Tucson for a small claims action, or can I go after the franchise in my area? If I need to go back to Tucson, and I do so, won't the Hertz representatives who didn't bother to show up just tell me to leave if I walk into the office?

Thank you for the thoughtful discussion.
 

flitcraft

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But how does one then collect? If the Hertz franchise in Tucson (for example) doesn't have a car for me, do I need to go back to Tucson for a small claims action, or can I go after the franchise in my area? If I need to go back to Tucson, and I do so, won't the Hertz representatives who didn't bother to show up just tell me to leave if I walk into the office?

Thank you for the thoughtful discussion.
You can sue in small claims court in your own jurisdiction, no matter where the car rental issue occurred, because you made your reservation while in your home jurisdiction. And, because Hertz does business in your jurisdiction (either has live offices there or accepts reservations there) Hertz cannot argue that you need to sue somewhere else. Your local small claims court will almost certainly have the information you need about how to serve the defendant--Hertz in our example. This information will likely be online these days, but may also be in the form of an information pamphlet. Because lawyers aren't allowed in most small claims courts (unless a lawyer happens to be the person suing or being sued!) the small claims courts provide plenty of advice and assistance to consumers using them.

And I wouldn't worry about Hertz refusing to do business with you again. The cost of keeping track of the folks who they screw over who get compensation as a result exceed the 'revenge' factor, I'm pretty sure. Plus, if you decide to do business with them later on, they will probably be happy to make a profit from you as with any other customer.
 
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willem

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Thank you, flitcraft. Since you answered a question I didn't ask, I worry that I didn't phrase correctly the question I meant to ask.

If someone sues Hertz in small claims court and gets a default judgement, how does that someone collect? My question about visiting a Hertz location and being told to leave was not related to renting again, it was related to collecting the judgement. Why wouldn't the same Hertz representative who declined to appear in court just tell me to go away?

And now I have another question. I live near the border between two states. The larger city in the area is in the other state. If I make a reservation in my state but the nearest small claims court is in the other state, can I sue in that other state?
 
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