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Beware the Online Car Rental Comparison site

Beware the Online Car Rental Comparison site

There is universally, a perception that renting a car is best done online through rental comparison websites.

Simply pick your location, dates and times and specify your age bracket and you will immediately see a range of vehicles for you to choose from; presented in price order from several competing rental companies so that you can go straight to the one that suits you best without wasting time on other rental companies. You are promised (even guaranteed) that by going online with the comparison company that you chose, you will get the lowest price in your chosen city, state or even country.

But, of course it’s a myth!

When you selected one price offer from the many that were presented to you, were you aware whether your chosen company had a higher or lower surcharge if you wanted to have more than one authorised driver?

Were you aware whether the charge they make if you want GPS navigation is higher or lower than others would offer?

Were you aware whether the child safety seat that you are going to have to pay perhaps $15 per day, might have been supplied free of charge by one of the other rental companies in the list presented to you?

Were you aware of the potentially significant price differences in your loss limitation arrangements (however they might be called) on offer from the various companies that you bypassed because of initial price?

So, depending on what additional factors you wished to introduce, you might have ended up with the lowest price, or you might have ended up with the highest price – only, you don’t know about that, do you?

But they told you that you have a lowest price guarantee!

When you read the fine print, you will find that the guarantee is that you will not find a lower “base” price from any other source for a car from the rental companies that they represent – it is not a guarantee that the total rental cost is the best value that you could have got, not even from their own website. They are effectively saying that the initial price from XYZ rental company is cheaper than the price from that company from any other website (even the company’s own site), in the same manner as hotel room price comparisons work.

Who were the rental companies that were presented to you?

Yes, they are the companies that have agreed to pay commissions to the comparison company on your booking and have the facility to electronically link with the comparison company.

They are not the entire local market!

How many company choices were on the website – 6, 10, 12, 15?

How many rental companies are in the area – 50, 60, 70?

We haven’t even begun to tell you about the vast subterranean reefs that could lurk under the surface of rental terms and conditions – if you think that prices can vary spectacularly, keep your eye out for our future posts exposing the dangers of thinking that all rental contracts are the same.

Until then, please be aware that the odds are that unless you are the sole driver and you don’t want any options, including liability reduction, you haven’t got the cheapest price that you could have had from the same rental comparison site if they had bothered to give you a price comparison based on the complete rental package that you want, rather than just part of the rental package.


Posted By Darryl

Updated : 18th March 2024 | Words : 580 | Views : 4634

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