Third party airport car rentals

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Apr 7, 2021
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With airport rental car shortages and very high weekly rental fees, l am wary of renting a car at a sometimes considerable savings through a third party source. What are some guiding suggestions and problems that might arise? Are there pitfalls that one should be aware of when it comes to dealing with big name rental companies using this type of reservation(ie-being bumped for a direct rental customer)? JC.H
 
Mar 25, 2015
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I think of the famous quote, "so you know how to make a reservation but not how to keep a reservation?"

It's not like a hotel, if you want 'car A' they might not have any even if you were able to reserve one.

Paying in advance in any form is a mistake.

As for -
"being bumped for a direct rental customer"

Yes. Much like hotels and airline 3rd party websites, employees are told to prioritize the non-3rd party reservations. We're even told to remind the guest to book direct next time.

For best results just make a reservation (not a prepaid one) on the direct site.
 
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VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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As with all purchases, ensure that you understand their terms-and-conditions fully prior to the reservation. Most important are "non-refundable" and a required deposit.

Also check reviews for the company, whether or not they are "third-party". And finally, review the following thread to protect yourself before-and-after the rental period.

 
Dec 19, 2014
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When you mean 3rd party, are you talking about sites like hotwire? or are you referring to peer-to-peer rentals like Turo.

Regardless, be sure you know who you are dealing with, their policies and protocols. Make sure they are legitimate. If someone is offering a price way below market value, I'd be more concerned about a fraudulent listing or a scam.
 

Skippy

May 30, 2019
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Agree with prior posts. Also remember that when you book "nonrefundable" rates either directly or a third party then have a substantial flight change, you are still booked to pick up your car at the originally scheduled time. If your flight gets cancelled or rebooked, in most cases your prepaid / nonrefundable car rental does not.
 

Comicman

Jul 13, 2020
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With airport rental car shortages and very high weekly rental fees, l am wary of renting a car at a sometimes considerable savings through a third party source.
Good thinking. In these times I would not want a party in between me and the car rental company.
 
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Jun 24, 2019
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Booking directly with Hertz, Avis, National etc. does not avoid problems, as many threads on this site confirm. But involving a third party OTA just adds the potential of more issues. The furthest I would wander from dealing direct is to go through Costco or AAA.

And on a rental from Budget through Costco, the car would not lock (which we discovered 50 miles from the rental location and discovered on return was a known problem, but it was an out-of-state car Budget SMF was hoping could be dumped on someone else), and the final bill was way erroneous. (Like $450 instead of $250.). And then Budget main office did not want to deal with me because I rented through Costco and wanted Costco to call them to explain why the bill was wrong. I got it resolved, but it took way more effort than necessary. (The rental location would adjust the price to about $300 if I signed off that $300 was accurate. As the manager there said, “work with me.” I declined unless working with him came with health insurance and a retirement plan.)
 
Feb 21, 2018
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Never pre-pay.
This.

I recall our trip to Sedona a couple of years ago. We flew into Phoenix and were renting a car to drive to Sedona. We headed to the Budget counter where our reservation was. We passed by the other counters, largely empty, and found a very LONG line at Budget. After waiting about 20 minutes, an agent came out and said they were having computer issues and unable to check returned cars in or get new cars out...they were 'working on it' and hoped to have things fixed. Lots of unhappy people who had prepaid and felt they had no choice but to wait.

I took my phone out (while in line) and booked a car at the Avis counter. Once confirmed, we got out of line and walked over to Avis, and 10 minutes later were on our way.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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Good thinking. In these times I would not want a party in between me and the car rental company.
On anything else, I'd be in full agreement. But renting a vehicle through Costco is a very good plan. They book thousands of vehicles every day, the companies don't mess with you with bogus charges, and there's always a nice discount. I've used them for years. Even if I never shopped there, I'd still keep my membership just for this very valuable perk. For international rentals, I always use AutoEurope. You do prepay, but can change or cancel easily and a refund is automatically issued. I'd never use an online booking service, no matter how low a price they offered.
 

Sam

Jan 22, 2015
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Whenever I go somewhere, I ask myself is it worth it to rent a car (no matter what the cost is)

* Depending on how many days I need it for, it's sometimes better to get around using rideshare.
* Is it feasible for me to rent a car at an offsite location, that would save me money, especially if I don't need the car every day.

I never trust 3rd party sites for car rental, hotel or airplane reservations. If there is a problem, most companies will not deal directly with you, but with your travel agent, the OTA. And the OTA is often difficult to get ahold of and deal with
 
Jan 6, 2021
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Houston, TX
I never trust 3rd party sites for car rental, hotel or airplane reservations. If there is a problem, most companies will not deal directly with you, but with your travel agent, the OTA. And the OTA is often difficult to get ahold of and deal with
I agree with you and the other posters on here. The only exception I've made is for American Express Travel--I have booked rental cars with them domestically and internationally. In fact, on my last international trip, the rental car company charged me $250 more than the Amex Travel quote. When I spoke to Amex Travel, they immediately credited my account for the difference.

EDIT: I should add that I pay a premium for an increased level of service and availability via the Platinum card. I don't know if their level of service is similar for all of their card products.
 
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Apr 7, 2021
2
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74
Booking directly with Hertz, Avis, National etc. does not avoid problems, as many threads on this site confirm. But involving a third party OTA just adds the potential of more issues. The furthest I would wander from dealing direct is to go through Costco or AAA.

And on a rental from Budget through Costco, the car would not lock (which we discovered 50 miles from the rental location and discovered on return was a known problem, but it was an out-of-state car Budget SMF was hoping could be dumped on someone else), and the final bill was way erroneous. (Like $450 instead of $250.). And then Budget main office did not want to deal with me because I rented through Costco and wanted Costco to call them to explain why the bill was wrong. I got it resolved, but it took way more effort than necessary. (The rental location would adjust the price to about $300 if I signed off that $300 was accurate. As the manager there said, “work with me.” I declined unless working with him came with health insurance and a retirement plan.)
All replies were very helpful, but l liked yours the best, especially the the last sentence!! Hit the comedy circuit...
 
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