Heads up on rental-car fees
NEW YORK (WABC) -- It's not just airlines that are tacking on extra fees these days. Car-rental companies are, too. Extras and taxes can actually push the rental rate up 30 to 40 percent, according to car-rental research firm Abrams Consulting. But Consumer Reports ShopSmart can help you avoid nasty surprises.
It turns out paying for a rental car is just the start. A child safety seat costs extra. So does satellite radio, emergency roadside assistance, and even the convenience of using E-ZPass to pay tolls.
Car-rental companies don't make it easy to find the charges on their websites. But they certainly do a great job of loading on the fees when you return the car.
For instance, add a driver and that could be another $13 to $30 a day. If the second driver is under 25, the fee can jump to more than $100 a day! Lose the key, and that can cost you $375.
And be especially careful about picking up the car in one place and dropping it off in another. The lowest drop-off charge Consumer Reports ShopSmart found was $50. But believe it or not, in some cases Avis charges as much as $1,000 to drop off the car at another location.
And at Avis if you return a car even 30 minutes late, you'll be charged for almost a full day.
With any car rental, be sure to fill up before you drop off to avoid paying extra-high prices for gas. Then you'll avoid another possible fee for refueling. At Budget it's $14.
Consumer Reports ShopSmart says before you leave home, be sure to check your auto-insurance policy and credit-card protection, so you'll know whether you need to sign up for car-rental insurance. And it's always a good idea to pay with a credit card. That way you can dispute inaccurate charges.
Consumer Reports has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor appearing on this Web site.
consumer reports, automobile, consumer news, sade baderinwa
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