Here we look at the rental agreement signed when you arrive at the desk of the rental company. The pre-paid rental voucher we provide is not a rental agreement. The voucher is proof that you have pre-paid the costs of the hire of the car, plus insurances required by law to drive in the US or Canada.
Confusion Can Cause Customer Service Issues
The majority of customer service issues are created by two common oversights. Failing to read the rental agreement before signing, or failing to fully understand the listed charges. The usual reason given for this, is the customer has just got off a long flight and is tired.
Whilst this is completely understandable – I fly to the USA myself and know the feeling well – rental companies have a quick and indisputable answer to this. If you are too tired to properly read the rental agreement, you are too tired to be driving! This is hard to reason against.
If, for any reason you do not view the agreement, in its entirety, before signing – you must take the time to look it over before you leave the desk.
5 Tips on what to watch out for as you sign the rental agreement
Our tips below will help you sign the rental agreement whilst avoiding any charges.
- Do not assume a polite refusal of upgrade/personal accident insurance/roadside assistance means it won’t show on the rental agreement. Always check again before you sign.
- Go slowly. A small screen presents the rental agreement over several pages. Keep your wits about you for the duration of this process.
- Look for the zero’s. We cannot be precise about the layout of the rental agreement as each company uses a different format. You want to see ‘included’ or 0.00 as a cost. You may see ‘Included’ next to items such as Collision Damage Waiver/Loss Damage Waiver, unlimited mileage, tire/battery fee, state surcharge and vehicle licence fee. These items may show a cost estimate of 0.00.
- Keep vigilant! We do not want to see Personal Accident Insurance, Emergency Sickness Plan or Enhanced Roadside Assistance – with either ‘Accepted’ or a cost – such as 6.95/day – unless you specifically want these additional items. You may see something called Non-Pkg Items with charges. You will be charged for any cost shown on the agreement.
- And finally. You will initial/sign next to Estimated Charges. If this line/box does not state 0.00 – you will be charged, so you must ask the desk clerk to explain the charge, and if you are not happy with the explanation, do not sign the agreement. Your options at this point are to demand to speak to the manager, or to phone the emergency number on the voucher that is provided expressly for problems with collection.
Check again in the morning
It is always worth double checking your agreement in the morning when you have had a good nights sleep to make sure that you didn’t miss anything. Alamo offer a 24 hour guarantee. Alamo removes any option taken in the last 24 hours, just request this at the collection location.
Dollar, Thrifty and Hertz will remove any unwanted add on items within 72 hours of collection. You must attend a Dollar, Thrifty or Hertz location and sign a new rental contract.
The other companies don’t offer the same guarantee. However, we believe that if you can get to your nearest location within 24 hours you should be able to ask to have the option removed, even if you don’t manage to get a refund of those 24 hours.
Signing the rental agreement ends our responsibility to provide you with a voucher for presentation. The contract is now directly between you, the renter, and the rental company. As a contract, the rental agreement is a legally binding document. You sign your acceptance of the terms and conditions of the agreement, usually in several places. As with any contract, it is your responsibility to read, the agreement and ensure it is satisfactory to you before you sign.
If you would like to discuss any concerns about the rental agreement before your travel, please contact us.