Thursday, February 23, 2006

Fine Print

I definitely feel for this guy, who rented a car from Enterprise to drive from Seattle to LA and got hit with a $1000 penalty for not driving the car back to Seattle. The rental contract did state that the car had to be returned to the same place where it was picked up and I thought that it was common knowledge that you are almost never allowed to do one-way car rentals, but I still feel for this guy. Assuming he's telling the truth, nearly every employee in the Seattle office knew that he was doing a one-way road trip to LA, but no one even bothered to mention that it was not allowed. I suppose it is possible that everyone in the Seattle office was new and unaware of this policy and/or too stupid to know that it's not physically possible to drive from LA to Seattle in one day, but doubt it.

Even though I've never gotten hosed by Enterprise, I've never enjoyed renting cars from them either. I've rented cars from them in at least three states (Texas, New York, and Nevada) and their employees have always seemed to rub me the wrong way. Almost all of them have had a stereotypical used-car salesman kind of personality. The other thing that really bugs me about Enterprise is that whole "we'll pick you up" tagline they've had in their advertisements for years. They have only picked me up once, and it was because the place I was being picked up from was about a mile from their facility. Basically, they'll only pick you up if you're within walking distance of their nearest office.

For future reference, the only rental car company that has ever let me do a one-way rental is Hertz. I've also heard that a lot of companies will let you do one-way rentals if they need to move vehicles from one geographic region to another. For example, rental car companies generally need to move vehicles down south during the winter and back up north in the spring time, so if you're traveling in those directions at that time of year, you may be able to snag a one-way trip.


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