Just two weeks ago, in a post about rental car upgrades, I mentioned how some car rental agencies will first try to upsell you. Then, if you decline the extra charge, they give you the higher-class car anyway, at no extra charge.
Well, it happened to me again. The scene of the crime: Dollar Rent-a-Car. San Antonio Airport. March 14.:
Agent: I see you’ve reserved a compact. We’ve got a 2-door Suzuki Forenza.
me: That’s fine, thanks.
Agent: The Forenza doesn’t have power windows, power locks, or power steering. For only $45 more for the duration of the rental, we can put you into a nice new Nissan Sentra, that’s a midsize.
me: (incredulously) The Forenza doesn’t have power steering?!!?
Agent: No, it doesn’t. We buy them with no options for $8000, that’s how we can rent them out so cheap.
me: (skeptically) But no power steering?? I’ll still take the compact, thanks.
Agent: You’re sure? It’s not much more for the Sentra!
me: I’m sure.
[type type type]
Fact Check, upon returning home:
1) The Suzuki Forenza doesn’t come in a 2-door.
2) All Suzuki Forenzas (sedans and wagons) come with power steering.
Here, have a review.
Back to the bamboozlement!
Agent: We recommend that everyone take our Loss Damage Waiver [I started tuning out for a bit here]… and we charge for loss of use, which your insurance doesn’t cover.
me: I know all about loss of use. I’m covered. I’m declining all coverage.
I love how the agent knows all about my personal auto insurance and the coverage provided by my Visa card. Nice.
After more typing, and some harrumphing by the agent, I get the contract, get on the shuttle bus, and get dropped off at my car…
A 2007 Nissan Sentra.
I looked around the lot, and how many Suzuki Forenzas — especially the mythical 2-door model without power steering — did I see? None.
On a previous post, commenter Jason wrote about attempts like this to upsell the customer when a free upgrade was pending. Jason said such practices were a fire-able offense at Alamo/National. Apparently not the case at Dollar…
In the end, I was fine receiving this upgrade, since it’s a decent ride with solid fuel economy. It’s not like they gave me a minivan.
But the outright lies that were told to me at the desk were atrocious.