Car Rental Beware

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By paulb3

Car Rental Beware

We recently returned from Cancun, Mx. and while we were there for our time share week we rented a car from Hertz at the Cancun Airport. First problem was they tried to switch the car from what was ordered on our internet reservation. Then they tried to sell us the insurance. The car rental for a week was cheap, like $10 per day, but the insurance was $40 per day. What what you sign. They presented a form that was so very had to read and ask you to initial all the spots on one side and sign at the bottom. Well one of those check marks on the side is to accept their insurance. BEWARE!!!!!!

Avatar for paulb3 paulb3

11 years ago
Nov 17, 2006

By nancyr79

I am not surprised at your experience, but there is a down side to not taking insurance. When we go to Mexico( Puerto Vallarta or Los Cabos) we pick the cheapest car and get the best insurance. To be safe, I just plan on spending $400 plus on the car for a week. In Mexico US car insurance (including the credit card rental car insurance) is not accepted. If you get in an accident you have to pay the charges up front and then try to get reimbursed. I have heard people say that if you don't have Mexican insurance they try to charge you for small dings to the car ( and most Mexican rental cars have lots of small dings!) I always make sure to look the car over carefully and make sure they write the existing small damage down.

Avatar for nancyr79 nancyr79

11 years ago
Nov 18, 2006

By john1671

nancyr79 wrote:
I am not surprised at your experience, but there is a down side to not taking insurance. When we go to Mexico( Puerto Vallarta or Los Cabos) we pick the cheapest car and get the best insurance. To be safe, I just plan on spending $400 plus on the car for a week. In Mexico US car insurance (including the credit card rental car insurance) is not accepted. If you get in an accident you have to pay the charges up front and then try to get reimbursed. I have heard people say that if you don't have Mexican insurance they try to charge you for small dings to the car ( and most Mexican rental cars have lots of small dings!) I always make sure to look the car over carefully and make sure they write the existing small damage down.

Call American Express. For $20 a rental (flat fee) they act as Primary insurer and Mexico is NOT on the list of excluded countries. This is an additional benefit you must sign up for, not part of the standard card insurance coverage.

Avatar for john1671 john1671

11 years ago
Nov 29, 2006

By robertorvaleriem

I had the same experience in Mazatlan this fall. Our rental rate was great but my US insurance would not cover me in Mexico. Alamo wanted $27 USD a day for Mexican insurance OR I could go to a timeshare presentation and insurance would be free. I did the timeshare thing which was terrible and the insurance still cost an additional $100 at check in. We like Mexico but the constant rip off and timeshare naging is causing us to look elsewhere. Mexico tourism had better crack down or their already poor reputation will get so bad nobody will go there.

Avatar for robertorvaleriem robertorvaleriem

11 years ago
Nov 29, 2006

By jayjay

I'm curious, when you took them up on the timeshare presentation in exchange for Mexican car insurance, did they draw up an insurance policy and have you sign it? It looks to me like you still paid for insurance if you had to fork over an additional $100.

This sounds like a total rip-off. I agree with you, Mexico tourism had better shape up or their American tourists will stop going there. There also seems to be (some) lies and deceit concerning sales of timeshares in Mexico that I've been seeing a lot lately (re: many Mexican timeshare salespeople are telling buyers that there are NO days allotted for rescission, or backing out, which is a total lie).

robertorvaleriem wrote:
I had the same experience in Mazatlan this fall. Our rental rate was great but my US insurance would not cover me in Mexico. Alamo wanted $27 USD a day for Mexican insurance OR I could go to a timeshare presentation and insurance would be free. I did the timeshare thing which was terrible and the insurance still cost an additional $100 at check in. We like Mexico but the constant rip off and timeshare naging is causing us to look elsewhere. Mexico tourism had better crack down or their already poor reputation will get so bad nobody will go there.

Avatar for jayjay jayjay

11 years ago
Nov 30, 2006

By bryanw21

I have rented cars in Mexico and other countries many times. I have rented cars in the U.S. and driven to Mexico probably 100 times or more.

I rented a car from the same Hertz office while in Cancun as well. In summary, many countries require you to purchase insurance, or they will not rent to you. It may either be their policy, or some obscure law aimed at fleecing visitors to Mexico. As another poster said, it is better to get the insurance and not deal with an unfair system that you will ultimately lose on. Don't ever expect to get the same rental car deals that you would find in, say Orlando. Just accept the fact that renting a car outside of the U.S. is going to cost a lot more. Sure, we all know that purchasing additional insurance from a car rental company is where they really make their money, just like buying an extended warranty on an appliance. The difference is that there are not as many consumer protection laws to prevent the abuse.

If I am not mistaken, the Hertz in Cancun is a franchise, and if you placed your reservation directly with them, your contract was made in a foreign country. Your credit card protection may not apply. My recommendation ALWAYS is to place the rental with the U.S. Corporate office of the rental company. That way if there is a dispute, you have a better chance of claiming that the contract was created in the U.S. Worst case scenario would be that you allow them to charge your card with the damages, and then mount a dispute with the U.S. office. If you rented directly from the franchise, you may not be able to do this.

I have heard of the rental car companies trying to confiscate your passport when there is a damage dispute. Don't ever give it to them, because you have a hard time getting back home.

I communicated with a person who hit a tope at about 60 mph in the Yucatan and tore off the oil pan. They were told that their insurance purchased when they rented would cover it, but later they were charged $1500 for a damage bill. Since it was a rental that was made through the corporate office, eventually they didn't have to pay, and had the charge reversed. From what I recall, the credit card company backed off, and didn't want to help, claiming that the damage and claim was originated in a foreign country.

Ironically, while in Merida, our car was backed into in a hotel parking lot. The plastic bumper was dented up. I resigned myself to just pay what they were asking (after haggling as much as possible), but after a few days in the hot sun, the dent popped out, and we returned the car with a bunch of dust and mud, hiding any scratches left over from the dent. We were lucky.

Driving a U.S. rented car into Mexico will let the U.S. car rental company rip you off for Mex. insurance. You cannot buy a policy from a local Mex. insurance co. like GNP for $13/day, so you either pay $25/day or don't rent. If you have your own car, you must also have Mex. ins in addition to your U.S. policy or you run the risk of having everything you have confiscated because of a fender bender, and a bunch of payoff money to get it returned. I have had employees have this happen. We even had to pay off the police to write the report in favor of the employee. I have also had employees have their car impounded at the border for bringing in items that were not declared to the Mex. border guards. Longest impound was 8 weeks, loss of the undeclared items and about $2800 in fees.

Just remember, you are not in the U.S. when you enter into these type of contracts, and if possible do your homework before arriving. I believe Hertz corp. will help you wade through the insurance confusion before you arrive, rather than standing there having a guy try to fast talk you into the full coverage for $40/day.

The U.S. car rental companies do the same thing when you rent. They always try to upsell you to a bigger car, scare tactics about being responsible for damages if you don't buy the $18/day insurance. It really isn't much different here, other than you know your rights.

Avatar for bryanw21 bryanw21

11 years ago
Nov 30, 2006

By paulb3

bryanw21 wrote:
I have rented cars in Mexico and other countries many times. I have rented cars in the U.S. and driven to Mexico probably 100 times or more.

I rented a car from the same Hertz office while in Cancun as well. In summary, many countries require you to purchase insurance, or they will not rent to you. It may either be their policy, or some obscure law aimed at fleecing visitors to Mexico. As another poster said, it is better to get the insurance and not deal with an unfair system that you will ultimately lose on. Don't ever expect to get the same rental car deals that you would find in, say Orlando. Just accept the fact that renting a car outside of the U.S. is going to cost a lot more. Sure, we all know that purchasing additional insurance from a car rental company is where they really make their money, just like buying an extended warranty on an appliance. The difference is that there are not as many consumer protection laws to prevent the abuse.

If I am not mistaken, the Hertz in Cancun is a franchise, and if you placed your reservation directly with them, your contract was made in a foreign country. Your credit card protection may not apply. My recommendation ALWAYS is to place the rental with the U.S. Corporate office of the rental company. That way if there is a dispute, you have a better chance of claiming that the contract was created in the U.S. Worst case scenario would be that you allow them to charge your card with the damages, and then mount a dispute with the U.S. office. If you rented directly from the franchise, you may not be able to do this.

I have heard of the rental car companies trying to confiscate your passport when there is a damage dispute. Don't ever give it to them, because you have a hard time getting back home.

I communicated with a person who hit a tope at about 60 mph in the Yucatan and tore off the oil pan. They were told that their insurance purchased when they rented would cover it, but later they were charged $1500 for a damage bill. Since it was a rental that was made through the corporate office, eventually they didn't have to pay, and had the charge reversed. From what I recall, the credit card company backed off, and didn't want to help, claiming that the damage and claim was originated in a foreign country.

Ironically, while in Merida, our car was backed into in a hotel parking lot. The plastic bumper was dented up. I resigned myself to just pay what they were asking (after haggling as much as possible), but after a few days in the hot sun, the dent popped out, and we returned the car with a bunch of dust and mud, hiding any scratches left over from the dent. We were lucky.

Driving a U.S. rented car into Mexico will let the U.S. car rental company rip you off for Mex. insurance. You cannot buy a policy from a local Mex. insurance co. like GNP for $13/day, so you either pay $25/day or don't rent. If you have your own car, you must also have Mex. ins in addition to your U.S. policy or you run the risk of having everything you have confiscated because of a fender bender, and a bunch of payoff money to get it returned. I have had employees have this happen. We even had to pay off the police to write the report in favor of the employee. I have also had employees have their car impounded at the border for bringing in items that were not declared to the Mex. border guards. Longest impound was 8 weeks, loss of the undeclared items and about $2800 in fees.

Just remember, you are not in the U.S. when you enter into these type of contracts, and if possible do your homework before arriving. I believe Hertz corp. will help you wade through the insurance confusion before you arrive, rather than standing there having a guy try to fast talk you into the full coverage for $40/day.

The U.S. car rental companies do the same thing when you rent. They always try to upsell you to a bigger car, scare tactics about being responsible for damages if you don't buy the $18/day insurance. It really isn't much different here, other than you know your rights.

Hey all, Thanks for the great imput. Has anyone ever gotten Mexican Insurance from like AAA and used that in Mexico for a rental car. I haven't looked up their policy but it just came to me that they do sell insurance for Mexico. Thanks again for all the input. Paul

Avatar for paulb3 paulb3

11 years ago
Dec 01, 2006

By bryanw21

Thanks for the great imput. Has anyone ever gotten Mexican Insurance from like AAA and used that in Mexico for a rental car. I haven't looked up their policy but it just came to me that they do sell insurance for Mexico. Thanks again for all the input. Paul

Yes, I've gotten Mexican Ins. from AAA, but it was for a personal vehicle going into Mexico. It was easily double the cost of getting it from a local Mexican Ins. broker.

I do not believe this insurance will apply to a rental car rented in Mexico. You are subject to similar restrictions as you would with a U.S. rental car going into Mexico: either you purchase their insurance or you don't rent. I had an annual policy for the gringo mexican insurance (Mexican Nationals do not need this insurance) and could not get any of the U.S. rental companies to accept it. I still had to purchase their own Mex. Insurance.

BTW, In the U.S., full coverage rental car insurance purchased from the rent-a-car companies do work. I had someone total a brand new rental. We left it on the side of the road with instructions on where to pick it up, and rented another car. Total out of pocket cost for the wrecked car was one dollar. I have never tested the Mexican version of this coverage though.

Avatar for bryanw21 bryanw21

11 years ago
Dec 01, 2006

By robertorvaleriem

jayjay I'm curious, when you took them up on the timeshare presentation in exchange for Mexican car insurance, did they draw up an insurance policy and have you sign it? It looks to me like you still paid for insurance if you had to fork over an additional $100.

They wrote up the insurance as part of the rental agreement and when I returned the car they gave me the choice of $250 credit or cash. The $250 was supposed to be the cost of insurance but they found another small print item that cost the additional $100. Since I did not have an accident I assume the insurance would have been good if I had one. Well thats not totally true. I was hit and knocked down by a car when walking in the old town but with only a bruise I chose not to call the Policia much to the relief of the driver who hit me.

In retrospect on our next visit I think we will not rent a car relying instead on taxi's and tour companies. Bob

Avatar for robertorvaleriem robertorvaleriem

11 years ago
Dec 02, 2006

By nancyr79

To: bryanw21

Your comments are extremely helpful. I am the person that posted a few days ago about always taking the insurance. When you say always use the Rental Car Company Corporate office to arrange for car rental, do you mean reserving the car through their online website--or doing something else?

Last edit by nancyr79 on Feb 08, 2007 04:55 PM.

Avatar for nancyr79 nancyr79

11 years ago
Feb 08, 2007

By bryanw21

nancyr79 wrote:
To: bryanw21

Your comments are extremely helpful. I am the person that posted a few days ago about always taking the insurance. When you say always use the Rental Car Company Corporate office to arrange for car rental, do you mean reserving the car through their online website--or doing something else?

Yes, I am referring to using the corporate booking service rather than showing up at the counter after arriving in Cancun. Even though you sign the papers in Mexico, you can argue that you made the reservation in the U.S. with a U.S. company, so U.S. laws will apply (especially if you reserved with a U.S. credit card). This is one step to eliminate the defense from the rental company that your contract was made outside of the U.S. by a "franchisee who we cannot control"

You can also ask for the exact terms and conditions for the non-US based rental ahead of time. This all goes toward proving that the contract was entered in the U.S. under U.S. law, not mexican Law.

I've actually disputed some charges (not a car rental deal) where the contract claimed that prior to leaving Mexico, all obligations will be settled (this was a damage to equipment claim). We returned and had a charge show up in the bill. If the contract wasn't entered into in the US prior to my arrival, we would have had more of a fight.

As a matter of fact, I am now looking for a rental for Cancun this coming May. I will only go through the corporate office to book the rental.

I've never had any problems, but try to plan for the worst.

Avatar for bryanw21 bryanw21

11 years ago
Feb 08, 2007

By denise1130

I debated whether to rent a car in Cancun for our Playa del Carmen trip. Lots of people on the travel forums I frequent mentioned the steep, extra insurance.

Most of us are used to renting cars in the U.S. (or Canada) where we are from. Our car insurance covers us there, but not in a foreign country like Mexico. I was aware of the steep fees.

I decided against renting for a few reasons. First, both my husband and I would like to enjoy a few cocktails. After all, we would be on vacation.

Second, the steep cost of the extra insurance.

Third, we found out that the Riviera Maya section of Mexico has wonderful, inexpensive public transportation.

Be knowledgable and weigh your options and make the best choice for yourselves.

Avatar for denise1130 denise1130

10 years ago
Feb 27, 2007

By k344

Purchased AMEX and though it covers you & your passenger's medical and the vehicle damage, it does NOT cover liability. Being in the Dominican Republic (DR), it cost us $600 to get out of the country + 500 pesos to get the police to write a report period (let alone in our favor)...

Even though it was the other driver's fault, they were going to sue me for their damages since their car insurance sucked a$$ and they wanted money from someone.

Amex does not have local representatives. You have to call the US office and get them to work with you abroad. Not good. Also, their "404-call us collect" phone # was unreachable from the DR. The result? A $100.31 charge to my credit card to pay for the 30 minute phone call to AMex - who after being on hold, only told me that they couldn't help me out with the "liability" portion of the claim.

Finally, the National Rental Car lawyer showed up and helped us draft a document with at the court house of "justice" along with their attorney to settle the case for $600. If we didn't do that, we were looking at being required to come back 2 weeks later for "court". No way!

LESSON: BUY the car rental insurance and make sure you purchase the liability as well if you're going to rent a car in South American / Carribean countries. The local car rental company is not looking to pay anything out of their pocket, so they will hanlde the situation so they don't have to. Their unwillingless to pay claims is your best defense / ally in situations like this.

p.s. it's cheap to renta car & driver down there - esp. in off seasons. You can hire one for like $60 a day!

Good luck!

Avatar for k344 k344

10 years ago
Apr 05, 2007

By donaldd67

SOME Auto Rental Agencies are as 'crooked' as some TimeShare Agengies This is a WARNING to Anyone who does Not Buy THEIR Insuranc Firstly: Make a THOROUGH Inspection of the ENTIRE Vehicle and make Notes (comments) on the Original Form... KEEP your Copy! ESPECIALLY notice 'dings' that are normally made by 'others' doors bumping against yours. AND, ALL MARKS on BOTH BUMPERS...This 'omission' cost our daughter $450 (partly because the Agent of her Personal Vehicle Insurance agreed on the telephone that she WAS covered.... later the agent denied it). Most Important, your Initial Inspection is conducted the the VERY BEST LIGHTING Conditions ... NOT in twilight or raining, etc. FINALLY, be WITH the person who inspects your vehicle upon return of the vehicle or have someone STAY with it until it has been 'cleared'.

Avatar for donaldd67 donaldd67

9 years ago
Sep 23, 2008

By williamg268

I reserved a vehicle for pick up December 25th in Ft lauderdale. Receved confirmation. On December 22nd I received a courtesy email reminder that my car will be waiting for pick up. The next day 12/23 I receved an email confirming my request to cancel my reservation. I never cancelled my reservation.. -------------- george

Last edit by marty8084 on Jan 01, 2009 02:21 AM.

Avatar for williamg268 williamg268

9 years ago
Dec 31, 2008

Message deleted.

Avatar for wenz3 wenz3

9 years ago
Feb 25, 2009

By chrisf208

London Airport Taxi Cab Transfer Service

Hello,

You could try Hummingbird Cars http://www.airportransfers.net/ They are very proffesional and good at their service

They also provide 5 % discount on all retun journeys

Thanks

Chris

Avatar for chrisf208 chrisf208

8 years ago
Aug 13, 2009

Message deleted.

Last edit by lawlietl on Nov 03, 2009 06:06 PM.

Avatar for lawlietl lawlietl

8 years ago
Nov 03, 2009

By garym262

Car Rental Beware

I wouldn't drive in Mexico on a bet. If you're in a wreck and someone is injured, the costs of treatment are not known. If they let you out of the country, their chance of squeezing money out of you is slim to none. So they might just keep you there in jail. Buses are cheap, taxis are cheap, and you can usually hire somebody to drive you places.

Avatar for garym262 garym262

8 years ago
Nov 20, 2009

By sbc

DO NOT RENT FROM ALAMO CANCUN AIRPORT, THEY ARE THEIVES. They tried to steal over 1,000$ USD from my credit card after I had already returned the US. I had paid for and returned the car in perfect shape, closed my account and returned home. A mysterious charge for over $1,000 USD appeared on my credit card two weeks later, for which they said they had no record of. Yet the charge went through while they gave me the run around for two weeks. It was only by disputing it through my bank the money was returned, but with no help from Alamo. Someone was obviously trying to steal my money, thats why they had "no record of it" but did nothing even after I prooved the charge was there.

Avatar for sbc sbc

7 years ago
Aug 27, 2010

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