I traveled to Frankfurt Germany last week and rented a car from the local Dollar franchise. I got a good rate from HotWire.com, the popular web travel site. They are a booking agent for major airlines and car rental agencies. For a simple booking, its difficult to arrange personal service through HotWire, but as travel partners go, they are among the best. And so, I booked my rental online, fully recognizing that I might get stuck with a Frankfurt drug tax or perhaps in this case, a wiener-schnitzel tax. But I was woefully unprepared for what happened. I was socked with a very unique fee. One that doubled amount in the printed contract and confirmed by the travel agent!
Dollar franchisee Rent a Terstappen
Desk clerk Beatrice Lindholm-Dagci
HotWire itinerary 4523744713
Contract offer $151. [continued below]....
Customer charge $315.38 ?!!
* Revised from original offer of $182.24 for 6 days
You wont believe the pretense on which Rent a Terstappen doubled my rental contract cost. Even after 6,000 kilometers and 6 days since my return to America, I still cant believe the loony reason that the counter agent gave me (at first, with a straight face). More shocking, I sensed that she didnt believe it either. She whispered for me to visit Dollar's competitors a different rental counter, because, clearly, she gets a lot of push back from outraged customers.
I wont for it! I landed during Germanys busiest travel week. With a staggered school vacation schedule, all schools were on holiday last week. Five other rental companies offered to match the rate that I was promised (without the farcical add-on), but none of them had vehicles for rent anywhere near the airport. They were all fully booked no matter what I paid.
o Does Dollar Rental know of the massive deception foisted on their clients by Rent a Terstappen? (the local Dollar franchisee at the Frankfurt airport).
o Does Rent a Terstappen force desk clerks to pretend they dont see what agents at every other rental counter already knows? Beatrice Lindholm-Dagci sees the deception of which she is forced to participate. She must hoodwink customers and then blame the fiasco on HotWire and other referring agents.
o Does Hertz know that the reporting chain at Dollar is either intentionally deceptive or egregiously deficient. I certainly aim to talk with Hertz if this is not settled by the end of this wee.
Oh yes! About reason for the doubling of my rental charge: Ms. Linholm-Dagci explained that I must use a Gold-branded MasterCard to complete the transaction, because she had no way of verifying insurance coverage for any other form of payment. I had with me a Platinum American Express, a Platinum Visa Card and a Business Premium MasterCard. All of them carried rental insurance. I offered her a $1500 deposit, which she processed!! I also offered proof of my insurance coverage through Liberty Mutual with a very clear stipulation of full vehicle replacement value, even when driving in a foreign country. I gave her the international phone number for Liberty Mutuals 24 hour claims service (Yes! I came prepared).
She didnt care. It had to be a Gold MasterCard. Not Premium, Not American Express Platinum, Not Chrome, Not Visa, Not the 7 other cards whose logos that they display at the counter. Only a Gold MasterCard.