On 7/19/2006 I rented a vehicle from Advantage Rent-A-Car located at Denver International Airport. During the check-in process I was asked by the employee if I wanted "complete collision coverage." I responded "No," stating my regular car insurance provides coverage and that I was not interested. The employee then stated, "I suggest you purchase some sort of coverage for the vehicle," to which I again responded "No thank you, my car insurance covers it."
The employee then proceeded to print my receipt and ask me to initial the highlighted areas. I asked what the highlighted areas represented and was told they were "standard rental charges." Not anticipating the huge rip-off I was about to incur and assuming Advantage Rent-A-Car was an honest company employing equally honest staff, I initialed the receipt, signed the bottom and left.
A few hours later, as I settled in to my vacation spot, I pulled out my receipt to put it in a safe place in the vehicle and reviewed it briefly. I was shocked to realize that two of the "standard rental charges" were not only not "standard" but also were options I had declined. One being $79.96 for LDW (collision insurance) and the other being $8.00 for Highway Helper (an option that was never even mentioned to me by the employee who handled my rental).
I immediately contacted the location from which I rented the vehicle to discuss what had happened. Initially I got a customer service rep on the line and was told there was nothing he could do. I then requested to speak to the manager to whom I explained the situation stating that the employee had not only failed to ask if I had wanted one of the options, but had also charged me for an option I explicitly stated I did not want and then proceeded to lie to me when I asked what I was initialing. The manager acknowledged that this was indeed what happened and that the employee had "failed to properly disclose the contract" and then proceeded to inform me that since I had initialed the receipt and the receipt acts as a contract there was nothing she could do.
I further inquired that what she was actually telling me was that her "employee had failed to fully and accurately disclose a legally binding document and that because of this, I was now out nearly $100?" The manager simply said, "Yes."
She then suggested that the only way to remedy the situation was to return to an Advantage Rent-A-Car location and cancel the contract in person. I explained to her that this was not an option as I was now at least 3 hours away from the nearest Advantage store. She had no response, offered no further discussion and the conversation ended with Advantage Rent-A-Car pocketing nearly $100 based on a "contract" that was not disclosed accurately or legally.
I find these acts and the failure of management to respond to be deplorable and am disappointed that a company would chose to conduct itself in an unethical and illegal manner to the benefit of itself and the loss of its customers. I hope this is not how Advantage continues to conduct business, however I will not risk finding out again as I will never rent with Advantage again.
I have been unable to contact Advantage other than via the aforementioned phone calls as I have been unable to locate an e-mail for customer service on their web-site. I welcome contact from the company in an effort to resolve this situation.