Advantage Rent a Car tricked me into signing up for an option they knew I didn't want, and I believe they make a habit of it, at least at their Sarasota, FL Airport location, and maybe company-wide.
When I was picking up a rental there recently, the rep at the counter started going through the optional add-ons. I declined a few, then asked him to skip over the rest, since I wouldn't be wanting any of them. He said he was required to go through all of them, so I asked him to make it as quick as he could, since my answer to all of them would stay 'no.'
He next had me initial in several places on the contract, saying it was to acknowledge that I was declining all the options. That's true for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th option in the Optional Products section. But, for the 4th, initialing it actually ACCEPTS it. Too bad I didn't realize that at the time. [continued below]....
..... I believed the rep that I was declining everything, and initialed them all, as well as the inflated total. Definitely my own mistake, but one I think they wanted me to make.
(Incidentally -- that 4th one I accidentally accepted? Roadside protection. Which I already had via both my AMEX card and AAA. So, it was a third redundant level of roadside protection that I never would have accepted on purpose.)
When I returned the car, I finally noticed and questioned the up-charge. The representative on the lot stated that it was the roadside protection, and that I should ask about it inside at the counter, because "it's been sneaking onto a lot of these contracts lately." At the counter, I was told too bad, I'd have to pay what I signed.
I had signed, so I'm not trying to say this is fraud. But I also don't think it's customer-friendly. Based on the lot rep's statement that it's been happening a lot, I think it's deliberate and frequent, at least at this location. I also think it may go wider than just this one location, since the contract is set up to bury one 'initial to accept' within a column of 'initial to decline' options.
I emailed Advantage and received what looks like a form letter apology and a $25 discount if I rent again from them within the year (nope!). There was no indication that they intend to stop being sneaky, so watch out if you rent here. Or better yet, express your disapproval by not renting here.