Do small independent car rental agencies provide a better overall experience?

You’d better believe it! I can’t tell you how pleased I’ve been since I dumped National Car Rental and the other “big boys” and started using local agencies no matter where I am. They are usually delighted to have your business and provide superior service and vehicles that are better maintained and cleaned. That’s been my experience, and this article supports my findings. Here’s the first couple of paragraphs – follow the above link for a worthwhile read…

There are many reasons why you should choose an independent agency over one of the big names in the car rental business. You are more likely to be satisfied with you car rental when you rent from a locally owned and operated company, than from one of the rental giants. This is because with the smaller companies you are going to receive better service and better prices; it is their goal to make you happy. With a major agency, you run the risk of being over charged, and becoming one of their many ‘face-less’ customers.

Top 5 Reasons To Rent From An Independent Agency

  • Flexible Rates
  • Flexible Regulations
  • Cash Deposits
  • Better Customer Service
  • Better Vehicle Selection
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    Yet another “No car available even though it was reserved” story from National Car Rental at Orlando, Florida.

    What is it with the Orlando location? What is it about the word “Reserved” that National doesn’t understand? It should be very simple – but apparently it is very difficult…

    Yet another Florida vacation ruined.

    One of our readers let us know of a good ending to a theft by a National Car Rental employee at the airport in Orlando, Florida. Of course, it took hours on the phone with National’s corporate office – but it was worth it…

    The Theft:

    We turned in our car rental at Orlando Airport and accidently left my kids’ Game boy case (containing their game boys and games in the car) we realized it not even 10 minutes later and Dh ran back. They said the car was taken away and called down to where the cars are taken, said they had it and would bring it back ASAP.We waited and waited, they said someone was bringing it back and how it happens all then time blah, blah…went on about how they always return the stuff etc…

    20 minutes, Rebecca (the person supposedly on route with them) still didn’t return, I’m frantic because it’s getting close to our flight time. We stayed as long as we could and they assured us over and over they would mail the case back to us, they pride themselves in returning stuf…..blah, blah.

    Well today we called and guess what? Oh they don’t know what we’re talking about, the people that supposedly helped us and promised it would be returned are claiming they don’t know a thing.

    I’m so upset, I teach my kids to always turn things in we find and that it’s never finders keepers and now someone’s keeping their stuff. I’m so mad I can’t see straight!

    The happy ending to this story is that the customer contacted National Car Rental’s head office, where after several weeks, she was informed that National Car Rental would not only replace the stolen Game Boy and other items – they also cancelled the entire car rental charge.

    Moral of the story – don’t take “no” for an answer from National Car Rental.

    Original post here.

    National Car Rental employees have access to your personal information – your address, credit card number, the hotel where you are staying and that you are away from your home and when you are returning.

    Despite all that, many National Car Rental locations don’t perform even basic background checks on potential employees. Of course, a thief is a thief and doesn’t care if the victim is their own employer or a customer.

    Three years ago, police in Warwick, Rhode Island, broke up a gang of thieves run by an employee of National Car Rental – and they now believe that the same gang is back at it…

    Police are still investigating the thefts and believe that these thefts may be related to a small car-theft ring that Providence and Warwick Police broke up about three years ago, which resulted in a number of people going to jail, including an ex-employee of National who was facilitating the ring’s activities as an insider.

    Warwick Beacon article here.

    National Car Rental’s lack of proper screening during hiring means that customers are forced to play a grim type of Russian Roulette when providing personal information to National Car Rental employees. Good Luck!

    “I just returned home from a trip to Orlando, Florida/Disneyworld and thought you should know about my experience…

    My flight from Detroit, MI, took about 3 hours. It honestly took me about the same length of time to obtain a reserved vehicle from this branch.”

    Sounds like another National Car Rental “Vacation Special” to us. And that wasn’t all: once this customer rented a car, the fun really started! Read all about this ruined Florida vacation here.

    National Car Rental and Alamo Rent-A-Car were investigated by the US Department of Justice in 2001 regarding numerous violations of the “Americans with Disabilities Act.” A settlement agreement was signed in October of 2003 which forced National Car Rental to change their policy of refusing to transport people in wheelchairs or with other physical disabilities.

    Apparently, National Car Rental found it too “inconvenient” to rent autos to people who had passengers in wheelchairs. It is almost unbelieveable to think that at the beginning of the 21st Century, a large American corporation would think that they could get away with this kind of behaviour.


    Read the Settlement Agreement with the United States Department of Justice here.

    The stories all sound the same: unwary National Car Rental clients are given one price when making the reservation, but when the vehicle is returned and the customer is rushing to make a flight… Look Out!

    Gabe Silverman of Evanston, Illinois rented from National Car Rental in Manchester, New Hampshire was upcharged to almost double the agreed upon rate. After he complained, the charges were lowered to $260, which was still $80 over the agreed fee.

    Last August, Marie rented a truck from National Car Rental at 6511 St. Jacques Street West in Montreal, Canada and was told that the first 50kms were free… but was then charged the full price. Perhaps a mistake? Marie doesn’t think so.

    As she posted on the web, “They have trained their employees to be liars and thieves.

    And here’s another scam: National Car Rental will charge different rates for the same vehicle at the same location depending upon your country of origin. Tony O’Malley of Ireland wanted to rent a van in Greece. He received different prices on National Car Rental’s website when he changed his country of residence from “Ireland” to “USA”.

    Tony explains

    I logged on to National’s website and typed in my requirements after typing in my country of residence as Ireland. The quote I got seemed expensive and so I made the exact same enquiry but this time I stated that my country of residence was the USA. Amazingly, the quote that was returned was about half that of the earlier quote! … In my own business if I charged clients different rates based on their National origin then I would be breaking the law. I have asked National Car Rental to provide a response but they have so far failed to reply.

    OUR OPINION: These stories of over-charges are ubiquitous. It is difficult to believe that the over-charging techniques are not part of National Car Rental’s corporate culture.