RALEIGH/DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA -- I searched for a rental via Expedia and ended up with a fairly new company to North Carolina name Advantage. Upon arrival at the airport we had to wait a bit longer than the major rental companies for a shuttle to arrive for Advantage. The driver greeted us warmly and took us directly to Advantage. The staff at the front counter seemed pleasant initially but I quickly learned not to lean on first impressions. I went out to examine my car and saw that it had a dent near the tire and several scratches. The car was extremely dirty due to the snow melt that had accumulated all around the car.
It was very difficult to determine where all scratches were because the car was so dirty. The inside was very dirty as well, not recently vacuumed, and seemed to have some form of animal hair floating around. I notified the front counter of my concerns before leaving. They nodded but offered me no suggestion for exchanging to a cleaner vehicle. I chalked it up to the snow days and went on my way. About 1 hour down the road, I noticed that the traction light came on the display and stayed on. Then I noticed that a red light with an exclamation point appeared and very quickly I began to lose the ability to direct the wheel of the car.
I quickly slowed the car to a crawl, put on the caution light and navigated to the closest exit where I found a service station immediately off the high way. After notifying the gas attendant that I had car problems I began to call Advantage Rental to tell them that I lost power to steer the car while driving. I did not have a direct number so I dialed the 1800 customer service number given at the time of rental. The lady on the phone was cooperative and made more than four attempts to call Advantage in Raleigh, NC to assist but could not make connection with her own company.
Eventually she told me she sent an email in hopes that they would see it and call me back. She wished me well as she hung up. I then began to wait, and wait, and wait but did not receive a call. I had pulled the car off the road near my first destination so I called someone to follow me and made a decision to slowly try to navigate the car to that location where I could get assistance, stay warm in the 30 degree weather (with snow), and hopefully receive a small from the rental company.
When they finally called they notified me that they would have the car towed to a dealership in Charlotte since I was 1/2 way there and if they didn't think the car had problems they would charge me for all cost for the tow and car. I could not believe what I was hearing. The company was more concerned with who would incur the cost for the tow rather than the safety issues related to driving the car. I then asked since I did not get to use the car would they reimburse the charges and was then told that they would decide at some late time.
After going back and forth with this company who thought it was more important to question my integrity in dealing with an unsafe rental so they would not have to pay for a tow on their own vehicle or reimburse me for their defective ride, I decided to use my own resources to tow their vehicle back to their facility. I never made it to my destination but at least I lived to warn others. Absolutely do not rent from this company... They do not care whether you live or die as long as you pay.
If questioned, I have images of the car on the tow truck that I secured, four witnesses who saw the car condition, and my call logs and a tape recording of how unconcerned Advantage representatives were about this unsafe rental. As a side note, when I tried to get assistance at the Corporate level I was told that the manager was in a meeting and even if he wasn't I would not be able to speak with him or receive his name.
DEVER, COLORADO -- Very long wait times to pick up car, only 2 people working (11/2 hr.) Asked how it would be returning car, wanted to know if we would have long wait for shuttle. Told it should be no problem. Turned out 45 plus min. for shuttle to come in spite of several of us going and speaking to agent. Agent said drivers not our employees so can't really do anything. There was about 20 of us waiting, watching 3 Thrifty shuttles and 2 Dollar shuttles come and go. Unacceptable! Would not recommend Advantage, or rent with them again. Also asked for a map when we arrived, no maps, not even anything on the wall to know directions.
PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- I had booked a car through Hotwire and when I got to Advantage Rental Car the counter person did not tell me they did not accept the insurance purchased through Hotwire. We were charged 25.99 a day for the insurance 13.99 a day for an additional driver and the fuel plan that was supposed to be 2.34 cents a day which when we were billed for almost 30.00 for fuel in a car that was brought back almost half full. This accumulated and additional 256.00 dollars on top of what we paid Hotwire for the rental car.
Due to the unscrupulous practices of this company or the person representing them made our 5 day rental almost 400.00 dollars. This is a Canadian owned company. They have a 1 Star rating with Consumer Affairs. Need I say more.
PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- As we stood in line (almost an hour) waiting to rent our 'reserved' vehicle. The three customers ahead of us had returned with issues. It was discerning at the very least. (One customer had returned three times with issues.) When it became our turn, I was very concerned if we would get an acceptable, reliable vehicle so I asked the agent directly "Is our car available and ready?" She said "no", they did not have any cars available. This left us and the remaining 10 customers in a bad spot. Fortunately, we were able to go next door to Enterprise and they were willing and able to help us out. They honored our price and we were happily on our way.
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE -- We reserved our car on carrentals.com with unlimited mileage at the airport location. We go pick up our car and they told us the ad is misleading. That it's just local. Then they wanted to charge us $50 for cancellation. We had to get an officer involved for them to agree to refund us but we still haven't seen it. Then we had to pay $100 more at another car rental.
WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA -- I made a reservation and paid for a "Jeep or other similar vehicle". I called to confirm and called when my flight was delayed and I was concerned I would not get there before they close. (Yes, even though they are at the airport they do close.) When I went to pick up the car I was told they did not have any of the class of vehicle I returned. They only had a more expensive car.
How can you reserve and pay for one car and when you go to pick it up they tell you they don't have a car for you and you have to pay double what you booked? I had no choice as I had my son, his wife and baby. I needed a bigger car (not a Prius which was an option they offered!). They were rude, unprofessional and a total rip off. I would give them zero stars if I could.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- When we picked our car the agent was nice, helpful and did not try to upsell me. I was optimistic that I had found my new "go to" car rental company. Everything was fine until we returned the car. They were extremely backed up w/ returned cars. The attendant didn't do a vehicle check because there were 20 cars ahead of us. Then three weeks later we get a damage claim from Advantage. The car was in their possession for weeks before they claim they found damage. I turned the claim over to my credit card company's insurance department. They tried to work with Advantage for three months.
Advantage failed to respond to requests for information needed by the insurance company. After 90 days the insurance company said they were closing the claim because Advantage, after several requests, failed to provide the documentation requested by the insurance company. Then in yesterday's mail I received a copy of a credit card payment receipt for the alleged damages. I will never do business w/ them again and I suggest others avoid them as well.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- This was the first time that I rented from Advantage, and it was a pretty good experience compared to what I have read here. We arrived at LAX, got our bags and went to the curbside pickup to wait for the shuttle. We only had to wait about 10 minutes for the shuttle and while I did see numerous shuttles for the other rental car companies drive by, 10 minutes was an acceptable time to wait to be picked up. The shuttle was clean, the driver was friendly and the air conditioning worked well.
With traffic at LAX, it took about 15-20 minutes to get to the Advantage facility. Granted it is not the cleanest or newest rental facility that I have gone into, but it was still a 6 out of 10. When we got there at around 6:00pm, there was no line and we were able to walk right up and get an agent. The agent was friendly and did not have an attitude like I have read other reviewers have experienced. The only problem that I had was at first they tried to just assign us a car and not give us a choice.
When I asked if there were options available, the agent provided me with a few to choose from. All-in-all, they had 5 or 6 different full-size cars to choose from and we ended up with a loaded 2013 Toyota Camry with only 15k miles on it. The car was clean inside and out and had just a few minor scratches on the bumper. After choosing the car we wanted, checkout was a breeze.
The agent offered the additional insurance and gas options, but once I denied them, he didn't try to persuade me to buy it again. He was patient and didn't get an attitude when we took about 15 or 20 minutes to look at the different cars that were available and choose one that was a different one than what was originally selected for us, so that was pretty impressive. The guard at the exit was friendly and asked me how my day was and seemed interested in my response. He looked over the indications on my slip as to the minor scratches and signed off on it and we were on our way.
Returning the car was even easier than getting it. We pulled right up and an agent came right out and did a quick spot check on the vehicle, joked around with us a little bit about getting a black car and returning a white car (because she said we went Tokyo drifting with it) and gave us our receipt. Before she was done checking the car back in, the shuttle driver had come over to use with a bag cart, loaded up our suitcases for us and walked us to the shuttle to get us started on our way back to the airport.
We got on the shuttle and within 20 minutes of pulling into the lot to return the car, we arrived at our airlines entrance at the airport with plenty of time ahead of our flight. Additionally, the $200 that was put on hold on my credit card was returned to me within 2 days of returning the car, which again was more than I expected. Four stars instead of five due to the limited amount of car selections, but otherwise the service was really good. I will definitely use Advantage if/when I return to LAX.
SCAM: they advertise low rates and after you do the booking they add "fees" and more "fees". I first entered the site because it advertised $10/day (I got a deal like this on last year's trip), so I went on it. Then the "real" price was $18/day. At the end of my trip, I check my credit card statement and it was over $43 per day!!! Excuse my "French", but WTF!!!
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA -- I reserved a rental car in my name but was charged $12 per day for 7 days due to my wife being the second driver. We asked the desk clerk to change but due to the reservations being in my name she said she could not do that. Also very cheap Camry, no GPS and we had to find directions. Never rent from Advantage!!!