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Terrible experience with the billing
Posted by Clayartist on 12/04/2010
DENVER, COLORADO -- My husband and I had an awful experience with Advantage Rent A Car in Denver during the 2010 Thanksgiving week. I reserved a car on-line through CheapTickets.com and received a quote of $93 plus change for a 4 day rental. When we arrived to pick up the car we were hard-sold into an upgrade, lied to about the predicted weather, and cost of off-site gas. (ok, our fault for accepting and we can deal with that.) The charge was now estimated to over $193. Bite. When we returned the car, the attendant did all the usual things, took the key bobs and credited us back a few dollars because we were returning with 2/3 a tank of gas. Great, to the credit of Advantage, the rate on our receipt was reduced down to $146 plus change. Upon returning home after a few more days of traveling, we had a phone message from someone at Advantage Denver stating that we had just turned the car in 40 minutes prior without returning the keys and there would be a added charge on our bill if we did not turn the keys back in 24 hours. Apparantly the message was put on our answering machine 40 minutes after we left the rental area - we were still in the airport waiting for our flight. There was never a call to the cell phone number that we carried in traveling and had given the attendant when we rented upfront. We both distinctly remember turning the keys over to the attendant, so we assumed Advantage would find the keys and not charge us. After listening to the phone message (now days after it was recorded), my husband called Advantage Denver and has been given a huge run-around. They told him the key was found and the charge would be reversed. The total amount Advantage charged my credit card - for their mistake, was $396.46. They have yet to return our calls or reverse the additional charge for the lost key (which someone in their house misplaced!)
So, what I thought was going to be a great car rental deal of $93 for four days, turned into over $300 more. This issue is still not resolved and I do not appreciate the extra $300 on my credit card - particularly during the Christmas season!! I will never use this company again, nor will anyone I know.
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Posted by trp2hevn on 2010-12-04:
I would suggest to file a dispute with the credit card company for the charge of the missing keys.
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Hope they have a car for you
Posted by Andy17 on 11/03/2010
I reserved a car online at their WEB site 2 weeks in advance.
When I arrived at San Jose airport, I was told they had no
cars and I would have to wait 1 - 2 hours for a car to show up.
They claimed they did not have 1 single car available.
I canceled on the spot and had to get a taxi or miss my meeting.
Advantage acted like they were the ones put out.
Stay away from these guys!
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Left Stranded
Posted by Leftstranded on 09/26/2010
DES MOINES, IOWA -- So we rented a car through Advantage rent a car, on Travelocity. My flight info was entered. It said that this company meets delayed flights. As our plane left the gate they saw a low oil light on and had to pull back into the gate. We never got off the plane. We arrived at 12 18 am, instead of 11 45 pm. I went to the car rental counters. There was no one there. A girl at the Hertz counter was closing up after renting out a car. I asked her if they were on break or something. She said No, they left at midnight. I started to have a panic attack. What was I going to do? The airport was abandoned. I needed to drive to Iowa City. My sister reserved the car for me because she was at home with her 11 month old and three year old. Her husband has been deployed. She probably wouldn't even hear the phone. I opened up my printed reservation and called Travelocity. The man at customer service called the local Advantage, he of course got no answer. He called their customer service line. He talked to them first, then would come back to me.

Which is good because I was hysterical and probably wouldn't have said anything that made any sense. He sadi that the counter was closed for the night. He suggested taking a taxi to a hotel and coming back in the morning. I had no cash. I only had my debit card on me. Plus that was an expense I hadn't planned for. I knew I couldn't afford that. I asked him if the car company was going to pay for that, my response was they couldn't guarantee it. I asked if they could call someone in to get my car. They said they couldn't. The Travelocity customer service eventually transferred me to their customer service. I spoke with that woman for awhile. Asking the same questions, and not hearing an answer I liked. I finally called my mother, who travels a lot. She told me to go to those one call kiosks and find a hotel that had a 24hr shuttle.

The Des Moines Holiday Inn gave me a ride and a room. The drivers were nice even though I couldn't tip them. The front desk clerk said the rental car companies do this all the time. They gave me their best rate of 119 for the night. I went to sleep at 2 am and was up at 7 to go back to the airport. The girl there said they usually wait, and she had left a note telling them to wait. I was so tired and had taken medication to calm myself down, so I wasn't irate. I told her I was really upset that this happened. She apologized. She showed me the rental agreement. I asked her if there was anything she could do for me. She got the manager and told him what happened. He was very calm about it and said he would address it. He said he would give me a day free. Which because this was an economy car was like 17 dollars. When we finally got to the car I was a little disappointed that it had manual locks and windows. But I knew it was cheap, so we went on our way. I was ten minutes on the highway when I was searching for cruise control and couldn't find it. I couldn't believe it, I asked them for directions to I 80 they asked where I was going. They knew I had a two hour drive. They didn't even think about the fact that cruise control would be necessary? When I got to my sister's I searched my receipt for a local branch #. There wasn't one. I went online and emailed every Advantage email I could get a hold of. I told them waht happened. No one EVER responded. NO ONE! When I finished my trip and returned the rental car, I had to wait at the counter for 5 minutes before an agent came. She was outside. I told her that I had been abandoned, she said "Oh yeah, I heard about that," I told her I would like the mgr to call me because 17 dollars was nothing on the 140 I had to spend on the hotel for five hours. She said ok. I never heard from the manager. My calf had a cramp the rest of that day, no cruise control. When I got home I "liked" them on facebook so that I could post on their wall about what happened. They responded saying to go the Advantage site and send them an email. Which I had already done. I still have not heard anything from them, and think I should go to the better business bureau. Thank you for listening to my story. If there was a way to rate their car company they would get zero!
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Posted by Skye on 2010-09-26:
What a mess. I think using 3rd parties for anything like flights, hotels, car rentals is just a waste, as you found out.

It's always a good idea, no matter what, to keep some cash on you.
Posted by trp2hevn on 2010-09-26:
They could have had someone wait there until you got the car. Since your flight info was entered, they would have known that the plane was delayed. As far as the manual locks/windows that is common on an economy car. I don't know of any econony classed car that has cruise control either. If that was such an important feature, you should go with a higher (although more expensive) car class. This time I don't think it would have been any different if they wouldn't have gone through the 3rd party website. Although had they gone directly to the car rental website it might have had the operating hours listed.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-09-26:
I worked at a small airport for a time. 3 airlines and it had 3 rental cars. Long ago (well before 9/11) when our last inbound of the night was late, sometimes the agents from the rental agencies would come down to ask if their res holders were actually on the flights. We really weren't supposed to give them that info but common sense was that they weren't interested in anything except waiting for them if they were on the flight or going home on time if they weren't.

Post 9/11, this info probably isn't given anymore. Doesn't really pertain to your story, sorry, but my feeling is that if you had a res, they should be waiting.
Posted by Nohandle on 2010-09-26:
I'll tell you what. I'd be beside myself as well if my flight was delayed and I found myself in a terminal virtually shutdown for the night and no car available. No matter if I had booked through a third party or direct. I really wonder if the outcome would have been different if leftstanded had booked direct? I seriously doubt it.
Posted by Ben There on 2010-09-26:
I wonder how long car rental companies will normally wait for a delayed flight before going home... 30 minutes, an hour, 2 hours, forever? The airline employees obviously have to wait for the plane to arrive, but to what extent will rental car companies and hotels make their employees stay? Overtime must be an issue, not to mention childcare for employees, other obligations, etc...

Advantage is often the cheapest of the cheap, so they are probably least likely to want to pay overtime. Avis and Hertz will probably wait longer since they tend to collect more per car.
Posted by Venice09 on 2010-09-26:
A little off topic, but please don't use cruise control if you are tired or have taken medication to calm you down. It can be very dangerous especially at high speeds. It is better to be in control of your car at all times.
Posted by Nohandle on 2010-09-26:
I think Judge probably hit it correctly about how times have changed from the time he worked at a small airport. Even here, and I fly from a regional airport, I recall hearing of here and other regional airports when some of the car rental agency employees would hand the paperwork and keys over to another agency or airport employee when a flight was delayed and they would leave for the night. Not an accepted practice, I'm sure, but at least the traveler on a delayed flight had a car waiting.

With all we've heard recently with many of the rental agencies blaming prior vehicle damages on a current renter, I don't guess that one would work out anymore.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2010-09-26:
To add to V09 do not use cruise control in rain.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-09-26:
Judge and nohandle, times have definitely changed. The car rental people only had to wait an additional 20 minutes until this person arrived. I, too, would have been very upset to be stranded. Anyone would be.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2010-09-26:
wonder if the outcome would have been different if the op had dealt direct with the rental agency vs travelustity.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-09-26:
Makes you wonder, jkt, but I have a feeling it may have been the same. They probably just don't wait for delayed flights after midnight.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2010-09-26:
Helpful, +100 good points. Why your comment went to "other" is beyond me.
Posted by Ytropious on 2010-09-26:
Cruise control? I drive an hour to and from work and I never use it. I drove 1200 miles over 2 days without cruise control. Unless you specifically requested a car with it, I see no issue with a car not having it. I don't think you should blame the company for not looking at your point A and point B and thinking "oh gee we should go out of our way to make sure she has cruise control even though she never mentioned needing it". If it's something you need, YOU need to ask for it.
Posted by Venice09 on 2010-09-26:
Other than the part about not getting a car with cruise control, I think this is a legitimate complaint. The flight info said the company met delayed flights. Since the flight was only delayed approximately thirty minutes, I don't think it was unreasonable for the OP to expect to get the car and not to be left stranded. The OP never said they expected the counter to be open 24 hours. They simply expected their delayed flight to be met since the agency had the flight information.

I don't think it's a good idea to travel with no cash, but not everyone has enough money to cover all the unexpected things that might happen while traveling. Does that mean they should never travel and just stay home?
Posted by jktshff1 on 2010-09-27:
This complaint should be directed at Travelu$tity, Advantages' web site seems to show that the Des Moines Int'l location closes at Midnight. I believe the problem stems from Travelu$tity wanting their bucks and not caring for the customer. A 15 minute window is not enough in any airport. VH Review, show another reason to deal direct.
Posted by momsey on 2010-09-27:
I don't know why Helpful's response is hidden in "other comments", because it's exactly what I was thinking.

Cruise control is not necessary at all. I sometimes use it during the day in nice weather, but as others pointed out, it's not a good thing to use in certain weather conditions, or when you're tired or on any medication.

jkt gets best answer since I agree that this complaint should be directed at Travelocity. Since you didn't book direct with Advantage, it's not clear to me that they had your flight information and therefore they didn't know you were delayed. It is a terrible situation, though.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-09-27:
This should not be a Travelocity complaint. Why do you believe that the car agency didn't have the flight info? Do you believe they just a notification from Travelocity that someone wants a car on a particular day? No name, no time, no car type, etc?? Advantage was well aware they had a res off that flight and chose to go home. They are 100% at fault. Travelocity, as much as I hate online agencies, was not at fault in any way, shape or form.
Posted by Ben There on 2010-09-27:
Travelocity only shows prices for car rentals if the location is open and accepting reservations. If Advantage could easily control late bookings by not offering a price for rentals after say 1130pm.
Posted by getoverit on 2010-09-27:
I agree with those who say this is not the fault of Travelocity. And I can't really lay a lot of blame at the feet of Advantage because, if other people are like me, a lot of car rental reservations are no-shows.
That doesn't lessen the fact that this was a really unfortunate experience.

I'm glad I read this post because, if I'm ever in a similar situation, I will call the car rental location and make sure they know I'm coming. To be honest, I'm not sure I would have thought of it before this, but have done that kind of things with hotel late arrivals, etc. It's better not to take things for granted.

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I was ripped off by this company
Posted by Love animals on 08/06/2010
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- I rented a car in Orlando. It was supposed to have been for $204 for 9 days. The person at the counter told me that this car was the basic model and had nothing. I decided to upgrade it to $10.00 making the rental for 9 days about $319.17. When I returned the car 9 days later, I happen to have been 34 MINUTES LATE (but with a 29 minute grace period it was only 5 minutes late). I was charged $10.69 for the 5 minutes that I was late plus an extra day for the upgrade of another $10.00. I had been told at the counter that there was a grace period of 3 hours. When I called to complaint, I was told that I only had a 29 minute grace period. However, I was just told today that I was informed incorrectly, that there is no grace period with Advantage rental car. I feel that I was over charged by $26.92. I know that the economy in the U.S. really sucks but these companies should be grateful that we are traveling and renting cars, otherwise they would go bankrupt. From a very upset customer who will never rent from Advantage ever again.
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Posted by rockfishing on 2010-08-06:
Your comment is inappropriate. There is not grace period. The time due is the time due. You were charged according to the contract you signed.
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2010-08-06:
I think the complaint is about being misinformed more than once about the 'grace period' issue.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2010-08-06:
How did I get a helpful vote on this?
Posted by Venice09 on 2010-08-06:
I think the wires are crossed somewhere. I'm getting updates even though I didn't sign up for them.
Posted by Weedwhacked on 2010-08-07:
You weren't ripped off, you broke the contract by arriving late with their car. The fees are justified.
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Worst Car Rental Experience In 25 Years
Posted by Jhaverfi on 08/02/2010
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- I decided I would like to return my car rented in San Diego to LAX instead. To even ask if that was possible, involved multiple phone calls, being on hold for more than 30 minutes, and finally a manager took my name and number and said she'd call me back. She never did, so I called her. She said it would be $150 flat fee. It said I needed to think about it. I decided to do it and called back the next morning. When I called, I was hung up on 8 times in a row. I finally got through and a manager said he was busy but would take my name and number and get back to me. 9 hours later, he had still not called, so I called back. When I called back, was told he was unavailable and they'd take my name and number and get back to me. While I was arguing with them to ensure I would get a phone call returned, the manager miraculously became available. He told me that my record showed I was dropping off in LAX fo $150.

I thought I was through with the customer device nightmare, but when I dropped it off in LAX, they had no record of me coming there and were going to charge me over $1,000 for what was supposed to be $400 total. Trying to get this resolved took 4 phone cals to San Diego and there was never a manager to help. After over 90 minutes, I couldn't risk missing my flight, so paid another wrongly calculated fee which was $250 more than expected. San Diego personnel ensured me that she'd leave detailed notes and someone would take care of me in the morning. So now am on day 4 of the saga...no return phone call and it is late in the afternoon. So, I called them....No manager is available and they took my number and will call me back. I doubt I will ever get a manager or a return phone call - will have to contest my charges through my credit card company I guess.

This company should not be allowed to do business. They are unethical, changed the rate of my signed contract, and have zero customer service skills.
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Posted by Weedwhacked on 2010-08-03:
Never break the terms of your original contract and this won't happen.
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Hertz should be ashamed!
Posted by Wisconsin Paul on 11/24/2009
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- I rented a car from Advantage (owned by Hertz). The person that signed me up was very nice until I declined the insurance coverage. He gave me the keys to a car and pointed out towards the car lot. I had to ask him 3 times what he was pointing out before he said the "the black Camry".
When I returned the car, I received the same type of rude treatment from the Agent checking me in. He mentioned that I had not taken the coverage!!! He then added an energy charge to the bill.
Hertz! You have got to be kidding me! I tried to make a reservation with you and you did not have cars available! This was a person trip for me so I did not have access to my work related travel agent. But you can bet from know on I will not be renting anything from Hertz or Advantage.
This was the worst rental experience I have ever had!

Hertz and Advantage, you really are bottom feeders!

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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-11-24:
Posted by skelly39 on 2009-11-25:
Could you clarify your complaint a little? Are you mad because they were rude? Are you mad because you didn't take out the coverage and they mentioned that to you? Are you mad about the energy charge which they would have tacked on anyway?
Posted by goduke on 2009-11-25:
You know, sometimes they do run out of cars. They can't keep a car around just in case you decide to take a trip.
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Advantage Ripoff
Posted by Mauibikeman on 10/23/2009
COLORADO -- I rented a van from DIA Advantage rent a car on July 9, 2009 and returned it on July 11,2009. I was charged for extra days (July 15) and extra miles. The car was chugging and gasping climbing little hills around Boulder and so I took it back a day after and they said they would check it mechanically. Later I got a bill for the wrong date and an extra 100 miles. Unfortunately I gave the paperwork to their manager instead of keeping a copy for myself which would have shown the date of return. My bad. I sent letters to all parties and they just said the computer showed July 15 and that was that. Do not rent from this company!!!
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Posted by BobJohn on 2009-10-24:
Dispute it with your credit card company immediately.
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Pay the extra and stick with Alamo, Budget, or National.
Posted by Rickflys on 09/17/2009
ORLANDO - OFF AIRPORT (MCO), FLORIDA -- Ten people in line and 1-1/2 later we were given keys to what was suppose to be the upgraded mid size car we reserved. The counter guy was a pig who was beyond rude to the point I wanted to deck him. The manager was just as much or more of an ass hole. We were given an 08 Marquis that was filthy, dented up, and it stunk like a combination of puke, piss, crap, and smoke. Oh yes, the tank was 1/4 full. We complianed and they said they had nothing else. We asked, "so what will all the other people in line get"? "Oh, those cars are reserved". "What about the mid sized car we reserved?" "We upgraded you". Bull crap. The lot was dark and we asked for a flash light to count the hundreds of dents. He said "we don't loan flash lights". We finally got another agent and he said the same thing. We pressed the issue and he got us into a Saturn SUV. Again, dirty, and the carpets were greasy and filthy. At this point we just wanted to get the heck out of there. We counted about 20 substantial dents and scratches. And oh yes we had a bonus of french fries and used napkins from the previous renter. On return the lazy guy sitting outside seemed it was almost too much to get up out of his chair to check us out. Not a thank you, come again, kiss my ass or anything. The ride back to the terminal was also "fun" listening to the driver talk to his girlfriend in Spanish the whole trip. He was still talking when we got off...again not even a kiss my....
Don't waste your precious time and energy with this company. Stick with one of the bigger ones and just pay the difference even if it is double. It is worth it not to have that kind of frustration. My personal favorite is Alamo and that is what I am sticking with in the future. If you choose Advantage you will be sorry, that I guarantee!
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Posted by JR in Orlando on 2009-09-18:
I am sorry that you had this experience in Orlando. I hope the rest of your trip went well. There is a whole string of low-cost car rental places along Highway 436 just north of the airport. My experience was the same when I rented from one for local use. Since then I have stuck to the major companies, Alamo is my favorite.

I hope if you return, your trip is better. Just realize in the area around the attractions, there are a lot of tourist traps and rip offs. Last weekend, I went to one of the big hotels to see a friend, and it was $10.00 for me to simply park in the hotel lot - no free parking. Orlando and north of there are not like that.
Posted by MSCANTBEWRONG on 2009-09-18:
That sounds like a terrible experience. I use Avis as it my company's preferred agency. They've always been great to work with.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-09-18:
I went on vacation this year to Orlando and used Payless Car Rental. We reserved a minivan and was upgraded to a stretch minivan for free since they didn't have the regular sized one. We did have a while to wait in line but WTH we're on vacation. Everything worked out well, try them next time.
Posted by trp2hevn on 2009-09-18:
jtf, just wondering what was the make and model of the stretch minivan vs. the regular sized one?
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Bate and switch
Posted by LTerrill on 07/30/2009
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- I was quoted a rate online of $129 with estimated taxes/fees for a total of $169. When I rented the car there were additional $40 in fees. The taxes and fees were $80, ony $40 less than the car rental. When I complained they said I was receiving the rate I was quoted. this was true excepted they added fees not listed on my reservation.
To top this off, they have poor customer service. I was fourth in line and had to wait an hour. they only had two representatives working. It was 11 am. DO NOT RENT FROM THESE SCAM ARTIST. I thought they were reputable because they are owned by Hertz, but they are far from it
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-07-30:
That's not a bait and switch.
And they're right... that's something that was quoted online. If you want a real quote of how much something's going to cost, you need to speak to a real live person.
"To top this off, they have more customer service."
Uh, what do you mean by that?
The way you describe it, they seemed short handed. Or, do you mean there were other people there, they just weren't working? Perhaps they were busy.
The time shouldn't matter if whether or not they should have been busy or not. Lunch rush... everyone's trying to get stuff done during lunch. Perhaps, that's why you had such a long lunch.
Posted by i_am_canadian on 2009-07-30:
Will people PLEASE learn what 'Bait & Switch' means before they start accusing companies of it? Accusing them of something which they did not do, or that you do not even know the definition of makes you no better than they are.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-07-30:
Where did the bait and switch happen?
Posted by Ben There on 2009-07-30:
If I had a dollar for every time someone used bait and switch incorrectly, I would not have to worry about actual bait and switch tactics as I would be rich.

For example, if I went into a store because they had an ad for $200 laptops and the companies intention was to get me in the door to persuade me to buy a $700 laptop, I would not mind because I would have at least $700 that I made from people missuing "bait and switch" on M3C.
Posted by LTerrill on 2009-07-30:
What should I call in when I am lured in with one price and actually pay another? (you all are hostile...relax)
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-07-30:
Definition of bait and switch:
A deceptive method of selling, by which customers, attracted to a store by sale items, are told either that the advertised bargain item is out of stock or is inferior to a higher-priced item that is available.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-07-30:
You should call in to make sure, what you are seeing online, is the actual price. To double check. So, there won't be a big surprise.
Posted by Ponie on 2009-07-30:
LT, don't ever rent a car--from *any* company--at DTW. they have so many taxes and fees tacked on that the actual rental is probably less than these extras. That's how these municipalities/counties/states rook the visitors. And they differ from airport to airport. Note that you were quoted 'estimated taxes/fees.' These are never absolute. Why the comment about 'hostile?' Each post pointed out that it was not 'bate(sic) and switch' and I agree.
Posted by wyatt1881 on 2009-08-01:
Far out, Ben, tell it like it is !! Good grief.
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Thieves And Liars
Posted by Joelamota on 03/31/2009
DENVER, COLORADO -- I rented a car for a week and when I returned it I forgot my GPS inside it. I know I forgot it in the car because I used it to drive to the drop off destination, Denver airport in Colorado.

I called the day after (Saturday morning) and they asked me to call again on Monday because there were nobody in the Lost & Found department. Long story short, on Tuesday they responded my call telling me that my GPS was not there, and since they were unable to have a record of all the people who interacted with the car (received it, cleaned it, etc), no actions will be pursued to clarify the situation.

Even more they questioned my words, suggesting I was lying, like if I had nothing to do but to call the Customer Service department to make up a story.

Not only these guys lie about not having found my GPS, but they are thieves. For sure I forgot it in the car and this is my responsibility, but they stole it and gave me no answers as a Customer. Never deal with them again.
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