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Alamo the worst car rental company
Posted by Criss on 11/07/2005
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- I'd never deal with anything with Alamo any longer! This was the only bad experience I've had with car rental so far and it's really BAD. They not only have very bad service but also tried to rob money from customers' pockets. We rent a car for half a day and only used it for several hours w/o any inccidents occurred. When we returned the car there was a service person around there to inspect the car and he didn't say anything about damage. However more than one month later (look! more than 30 days later!!) we received mails claiming that there's a damange on the car, which we need to pay hundreds of dollars. They didn't listen to any explanations but insisted to have customers to pay this rediculours damage. Besides, they didn't make prior inspectation on their cars -- the radio on the car didn't work at all. They did not refund for gas either -- they got advantage of 1/3 volume of the gas tank from us!! So bad! Don't go to Alamo simply b/c of their "low rental fee"! They always have other ways to make money and survive in the market! How could we have such bad company surviving in the market,by the way, after we read so many complaints about this company so far?????

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Posted by KenPC on 2005-11-08:
If they didn't inspect the car at the time you returned it, you are in the clear. Once the car is back in their hands, they have no way of proving when or where the damage occurred. Just send them a registered letter stating that the car was not damaged in your possession, and that no damage was noted by the individual who checked in the car. Notify your credit card company not to accept any charges from them.
Posted by Ponie on 2005-11-09:
I agree if no damage notation was made when you returned the car, they have no right to claim so now. But, I'm curious if "we read so many complaints about this company so far?????", why did you go to them to rent a car? If I read a lot of bad reviews about a company, they don't get my business.
Posted by DaMonk on 2006-08-04:
My sister was just the victim of an attempted scam by Alamo almost identical situation to that described by "Criss." My sister rented a car for only a few hours to travel from airport-to-airport w/o any incidents (and she has witnesses to this effect). More pertinently, when she returned the car, the Alamo personnel said nothing about alleged damage. BUT approx. 35 days later, she got a bill for over $2300 for alleged repairs and "associated charges"! Obviously, Alamo doesn't have a leg to stand on and will not prevail (my husband and I are both lawyers), but some people may be intimidated. Plus, even people who aren't intimidated probably have better things to do with their time than fight corporate shake-down artists. ALAMO SHOULD BE SUBJECT TO A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION! In the meantime, gentle readers, use another car rental agency.
Posted by Gongpu on 2006-10-24:
I have encountered very much the same situation. Have rent the car with Alamo on Sept. 9, 10 for two days. Nothing happened during my rental and no issues were found when I returned the car. About 30 days later, received a leter said that the car I rent had Loss/Damage report on it... Called the customer service center and was adivised to call their Damage Recovery Unit. Called the Damage Recovery Unit and left messages on the system (as no body will pick up the phone there). According to their system, someone will return my call with 72 hours after I left my message. No any response after a week of waiting. Left another message again today (Oct. 24, 06). Did anybody know how to deal with those guys in the next step? I just don't know why such bad company still can survive in this country? Thanks in advance for any ideas and suggestions.
Posted by zataomm7 on 2008-03-11:
Same thing happened to me. About a month after returning the car, I got a bill for $2100 for damages and lost income. I sent them a certified letter stating I was not responsible for the damages. I confirmed the letter was delievered, however I got no response. About 6 weeks later (10 weeks after returning the rental car), I got another letter saying I haven't paid and this is my final warning before they turn it over to a collection agency. I called them, and they said the lack of response was because they disagreed with my letter. I'm not sure what I should do now. I do not want my credit to be affected by this. I didn't do anything wrong!
Posted by jwls112 on 2008-09-11:
That same exact situation is happening to me!! I returned the car, the two weeks later I get these calls about damage. Nw a letter saying there was a crack on the windshield and it neede to be replaced. When I pointed out that there was no crack when I returned it, they said there might have been a chip that later turned into a crack and I was still responsible!!
I don't think so!
They also charged me for an extra day, after telling me I could return it anytime before closing and there would be no extra charge!
Never Rent with Alamo!
Posted by dsbmead on 2008-11-02:
I agree with this review completely. We rented from Alamo, and the car we picked up had a white scuff on the bumper. It was so obvious, we knew they should have already documented it and decided it wasn't worth repairing. When we dropped off the car, the attendant made no mention of the scuff. Two weeks later, we get a letter requesting permission to charge our credit card with $360 to pay for the damaged bumper. These guys are crooks. I will never rent from them again.
Posted by amarys05 on 2008-11-02:
Well this is funny/interesting. When I go on the Alamo website, to the Contact us section, NOTHING comes up... hmmmmm...
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Citations being sent after 2 years
Posted by Genes on 08/15/2007
I received a letter from Alamo this past week stating that I owe them $225 for a citation from over 2 years ago. The Citations Department "claims" they never received any notification until last month. However after talking with the police department who said they sent 2 notices and the law firm who said they sent at least 3 and another collection agency sent multiple. And I am suppose to believe Alamo over all of these people? Alamo claims they get notification years later on many. I can't believe that police departments wait that long. The only reason I heard from Alamo was that the card I used over 2 yrs ago has expired. They took away my right to contest by not contacting me. (per the police department). And now I can't even get any satisfaction from the "complaint" department. They kept me on hold forever and then said they would call me back. I doubt it very much.

I'm not paying this and it looks like I will have to find another rental company. I've rented from them for years!!!
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Posted by Sparticus on 2007-08-15:
Uh oh... I thought I escaped my speed photo trap in Phoenix last year while using a rental car... looks like it still might come back to haunt me... crap! =)
Posted by firengine103 on 2007-08-15:
Don't pay. That'll show them!
Posted by Slimjim on 2007-08-15:
Do you remember getting cited or even being in violation of what the citation is for?
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-08-15:
genes, I have herd of this type of thing before and they will try to collect it from your credit card, watch out.
Posted by genes on 2007-08-15:
I didn't get a ticket. This was by camera so this was the first I heard about it. That's what I meant when I said they took away my rights to fight it. Even the police ssaid that. And the ONLY reason they contacted me is that the credit card I had 2 years ago is no longer any good. They DID try to collect it without telling me. Today I called the corporate office and I'm still waiting for someone to call me back. This was after they put me on hold for over 15 min. And this person supposedly worked in the President's office, I think not!!! I'm truly disappointed because I've rented from them for years with no problem.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2007-08-15:
agree with lidman, but, you still owe it pay up
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-08-15:
I would NOT pay it!
Posted by genes on 2007-08-15:
As far as I'm concerned I do not owe it. They took away my right to contest it by not notifying me. Even the police dept. said that. Sometime in over 2 yrs. they should have contacted me. I've never had a ticket before....and now I'm going to believe a camera over 2 yrs later? As far as I'm concerned Alamo lost their right by not contacting me in a timely fashion. Poicy says that on a moving violation the rental company is to contact the police dept and give thme my contact info. Which they did not do. So I have no intention of paying it at this point. Plus the lack of response from Alamo confirms my decision. Plus they have lost a long time customer.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2007-08-16:
stand corrected
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Additional Driver Scam with Priceline in Hawaii
Posted by Jeff in Pleasant Hill on 11/08/2006
KONA, HAWAII -- We reserved a 2-week rental car via Priceline and were "accepted" by Alamo. When we got to Kona, they wanted an additional $9.99 to add a 62 year-old spouse as an authorized driver (much more with airport charges etc.) -- effectively converting a $18 a day rental to a $28 a day rental (high for two weeks). We complained like crazy to Priceline which claimed no responsibility because they booked a single driver rental (your only choice on Priceline)--even when we asked if they thought a $100 a day extra driver charge by Alamo might be their business. (Many companies do not charge extra in order to permit driving by a spouse.) We tried for two days to get by without my wife driving the car but finally went back to airport and paid up. We were third in line and waited half an hour. When we turned car in, every single person on the Alamo shuttle was telling a story about the reasons they would never use Alamo again. Most about waiting more than an hour to pick up a car at the tiny Kona airport. Morals: Don't use Priceline or Hotwire in Kona if you want a second driver--it's a bait and switch consumer fraud. If you book a tour, specify that you don't want Alamo and specify that reservation must cover the needed authorized drivers for the car rental. Want to ignore this? There is a saying: Fool me once: Shame on You. Fool me Twice: Shame on Me. --Jeff Strathmeyer
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Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2006-11-09:
I wish people would learn the meaning of "bait and switch". But back to the issue at hand - I rent cars frequently and I don't know of a single major car rental company that doesn't charge for extra drivers - it's a revenue maker for them, just like insurance and $5/gal gasoline if you decide to let them fuel it for you.
Posted by Skye on 2006-11-09:
Anytime my husband and I rented a car, they always charged extra for an extra driver. Why not just make the car rental reservations yourself, instead of going through Priceline. I still don't understand why people use this service, when you can do it yourself, and more then likely not be dealt the bait and switch. And always fill the gas tank up yourself when you return the car, unless you want to pay what price hugh is mentioning.
Posted by Jim B on 2007-05-25:
Very interesting. I just ran into the EXACTLY the same thing in KONA Alamo last week. I have rented many ALAMO cars and was always told that my same-sex partner could drive for free just like a spouse would. This has ALWAYS happened to me at ALAMO. Last week I was told in KONA that ALAMO just changed its policy and that my partner had to pay $9 a day to drive as well. Interesting!
Posted by Jeff in Pleasant Hill on 2007-05-27:
Following up on my original comment: The June 2006 issue of Budget Travel had an article on additional driver charges for car rentals. According to the article many companies do not charge extra for spouses or domestic partners. Other companyies don't charge if you belong to the company's frequent renter's club or a lot of other organizations such as AAA or AARP. Alamo is in the latter category. So you may avoid the charge at Alamo if you reserve directly with them, but get nailed if you use Priceline or have purchased a package vacation. Of course you will probably pay less for the car if you use Priceline.
Posted by Eric on 2013-08-02:
I don't understand why not to ignore that stupid requirement? What they can do to you if you let your spouse drive and you both have your insurance?
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Alamo Repair Fraud
Posted by Devodave on 07/14/2010
KAILUA/KONA, HAWAII -- Although I don't expect much can be done about this fraud, I do think attention needs to be paid to the exorbitant methods Alamo uses. On May 8, 2010 I picked up a rental car from Alamo at the Kailua/Kona airport in Hawaii which I had reserved through Priceline.com some weeks earlier. The Priceline rate was quite good for an intermediate car. Our flight was delayed for three hours so when we arrived at 11:30 pm everyone rushed to the rental car lots. The Alamo people were quite insistent, even though the lines were long that I should pay an addition $19.00 per day for insurance. I said my American Express Gold card covered any damage and declined the coverage, as ├ůmerican Express has recommended I do. Even though people were waiting the agent persisted at some length that I was taking a serious financial risk in not buying their coverage. I again politely declined the coverage. There were no intermediate cars available so they provided me with a full size Chevrolet Malibu at the same rate. The agent who gave me the keys insisted that I inspect the car carefully for any damage before I drove out of the lot. Apparently that was my major mistake. The lot was very poorly lit at that midnight hour and I walked around the car twice examining fenders and front and back for any scratches or dings. I found none that I could see. I was then required to sign that the car was free of any damage or blemish before I could drive out of the lot.

I used the car on only one of the five days I was in Hawaii. The rest of the time I spent in the pool or with my brother in law who had rented his own car. I know no damage was caused to the car during the time it was parked in the condominium lot because the lot was nearly empty. When I returned the car on May 13, the Alamo agent again examined the car carefully. She found what appeared to be a small one inch by three quarters of an inch blemish on the top of the bumper immediately underneath the trunk key hole. It could have been caused by a liquid spill which discolored the paint, or perhaps a suitcase which was being removed from the trunk scraped the paint. The agent claimed it was a dent or crack in the bumper. That was an exaggeration.

However that was only the first such overstatement. The manager of the Alamo lot at Kailua/Kona claimed that since I had not purchased their insurance I would be responsible for paying for the repairs and that Alamo would contact me at home about what I owed.
Within five days of my return I received a letter from Alamo indicating I would be receiving a bill. I then contacted American Express and started a rental car damage claim with them. In a phone call I asked the Alamo agent to forward the bill to American Express and gave them American Express claim # which I received when I called American Express about this matter.

I should state that American Express was extraordinarily helpful in resolving this matter and I have no complaint about their practice. I am concerned about Alamo's fraud however. Three weeks after this conversation with Alamo I received a bill with an estimate of repair costs from an auto body shop in Kailua. The total bill was $719.77! This included $569.37 for "collision repair" and 144.37 for "administrative fees and loss of use." The auto body estimate is clearly outlandish. An auto detailer could have removed the blemish for less than $100. Within two weeks American Express informed me that they had paid the $569.37. I told the American Express agent that I thought this was fraud on Alamo's part and that there was no damage which would require the payment they had made. The agent thanked me and said they were following their own procedures for resolving a claim.

On July 9 I received another call from Alamo stating that although American Express had paid part of the claim, they still required payment of the remaining $144,83 for "administrative fees and loss of use." When I called American Express about this they indicated that Alamo had not provided the documentation required for such a payment. They needed some justification that the "administrative fee" required some documentation which demonstrated that it was additional work beyond their normal business activity. American Express also indicated that "loss of use" would need to be demonstrated by a rental log which indicated that demand for the car was such that it required reimbursement for this loss. Alamo would not provide this documentation to American Express.
I emailed the Alamo claims department and said that if they expected my payment for these charges I would like similar documentation. The Alamo agent called me and said "we are not obligated by law to provide you such proof." The agent further stated that if I didn't immediately send payment - within ten days- they would send this bill to collection. However the agent did say, if I was agreeable and sent them one -half of the amount they would consider the matter settled.

I was extremely upset at the time but finally realized that nothing was to be gained by continuing this conflict. I sent them a credit card reimbursement for $75.20 which (with the taxes they had included) was half of the cost of the administrative fee and loss of use charge. I don't expect to get this money back but I am outraged that Alamo can get away with this fraud. Clearly they are insisting on exorbitant rates for their own damage insurance. When renters decline this coverage they engage in fraudulent exaggeration of damages and fraudulent auto repair estimates. Unfortunately American Express seems to be enabling this fraud by agreeing to pay for these damages. I do think government officials need to investigate this matter because it is an instance of consumer fraud. Although American Express acted in a most helpful way in settling my claim, they should inform their Gold Card customers that some portions of a rental car company's repair charges may not be paid if required documentation is not supplied.

Thank you for anything you can do to alert the public to this consumer fraud. I will never patronize Alamo again and will inform everyone I know of their fraudulent practices.

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Posted by alamocares on 2010-07-23:
I apologize for your frustration with this situation. This is why we suggest renters completely inspect the car for any damage before leaving the lot. Have you called the Damage Recovery Unit 800-327-0421 at to dispute these charges at any time? If you'd like us to look into this further, please email care[at]alamo.com with your full name, rental agreement and DX claim number along with any other details.

When emailing, please list reference #100718-005574 in the subject line.

- Elizabeth with Alamo Rent A Car
Posted by Jimmy on 2011-11-13:
I COMPLETELY AGREE with the writer of this article - why? Because Alamo did the SAME THING TO ME!!

Posted by bruce2954 on 2011-12-10:
You shouldn't have contacted American Express if Alamo commited fraud.
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Fuel Service Option
Posted by Ohsuzannah on 05/15/2008
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA -- We rented a car from Alamo at the San Jose airport. We were offered the fuel service option with a guaranteed price of $3.81 per gallon. However, it was not explained that we would be charged for a full tank of gas and that we should bring it back empty, just that we were guaranteed that price. So when we dropped the vehicle off with a half a tank of gas, we assumed that we would be charged just to fill it at the price of $3.81. Our receipt showed a full tank, but I assumed they just were showing what a full tank would be and that they would adjust it accordingly. Wrong.

I called Alamo this morning to see what the final price was and they said it was the same. The customer service rep explained that we had agreed to purchase a full tank, but very quickly offered to refund half since we returned the car with half a tank of gas. I was fine with that. She then put me on hold and when she came back on, she said that she could only refund me $25 since she had to use the refueling option at $5.63 per gallon.

I told her that it was outrageous that they were charging that much per gallon more. The gas station outside the airport was $4.25 and we definitely would have filled the tank had we known that we would be paying $5.63. I then spoke with a manager who was of no help whatsoever and finally ended up accepting the $25 refund.

So be forewarned if you choose this option and make sure that you bring the car back absolutely empty. If they had just refunded the half that they initially offered, I would have been happy, but they have definitely lost this customer and I will be sure to tell everyone I know about this experience. They obviously don't care about losing customers.
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Posted by Anonymous on 2008-05-15:
Pretty standard practice. My wife almost got hooked by this. Then, she read the fine print next to the 'guaranteed fuel price' box on her Hertz rental agreement. While the price of the rental agency fuel seems outrageous, they are providing an optional service to renters. One can always buy fuel off the airport property.
Posted by FoggyOne on 2008-05-15:
This is standard for all rental companies I've dealt with. Gouge the consumer is the underlying motto.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-05-15:
I fill the tank away from the airport then top it off at the airport station and provide the receipt showing it was topped off. I then ask the attendant to mark the car as returned with no damage and a full tank. Doing this I have never had charges show up later for some bogus scratch or them claiming the tank was not full.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-05-15:
This has always been a sticking point with me. Why are you always charged for a full tank of gas, when it is physically impossible to return the car without giving them back at least some of the gas you bought. I'd have to stand out in the return lot with a jug and syphon the tank dry before I could be happy with this deal. (and that aint bloody likely!)
Posted by MSCANTBEWRONG on 2008-05-15:
I do the same thing superbowl does. Never had an issue. It pays to read the fine print because the rental companies are out to make as much money as possible.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2008-05-15:
I wonder how much longer the corporate attitude of "we need MONEY more than CUSTOMERS" is going to last.
Posted by AngryAtAlamo on 2009-08-26:
Also beware, that if you pay for an Economy car with the Economy FSO, and find out in the garage that there are no Economy cars available... you still have to pay for an upgrade version of the FSO! $63 FOR A TANK OF GAS!
Posted by scam checker on 2010-07-24:
This also happened to me at Boston-Logan. I paid upfront by Hotwire, and they gave me the prepaid fuel option and charged me $69 for a full size car with a tank only two-thirds full. This is extortionist! They don't even tell you that you pay for a full tank of gas even though you use only a part. I called Alamo and they credited me $35 for the gas (gee, thanks...) and I told them I would report them to the local BBB. DO NOT USE ALAMO!
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Car rental insurance - say 'No' is not enough
Posted by John0305 on 11/11/2007
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- Customers be careful when you rent a car from Alamo!

If you think you got the best rate for your car rental. Be careful to read line-by-line and sign the pager, don't expect them to tell you what you are signing for. You could pay insurance coverage more than your car rental. That's what happened to me. I rented a car with $85.90 weekly rate from Alamo in Orlando International Airport. When I picked up car at the airport, the customer rep. asked me if I want to buy the car insurance and I told him I have my car insurance coverage, then he gave the paper to sign and he still highlighted the insurance item for me to sign. Guess what, he charged me 114.95 for insurance. When I found out, it was too late. and I called customer service, the customer rep. Cynthia and her manager Nancy both insist that it is your responsibility to read before you sigh the paper. That is telling customers you say no is not enough, you will be charged if you do not read line-by-line.

Come on, if he knows I do not want insurance why he ask me to sigh there? It is very clearly he knows what he is doing to sell me the insurance.

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Posted by killerklown on 2007-11-11:
So, you admit that you didn't read what you were signing before signing it? I judge you incompetent. Case dismissed.
Posted by land on 2007-11-12:
Thanks for the information, it appears that instead of what you thought was a Wavier, you signed to accept. This is something to watch out for.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-11-12:
John0305, I know it is a hard lesson to learn but you are right they will lie to you in a heartbeat. It seems they make a lot of money selling you insurance coverage and the sales person gets commission. I have had them try and trick me into signing it before too and they also try every other trick they can.

Good review and thanks for the information.
Posted by Ponie on 2007-11-12:
As others have responded--read what you're signing. When I'm handed a 'contract' for signature in the X'd spots, if it's something I don't want, I draw a line through the signature blank. I do the same in the 'tip' line when I charge a meal but give the server a cash tip.
Posted by haydenolivia on 2008-03-04:
The EXACT thing happened to me at the Orlando Airport Alamo. We specifically stated we did not want the insurance. When he handed me the document to initial, I acted in good faith thinking he highlighted only the areas we talked about. Shame on me for not reading the entire document before signing. Sounds almost like a deceptive business practice. Alamo Customer Service wouldn't consider fixing this as I had signed it (the way they wanted it, I guess.) Interestingly, when the agent gave me the paperwork, everything was conveniently folded and placed inside a handy little envelope. This was my first time renting a car. If I ever need to do this again, I will NEVER consider Alamo. Buyer beware!
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Alamo deceives customers with hidden costs
Posted by Symwongaton on 10/23/2004
I recently rented a car at Alamo car rental at the Toronto Pearson airport and another one a year ago at the Montreal airport in Canada. Do not be deceived by Alamo's low rates. When you book through their website and see these low prices with almost everything included (collision damage waiver, prepaid fuel, taxes, etc.), don't fall for that like I foolishly did, twice! Alamo quotes one price on their website, and when you reach at their counter, they may charge you anywhere between $300 and $500 extra, with the excuse that the extra items such as collision damage waiver, prepaid fuel, etc. were not included in your quote or that fuel prices went up since you last made your reservation. Give them evidence of the quote, you'd say? I did. It doesn't help one bit, except for getting into an argument with them. Another often run scam is DO giving you the price as quoted, but then charging you extra when you return the car. So in the end, their cheap price will amount to the same price paid at let's say Thrifty, Dollar, or Budget. I rent cars often, and will never more rent at Alamo, because your money comes first at Alamo, not you. Evidence of this is the fact that they charge your credit card even before you get the car keys in your hands. Be alert to scams run by Alamo car rental. This reviews refers to Alamo in Canada.
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Posted by Loretta Jamison/author on 2004-10-23:
I had a similiar experience with a car rental in Virginia back in 1996. I found out when I turned in the car they wanted my insurance to pay $600.00 for damage.I had a slight accident but the company had already filed six other claims for the same damage. They are not in business anymore but I understand your complaint
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Don't rent from here unless you want to get ripped off and lose your peace of mind.
Posted by 19noanie61 on 03/07/2012
HAWAII -- I rented here in February of 2011 because they had the "lowest rates". What a mistake! When I went to get my car, they proceeded to try to hard sell me all kinds of extras which I did not need. Then they told me that I should prepurchase my gas with them to save 11 cents a gallon. I was told that it would cost $67 dollars and that there were no refunds, so I should bring it back as empty as possible. After waiting in line for an hour, I was then told that the mid-sized car that I had reserved was unavailable. They had no mid-sized cars even though I made my reservation six weeks prior. I was told to pick any car at no extra charge which meant I got a Jeep because that was all that they had in the lot. Although I didn't really want a Jeep, I took one. When I brought it back at the end of my trip. They first tried to charge me $25 for a small amount of sand in the floorboard. They then informed me that I owed them $102.00 for gas. Remember they had quoted me $67. When I told the attendant that I had been quoted the lower amount, I was informed that was only an estimate and was then reminded that I was told this because there were managers initials on the contract that indicated so. When I said this was not true, I was more or less called a liar. I asked to speak to a manager and was then scolded by this attendant for being rude and told that she was going to write down everything I had said in my file. Thats when I lost it and refused to pay until I had spoken with a manager. She then left and returned saying no manager was available but that I could get $25 knocked off the bill. I still ended up paying more than was agreed.
It is my opinion that this company purposely and deceptively makes customers pay more than the original agreed amounts and I will NEVER do business with them again. I encourage anyone reading this to use another company if you value your hard earned money and your peace of mind.
I was also told by two different people that someone from the company would be in contact with me to resolve these issues. That was almost two weeks ago and I have yet to receive that call.

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Posted by alamocares on 2012-03-12:
We are listening and regret that you had this experience. I want to look into this further. Please email care[at]alamo.com with your contact information, reservation number, rental agreement number, and any further details not covered in the review. When emailing, please use "Incident 120312-001301" as the subject so we can tie the email to your case file. (Rich)
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Alamo runs a scam.
Posted by AdamR on 11/03/2009
OMAHA, NEBRASKA -- Beware - Alamo Car Rental runs a scam through Priceline. Here is what happens: First, Alamo accepts an extremely low bid via Priceline (planning on getting money out of you in other ways). Second, they hard-sell their comprehensive insurance. (I have no problem with this - all companies try to sell you this). If they get you to buy the insurance - then they've made their money. However - IF NOT - THEY WILL SEND YOU A DEMAND LETTER INFORMING YOU THAT THE CAR WAS DAMAGED. The scam likely works well with most people. They do it intelligently. They will tell you the damage came to about $150.00 or so (below most people's deductibles) - that way you won't call your insurance company about it. After all, if you called the insurance company, they would ask if Alamo documented the damage to the car before and after you rented it. THEY DON'T. I even asked about it when I picked it up and dropped it off. They insisted there was no need. Obviously, they don't want it documented, so they can then scare you into believing there was damage done to the car. In my instance, I knew good and well that there was no damage done to the car. I called Alamo, informed them I am a lawyer (which I am) and asked them how the planned to prove there was any damage to the car. They immediately backed down. However, absent being a lawyer and challenging them, they likely would not have backed down so easily. I highly recommend never renting from them. This was obviously a calculated scam, which the company knows about and endorses. Horrible company. Never rent from them. Personally, I have never had any problems from either Dollar or Enterprise. Can't speak too much for other companies... but stay away from Alamo.
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Posted by redmx3racer on 2009-11-03:
Hmmm. Were you aware the same people (Taylor Family) that owns Enterprise owns and operates Alamo (and National).
Posted by PepperElf on 2009-11-03:
red - really?

that's interesting!
Posted by redmx3racer on 2009-11-03:
Yes Pepper-it's true. Avis/Budget are also one in the same. I'm in the rental business-I won't say in a public forum for who-but it seems each and every company "scams" customers for various things if you read the complaints on here daily. You have to take it with a grain of salt. $150 does not go very far for any type of body damage. This might have been Windshield or tire damage. Alamo has nothing to gain by charging $150 for "fake" damage except to lose customers. Which I don't think they are in the business of doing. They probably waived it because the amount was very small, and not worth the expense of collection past sending a letter. Not because the OP claimed to be a Lawyer.
Posted by PepperElf on 2009-11-03:
believe me i have a good stock of salt for just that purpose ;-)

though when it comes to "scams" ... i'm sure you're well familiar with the notion that many of the "scams" arise from people not reading the contract...

as for the OP...

1) You legally HAVE to have insurance in order to drive a rental car.
It doesn't have to be the rental-agency's insurance policy but you have to have something. Whenever I rent I use my regular car insurance policy for this.

2) Whenever you rent you should ALWAYS review the car with the rental agent before you accept it. If you find damage on the car that they have not already noted, then make a note of it on the checklist *before* you accept the car.

believe me that can really cover your backside!

asking them after the fact if they document damage won't help you much. you need to get it documented before you drive away.

Besides... you stated they have no documentation of the damage. They obviously have something though, since they're sending you a bill. I'm not saying you caused (or didn't cause) the damage, just that they have some kind of documentation.

i would suggest contacting your auto insurance company anyway and opening an investigation.

Posted by JR in Orlando on 2009-11-03:
If companies had a $1.00 for everytime someone with a gripe said they were a lawyer, or they were going to get their lawyer, companies would be overflowing with money.
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Alamo deceives the Customer and astronomical Seattle Rental Fees
Posted by Eskimo on 08/15/2007
SEATTLE AIRPORT, WASHINGTON -- Alamo took advantage of my inexperience and deceived me by not explaining what their terms mean. When picking up my car at the Seattle Airport they rushed me through the process. One does not have the time to read the fine print while standing in line at the airport. This should be explained on the website when booking cars and this can be explained in 10 words or less at the counter. I was told that I had a choice to fill up the car myself or to let Alamo fill the tank. They did NOT tell me what that meant. . . I was supposed to know that they charge for a full tank whether I used a full tank or not. If they fill the tank for you, they charge $6.99 per gallon! I drove 119 miles - used less than 1/2 a tank of gas and they charged me for a full tank of gas at $78.57!!!!! Rip off!! Fill your own tank! Also, be aware that the City of Seattle and the State of Washington charge the rental consumer astronomical fees for renting in their municipality. I paid to the City and State: Customer facility charge $16, Concession recovery fee $58.38, Vehicle License recovery $2.24, Washington Sales tax of $44.97 and Washington Rental car tax of $49.01. So my fees to Seattle for renting the car in Washington for 4 days was $170.60, plus a tank of gas at $78.57 are astronomical. I paid more in fees and gas than my rental charges. I will never ever use Alamo again and hope you don't either. I will spread the word to everyone I know personally and on the internet to avoid this company.

I could have used a car service for a fourth of the cost to rent this car. I was ripped off totally. After speaking with Customer Service, I am even more disenchanted with their "We could care less" attitude. Screw the customer is their motto.
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Posted by Anonymous on 2007-08-15:
Always rent off site. You can avoid all the add-on's. Lesson learned the hard way, sorry. We have found some great off-site rental deals on some really nice cars, all you have to do is get a taxi sometimes to get there. But what you save more than pays for the taxi. Had a friend come into town, all the airport rentals were at $60+ per day. Two miles from the airport we used an off brand agency for $19.95 a day. All I had to do was give him a ride to their location as they have no airport pick up or drop off.
Posted by leopard on 2007-08-15:
it could have been worse, you could have rented from hertz, they suck! not only do they screw customers, but their employees as well!!
Posted by GothicSmurf on 2007-08-15:
There are always city fees, state fees, local fees, etc. Most places nickle and dime you until it really hurts.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2007-08-16:
You have got to take some responsibility for not taking the time to understand their terms.
Posted by brandons mom on 2010-09-08:
They would have offered you the prepaid gas option. On your rental agreement that you sign it shows the tank of gas at normally the gas station or less price and you buy the tank that is in the car and return it empty. If you dont decide to do that then you need to fill it up when you return or the refueling fee is high to have someone else fill it for you.
Posted by FlShopper on 2010-09-08:
You did have the time to read the fine print at the airport..but it sounds like you didn't want to. Never sign anything unless you've read it and understand it. And then make sure you take the time to walk around the car and make a full inspection of it and note any scratches, dings, etc.
As for the fees, that's pretty standard. There's no getting around many of them.
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