Need to Rent a Car? Read the Fine Print Before Signing on the Dotted Line!

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Better Business Bureau® has received an influx of complaints against a rental car company headquartered in Michigan. Executive Car Rental has a total of twelve locations in Michigan and four in Florida. BBB® has received complaints from 44 states, one APO and one Canadian province.

BBB has received over 353 complaints against Executive Car Rental in the past 3 years involving billing procedures, refunds and customer service. Consumers advise being billed for services without a clear understanding of what the services were for. Customers are required to pay a deposit upon renting the vehicle but tell BBB they did not receive deposits back within the timeframe advised in their contract. Customers report they were unable to resolve issues directly with the company due to lack of clear contact information.

The company went from having 9 complaints in 2017 to 330 in 2018 and currently has 55 pending complaints. In addition to the pending complaints, Executive Car Rental has a remaining 35 consumers who have notified BBB of being without a refund, one consumer who has been waiting on a refund since 2015.

A local Huntsville, Alabama resident told BBB she never received the refund for her deposit of $250 after renting a vehicle from the company’s Tampa airport location in December 2018. When trying to reach the company by phone, she has only received recorded advertisements or wait times so long it’s not worth staying on the line for a representative. To date, the consumer has yet to receive a response from the company or the $250 deposit.

Many of the complaints for the Florida locations involve a SunPass fee that the company includes in the rental car charges. Customers tell BBB that they were unable to use their own pass and were charged $20 per toll. Many of these complainants say they were not told about this rule when booking the vehicle.

Better Business Bureau started an investigation into the company in October after receiving an influx of nearly 90 complaints. The company was first responsive to those complaints but became unresponsive at the beginning of January. The company has provided some responses but has failed to resolve the issues at hand.

Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to help make your next car rental experience a little easier:

• Shop around. Car rental rates can vary depending on the company or the amount of lead time, so it pays to shop around and compare prices. You may get a better rate through a motor club, credit card, or other membership organization. Is the rate quoted for unlimited mileage, or for a certain number of miles a day? Although most rental rates do include mileage, some still charge for every mile you drive.

• Ask about late or early return fees. Some renters have been surprised at big late fees for returning a car late… or even early! Double check on the hours of operation and, whenever possible, avoid dropping off your vehicle off-hours and leaving the keys in a drop-box. It’s hard to dispute damage charges if you are not there when the vehicle is inspected.

• Read the fine print. Before you initial and sign the contract, read it and make sure you understand the terms. Check that the final price reflects what you understood the fees to be based on the advertising or your reservation. Note any additional fees or charges that you can incur.

• Returning the vehicle. Before leaving the vehicle, be sure that the check-in attendant inspects the car’s body in your presence and that you agree about any damage. Get a final print-out of the charges that will be made on your credit card and check your statement later to make sure there are no unexpected charges.

BBB will continue to work with Executive Car Rental on resolving their complaints, as the company will allow.


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