I arrived at the car rental desk after a long flight. I just wanted to get to my hotel room as soon as possible, so I could crash. Anything that would make the process of getting to the hotel faster was good.
While signing, initialing, and thumb stamping the one hundred different spots on the rental form, the agent asks me if I want to have them refuel the vehicle upon my return. Before I can respond, he rolls through his script:
“You probably want us to refuel it. We are twenty cents less per gallon. Just sign (your life away) here.”
Really? Cheaper? A rental car company out to save me money? Sounds convenient. I would jump on it, if he (and every other car rental agency wasn’t trying to play a pricing trick).
What the agent conveniently left off during his shpeel, was the fact that the agency required to fill either a half tank or full tank worth of fuel, regardless of how much the car needed. Even if I just needed a gallon, they would charge me for seven. In other words, they want me to play tank-refueling-roulette with my money. And made no mention of that part.
Obviously, I opted out. Even exhausted the manipulation was obvious. As a rental car customer, I am further jaded about their industry. It is a shame that this is standard practice for every auto rental agency I have ever used.
I hope one of these day one of the agencies catches on, and stops the manipulation of customers – it would be a strategic advantage. Honesty and authenticity would be a strategic advantage. How ironic.