Thursday, April 14, 2011

How Dollar Rent-a-Car Forces their Overpriced Insurance on US Customers in Germany

Dollar Rent-a-Car seems to have invented a new scheme on how to inflate rental fees for unexpecting US customers visiting Germany.

Before traveling to Munich recently, I had made a reservation on in the US and printed out the confirmation.

When I showed up at the Dollar Rent-a-car counter at Munich airport, however, a customer service rep named Benita Brunner refused to hand out the reserved car, demanding that I purchase additional LDW insurance. 

I explained that my Visa Platinum card would cover LDW and that no additional insurance had to be purchased according to the credit card contract (also, liability insurance is included in the rental fee in Germany by law). Borderline patronizingly, she pointed at the fine print of the confirmation:

What? Apparently, Dollar wants a *cover letter* of the credit card company to accept insurance coverage? I'm not even sure the major credit card companies deal with this kind of nonsense, and I certainly didn't have a printout with me.

Long story short: They forced me to pay for insurance I already had. Instead of 168.94 Euros listed on my confirmation, I ended up paying 289.19 Euros.

That's a 71% price increase, or, by today's currency conversion rate, $174.

I'm going to file a complaint with their customer service department, just wanted to get the message out. Be careful to not step into this trap.