WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – When John Cripps, a Wilmington preacher, needed to drive his daughter home from Boston, he rented a car and drove to the coast. For a few hundred dollars the rental price wasn’t cheap – but it was what he expected and was willing to pay.
When he got the final bill – he said things weren’t what he agreed, in fact it was over $200 more. The charge includes an unknown fuel cost of $61, with the mileage differing on the bill from what he returned it for.
It took some effort to get his money back, but once he did he realized he had been overcharged more than he initially thought.
“I was thinking $100 or $103. Well, turns out they refunded $237 and a few changes. Now that’s a lot of money, extra costs,” Cripps said.
When he confronted the company about the charges, he said the company told him the issues were related to computer errors. But it’s not a one-time situation — it’s something Attorney General Josh Stein sees frequently.
“By far the biggest complaint we hear is about the extra fees. And so it’s really important, when you’re comparing car rental company prices, that you’re comparing apples to apples, make sure you’ve looked to see any charges that might be added to your contract,” said Stein said.
After reviewing some of the complaints, the amount of fees and additional charges the company put on people’s cards has real impacts on people.
A client who filed a complaint with Stein’s office said the company billed him $1,300 a week beginning in January, his complaint was filed in March. Although he doesn’t have a company truck, he said the charges keep pouring in.
Although booking online makes things easier, sometimes there are hidden fees included in the contract that many people may not realize.
It’s a lesson Cripps knows all too well now, and he says the whole experience made him reconsider renting a car again.
“It’s the first time I’ve had to use a rental because I’ve always driven, you know, put a lot of miles on my own personal car. But it will be the last,” he said.
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