After scandals of hidden fees and indecent business practices which lead to price gouging customers, large car rental companies declared they would be more transparent with their pricing and let their customers know exactly what will be charged before they left the lot with the rental. While some have followed through, a select few decided transparency really isn't their shade. They continue to smuggle hidden fees into small print of contracts, and sometimes not revealing them at all, not until it was time to pay.
Some of these opaque companies include Avis, Budget and Alamo (a branch of Enterprise Holdings) - which continue to add costs that were not presented or made clear at the time of booking. On average a third of the added costs such as additional drivers or picking up and dropping off the car at different locations were not set out during the online booking process.
An investigation found 43 percent of Alamo's charges were not made clear while Budget made off with 44 percent of unclear charges. Avis had a whopping 51 percent of charges added that were not made clear beforehand - they literally added more than doubled the price the customer thought they were paying. The consumer group also found that drivers were put under pressure to buy insurance they did not need and to add on GPS at extra cost when they picked up their vehicle.
And while ride-sharing giants Uber and Lyft are becoming more popular as an alternative to car rentals, scandals and price-gouging tactics presented by the large car rental companies will push their customer base towards their competitors. Unless they fix their practices for short-term monetary gain, they will surely see their client pool diminish for cheaper and if not more transparent alternatives.