MCALESTER, Okla. — A McAlester man contacted the 2 News Oklahoma Problem Solvers after he went through a challenging rental car experience.
On his way to work early one morning Tyler Slawson got into a car wreck that he admits was his fault.
"I was freaking out, I cannot take this right now, I'm trying to move and start a new venture. and this wreck happened at the worst possible time it could have happened," Slawson says.
He also has to search for the cheapest-possible rental.
He went to a third-party rental location to rent from Hertz that didn't have the compact he wanted but said he could have a small SUV for the same price.
He signed the contract and drove off.
After returning the vehicle, with a full tank of gas, Slawson says he was billed $400 for the SUV upgrade, and $80 for fuel.
"I do feel powerless in this situation," he says.
"I'm certainly willing to slay the giant, that's for sure."
After more calls from Slawson and from his insurance company, he says Hertz found notes on his account that he was indeed given that SUV for the compact cost, but they only offered to meet him halfway.
"I said no, I'm not going to compromise on this situation because it is not my fault at all."
Finally, Tyler says he was told the case was resolved. He found out differently though when he went to the grocery store, and his debit card was declined.
Checking his banking app, Tyler says he found a $500 hit from Hertz, overdrawing his account, costing him more than $100 in overdraft charges.
"Not only am I embarrassed, at this point I'm frustrated and mad about the whole thing."
That's when Slawson contacted the problem solvers, and we got in touch with Hertz. We never heard what caused all the confusion over his vehicle rental. But it wasn't long until Tyler got his money back, and Hertz reimbursed him for those overdraft fees. Slawson tells us he's satisfied that Hertz, in his words, ended up doing the right thing.
As families plan for spring break and summer vacations, we go in-depth on how to get the best deal when renting a vehicle:
- Book your rental in advance, and if possible, don't pre-pay, as you won't get a refund if your plans change.
- Don't prepay for gas, either. That usually ends up costing much more than just filling it up yourself before returning the vehicle.
- Rethink buying the company's insurance coverage.
- Check to see what your auto policy covers, and if your credit card offers coverage.
- Be sure to take pictures of the inside and outside of the vehicle, before and after the rental
- Have the agent make note of any damage.
- Say no to on-board GPS service and other items like car seats.
- Renting the car seats, for example, will end up costing you more than the cost of the seat. Instead, bring your own.
- Be sure to take advantage of memberships, promos, and loyalty programs.
- Discounts are available through membership stores and groups like AAA and AARP, just to name a few.
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