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Consumer News

Unexpected Costs Of Rental Cars Drive Customers Away

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BOSTON (CBS) – It may seem like a bait and switch. You find a great deal on a rental car only to discover the price doesn’t include some extra fees. This increasingly common practice is driving some customers away.

Frequent car renter Barry Maher says comparison shopping for the cheapest rental deal online can be frustrating.

For example, on one major car rental website it appears you could rent a small SUV for about 47 dollars a day, but when you “check out” and all the extra fees are added up, that price jumps to more than 73 dollars.

A compact car on another website is listed for just 14 dollars a day, but when you reserve it, the real price jumps to more than 26 dollars, nearly double the advertised price.

The American Car Rental Association says those extra fees upset them too.

Bob Barton says many of these fees are out of the companies’ hands, imposed by city or state officials.

Among other fees, car rental companies in Massachusetts charge a ten dollar convention center surcharge to cover the costs of the Boston Convention and Event Center in South Boston.

While car rental companies may not have control over the fees, consumer advocates say they do have control over disclosing the real price of the car up front.

Unlike airlines, rental car companies are not required to disclose extra fees up front and that is driving some customers away.

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