Consumer caught in rental contract controversy
Colleen Schmidt, CTV Calgary
Published Wednesday, May 22, 2013 5:09PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 22, 2013 6:34PM MDT
If you use Dollar Rent A Car when you travel make sure you read the contract carefully before you take the car off the lot.
Cheryl Wightman booked a rental car from Dollar on Priceline's website for a recent trip to Phoenix, Arizona.
She says she was quoted $187 and declined rental insurance when she filled out the online form.
She declined again when Dollar's agent offered it to her at the counter in Phoenix.
The agent gave her an electronic tablet to sign and she assumed the contract reflected her wishes.
In the end, Dollar ended up charging her a total of $463 for the rental on her visa and added in an extra $276 for car rental insurance.
She called Dollar's management thinking they'd reverse that charge and says that instead Dollar put the blame on her.
“I've never had that kind of experience ever before, usually when you call and complain they give you your money back or try to sort it out but they didn't really care at all," said Wightman.
It turns out that Wightman is not alone.
Last fall a class action lawsuit was filed in Colorado alleging that Dollar defrauded consumers out of millions in unwanted car rental insurance charges.
CTV Calgary’s Consumer Specialist Lea Williams-Doherty contacted Dollar about Wightman’s claim.
A spokesperson told her that "We typically do not comment on pending litigation. However Dollar Thrifty complies with all laws and denies allegations that it sells customers products they do not want. The company intends to defend the cases vigorously."
Lea says that all Alberta drivers must carry liability insurance that pays for injuries or property damage caused to another driver and that coverage automatically extends to a rental car.
She says for damage that occurs to the rental car itself, if you have the 'legal liability for damage to non-owned automobile endorsement' on your policy, also called the SEF 27 then you are automatically covered on your rental too.
Lea says drivers should know that collision or comprehensive coverage on your policy doesn't extend to rentals and that many premium credit cards also give protection for rental car damage.
(With files from Lea Williams-Doherty)