Paycheck Chronicles

Don't Get Fake Upsold At The Car Rental Counter


Last week, my family went to visit some family.  We flew, so we had to rent a car.  We had rented through the airline, and requested a minivan.  I was expecting the car rental company to try to sell us some more insurance or a bigger car, but I wasn't prepared for the upsell attempt that happened.

When we got to rental car company counter, the customer service representative said, "I see that you have rented a minivan.  Would you like to upgrade to a premium minivan for just $25 per day?"  I asked what premium minivan meant, and she said, "leather seats, GPS, better air conditioning."

We thought about it for a minute, then came to our senses and declined.  The customer service representative then said, "Oh, wait.  I see you flew in on Spirit.  I can give you the upgrade for just $17 per day."  Again, we declined, and she sent us out to pick up our car.

We arrived at the car pickup area, and the lot attendant looked at our rental paperwork.  He said, "You have a minivan.  They're in row 2.  Take whichever one you want."

Um, ok?

Maybe I missed something, but all the minivans looked pretty similar.  The one we ended up picking had leather seats and a GPS.  I don't know if it had "better air conditioning" because our regular car has awful air conditioning and anything would seem better.  But it looked to me like we were going to get the same choices regardless of whether we paid an extra $25 per day or not, meaning that this alleged upgrade didn't really exist.

I totally understand if we were moving to a different class of vehicle, or if there really was a noticeable difference between the minivans offered.  As it is, I think we escaped being scammed.

Just something to consider if you're standing at the rental counter and can't decide whether to pay for that "upgrade."

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