Add-on Fees Run Amok?

A Vancouver man has told CBC News that Advantage Car and Truck Rental in Toronto (not affiliated with Advantage Rent A Car owned by Hertz in the U.S.) charged him more than $300 above the grand total he was quoted online.

David Carman booked a rental car online this past September for a trip to Toronto in early October. He said Advantage offered the best rate for a 13-day rental from Toronto’s Pearson Airport.

Carman said that when he returned the car 13 days later, he was charged more than $300 above the $470.77 grand total he was quoted online. The amount had already been charged to his credit card.

Carman was charged an extra $9.95 per day because his wife had been added as an extra driver. He claimed that charge was not listed anywhere on Advantage’s Web site when he booked the rental car. He complained he was given a “lowball quote” online, but that the rental agreement contained some extra fees.

CBC News investigated and found that other rental car agencies, such as Thrifty and Hertz, also charge for a spouse to be an additional driver. Avis and Budget do not.

Carman was also hit with a daily charge of $3.99, listed as "GC-OC" on his final bill. Advantage said that is an administration fee charged when customers decline insurance and use their gold card for coverage. In addition, although he only had the car for 13 days, Carman was also charged for a full two-week rental, instead of one week and six days, which increased his bill by another $60.

Advantage President Bruce Taylor declined an interview, but wrote to CBC News that the company is now addressing the complaint and will be issuing Carman a partial refund for the extra-day rental charge.

One Canadian group, Public Interest Advocacy Centre, is pushing the federal and provincial governments to pass tougher laws to protect consumers from extra fees.

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