Recently, my spouse, Donna, and I took a long weekend in Austin, Texas, wherein we visited our daughter Caitlin; her husband, Ryan; and our granddaughter Sadie, who turned 2 in January. The airfare cost zilch, thanks to common flyer miles (which saved us approximately $1,000).
Renting a vehicle at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport was every other problem completely. In boost, we paid a $197.47 deposit for a four-day condominium that we ended up using one hundred and five miles.
What we didn’t anticipate become Hertz tacking on a laundry list of surcharges, charges and taxes that totaled more than $a hundred and twenty when we’d headed home. Most (but not all) of those were bypass-thru prices from the airport, the state of Texas or City of Austin. None become associated with insurance or gas.
Since then, I’ve figured a way around this outrage. It quantities to, by no means rent a automobile at an airport condo counter if you may avoid it. In many locations there are options that may prevent a bit of cash.
Here’s a listing of what changed into delivered to my invoice and how a Hertz customer support representative defined the fees after I complained.
• $21.46, “concession fee healing.” That’s a personal, 11.11 percent tax Hertz imposes to recoup prices the airport fees Hertz for doing business there.
• $29.Seventy five, “airport price,” which the Hertz rep stated the Austin airport calls for rental companies to rate. It’s to pay for automobile rental facilities on the airport.
• $1.49, “power surcharge.” This, the Hertz rep explained, was to help the organization offset its “widespread value of utility prices” and a few other gadgets.
• $9.70, “automobile license cost restoration.” Somewhat facetiously, I complained to Hertz that because I in no way misplaced the auto’s license tag, I should not should pay for its recuperation. The rep explained the charge became so the organisation could recoup its annual car registration prices. (Texas’ base car registration price is $51.Seventy five annually, so $nine.70 for a 4-day condominium seems excessive, to position it mildly.)
• $36.65 in taxes. That price varies via kingdom and locality. In Austin, it quantities to fifteen percent and that’s levied no longer only on the condo price but additionally at the surcharges indexed above. (In states including Nevada, Minnesota and Arkansas, the tax price is better.)
• Lastly, Hertz charged my credit card some other $four.51 for tolls I’d incurred. No quibble there. But on pinnacle of that, Hertz additionally charged a $17.Eighty five toll “convenience price.” At nearly 4 instances the total of the tolls, it seemed pretty inconvenient. I informed Hertz the business enterprise should rename it the “dual carriageway theft” fee.
All the ones brought as much as $121.Forty one, and the whole for the condominium came to $303.32. (Because my deposit was a bit greater than the actual day by day apartment rate, a number of the cash I forked out earlier got credited toward the costs).
I got nowhere in arguing with Hertz about any of the above.
“I recognize this isn’t always the outcome you predicted; however, we’ve reviewed all of the records and the prices for the harm to the vehicle are valid and can not be adjusted,” the organisation’s rep wrote in an electronic mail addressed “Dear Mr. Daniel Casey.”
Huh? Damage? Apparently, that became some type of mistake in the personalised form letter/electronic mail. There changed into no damage to the car. In a later electronic mail, the Hertz rep blamed the confusion on a “typo.”
Anyway, in the wake of this annoyance, I’ve located an alternative to airport car leases. Its call is Turo, and it’s type of like Airbnb for renting automobiles. You can download the Turo app to your telephone.
Turo (and other vehicle-sharing groups) make it feasible to hire in my opinion owned automobiles from humans in your destination town. They’ve signed up as Turo “hosts,” and that they set the rate. You are the “guest.”
Turo boasts that it operates in more than four,500 towns (consisting of Roanoke) and at 300 airports. Its many hundreds of “hosts” offer greater than 800 makes and fashions of motors, from ordinary price range sedans to amazing sports vehicles that hire at a pretty penny. Turo claims it can shave as much as 35 percent off the value of traditional automobile leases.
Perusing its internet site, it seems I should have rented a 2006 Toyota Corolla in Austin for 4 days for $22 a day. On top of that, Turo fees a 25 percent price, which would have added the fee to $a hundred and ten.
It would have fee me any other $31 through Uber to get from the Austin airport to the Corolla (which wouldn’t were as handy as an airport rental). That takes the price to $172, assuming I’d want a ride lower back to the airport on the cease of the rental.
Christin Di Scipio, a Turo spokeswoman, said I additionally would have been charged $4.Fifty one for tolls, plus a 3 percent tolls convenience charge, which in no case ever exceeds the fee of the tolls. So the total value of the Turo would were approximately $one hundred eighty (as opposed to the $303.32 I paid Hertz).
But that’s it. There’s no state or local tax, no airport concession or garage expenses, no ridiculous energy surcharge or highly-priced “vehicle license cost restoration” charge. And Turo wouldn’t have outrageously nicked me at the tolls “comfort price.”
Di Scipio mentioned that, like car condo agencies, Turo gives coverage to guests who hire cars thru the organization’s app. But visitors can decline that, like I did with the airport rental. (She delivered Turo customers have to check with their insurance businesses to decide whether their rules cowl vehicle-shares the same manner maximum insurers cowl vehicle rentals. That varies relying at the insurer.)
Mind you, this isn’t always exactly an apples-to-apples evaluation. At the airport, I rented a late-model Nissan Rogue, which is a small SUV, rather than a 2006 Corolla sedan. But given the amount of miles we drove, I could have luckily settled for the latter (plus some minor ride-share inconvenience) to store $123.

Since this incident, a few pals have informed me it’s frequently substantially less costly to hire a car anywhere however an airport, even which includes the taxi journey to the off-the-airport apartment automobile facility. So that’s any other option.
In a few towns (Austin isn’t one), Turo hosts will supply the automobile to the airport free of charge. Neil Aneja, a Roanoke real estate agent who rents each his Tesla 3 and Hummer thru Turo, instructed me he expenses not anything to supply his motors to human beings arriving at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.
As you might expect, Aneja’s each day charge is much better than the Corolla in Austin due to the fact his motors aren’t backside-of-the-liners. But “I’ve never had a complaint from a visitor about any form of a hidden price,” Aneja told me.
And that’s why, the next time we travel everywhere and need a rental car, Donna and I could be trying Turo.

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