Advertisement
Travel

Car-Rental Firms Punish No-Shows

Expect to pay a fee if you don't cancel your reservation.

Your flight is canceled and the next one isn’t until tomorrow. Better call the hotel and cancel the room -- and don’t forget the rental-car counter. Some 20% to 30% of people who reserve a car with a rental agency never pick up the keys. But travelers who are accustomed to getting a free pass when they fail to claim their rental may soon be hit with a fee. “These no-show fees are not a matter of if but when,” says rental-car industry consultant Neil Abrams. Such charges already exist in other countries, and in some cases you’ll pay a no-show fee in the U.S. for a hybrid or other specialty car, for a long-term rental, or for renting at peak times.

Advertisement - Article continues below

With demand down and operating costs rising as Detroit funnels fewer cars into rental fleets, rental companies are looking for income. Over the past year, Avis has begun retooling technology to allow the company to process credit-card numbers at the time of reservation, giving the company the ability to, among other things, penalize no-shows. There’s no rollout timetable yet, but an Avis spokesperson says the process will be moving ahead in the next few months -- and not just at Avis, but likely industrywide. In the U.K., Avis gives no-shows a 24-hour grace period to cancel the reservation or pick up the car; after that the company charges a fee of 40 euros (about $57).

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

For Patty Hsu, a consultant from Cerritos, Cal., who rents cars for business travel, a fee for a missed reservation could be an expensive speed bump but not a surprising one. “It sounds like the same concept as hotel-cancellation policies,” says Hsu.

Advertisement

Most Popular

12 Tax Deadlines for July 15 (It's Not Just the Due Date for Your Tax Return)
tax deadline

12 Tax Deadlines for July 15 (It's Not Just the Due Date for Your Tax Return)

Between due dates for paying estimated taxes, IRA or HSA contributions, and other deadlines, there's more to do by July 15 than just filing your feder…
July 14, 2020
65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On
stocks

65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On

These 65 Dividend Aristocrats are an elite group of dividend stocks that have reliably increased their annual payouts every year for at least a quarte…
July 8, 2020
Tax Day 2020: When's the Last Day to File Taxes?
tax deadline

Tax Day 2020: When's the Last Day to File Taxes?

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 tax deadline was pushed back to give taxpayers (and tax preparers) more time to file returns.
July 14, 2020

Recommended

Sales Tax Holidays in 2020
Tax Breaks

Sales Tax Holidays in 2020

Sixteen states are having sales tax holidays this year. If you plan your shopping around these tax-free periods, you can save big on back-to-school cl…
July 1, 2020
13 Luxury Goods That Are Cheaper at Costco
spending

13 Luxury Goods That Are Cheaper at Costco

You could be missing out on huge savings: Costco sells a limited selection of luxury goods at discounted prices, both in-store and online.
June 27, 2020
COVID-19: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Chance to Change Our Spending Habits
spending

COVID-19: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Chance to Change Our Spending Habits

The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything, including how we spend money. Are you spending less right now? Many people are. Here’s how to make th…
June 17, 2020
24 Best Travel Websites to Save You Money
Travel

24 Best Travel Websites to Save You Money

Traveling is fun and you can do it without breaking the bank — you just have to know where to go online first.
June 12, 2020