Due to our personalized service, we are at the airport quite a bit. And during the summer, we are there a lot more than that. Being at the airport, we over hear all kinds of conversations in passing but the ones that absolutely kill me are the parents who are crying because the car rental they thought they secured from the national agency was given away to someone else, they were given a cargo van rather than a mini van (yes, this happened!), or they got a two wheel drive suburban that they had to drive through fresh snow pack road for two miles to get to their cabin.
It’s pretty crazy what we see and here and it truly just kills me. Sometimes, I just wish there was something I could do. But running a small family run business isn’t easy as we don’t have the luxury to know that “we’ll get the next guy.” And that is understandable, we understand that when someone goes to book travel and goes to get a rental vehicle, they think of the “big guy’s” first. But there are benefits to renting from a smaller company such as ours. One being our focus is on you and your experience both in our services and knowledge of the area.
I was just reading an aritcle published by forbes.com titled “Don’t Get Ripped Off At the Car Rental Counter” and a flood of the overheard conversations, phone calls from guests with horror stories, and (understandably apprehensive) phone calls from potential guests came to my head. Other than the fact that the article may have been written just for an ad placement, there was an ad for a car insurance company on the page, the article was good enough to raise my heart rate. I thought i would place my thoughts here on what was mentioned and our position on them and what we are doing here at Rocky Mountain Expeditions to do things differently.
The Car Rental Insurance "Scam"
Of course, the first thing they talk about is the insurance options. I think this is the biggest ‘thing’ when it comes to renting a vehicle. You should know that you DO NOT have to buy this. For most people, their auto insurance, including collision coverage, extends to your rental. If you are not sure, check with your agent. Next, YES, if you rent with your credit card, depending on the card, you might be covered too with either primary or secondary coverage. Lastly, you can purchase insurance from another third party provider. There are companies out there that offer travel insurance for way less than what you would get at the counter. The only thing we will recommend to you, is that you do purchase our windshield protection. Given the amount of gravel roads in Montana, there are rocks EVERYWHERE. Even on roads that are paved and you don’t expect. If you are unsure about your insurance options, give us a call at 406-530-5337. We would be happy to talk to you.
I will say that we have seen both sides of this. We have had guests that have bought the additional insurance and used it. It saved them thousands of dollars. We have also had guests who did not purchase it and wish they had.
The Car Rental Upgrade "Scam"
This one is easy for us (and you). We specialize only in Jeep vehicles. That’s it. If you call for a Jeep Wrangler and we don’t have that, but have a Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Gladiator, Jeep Wagoneer, we will offer you that. The same for if you call for any of those models. If we don’t have any availability, we don’t have availability. We will take your name and number down and call you when we can guarantee that we will be able to get you a vehicle for the dates you want. We WILL NOT overbook based on an machine learning model designed to forecast cancellations.
As I mentioned in the first pargaraph. These are the most common stories we hear. Every summer we inevitably get the call “Yes, I am at the airport and wondering if you have anything available, INSERT_NAME_HERE, gave my car away” or “doesn’t have any four wheel drive vehicles like I requested.”
Because we specialize in Jeep branded vehicles, you are gauranteed a 4WD vehicle and the model you asked for will be what you get unless we didn’t have it. In which case you wouldn’t have a reservation. We work in quality over quantity.
The Car Rental Gas "Scam"
This one is rather simple. We will give you the Jeep with a full tank of gas. Please return it with a full tank of gas. We don’t have hidden fees here but we will be direct, we will charge you the price of the gas to fill it up and a small fee for our time. But no way are we charging you $10 a gallon for gas. Unless gas becomes $10 a gallon, but we aren’t there yet. We don’t offer a prepay option or anything else. We can also share the receipt with you so you can be sure we aren’t pulling anything “weird”.
The Car Rental Child Seat "Scam"
This one is easy. We aren’t going to force you to pay to protect your child. We have a baby girl. Scratch that, as of this writing she is saying she is a “big” girl. Traveling with a car seat is a pain and you shouldn’t have to do it i f you don’t need to. Child seats and boosters are free. Call us to discuss. 406-530-5337.
All the Hidden Fees in Car Rentals
We do not charge any ‘hidden’ fees. the price you see when you check out online is what you will see when you are done. The only thing that changes the price is if you extend your trip and decide to keep the Jeep for a day or more. The only ‘fees’ that we can’t control is the tax and the Airport concession fee. This is just money that we collect that goes directly to the state and to the airport. If you really want to avoid that airport fee, give us a call. Generally, the fee comes out to a little less than or just as much as an Uber. We can help you figure that out if you give us a call.
The only other thing worth mentioning here is how clean the vehicle is when you return it. We do expect it to be somewhat dirty. But if it is excessive, then we will have to charge a fee as we need to get it ready for the next family. We are not like the big guys that can have the vehicle sitting in the field waiting to get cleaned and have one of our other million cars sub-par cleaned to hand out to the ‘next in line.’ If you aren’t sure, just call us!
So that addresses most of the things in the article. I think you can see one theme here in my response. And that is, we will talk to you. If you look at our reviews, communication is our thing. We don’t just try to put butts in seats. We want you to have a good experience when you visit Montana and Wyoming area. That begins from the time you land to the time you leave. We encourage you to call or text us during your stay if you need anything or have any questions. We will always do the best we can to help you. If you have any questions now, feel free to give us a ring. Or, if you are interested in renting a Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Gladiator, or Jeep Wagoneer, visit our reservation page to see if we have an opening.