Ask Andy: rental car 'round-trip-ticket' policy - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Ask Andy: rental car 'round-trip-ticket' policy

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Pay close attention the next time you rent a car online.

The rental company just might request something that's, well, a little unfair.

Tom Logue of East Memphis was planning a road trip, a driving road trip. He had to rent a car, so he surfed Dollar Rental Car's website for a reasonable mid-size vehicle.

Right there on the options page, Dollar Rental Car posted this requirement: ROUND (TRIP) AIRLINE TICKET PLUS 2 MAJOR CC (CREDIT CARDS) REQUIRED.

So I reached out to Dollar Rental Car. It took nearly three weeks for Paula Rivera, a spokesperson for its parent company, Hertz, to e-mail a statement that read, in part, "This requirement is typically for our high-end vehicles, such as premium and luxury SUV's and convertibles; the policy is in place to help ensure the integrity of our revenue-generating equipment."

But Logue was shopping a Dodge Avenger. A sedan -- not some sports car.

Not to mention Logue is a marketing professional who is quite capable of "ensuring the integrity" of the rental.

"To me, it's just saying, 'Hey, there are some people we just don't want driving our cars,'" Logue said. "I mean, there is nothing about having an airline ticket that makes you a better driver."

This smelled of a geographical bias -- like Dollar's site was arbitrarily assigning the policy to consumers who book in certain regions of the country. But Rivera never shared any data on Mid-South auto thefts or damage to justify the round-trip airline ticket requirement, nor did she offer that as an explanation of the policy.

So I contacted the American Car Rental Association. Its spokesperson said it "cannot express an opinion" about its members' policies.

Of course it can't. It's only the trade group of the rental car industry. Give me a break.

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