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Do You Make These Car Rental Mistakes?

Neil Stelling -- Follow these tips and you'll have a relaxed and stress free car rental experience, all ready to enjoy your vacation or business trip.

Cheap car rental deals are spread all over the Web. But not all are good deals. There are a few things you must look out for... or your cheap car rental deal might work out a lot more expensive than you planned!

Here are some things you mustn't do:

-- Forget to check the car's condition.

When you pickup the car, be sure to check it carefully. Some companies will blame pre-existing scratches and dents on you. They know it needs fixing, and are waiting for a sucker to pay for it. This is less likely with the big, reputable companies, but can be avoided with these tips.

Check the car over with the delivery guy or when you go to pick it up. If you have a digital camera or camcorder, which you probably do if you're going on vacation, give the car a quick run. This way you can prove the exact condition of the car when you first took it.

-- Don't use the Internet to check for best deals.

Of course you'll check for deals on the Internet! That's probably where you're reading this article. But there are still people who don't check and just take the first offline offer they see. Check online, and use one of the search engines that scans lots of different car rental offers.

-- Don't check offline either.

Even though the Internet is probably the best place for car rental deals, it's worth checking offline, too. I found with Hotels, I often get the best deals by calling ahead and negotiating with the receptionist (it's hard to negotiate with a Web page). Yet, with Airline tickets the best deals are always online; the telephone/walk-in prices are higher and can't be negotiated.

But with car rentals, if you want to cover all your bases, be sure to check online and offline. Your local car rental dealer might have a special offer he's forgotten to update on the Web site, or maybe someone's just cancelled a booking and you can take it cheap at short notice.

-- Don't carefully check the terms of your car rental deal.

Make sure you've got unlimited mileage if you want to drive a long way. Some deals have a mileage allowance, after which you get charged a high dollar per extra mile. Unlimited works out best most times.

Check the terms to see if you need to return the car gas tank full or nearly empty. I once made the mistake of returning it full when I didn't need to -- the car rental company refused to refund the cost.

-- Fail to clean the car if you genuinely do get it dirty.

It's okay to return it dusty from driving a couple hundred miles, but if your kid gets sick inside, or someone spills coffee or drops a burger & fries, then clean it up! If you don't the car rental company will add an extra cleaning charge onto your credit card.

Follow these tips and you'll have a relaxed and stress free car rental experience, all ready to enjoy your vacation or business trip.

Neil Stelling is the Marketing Manager for DigiLectual Inc. For more information on cheap car rentals, visit

© 2006 DigiLectual Inc.

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