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Car Rental at Frankfurt Airport

We recently returned from a fabulous 16 day trip through Germany and the Dolomites. The only hangup was the car rental. I had made the reservation months ago through Dollar/Thrifty. When we picked up the car at the Frankfurt Airport, I had planned to charge the rental on my Visa and use their rental insurance, a universally accepted practice. I even had a verification letter from Visa. Alas, when we arrived travel-weary in Frankfurt, the Dollar/Thrifty franchise, Buchbinder, refused the Visa insurance and forced us to buy theirs which more than doubled the rental charge. It was a classical 'bait and switch'. I felt we had no choice but sign the agreement so we could start our once-a-year vacation. Since returning, my research has shown this is an on-going problem at Frankfurt Airport. Has anyone ever walked away from this situation and found a car at another rental counter? What is a reputable car rental company in Germany?

Posted by
9110 posts

If you invite them to go stuff themselves they will back down.

Of course you can switch agencies. I do it quite often, but not for your reason. The next counter over will be happy to match your quote. However, if you've done something silly like prepaying, you've kind of lost your leverage.

And no, I've never had a bit of a problem at Frankfurt, but I've probably never used Avis there.

Europcar and Sixt are both pretty good.

Posted by
6570 posts

Though some of the rental car agencies in Europe go by the names of companies you're familiar with, some car rentals are run by franchisees. And some "big name" auto rentals in Europe have poor reputations.

When I get into Europe after a long flight, I usually like to get a room and take it easy for one day--getting over jet lag. Then, I will "hit the road."

I try to avoid car rental locations in airports (everywhere) because they just about always come with additional tolls and taxes. I prefer to rent from city locations, even if I'm going to return the car to an airport location--to save money.

I prefer to rent with AutoEurope.com or Hertz.com--which ever's cheaper. And I've often picked up a car at Hertz for a cheaper rental payment through AutoEurope. The only problem I've had was receiving a ticket 9 months after getting home for 1.5 mph over the speed limit--caught on a radar camera on the causeway going out to Venice. It wasn't Hertz' fault.

Posted by
2779 posts

I rent cars in Germany all the time, several times a month. Buchbinder (owned by Terstappen) is a particularly bad example. You can run into something similar with Budget over here.

It NEVER happens with Sixt (the market leader) or Europcar. I really like both. With Sixt you usually end up driving a BMW, with Europcar it's Mercedes or VW.

Posted by
16878 posts

Thanks, all, for sharing your experiences.