I booked a rental car from Sep 23 at 11 am to Oct 5 at 1 PM on Expedia from Dollar/Hertz, Expedia told me that including all mandatory fees and taxes. I would pay 281 EUR at the counter. When I got to the counter he told me the total bill would be 662 EURs. I said what? I just stood there, realizing I had zero options and I needed to be somewhere 2 hours a way in 3 hours. My receipt from Expedia told me 281 EUR at pick up. So I had him explain to me the extra charges.
This is what he told me the 281 included.
1 week @ 117,39 EUR
5 days @ 64,55 EUR
Reg Fee: 10,08 EUR
23% Location Charge = 44,16 EUR
19% Tax = 44,87
But then he asked me what countries I was going to. I said, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Austria. He said because I am going to Italy I must accept the Collision Damage Waiver and the Theft Protection and pay a cross border fee. I said to him you are telling me I can not decline the CDW or the TP, Is that correct. He said" yes, because you go to Italy."
So they added:
175,32 for the CDW and 60,04 for the theft protection and a 25,00 cross boarder fee. 452,58 EUR + 23% = 104.09 = 556., 67 + 19% Tax= 105,76 EUR.
So the total came to 662,44 EUR then the kicker is they authorized a hold on my credit card for 1440,00 EUR. For what reason, I don't know. This was not explained on any website (Hertz, Dollar, or Expedia) that this was going to happen. Imagine my surprise after 11 hours on an airplane that my rental was almost 3 times what I was expecting it to be and they held my credit card for over 1400 EUR. It was not a good re-introduction to Europe 10 years after I lived there.
So what is your opinion? Has anyone had a similar experience? Is this just the way it goes at Frankfurt Airport? Was this someone trying to game the system taking advantage of my jet lag and lack of internet connection? Is the CDW and TP really mandatory if you go to Italy? I also just wanted to share this experience if you are thinking of renting at Frankfurt Airport and driving to Venice or anywhere in Italy.
Also, do not speed in a rental car even if all the Europeans are doing it. I never once in 4 years (2004-2008) got a ticket while living in Germany, but I am hearing a lot of horror stories of Americans with rental cars getting 50 EUR a pop charges from rental agencies and then multiple large fines from state agencies for traffic fines. I have a feeling Traffic Tudor is going to have a hay day with my bank account. I guess I will find out in a few months. I wish I had come her first rather than just assuming because I used to live there I knew everything. Also, I think it's probably common knowledge but don't plan anything your first day.