Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Budget Rent-A-Car

Whilst in the USA for my business trip, I took on a car rental. However I did not book directly with the company. I went through a 3rd party company as they offered a much lower price. Lower Price for the same product.

The purchase through the 3rd party company did not allowed me to purchase insurance. Hence, when I collected the car at the airport, I requested for insurance.

The person at the counter did not explain to me everything about the insurance. The conversation went very general and I signed the dotted lines.

On the day I returned the car, I was given the receipt and I was totally speechless. The amount charged to my credit card for 2 days of insurance was USD158!!! Again, I asked the counter person to explain to me, to provide me with the cost breakdown. The counter person could not explain. HUH????? All he said was, the amount is right, we just trust the computer!!!!! OH MAN!!! Even if the amount is right, I want to know how did USD158 came about because on the day I took car, the lady said, insurance is about USD30 a day. Given +-5%, it wont come up to USD158 right???

When I returned the car, it was already night time and the next day, I was flying out of USA. I had no time to contact Budget. I got very worried because if there is anything to rectify, it should NOT be delayed.

Anyhow, I came back home and I decided to email them. I got prompt reply from Budget and after a few emails, out of gratitude, they prorated the amount and I paid USD120.

Now, let me tell you.
When you take an insurance on retail price, say, at the airport while taking car, there is a base charge, airport tax, state tax and misc charges. The airport and state tax can be like 22% high!!!!! Their rate is based on time. Let say, your car rental is from 8 am (day 1) till 8 am (day 2). You came in earlier at 7am on day 1 to take the car..they start counting from 7am. and from 7am-8am..its considered as 1 day charged.

So remember, take your own insurance the next time or look for better offer.

All these wont happened if the 3rd party company did a good job!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Orbitz Travel

I was posted to the USA for 3 weeks last November. Besides working, I planned to travel to a few places, and one of them included visiting my brother in Lynchburg, Virginia. Prior leaving for the States, everyday I have been searching the net for good deals such a cheap hotels and car rental.

After surveying, I decided to use Orbitz. No doubt, their prices were the cheapest, but I didnt have a good experience.

This is not a paid post. I am sharing my purchase experience which left me very disappointed.

If you play around the Orbitz portal, you will realized that if you go for "package", the price is lower (example: Hotel + Car Rental). If you click "hotel" alone, the price difference is USD2-3. You should say, its only USD2-3? But I wanted to spend wisely. USD2-3 is our money RM10 and RM10, I can buy 2 meals!!! right???

So I decided to use the "package" function, however the function is not very smart. Because I wanted 3 nights of hotel stay, but car usage for 2 days. This was NOT allowed online. Hence, I decided, why not call them for this special customization? GUESS WHAT? The customer service cannot perform the task. Then why do you have customer service? Is Customer Service for those who dont have online access or who wants to make changes?? The customer service said, purchase under package for hotel and car rental for 2 nights and a separate hotel charge just for 1 night... and with that, I paid USD10 more!!!!

Secondly, under Car Rental Tab, If you purchase Car Rental only, the web will prompt you to buy insurance at a low price like USD9/day (all inclusive insurance coverage). Again, there was NO option for insurance when you buy under package. Hence, I told the customer service on phone to include the insurance, and she again, cannot perform the task. She asked me to buy over the counter when collecting the car. Now, do you know, at the end of the day, I paid USD120 (in total) for insurance for 2 days usage whereby car rental was USD30/day? I could have paid USD18 for the special insurance offered by Orbitz.

As such, for my future travels, I will be more diligent. Will I use Orbitz again? Probably no.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year

Wishing all my friends here a Happy Chinese New Year.
Gong Xi Fatt Chai, Xin Nian Kuai Le