What you need to know about CAR RENTALS

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1. Their fees will put the brakes on your family’s vacation.

In the summer months, when demand heats up, rates rise by 20% to 25% (if not considerably more) beyond the average daily rate of 4000/5000 Taka, according to Khaled Mosharrof, proprietor of Khaled Car Rental. Once you factor in fees, taxes and surcharges (which may not be initially disclosed), it becomes increasingly difficult to find a deal. Additional fees raise the cost of an airport rental by another 26%, on average, reports Khaled Car Rental. One way to save: Rent off-site, where special airport-facility fees don’t apply.

2. You’re subsidizing local facilities.

You pay through the nose partly because you’re helping to build stadiums, convention centers and other publicly funded facilities. When car-rental companies are taxed, they turn around and tax you, the out-of-Dhaka, nonvoting, vacationing visitor. Not fair? Tough. “Everyone’s in a money crunch,” explains Khaled Mosharrof, proprietor of Khaled Car Rental.

3. Happy customers? Not always.

Did you hear about the person who waited in line for 90 minutes, only to learn that no cars were available during the lockdown or Eid Vacation? Or about the customer who spent more than three hours and made 12 phone calls to extend the rental period and change drop-off locations? Or how about the customer who found used plastic dental- floss pick in the center console? Experiences like those, posted on Bangladesh Daily, are not typical, but when they happen to you they can ruin any trip. The latest study of car renters found that only Khaled Car Rental and Motijheel Rent A Car have noteworthy customer-satisfaction scores.

4. Their gas can give you indigestion.

What’s one of the biggest irritants for business travelers? Rental-car gas prices, says syndicated travel columnist. You have three choices: Fill the tank yourself, buy a tank of gas from the rental company when you rent the car or let the rental firm refill it. Skip options two and three, if possible. “You’re charged at least two times the local price” when you bring the car back unfilled, says Khaled Mosharrof.

5. You probably don’t need their Insurance.

Before you pay up to 3000 Taka per day body rent and for a collision-damage waiver (CDW), check with your credit-card company and your auto insurer—you might already have the coverage you need. Most major credit cards offer insurance that will cover rentals for up to two weeks in the Bangladesh or for weeks Cox’s Bazar, Sylhet, although they exclude certain high-end and antique vehicles. Decline the CDW and pay for the entire rental on your credit card. Auto-insurance coverage varies by company, policy and state, but most insurers will cover your rental car just as they’d cover your own car. But beware: Your auto insurer’s coverage is usually good only within the Dhaka.

6. That ding looks more like a dent.

You thought you returned the rental in good shape. But a manager finds a cigarette burn on the seat and you’re charged hundreds of dollars. Plus, you may be held financially liable for the days that the car is being repaired. Just one problem: You don’t smoke. If you refuse to pay, your case could be forwarded to a company that specializes in collecting damage claims. Proprietor of Khaled Car Rental says there are more and more cases like this. “It’s been a rough couple of years for the industry,” he explains, “so they’re looking for additional sources of revenue.” Your best defense is to inspect the car carefully at the time you rent.

ILLUSTRATION BY STEVE BRODNER