Attorney General received 45 complaints since 2019 against car rental companies, many of which were for overcharges

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – When John Cripps, a Wilmington preacher, needed to get his daughter home from Boston, he rented a car and made the trip up the coast. For a few hundred dollars, the price of the rental wasn’t cheap – but it was what he expected and agreed to pay.

When he got the final bill – he said things didn’t add up to what he agreed to, in fact, it was more than $200 more. The charges include an unknown fuel cost of $61, to the mileage differing on the bill than what he turned it in at.

It took effort to get his money back but once he did – he realized out he’d been overcharged more than he initially thought.

“I was thinking about $100 or $103. Well, it turns out, they refunded $237 and some change. Now, that is a lot of money, of overcharges,” Cripps said.

When he confronted the company about the charges, he said the company told him these issues were related to computer errors. But it’s not a one-off situation – it’s something Attorney General Josh Stein sees frequently.

“By far and away, the biggest complaint we hear is about added charges. And so it’s really important, when you are comparing rental car company prices, that you’re comparing apples to apples, make sure that you’ve looked to see all of the charges that could be added to your contract,” Stein said.

After reviewing some of the complaints, the amount of fees and additional charges the company puts on people’s cards have real-world impacts on people.

One customer who filed a complaint with Stein’s office said the company has been charging him $1,300 a week starting in January, his complaint was filed in March. Despite not having a truck from the company, he said the charges kept coming.

While online booking makes things easy, there are sometimes hidden fees included in the contract that many people might not realize.

That’s a lesson Cripps knows all too well now, and he says the entire experience has left him reconsidering ever renting a car again.

“This is the first time I’ve had to use a rental because of the fact that I’ve always driven you know, I put a lot of miles on my own personal car. But this will be the last,” he said.

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