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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Paying those Nasty Tolls in a Rental Car

I think most veteran travelers do not use the toll transponder that they give you in the rental car. The rental car company will usually ask you if you want to use it or not, but I always decline. It might be easier to pass through quickly at each toll booth, but the surcharge the rental company puts on that per day is a bit crazy for me anyway. I don’t mind pulling over at these nearly deserted pay booth to pay the toll manually without adding on all the surcharges.

The problem with some of these rental transponder fees is that they charge you the fee even if you don’t use the transponder. For example, they may have a six dollar per day charge for the transponder in your car, but you may only go through tolls two days of the seven day vacation. That means for five days you’re paying that six dollar fee and getting no benefit from it. So the total charge for a week vacation would be $42 to use that transponder when you may only get the convenience of it for a couple of tollbooth on two days. Hardly worth $42 to me.

In fact, I decline everything when it comes to car rentals. I decline the insurance. I decline the prepaid gas and anything else they want to tack on. None of these are in the consumer’s favor financially, but if you have money to burn. and you don’t want to be bothered with such things as filling up the car then maybe it’s for you. I already have ample insurance with my insurance carrier and also with the credit card that I use to pay for the rental. I don’t need to purchase additional. The only exception to that would be an overseas rental when they scrutinize the car for damage much more rigorously and my insurance doesn’t work over there.

But regardless of declining the toll transponder with the rental car, I have at least on two occasions been tagged with those extra fees. One occasion I received a toll fee, but the timing on the toll was after I return the car rental. It happened about an hour after I returned the car. So obviously somebody from the rental company must’ve driven it through the tollbooth and just put it on my card. They get away with it a lot because people don’t scrutinize their credit card charges as much as I do. It wasn’t much of a fee. It might’ve been six or seven dollars but it’s just the idea of it that ticked me off. I spent 20 minutes on the phone to get it removed. Not worth my time I know, but it still made me feel better.

A second time when I received the fee, I had no choice to pay it. I went to what was supposed to be a manned booth to pay my toll, but there was nobody at the booth. There was simply a sign on the booth telling the drivers to just continue on. I didn’t realize they were photographing the plates to bill later. So when they billed the rental car plate to the rental car agency, obviously they added their surcharge onto it as well. That made me a little upset, but not much I can do about it either.

As much as I try to avoid additional fees and surcharges, sometimes they become unavoidable. But I think somebody who travels as much as I travel, it becomes necessary to minimize these expenses because although they may be in the singular, they certainly add up over a lot of travel. I do my best to minimize all expenses as much as I can so I can continue to travel as much as I do.

If I was only taking one or two trips per year, I likely would have a different philosophy. I would likely budget in the extra money to pay these fees just for the convenience of having a nice vacation and not being bothered with the small things. (Ok probably I’m too cheap and wouldn’t pay them anyway). But as much time as I am on the road and in the air, I really do need to try to minimize expenses. Besides, some of these surcharges are truly outrageous.

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Mike Wells
Mike Wells
18 giu
Valutazione 5 stelle su 5.

I see it both ways if you travel a lot it is something that you need to watch. For the person that travels once or twice a year that's where these companies make money.

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19 giu
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I have a hard time throwing away money

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