This is my story about hidden Orbitz car rental fees I discovered during my recent car hire. I’ve booked a weekend trip to France and for two days I needed a car. I searched on Argus Car Hire, Travelsupermarket.com, Car Hire Market and a plethora of other sites and they all quoted between £120-250 for the two days! I thought sod it and wasn’t going to book anything at all. But then I remembered a trick I learned a few years ago.
When you book a trip in Europe it is also worth checking US travel booking sites because they often offer far cheaper rates.
Orbitz, the Cheapest Deal – with Surprises!
This is what I did and I found that Orbitz.com was offering the same two days, same location and even the same rental companies at $18/day (excluding fees & charges). That is a total of £75 with fees, almost half price of what the other firms were offering. So I booked it but the price breakdown on the following page totally surprised me.
On the front page results (below) you see $18/day – $96 total. For a layman two days at $18/day would equal $36 plus charges. Now if I deduct $36 from $96 it is obvious that the charges add up to an extortionate $60! And for what? I tried to find an explanation but I failed miserably. So I clicked on “Reserve” hoping there would be an explanation on the next page.
Hidden Orbitz Car Rental Fees – Or Am I Blind?
That’s where I found the below image. In the breakdown it says “No Surprises” – presumably meaning everything is clear and I will understand it all. But not so! I’ve rented a gazilion cars and have written plenty of reviews, but this one has completely baffled me.
Now, I added everything up and I just struggled on! I added up another time, three times, four times and a dozen times but I still wouldn’t get $95.85! I multiplied $35.82 by 2, added the taxes and fees and $2.20 was still missing. Then I added them up separately and got only $57.84. So I added $35.82 again but I was still short of money! I then multiplied the tax by two and then the car rental rate by two but then it was more than $95.85. I thought forget it, I booked it as it was still a lot cheaper than the others but I decided to phone Orbitz to check.
Orbitz Hangs Up on Me
I phoned Orbitz and I was super surprised that an agent picked up within four minutes even though it is Memorial Weekend Monday! What a service I thought! I explained to her what I wanted and she couldn’t find the same price! So I walked her though each step and finally after 20 minutes she found the same rate. Problem is, she couldn’t explain the difference either! So she phoned around the entire department, not a single person in charge knew the answer. By then I’d spent 40 minutes on the phone! This is when I decided to turn on my recorder.
She said she would phone Europcar to check, which she did but she still couldn’t explain. So I tried to drill down a bit more and asked her to get a calculator and add up for me. We started it but then instead of going through she hung up on me!
The Second Orbitz Agent
I phoned back, furious by then! I already spent almost an hour on the phone and got no answer! I explained to the next agent and he couldn’t explain either! So after 40 minutes on the phone again he transferred me to his line manager. Finally the line manager explained that although on the front page it says $18/day, I should just ignore it because that’s not really the price!
I was like, “why advertise $18/day if the final price is completely different?” No real answer to be honest – if you want you can listen to the recording below! He says I will only ever find out the clear breakdown when I collect the car. So not enough there are hidden Orbitz car rental fees, but even the agents cannot explain what those fees are! The below is a shorter version of my call, in total I spent 110 minutes on Skype with them!
What Other Surprises?
So there will still be a lot of surprises even though on the site they say “No Surprises!” So basically I have to pay $60 in fees and charges and whatever else, but I am still non the wiser what those fees and charges are. And I still don’t have a clue why from $18/day it turned into $35.82/day? But at least I found out that the $2.20 difference is Orbitz’s booking fee, which wasn’t listed anywhere during the booking process – so that’s one surprise for sure! Hopefully no more at the time of pick up!