As mentioned in this post, we are planning a quick summer trip to Cancun. Several times we have rented cars in Cancun to go exploring around the Yucatan peninsula. You car can be reserved online and picked up there quick and easy.
Twice we reserved with National Car Rental. Everything was easy and good. The last time we reserved with Budget. They were also easy and good, though they did rip us off a little in the end, not real bad, but some. I want to show the slight of hand that was used to inflate the price. We have also encountered this trick from some hotels. If I can find my old car rental receipt from Budget, I'll scan it so you can see.
OK, so you go to the car rental website and reserve your car for Cancun. It gives you everything in dollars. You get to the car rental place in Cancun to get your car. They write up the contract, again in dollars, and it exactly matches the online reservation you have. You think, "how amazing and honest!"
What you don't notice is that on the last page of the contract there is a dollar/peso conversion listed. If you read carefully, and it may not be in English, it says that your final bill will be priced in pesos using the rate written on the contract.
The dollar/peso conversion on the rental car contract looks high. You know from the local banks and looking online before the trip that one US dollar is buying 12.5 pesos. The Budget car contract lists the conversion as 14.5. Normally this would be a good deal if you were buying pesos with dollars or were buying merchandise priced in pesos, but here it is a rip-off.
You don't think it through, or don't really see it, so you let it go.
Here's what happens:
Your total for the entire rental might come out to $250 USD, for example. The car rental company *could* bill your credit card in dollars and everything would be fine, places do it all the time, but they want to bill you in pesos listing the favorable-appearing conversion rate they have listed.
$250 X 14.5 (their rate) = 3625 pesos billed to your credit card.
3625 ÷ 12.5 (the real exchange rate) = $290 The amount you receive on your credit card statement.
Your $250 car rental became a $290 car rental due to their conversion trick.
I suppose the only way around this is to pay with cash and insist that everything be done in pesos. The bad thing is that if you pay in cash, you will then need to purchase the collision insurance (CDW) which *more* than doubles the price of the rental. If you rent with a Visa or Mastercard, they cover the expensive insurance for you, so it's important to use the credit card even if you get ripped. There's no way out, at least not with Budget Car Rental.
One time in a hotel I saw this coming, so I tried to call the bluff and insist on paying in pesos. They tacked on a surcharge for paying in Mexican money inside Mexico! Weird, huh?
The end. lol.