Toll roads are becoming a very common in major cities and a lot of them are e-toll booths. These were made to make travelling easier – no standing in queues and no fumbling for coins. Yes it has made life easier for a lot of commuters but those driving a rental car can have a tough time paying the bills.
As the number of e-tolls increase, the number of complaints of fraudulent charges by the car rental companies also increases. The best way to avoid the hefty charges is by understanding how the entire thing works. So we will first take a look at how the rental companies rob their clients and then look for ways to avoid paying excess charges.
How the Scam Works
The electronic toll booths have in-built cameras that capture the licence plate number and automatically charge the owner of the car. So when you drive a rental car, the rental company is being charged; but in turn they scoop it out from the clients. Some car rental companies charge a fixed administrative fee, while others charge the fee per toll. No matter which one you choose, you always pay a lot more than what you would have paid to the cash toll booths.
Moreover, no discounts are offered to the renters, even if the rental company gets a discount. The renter is made to pay in full. The worst part is, most renters are not aware of any such administrative fees until they meet the rental company staffs to settle the payments. No information regarding toll charges or the administrative fees are mentioned on their corporate websites.
The rental contract also does not have any clear information about the administrative charges; even if there is something written it would be vague or included deep within the fine prints, so that you can’t find it easily.
How to Avoid the Toll Scam
Though good and reputed car rental companies such as Wise Car Hire would stay away from such scams, there are many companies that indulge in them. SO to avoid paying excessive toll charges, here is what you can do:
- Know Your Route: Know how many tolls roads you need to pass through in order to reach to the desired destination. Use Google maps or other mapping applications to plot your route and see if there is any way you can avoid the e-tolls.
- Avoid e-Tolls: Use the same mapping application to find a route that has no or minimum e-toll roads. It might take a few minutes longer to reach the destination, but you can surely save a lot of money.
- Choose the Right Rental Company: Talk to the car rental company directly about the administrative charges and then compare this rate from several service providers. Make sure they include the stated rates in the agreement. A good car rental company would be willing to disclose all important information to its clients.
Cashless tolls are great but the car rental companies use them to inflate their profits. So avoid them when driving a rental car.