Whether traveling for fun or business, the use of a rental car often becomes a foremost concern and major convenience that can’t be done without. Here are some things you should know about rental car policies and what your rights are as a consumer.
No car rental company can require a deposit of any kind or place an advance charge against your credit card for any potential or actual damage to your rented car.
If the car rental agency offers to sell you a collision damage waiver, the waiver must be written in plain language and appear in boldface type in the rental contract and it mustbe stated that the waiver is optional and entails a fee. In the waiver, the rental agency, for a specified fee, agrees to drop all claims for damages to the car that may occur during the term of your rental agreement. The actual charge per day for the damage waiver must also be written into the contract. But be sure to check your regular auto insurance policy, it may cover you for rental cars. Also, some credit card companies offer free insurance coverage, if you charge your rentals on their credit card.
What happens if you don’t purchase the collision damage waiver and you do damage the rental car? Hawaii law states that no car rental agency can require payment for damages until the cost of the damage and the customer’s liability have been established and agreed to by both the rental agency and the consumer. If a private agreement cannot be reached, payment for damages is to be determined by a court of law. Furthermore, a rental company cannot require the customer to remain within the specified boundaries, such as within the rental office or within the state, until the cost of the damages have been paid.
If you have any problems in this area, call the Consumer Resource Center at 587-4272.