In an ideal world, we would have nothing to worry about. However, life is nowhere that kind. When you are aiming to rent out a vehicle, it is important that you keep a sharp eye out. If not, you just might end up falling prey to some pretty sneaky car rental scams or rip-offs.

Rental scams are the reason why a lot of startup car rental agencies have some trouble securing clients. In order to help startup companies and our readers who may need a bit of help, we are going to be discussing some of the known rental scams that we have come across.

Common Rip-offs

Hidden in the Print

It should go without saying that before you sign a contract, you must read it thoroughly. The problem is that there are rental contracts that take up more than one page. The jargon they use might be confusing as well. It would be normal practice to ask for a client’s copy—which is simplified but still should have the same message.

What you can do is thoroughly check for any clauses about fees and insurance. If you aren’t okay with those things, don’t sign. If you do sign, make sure that you fully document it. Ask them to print out a copy for you and have them sign it. Take care of that copy so that you can use it to compare with their copy so they don’t sneak anything into their fine print.


One of the more annoying things that some rental companies do is switch out the vehicle that the client gets rather than what they preferred or personally selected. One of the indications that you are working with a good company is if you are allowed to select the car you want to use.

To avoid this from happening to you, fully document the car you have chosen. Take not of the color, make, model, brand, and even the serial number or plate number of the car. Make sure that it is listed specifically in the contract that you are going to sign.

While you should make room in case that there will be unforeseen occurrences, you should have a thorough talk with the account holder. Ask them these questions:

  • Will you be notified of any changes before the date of use?
  • What is their policy when they fail to deliver the chosen vehicle?

Damage and Cleaning Fees

When you do end up getting the car you want, it is easy to fall under the lull of false security. Even when you are able to get the car, you must be on guard. Take careful note of anything that is broken or has an issue. Notify the company immediately.

Fully document the vehicle (both inside and out) before and after you make use of it. This way you have clear proof of the state of the vehicle when it was under your care. This protects you from any sudden claim of damages that the vehicle got and will be charged to your account.


Be careful and know your rights as a consumer. This way, you can avoid being ripped off by unscrupulous rental companies.

Be Smart: Car Rental Rip-offs You Need to Know About