What happens if the rental company is sold out?

Last Updated: Aug 23, 2017 10:54PM EDT
Everyone has seen the Seinfeld episode where Jerry says to the car rental agent, "You know how to take the reservation, you just don't know how to hold the reservation. And that's really the most important part of the reservation--the holding." It's a funny scene--until the same thing happens to you.

Just like airlines and hotels, all rental companies overbook. The vast majority of the time, it works out pretty smoothly, but very occasionally, they simply have more customers show up than they have cars for.

While we don't have a way of forcing rental companies not to overbook, we've found the information about overbooking policies in  these articles useful:

Dealing with overbooked hotels and cars (Chicago Tribune)
When car rental reservations aren't honored (‚ÄčAssociated Press via Boston Globe)

If you end up in this situation, we definitely recommend giving these articles a read for some helpful tips on how to deal with the rental companies.

In short, most of the major, reputable brands have official policies that go something like this:
  • If your reserved car class is not available, you are entitled to a complimentary upgrade at no additional cost to you.
  • If there aren't any larger vehicles available, the rental company will either find an alternate vehicle for you at another company and pay the difference along with a voucher towards a future rental for your inconvenience.
  • The rental company may also offer to pay for a taxi to and from your hotel and get a car to you later in the day or the next morning (along with an extra voucher for your inconvenience).

If you have any issues, be sure to ask for the manager on duty. Some rental office managers may not be aware of these official policies, but if the rental company isn't able to honor your reservation and doesn't agree to pay for your extra expenses, usually a call to the company's customer service department after the fact will result in a reimbursement being sent your way.

In any case, if you do arrive at the rental counter and find that they are unable to provide you a car and aren't willing to help you make alternate arrangements, please feel free to contact us and we will work to find the best alternative option for you. (Make sure you choose the option for emergency support so we know that you require immediate assistance.)

Note that when you book a reservation through AutoSlash, your reservation is just as guaranteed as if you book it directly through the rental company's own website.
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