Advantage in Mexico Warning!!
Nov 23, 2003
Review by regrus
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Cons:Renting in Mexico you will be Scammed
The Bottom Line: Don't even think about renting a vehicle from Advantage-Rent-A-Car in Mexico.
Recently rented a Jeep Wrangler for twenty days in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. Negotiated a rate of $415 dollars per week that included all additional insurances available and included all taxes. Collision damage waiver costs $21.00 per day and "Theft" insurance is another $9.00. Tax is 15% of the total rental amount. Theft insurance only reduces your liability from 100% to 10% of the value of the vehicle if it gets stolen. In other words if your rental vehicle is stolen and you have purchased the optional theft insurance you would still owe them 10% of the value of the Jeep. I could never get a straight answer out of Advantage if this deductible would be based on the value of a used Jeep or a new one. Jeeps are rented in Mexico without windows so it is impossible to lock them up. I requested a vehicle that was to be in excellent condition as I was planning some highway driving. The day arrived and the Jeep was picked up at the Advantage rental location near our hotel. Poor condition would be an understatement. The tires were worn out; the additional ignition disable key that they locally install to discourage theft did not work and it was generally beat up. The rental agent advised me that this Jeep was the only Jeep available and promised to replace it "as early as possible". A few days went by and we wanted to leave on our road trip. After numerous calls a Jeep was arranged to be delivered to our hotel by seven that evening. At eight a Jeep rolls up rattling; apparently a rear wheel bearing is worn out. The driver struggling in broken English advised me that this Jeep is "not as good as the one I already have" and he suggested I "don't take this one" but wait until tomorrow. The next day I am back where I originality rented the Jeep and again we are advised that no Jeeps are available in all of Puerto Vallarta. The agent suggested if I want to leave on my trip that day it would best if I drive to their head office near the airport and they would swap the tires and wheels from the broken Jeep they had delivered the previous night. I arrive at head office; they inspect the Jeep and instruct me to take my vehicle to a tire store where they have made arrangements to have new tires installed. I find myself sitting in a tire store having wasting the better part of a day of my holiday watching the Jeep slowly getting tires installed. I then drive to the local Walmart and buy a Club steering wheel lock as I don't trust leaving the Jeep with the ignition disable not working. The rest of the holiday goes by uneventfully until our last night when the rear view mirror was stolen from the inside of the windshield while parked outside our hotel. To make a long story short we returned the Jeep to the Puerto Vallarta airport on the appointed date just prior to our flight home. The Advantage agent at the airport counter used a two way radio to contact her supervisor who decides that the interior mirror will cost me $150.00 U.S. to replace. It's worth $20.00 at any Chrysler dealer in the USA. She further advised that I will be responsible for the repair of the ignition disable as I should not have accepted the Jeep if it was not working which makes me liable. I asked to speak to the supervisor and I am advised he is suddenly unavailable even though she never tried to radio him back. The agent refused to complete the rental contract so I leave with nothing other than the rental document I initially received at the time I first rented the Jeep. Upon my return home I check my Visa statement on line to find out that Advantage Mexico has charged me $756.00 more that the agreed amount. I decided to call their head office in Texas and got a total run around. Advantage Rent-A-Car head office advises that Mexico is a Franchise location and I would have to deal with Mexico direct. Not likely that Mexico will do anything as they are the perpetrator of this scam. I called my Visa card provider to find out that Advantage Mexico pre authorized my Visa card for more than the agreed rental amount at the time of first renting the Jeep so Visa advises me they "probably" can not reverse the charges. This authorization to my Visa was conducted in Spanish and as no amount was written on the invoice (only an authorization number) I did not know what amount they had pre authorized. Throughout this entire process I had numerous conversations with the original rental agent and one of the things he told me was he was paid a wage that is the equivalent of only $150.00 U.S. every two weeks plus a commission of 2% of every rental. I now have no doubt from this experience that these employee's also receive a percentage of anything they can "add" to your rental upon it's return. In the USA it would amount to Fraud. I will never ever rent from Advantage Rent-A-Car again.
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