Marin woman claims rent-a-car company hid cheaper rate for long-term rental

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- How do you get the best deal on a rental car? A Marin County woman says she was steered into the most expensive rate possible -- and was overcharged by more than a thousand dollars.

"It was just so distressing because you want to have faith in these businesses,'' said Marlene Levy of Mill Valley.

Her ordeal began when she totaled her car in a parking lot crash last September. Her insurance didn't cover the cost of a new car, so she decided to rent one instead. "My insurance company paid for the first two weeks,'' Levy said, "and then it was out of pocket for me.''

It was a lot out of pocket. Without financing for a new car, the rental dragged on for months. And instead of giving her a long-term rate, Enterprise Rent-A-Car was charging her $24 per day.

"I kept asking them, 'Isn't there a weekly or a monthly rate?'" she recalls. "And they kept telling me no."

But after a few months, when Levy was questioning Enterprise's auto-debits on her credit card, she says, Enterprise suddenly waived two weeks of charges. Levy asked why.

"He said, 'Oh, no, we didn't waive any fees, we gave you the weekly rate,'" Levy recalls. "I said, 'Weekly rate? What weekly rate?'"

Turns out there was a deal for $120 per week, she says, compared to the $168 per week she was paying all those months, plus fees.

Levy wanted a refund. "I was getting really frustrated because I was getting nowhere."

She contacted 7 On Your Side, and we contacted Enterprise. The company did not respond to numerous requests for a statement about what happened in her case, or why she was denied a weekly rate. However, it did refund her last month's payment -- and it let her keep the rental car free for two more months
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"It made me feel better like there's some justice in the world,'' Levy said. "I think 7 On Your Side is wonderful."

One way to protect yourself is to check the prices online with multiple agencies before you settle on a rental. Most companies do offer rentals by the week, month or longer -- and it can be a good way to save.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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