Seriously? Poll finds car rental companies have the most surprise fees

I don’t think I would have believed it unless I saw it for myself. I would have guessed that airlines or hotels would be the leading generators of surprise fees. But no — it’s car rental companies.

I conducted this survey last week, as part of a research project on fees and travel. The poll answers were randomized to prevent any bias.

More than 80 percent of the respondents said car rental companies were the place they most expect surprise fees from when they travel. Just over 40 percent said they expect it from an airline or hotel. A fraction of respondents said cruise lines and travel agents were most likely to hit them with surprise surcharges.

What do you think of the results? And are these car rental fees the product of state and local taxes on car rentals, or creative surcharges invented by the car rental companies, like “tire disposal” fees or “license recovery” fees?

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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