rsz mercedes benz 1370536 640By far the best deal on a European car rental is in Germany.

Book an intermediate category car and receive a free, guaranteed-in-writing upgrade to a full-size category car with GPS. Cars in the full-size category include the Mercedes Benz C-Class, Audi A4, BMW 3 series, and others.

The price for one-week is $216 plus about $10 in road tax. The two week price is $367. (This same car is priced for one week at $386 at the Avis website).

Thrifty/Dollar in Germany sometimes offers very low rates. Though we've been reporting for years about the company's rental counter pressure sales tactics, unsuspecting travelers are still being nailed. See the email below received today, October 7, 2016. We have removed the last name, the email address and phone numbers. Dennis is not our customer. This is current, unsolicited testimony.

The Email

From: Dennis

Sent: Friday, October 7, 2016 11:25 AM

To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Subject: Thrifty Car Rental Question at FRA

Hello Andy,

Please assist me in you can.

I reserved a vehicle with Thrifty for pickup at Frankfurt International. (Sadly, I did not go through your website to do so)

They are located at the Hertz rental counter.

When I attempted to pick up my vehicle using my Visa credit card I reserved with, I was told I HAD TO BUY the CDW, Liability, Theft insurance. I refused, stating I was covered by my credit card and offered to show him the paperwork showing it was so.

He refused and stated that "Hertz" required the insurance on all rentals from that location. I said my reservation is with Thrifty and he said it was the same at that location.

I again refused and said I was covered by my credit card.

He said I could not rent the vehicle unless I signed that I agreed to pay for the added insurance. I asked why do I have to sign I accept if it is mandatory?

He told me if I don't sign and accept it he would not rent the car to me and that others were in line. The others also were saying it is not mandatory.

After flying all night from the US to Germany, I felt as I had no choice but to accept or be left without a vehicle in a foreign country.

Then at the end he asked if was going to drive to any other countries. I said yes, I was driving to the Netherlands for one afternoon. He then said he had to add approximately another $60 USD for a Cross Border Fee.

Can you please advise if there is such a thing that they can demand renters to accept the extra insurance or if, it is in fact, really required by them to demand the extra money or refuse to rent a person the car?

and why would I have a Cross Border Fee for a travel into a country not in Eastern Europe or a restricted country?

I have been traveling to Europe since 1993 and have never encountered anyone mandating I had to accept these extra coverage cost.

Thank you very much for your help.


This email from a longtime customer says it all about our “we've got your back” car rental service:

Hertz Rental MUCT50

Munich Airport pickup July 23, 2016

As usual the available car was not as requested. Instead of a Volvo XC90, it was a Land Rover Discovery. It was nearly identical for size and very nice. The problem is that on day 10 of the rental (August 1) we had a flat tire that was not repairable. It turns out there was no spare tire or jack with the car. On August 2 we called Hertz Breakdown Service at 800-801-4801. This was their response: “We can’t help you. This car comes without a spare tire and we have no replacement cars." However, they did send a towing service with a flatbed truck to take the car away.

Also on August 2, I called Auto Europe’s toll free number 00-800-223-5555 ext. 5. I talked with Devin (in Portland, Maine) and he was flabbergasted that Hertz took the car away and left us stranded. He said, “We will not leave you stranded. We will not only get you a car, but we will deliver it to you.” The replacement car was a Volvo XC90 as originally requested and was delivered to us on the afternoon of August 3. By the way, it had a spare tire. This was terrific service. We are so fortunate that we reserved the car through you. Please let Devin know that we appreciate what he did for us.

Karl Ringlein

(First published in Gemutlichkeit, The Travel Letter for Germany, Austria and Switzerland in 1991 at the outbreak of the Gulf War; then again after September 11, 2001.)

Among the very best days of my life was Saturday, October 6, 1973. Liz and I were in Copenhagen. It was the first day of our first trip to Europe. Her brief diary entry for that day reads, “Our room at the Royal was across the street from Tivoli Gardens which is closed now. After collapsing for a short time we walked along the Strøget and just looked. Had a beer in a small, quiet pub, walked back, had dinner and bed.”