Traveling this summer? If that involves a rental car, triple-check that rental. Because there is a serious rental car shortage that nearly canceled one family’s trip.
Angie McIntosh and her family have arrived safely at their vacation condo on Florida’s panhandle. But they almost didn’t get there. “I get a call from them to tell me sorry, we won’t have your van,” McIntosh said.
They had booked a 12 passenger Ford transit van to get their extended family to Destin. But while packing, an agent from Budget rent a car called to say there were no vans left. “And this was less than 24 hours before we were supposed to leave,” McIntosh said “They didn’t have any minivans or transit vans due to that chip shortage.”
The only option, pay almost triple for two SUVs. “He said of course we can get you two SUVs , but it will be $2,000,” McIntosh said.
Rental car agencies nationwide are running out of cars, or doubling prices for the few they have left. Many sold off their fleets to survive last year, and the chip shortage means they can’t get new ones.
Consumer Reports says to protect yourself, book a rental well in advance, consider Uber if you don’t plan much driving, and be very careful in Hawaii, Orlando, and Las Vegas where rentals may be sold out for weeks.
Budget finally gave the McIntosh’s the two SUVs for the same price, but it was still costly. “We have two vehicles to fill up. And you know gas prices are $3 right now,” McIntosh said.
A Budget rep apologized for the McIntosh’s problems and told us they will investigate why the van they booked weeks in advance vanished the eve of their trip.
Some people are now making two rental reservations, but be careful doing that, you run the risk of being charged if you don’t show up for the backup rental. As always don’t waste your money.