Car Rental Companies Fined $1.25 Million for False Advertising

I am happy to see our tax dollars being put to good use! Hertz and Dollar Thrifty, car rental companies have both been fined a total of $1.25 million by Canada’s Competition Bureau for falsely advertising discount prices “that are essentially impossible to obtain“.

Basically, the two companies are found to have advertised prices that consumers could not possibly obtain in reality due to additional fees added into the overall rental cost.

Personally, I get pretty annoyed when I see a higher price than advertised when I need to pay the final bill. However, as annoying as it is, there are reasons for it.

Devil’s Advocate

Airlines, hotels, car rental companies all tend to find ways to advertise their base fare, without including the taxes and fees associated with the actual cost. It is more understandable for taxes, as it depends on where in the world you are making the purchase from. Fees are generally more or less the same for everyone. To play devil’s advocate, because of online purchasing, and depending on where in the world the person lives, it is sometimes difficult to include the final cost exactly.

Furthermore, if they do advertise the full and complete price, it may seem too expensive for someone to even take a closer look. So unfortunately, they do tend to advertise a lower price, to attract customers to begin with.

So as much as I am happy to see this fee slapped on to car rental companies, I can appreciate their point of view.

That being said, hopefully companies will make more of a global effort together to advertise the complete price as often as possible. If all companies are doing the same thing, then it even things out across the board. Probably wishful thinking.

Going Forward

Normally, I am not a fan of the government intervening with the industry, like how the Ontario decided to regulate the expiry policy of loyalty companies. However, in this case, I am more than happy to see the government putting some pressure on the industry to advertise their final price. Even though it may not always be 100% possible to advertise the full price, I would like to see a bigger effort made overall.

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