Profitable Hacked Mexican Car Rental
A few years ago I pulled off the ultimate hack. Or at least it was one of the more entertaining experiences I have had while in this hobby. I noticed that rates to rent cars in Cancun were very cheap, but upon further investigation I discovered the reason for this was because of a rental car “scam”. Here is how I described it:
The rental companies made it nearly impossible to rent without buying their overpriced insurance. Unsuspecting consumers show up for their “cheap” rental and end up paying far more than they expected.
Avoid Costly Mexican Car Rental Insurance
At the time I discovered a good rate that included basic insurance, however it was very misleading. A low price would show through the booking but the confirmation email said extra insurance was required. There was a loophole though. Putting a deposit on a credit card (I have plenty of those) and bringing proof of that card’s insurance coverage was enough to avoid this charge.
Let’s just say the Hertz reps were not used to someone showing up with a printed insurance declaration from a credit card along with the knowledge of how all of the rules work. While you can check out the full story here, the clear highlight for me was the rep, who was an older gentleman, slamming his hands down in anger as he finally realized he wasn’t getting a commission on my sale. He gave me a hard time and it involved many rounds of conflict, but in the end I got my $31 out the door car rental which I thought was a good deal…until now.
How My Car Rental Unexpectedly Became Profitable
While that deal was amazing and we enjoyed that trip to Mexico several years ago now, the rental actually ended up becoming profitable. As in I MADE money off of it thanks to our old friend the class action lawsuit. Apparently Hertz got in a little trouble for the sales practices I described (and others no doubt) at their locations in Mexico. A class action lawsuit came about as they do and everyone who rented gets a payment. How much you ask? Well for my 4 day $31 rental the amount I will receive is…… $104.
So not only did I “hack” my Mexican car rental to avoid the insurance “requirement”, but the entire rental ended up being $73 profitable.
Best Tips for International Car Rentals
I’ll use this post as a good reminder that it is always a good idea to be diligent when renting a car, especially in another country. Don’t just show up without knowing the landscape, what is expected as far as insurance and what you are going to do. While I like to avoid costly rental car insurance like I did in Mexico, at the very least I want to know what to expect going in. For example, I did a similar thing in Panama, except I determined my best option was to pay for the insurance and I was expecting the extra charge.
Renting in other countries should also come with a slightly greater level of diligence than compared to the U.S. in other areas as well. While I’ve never had any issues, laws are different and thus “being as safe as possible” is a good strategy in my opinion. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING, check the car carefully, verify fuel levels and don’t forget once again to make sure to DOCUMENT EVERYTHING both with video and photos but also on the car rental paperwork. It is much harder to get help once you have left the lot.
Profitable Hacked Mexican Car Rental – Bottom Line
Sometimes this hobby takes us in directions that don’t always bear fruit. Other times knowing the rules and winning at “the game” can be incredibly rewarding. In this case avoiding the insurance fees, watching the rep’s anger and then getting this payout years later is definitely fun. Have I tried similar things at other times which amounted to nothing but frustration? Sure, but let me have this win! 🙂