Hidden borough rental car fees

November 17, 2010 2:25:31 PM PST
In a city where a lot of people use mass transit and don't own cars, renting a car can be a good alternative.

But you can be paying extra fees for those rental cars, depending on what borough you get it from.

"It felt pretty discriminatory," said Jay Harlowe, a Cobble Hill resident.

That's how Jay Harlowe felt when he went to Dollar Rent-A-Car at La Guardia Airport a few months ago.

"I was told have to pay more because I lived in Brooklyn," Harlowe said.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and New York State Senator Daniel Squadron call these hidden "borough fees" a scam, and issue a warning as the holiday season driving season kicks off.

"Thrifty is shifty!" Stringer said.

"You can rent a car in New Jersey; you're going to be charged more!" Sen. Squadron said.

According to a survey of all rental car companies by their offices, Dollar and Thrifty are the only two rental car companies that charge extra if you live in an outer borough.

If you live in the Bronx the surcharge is $11.00, In Queens, its $53.00 And Brooklyn residents pay $55.00.

These fees are assessed per day, which could possibly double the cost of the rental.

It doesn't apply to all boroughs; people who live in Manhattan and Staten Island aren't charged anything extra at all.

"That's not fair. Everyone should be charged the same rate," said Vernell Williams, a Rockland County resident.

Assembly member Brian Kavanaugh's office has drafted a bill to make the fees illegal and the three lawmakers sent a letter to the President and CEO of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, asking them stop charging the borough fees.

Dollar Thrifty declined to explain to Eyewitness News why and how fees are calculated.

They are fees that Jean Mullen paid when she rented from the agency last summer.

"I guess I didn't even notice them," Mullen, a Marine Park resident, said.

That's exactly what lawmakers are trying to avoid.

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