31 January 2018

Mercredi

The Renaudière vineyard outside Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher in the Loire Valley, late January 2018

Did you know that certain (if not all) car rental companies in the U.S. charge people who live outside the U.S. an automatic 20% premium on their rental fees compared to what they charge people who are U.S. residents? I know, because I am a U.S. citizen but a resident of France.

Soupe à l'oignon gratinée was what was for lunch yesterday

I've compared car rental prices recently. I have a U.S. passport but a French billing address on my credit card (issued by an American bank) and a French driver's license (which is recognized as valid in the U.S.). I don't like paying more without knowing why I'm being penalized. Do you think they would be allowed to charge somebody from California more that somebody from, say, Virginia based exclusively on an address?

15 comments:

  1. That's odd. I can understand prices rising or falling because of demand, but geographic penalties don't make sense. Maybe a manager could explain the logic.

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    1. When I entered U.S. as country of residence, I got a significantly lower price than when I entered France. Of course I couldn't actually claim to live in the U.S. because the credit card I used to pay and guarantee the reservation has a French billing address though issued by a U.S. bank.

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  2. Tourist price. I expect visitors to Australia pay tourist prices.

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    1. Maybe. But you think they'd realize I'm not a tourist in my own country.

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  3. That's lousy. I wonder if we US residents pay more for renting a car in France, than do French residents?

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    1. I don't think so. I've rented in France frequently, often through AutoEurope but sometimes through the car rental company directly. When I check a rate through a car rental company's web site, they don't know where I reside, so the rate I see is the same whether I'm a resident or not.

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    2. The company site I was looking at a few days ago was Budget. I've rented from them several times recently. This time, I had to fill in my country of residence on the reservation form, so I put in France. I don't remember if they asked that last year. Then I opened a private browser window and saw what it cost to rent the same car, same dates, etc. if I put in as my country of residence U.S. There was a $50+ surcharge for renting as a French resident. I went to another company's site for my rental, and I got a better price. But I didn't do the comparison again, so I don't know if I'm paying that company a surcharge for being a French resident or not.

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  4. The beauty of unregulated capitalism? In French, arnaque or grand banditisme.

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    1. À la tête du client in a way.

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    2. A California appeals court just ruled 3-0 that a Company's pricing strategy according to age is “prohibited arbitrary discrimination." This should apply also to discrimination according to country, no? (FiveThirtyEight Newsletter)

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    3. What about special fees for children, students, or senior citizens, I wonder.

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  5. http://us.france.fr/en/about-france/renting-car-and-driving-france
    I realize that anywhere you go in the world, at least the US and Europe .. that prices , in general, are higher for tourists.
    But you are a resident .. you have papers to prove it .. I would complain :)
    Sometimes I let things slide but when they are so unfair, I complain .. a lot .. annoyingly .. they usually give in just to shut me up ;)

    Oh and NY car rentals are more than another state ..

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    1. Businesses in areas that are frequented by a lot of tourists often charge higher prices for things that do businesses in less touristy areas. But you can choose where you want to shop to avoid higher prices. Business owners don't look at a customer and decide what to charge using arbitrary criteria.

      And I can understand why it is more expensive to rent cars in New York than in, for example, Florida. That doesn't seem discriminatory to me either.

      The problem is, I am not a resident of the U.S. I'm just a native and a citizen. My tax residence is France.

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  6. Ken, safe travels and strength for the journey. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts.....

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