AAA Car Rental Inc Doesn't Live up to Mediocre Reputation
Once I arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I needed a rental car, specifically to get the hell out of Dodge, though in all fairness it's because our business office and accommodations are on the other side of the island. I'd already checked all the rates through the mega-chains, but wanted to try my luck with the local flavor, and what an acrid taste it was.
The hotel had fliers for AAA Car Rental, a local company just down the street. All the convenience without all the overhead, right? Well, not quite, but it's the theory. What's easy to forget is that we live in a global economy, and the big fish make every pond seem small.
The chain companies pay less for their cars, and that's fair because they aren't buying twenty or thirty of them, but thousands and thousands. When a major manufacturer doesn't hit sales targets, rather than carrying overstock, they offer sweet deals to guys like Hertz and Enterprise to take a ton of them into the fleet. This gets people to drive them long enough to like them, but more importantly, it clears out the inventory without the retail price having to drop. It's how Pontiac managed to clear out their Aztec inventory at a time when people wouldn't buy them.
You can't get prices like that when you're only buying a handful of cars.
So the overhead isn't improved, so the prices can't improve. Places like AAA Car Rental charge just as much as the big chains, but can't match the service. You can't pick up a car in one town and drop it off in another, and you won't get the quality of bilingual service you might require.
My experience was that they didn't have a car to rent, but that they might have one in a couple hours, and maybe I should call back then. They really didn't want my money, I guess. What's worse still is that they weren't any cheaper than the last-minute rates I was quoted from any of the big guys, and stacks of bills more costly than an advance, internet booking price.