This blog is about the life and evolution of Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 and the world beyond, but especially Neighborhood Nine. Part of my blog will be reviews on neighborhood merchants, product/restaurant reviews, events, fashion and what's new in the city.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the journey.
I am an avid ZipCar driver and I also rent cars from Avis. I want to just share some observations. I like ZipCar, because it's basically one stop shopping, i.e. insurance,gas and locations. I also like Avis, because they just reduced their retaining fee when using a debit card, which I really think happened, because of the competition from ZipCar and RideShare, etc. Avis used to hold $400.00 on your debit card regardless of the cost of the rental. They are now charging $200.00, plus the cost of the actual rental, which isn't bad, if you don't mind having $200+ on hold on your debit card. ZipCar on the other hand lets you rent by the hour, but if you are at least 1 minute late, you will be guaranteed a $50.00 late charge, which is steep. I know there have been many times when there were unexpected traffic delays, but I was sure to get back to my location on time.
Another thing don't forget to swipe your card at the end of your rental, because that could also cause you to get a $50.00 late fee. I was having a conversation with the next person renting the car and forgot to swipe my card and there it was a $50.00 late fee on my invoice. I called ZipCar and they said as a courtesy they would take the $50.00 late fee off this time. Avis on the other hand does have a few minutes grace period, because they do have a lot of cars at the same location to offer. ZipCar's customer service I hate to say is not really convenient, you could be waiting 10 minutes or more to get a live person on the phone, which is not good. Avis on the other hand as soon as you dial the 800 number there is somebody there to help you.
At Avis be very careful, those of us who use the rental, just for city driving or to run a few errands. If you do not drive at least 75 miles, they will add on a $13.00 fueling fee. If you just need $1.00 to fill up the tank I would do it and be sure to show them your receipt or else you will be charged the $13.00 fueling fee.
The customer service agents at ZipCar have some flexibility in refunding charges, but most of them have to go through the main office, which can take 24 hours, so be patient. You can only rent ZipCar's by the hour, which can be very convenient and you have to rent from Avis for at least 24 hours. I would say if you want to rent for 24 hours, the price comparison is almost the same give or take a few dollars and this is including the LDW from Avis, but remember with ZipCar you don't have to pay for gas and another thing you are only allowed 150 miles with ZipCar and with Avis mileage is unlimited. So if you are going to do some long distance driving, to NY, Maine, and some parts of N.H., I would go with Avis and if you just want to do city driving and only need the vehicle for a 2 - 4 hours I would use ZipCar, because it's much cheaper.
So these days I alternate, between ZipCar, Avis, walking and the good ole MBTA. How do you get around?