Make us your home page

Consumer ratings for rental cars companies drop, but not as much

After two straight years of significant declines in customer satisfaction, rental car companies got a lukewarm endorsement Tuesday from customers: They didn't get a lot worse in 2009.

All major domestic brands except National Car Rental scored slightly lower in the latest J.D. Power and Associates survey of 13,000 consumers who rented vehicles at domestic airports. Enterprise Rent-A-Car took the top spot for the sixth consecutive year, followed by National and Hertz. Payless Car Rental pulled up the rear.

Rental car companies staged a financial turnaround this year by putting off buying new cars, selling into a strong used car market and keeping remaining vehicles longer.

Service improved as companies bolstered their bottom lines, said Paula Sonkin, vice president of the travel practice at J.D. Power.

They did better at beating minimum acceptable times for check-in and check-out. But one in 10 customers still reported a problem, most frequently over the bill.

But Neil Abrams, a Purchase, N.Y., consultant who tracks rental car rates, pointed out that prices shot up early this year and remain higher than in 2008. "Why would that increase customer satisfaction?" he asked.

Steve Huettel can be reached at or (813) 226-3384.

Consumer ratings for rental cars companies drop, but not as much 11/17/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 10:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Minority business accelerator launch by Tampa chamber to aid black, Hispanic businesses


    A "minority business accelerator" program was launched Thursday by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce geared toward helping black and Hispanic business owners identify and overcome barriers to grow their companies. The accelerator, known as MBA, will provide participants with business tools to cultivate opportunities …

    Bemetra Simmons is a senior private banker at Wells Fargo, The Private Bank. She is also chair of the new minority business accelerator program for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. [Photo, LinkedIn]
  2. Terrier Tri brings unique triathlon training to South Tampa


    Over a decade ago, Robert Pennino traded late nights in the music studio for early mornings in the Terrier Tri cycle studio.

    Terrier Tri, a cycling studio in South Tampa celebrates a grand opening on June 27. Photo courtesy of Tess Hipp.
  3. New bistro hopes to serve as 'adult Chuck E. Cheese'


    YBOR CITY — Inside Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy, a new restaurant opening in Ybor City, customers will find a mix of family recipes, games and secrecy.

    Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy readies to open in Ybor City. Photo courtesy of Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy.
  4. Ramadan having an economic impact on local charities, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Dodging the rain, a few families and customers gathered inside Petra Restaurant on Busch Boulevard. Around 8:30 p.m., the adham (or call to prayer) music begins, signaling Iftar, the end of the daily fast. Customers grabbed a plate to dig into the feast.

    Baha Abdullah, 35, the owner of the Sultan Market makes kataif, a common dessert that is eaten during the month long celebration of Ramadan in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  5. Senate GOP leaders face tough job in selling health-care bill to their members


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders on Thursday moved swiftly to begin selling their health-care measure to substantially rewrite the Affordable Care Act to their wary members as they seek to garner enough support to pass the bill in an expected vote next week.

    U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The bill's chief author, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has said "Obamacare is collapsing around us, and the American people are desperately searching for relief." [AP]