Jesse's Tips: Change a contract, get a new one



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Posted on September 7, 2010 at 11:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 7 at 10:36 PM

Fresh off a week-long Hawaiian vacation, Desmond Chan was checking out his credit card statement when he discovered he was charged $26.99 a day by Budget Rental Car for a loss damage waiver he didn't want. Believe me, Desmond is pretty clear about his needs.

Did he want GPS?

"No GPS," he said.

How about a car seat?

"I don't need a car seat."

Again, how about that insurance?

"No, I don't want that."

See what I mean? Desmond made that clear to the rental agent. She scratched it off, sort of, but she never put it in the computer.

Desmond thought everything was fine.

"So I kept going, grabbed the car and had my vacation," he said.

The vacation went great. The family had all kinds of fun at the beach, playing in the sand and racking up $26.99 a day in insurance costs. When Desmond returned home, he complained to company. They offered him a refund for just a few days, not the entire week.

"I'm not taking this offer even though I got nothing," he said. "This is a matter of principle."

I was able to get Desmond all of his money back. Here's the takeaway: If you want to make a change on a contract, get a new one. I don't care how long you have to wait for it. If not, a scratch job like this one can dent your wallet. 

"I'm a little ashamed people call me Mr. Consumer Reports, and I did that to myself," he said.

Remember to insist on a new contract if any changes are made. Also check your credit card contract to see if they will cover the insurance for your rental. If they do, that will save you more than $20 a day on your vacation.