Dear Dollar Rent A Car,
The Dodge Caliber you rented to us from KOA (Kona Airport) was dirty and roach infested. The car hadn’t been cleaned in who knows how long. There were candy wrappers and other bits of trash that were in the car from prior rentals.
The worst part of our rental experience was that the car was infested with roaches. We didn’t discover the roaches until well into our trip. The first one popped out in broad daylight. As we became more aware, we would see many, many others both day and night. It was particularly disgusting to have to get into the car at night. At least a half a dozen roaches would scatter when the interior lights came on as we opened the door.
Dollar should implement a form of quality control with a decent standard of cleanliness. I have heard from others renting with Dollar from the Big Island that our experience is not an isolated incident. Apparently your employees know of this problem. When we returned the car and informed the Dollar representative that the car needed fumigating, the representative’s response was a nonchalant, “Oh, it was bad?” Our experience was completely disgusting.
Now a note to Go Visit Hawaii Readers -
When you are in a tropical environment, you’ll find tropical bugs. Sometimes you must take the good with the bad. We’ve rented cars plenty of other times in Hawaii and have only had one other incident of roaches in the car. (The other incident was a convertible in Kauai.) Please don’t let this incident put you off of a vacation to Hawaii. Use this letter and following advice to be more aware and prepared.
I hope that you find your rental car is cleaner than ours. The best way to check to see if your car has roaches is to look for them at night when you first open your car door. If roaches are roaming the shock of the interior car lights will cause them to scatter for a dark area. You’ll have to watch closely, once we started watching for roaches in our car, we were amazed at how many we spotted.
To avoid roaches in your rental car:
- Avoid renting a convertible. Prior renters may have left the top down at night which welcomed bugs of all kinds to hitch a ride.
- Ask for a low mileage car. The longer a car has been in service, the higher the chances that there will be roaches.
- Avoid eating in the car and if you do, promptly remove all wrappers, left overs, drinks, etc. Don’t provide food for the roaches.
- After multiple rentals from Avis, we have discovered their cars are regularly cleaned and treated to prevent bugs. We highly recommend renting from Avis in Hawaii. We have also had a roach-free car from Hertz.
If you do find you have roaches, here’s what I suggest you do:
- Contact the local rental desk and tell them you want to exchange the car for a cleaner, newer model.
- If it is not convenient to exchange the car, then fumigate the car overnight. Save your receipt and ask the rental car company to reimburse you when you return the car.
- Keep all your luggage, backpacks, etc securely closed. It might be a good idea to bring some zip-lock baggies and trash bags to try to cover and seal off any bits of food and your luggage.
I hope you’ll find your rental car both clean and bug-free. The next time I’m in Hawaii, I’m going to take a proactive approach and fumigate the car early on during my stay.