There are hundreds and hundreds of limousine companies that serve the Boston, MetroWest and Worcester areas. With so many options, the temptation is to find a reliable option that is affordable. But what seems affordable becomes a major disappointment with surprise fees that show up on your credit card.
Some companies have little “gotchas” that they hide in order to lure you in as a customer but unfortunately, things may not as they appear. Here’s a look at some of the tricks we’ve heard about that you should be on the lookout for.
Fees, Fees, Fees
When customers call us and ask us about our hourly rates, we stop them in their tracks. The hourly rate is only a piece of the costs of the rental. When we give you a price, we quote the all-inclusive price. That’s not always the case. Here’s a list of some of the ‘surprse’ fees we’ve seen show up on people’s livery bill. Booking fees, commissions, adminstrative fees, supplemental surcharges, MassPort pick up fees, tolls, fuel surcharges, gratuities, taxes, change fees, overtime costs and early morning pick up fee.
We’ve also seen a “safe ride fee,” this is Uber’s attempt to recoup background check costs, so you pay extra so you don’t get assaulted! Some of these fees are justifiable. MassPort does make livery company’s pay $3.25 to pick up passengers at Logan, there are tolls and you driver does deserve a tip, we just think you should know about all those costs up front, on the first phone call.
Bait and Switch
You go online and you see a picture of a pristine vehicle looking all shiny and new. Well sometimes it’s a stock image, sometimes it’s an old picture. For example, you may have seen a picture of a stretch Hummer online and it looks like it just came out of the showroom. The problem is Hummer’s were first sold to the public in 1998 production peaked in 2007. Chances are that Humvee you’re looking at is pretty ragged at this point in time.
It can be hard to figure out how old a limo is. The images online may look new, but that doesn’t mean the actual cars are. If you’re looking at a stretch Town Car limousine you know that it’s old because they were made from 2003 to 2011. The car you’re hiring can easily be 10 years old. The stretch Lincoln MKTs starting production in 2012, you know those cars are newer and better than the old Town Cars. We urge you to check out the vehicle you’re about to rent in person. Le Limo has an Open House every Saturday from noon to 3 PM so that we can show off our fleet.
Fake Limo Companies
Well they may be real companies, but they’re not limo companies. There is a proliferation of web sites that don’t own their own cars. Basically, what these sites do is market limo services. They run the web sites but they use other companies to provide the service. Who do you call if things go wrong? Who carries the insurance? Who does the background screening of the drivers? Are the car’s vetted for safety? Are they registered? Do they meet MassDot and DPU requirements?
While many of these companies may be above board, there’s really just no way of knowing. The other issue with these web-only sites, they charge a commission or a fee to the livery companies they send business to. Limos.com adds 20% to the cost of a ride. Worceste rLimo Service charges limo companies $7 for each lead they send to them. The web sites gather leads, they do not provide a service. And guess who the cost gets passed along to. Typically, you can get the best rate if you call the service provider directly.
Make sure you know what you’re getting. Ask questions. There’s much more to hiring a limo than finding out what the hourly rate is. We hate hearing stories about how customers got taken advantage of by a limo company that didn’t provide them 100% of the information about the price. Don’t get “got.” We want you to understand and demand that your rental is in your control, take the time to do it right. Your experience should be a great one.