Why No One Ever Washed a Rental Car

You, Me, and Pteet: Who Could Want for Anything More.

Lawrence Henry Summers, born 1954 is quite a character. In his time, he was chief economist of the World Bank, adviser to sundry US presidents, president of Harvard University, and director at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

He coined the phrase, “In the history of the world, no one has ever washed a rented car” while explaining the relevance of private property ownership. But we believe there is more to it than that, as we shall explain.


The Grudge Factor and Hire Cars


The public transport system sucks. Car rental companies gather vulture-like at airports because they have a virtual monopoly over options. While they may have low basic prices owing to competition, the cost ratchets up when they have us in their paws. They make us sign contracts with small print we cannot read. And then they taser us with expensive waivers that insure absolutely nothing.

The key to decent insurance is in the word ‘insure’ included in the Pteet deal. This derives from the word ‘assure’ which means promising something. Even if you read a car rental contract from top to bottom, and from left to right we ‘assure‘ you will not find ‘insure’ anywhere in the document. They are too smart for that.


We Resent Having to Pay for Wear and Tear


Rental car company waivers are masterpieces of subterfuge. Waivers do not protect customers from damage to third parties. Nor do they cover us for any damage to rental vehicles below the first payable amount. We suspect there is a college somewhere teaching rental clerks to spot a mosquito footprint at fifty paces. Then they lick their pencil and ring the words ‘vehicle damage’.

Perhaps the mosquito footprint was not there when we collected the car. Equally possibly, perhaps it was but we were in a hurry. Moreover, car rental advertisements never display a vehicle with a single spot of damage. Are we fools to expect the promises to knock on?


Why We Don’t Wash a Rental Car Ever


The American public is not stupid, although we can be gullible. We understand rental clerks are human, and may ‘overlook’ a mosquito footprint in their haste to get us going on our journey. We really appreciate their care and concern, but we don’t want to subsidize their holiday bonus.

That’s why we never wash a rental car when we return. We want the mosquito footprint to escape their attention if it exists. It’s also why Pteet sells affordable rental car insurance without deductibles. That’s less money towards that clerk’s holiday bonus, and more money in your pocket. Do we have a deal?

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Image: Who Could Want for Anything More: US Fish & Wildlife Service: Public Domain