Iowa man loses car rental, deposit due to late arrival at Orlando airport

Snowstorm delayed the flight of 54-year-old Roderick Davis in February

ORLANDO, Fla. – An Iowa snowstorm not only delayed a flight to Orlando by several hours, but cost 54-year-old Roderick Davis his rental car reservation and a $249 advanced fee to hold the vehicle.

“My flight was delayed. There’s nothing I could have done with that,” Roderick Davis told News 6. “I had to catch the LYNX bus halfway to Altamonte Springs. My sister picked me up and took me to my parents’ (home).”

News 6 confirmed the Feb. 16 storm left six inches of snow in Cedar Rapids, where Roderick Davis and his wife Maggie now live.

“The snowstorm started at 6:30 in the morning,” Maggie Davis said. “He couldn’t make it down there to Florida until after 2 p.m.”

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She gave her husband the plane ticket as a gift to celebrate his 54th birthday and his newly earned high school diploma with his family.

“I was trying to find out if there was another car and they were like, ‘No, we don’t have any more cars,’” Roderick Davis said.

5 tips to avoid losing money on a car rental:

He told News 6 he had called the Mex Rent a Car company to let them know he would be late.

He said he was assured the car would still be available but he admits he did not get the name of the employee he spoke to.

He emailed News 6 a copy of the receipt from confirming the advanced payment of $249 to reserve a mid-size car.

When News 6 and Make Ends Meet explained the circumstances to, the company’s team investigated and agreed a refund was in order.

“Our customer service agents contacted Mex Rent a Car to assess possible resolutions. According to the rental company’s policies, they only guarantee the car reservation for 2 hours after the pick-up window. However, in this instance Expedia will issue a full refund as a courtesy,” a spokesperson with the travel company wrote in part.

According to Expedia, “it’s common practice” for car rental companies to provide a strict pick-up window.

To avoid that sort of inconvenience, remember these two tips:

  • If your flight is cancelled or delayed, contact your car rental company to update your pick-up time.
  • When booking a car, opt for “reserve now, pay later” rates which allow free cancellation while still holding your vehicle.

Roderick Davis said he never expected the money to be refunded just two days after he contacted News 6 and Make Ends Meet.

“I just wanted to say thank you guys,” he said. “I was born and raised in the Orlando area. When it comes to news, you all get the job done!”

If you have a consumer, investment or unemployment issue just email or text the word “Make Ends Meet” along with your issue, documents and phone number to 407-676-7428.

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About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.