AAA: To Those Who Try To Rent Vehicles Over Thanksgiving, 'They Can Forget It'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If you’re trying to rent a car in the Tri-State Area get in line.

Thousands of cars were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and now there are long waiting lists for rental cars.

“We were told we can get a rental car. We were put on a waiting list of 500 names and we have yet to get a call,” Souzan Hanna told CBS 2’s Emily Smith on Wednesday.

Flooding from Sandy totaled Hanna’s family car on Long Island. It was was one of a quarter of a million vehicles destroyed that night in the Tri-State Area, according to the National Automobile Dealer’s Association.

“A lot of people have gone out and rented cars for long term. For people visiting the area for Thanksgiving…they can forget it,” AAA Spokesperson Robert Sinclair.

To fly in and rent from a local airport, AAA reports waiting lists with 80 people. CBS 2 found websites for the biggest names in the business prominently displaying sold out signs.

An Enterprise dealer in East Elmhurst told CBS 2 they are all but closed to the general public. That’s because insurance companies already have reserved their vehicles for Sandy victims.

Hanna said she wants to know when she’s getting her rental.

“Insurance companies bring adjusters in from all over the country, but we can’t even get rental cars from other states? I’m very surprised,” she said, adding the situation was “definitely taking a toll on us.”

Enterprise said the company is bringing in thousands of vehicles from outside of the New York area, but with a 95 percent increase in demand over this time last year, it’s hard to keep up.

AAA said for those not on a waiting list for keys to a car, it could be mid-December before you’ll be able to walk in and rent a car.

The average rental car for a week is $400, according to AAA.

New York City has some of the highest rates in the nation. If you suspect price gouging, you should report it to the New York state attorney general.

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