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Did you ever play on a Little League baseball or softball team that had to forfeit a game because half the team was sick and couldn't attend? That's effectively what we encounter with our Payless app review. The parent company (AvisBudget Group) makes fantastic apps for Avis and Budget, then doesn't even create a Payless app. At all. Not even a horrible app like the Dollar/Thrifty app that took a few hours to code. It's not surprising -- Payless also has a worthless rewards program that punishes consumers by locking them into prepaid rates instead of the Pay Later (Free Cancellation) rates AutoSlash finds. Payless is the Rodney Dangerfield of the rental car industry, except Rodney probably deserved some respect.

It's the story of Payless' life since being acquired by the AvisBudget Group

Aside from the class action lawsuit against Payless, what else do we know about Payless? Here's a passage from AvisBudget Group's Annual Report:

"Our Payless brand is a leading rental car supplier positioned to serve the deep-value segment of the car rental industry. We operate or license the Payless brand, which is comprised of approximately 240 vehicle rental locations worldwide, including approximately 90 Company-operated locations and more than 150 locations operated by licensees. Company-operated Payless locations are primarily located in North America, the majority of which are at or near major airports. Payless’ base T&M fees are often lower than those of larger, more established brands, but Payless has historically achieved a greater penetration of ancillary products and services with its customers. The Payless business model allows the Company to extend the life cycle of a portion of our fleet, as we “cascade” certain vehicles that exceed certain Avis and Budget age or mileage thresholds to be used by Payless."

Quick translation of the parent corporation's own words -- Payless has 240 branches, uses cars that aren't good enough for Avis and Budget, and succeeds by convincing consumers to buy unnecessary products. Unwritten is that Payless deserves neither a loyalty program nor an app for users. Upstart companies like SilverCar, which has now grown to 17 locations, heavily relies upon their app. Even Fox Rent A Car has an app. At least we know where Payless stands in the rental car technology hierarchy.

The one question remaining in our minds for the 150 individuals who voluntarily decide to be Payless franchisees is "Why?" We're not psychologists but our best guess is "Stockholm syndrome" ...


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