Dollar and Thrifty Rent A Car London Heathrow Damage Claims Scam
WEST DRAYTON, LONDON UB7 0HJ, UK -- I advise you not to rent from the Dollar Rent A Car "London Heathrow Airport" agency. The agency is not at the airport, but, rather, in the lobby of a Sheraton Hotel away from the airport. Moreover, it is not a Dollar agency but, rather, it is a Thrifty Rent A Car agency which, as it turns out, is actually run by a company called "Scot Group Ltd".
After returning the car, this agency charged my credit card about US $500 to replace a tire they claim was damaged while I had the car. As explained below, this claim was incorrect and the evidence provided to support it was obviously false.
When I picked-up the car, the agency gave me a "Pre/Post Rental Damage Report" which had at least 16 areas of damage identified. I examined the car and attempted to identify each claimed area of damage, but, in almost every instance, the claimed damage recorded on the Report was inconsequential or non-existent. I rubbed at least one of the claimed scratches and found that it could simply be rubbed away. I did not understand why so many insignificant or illusory items of damage had been noted, but I did not see any point in disputing the presence of damage the rental company had identified.
When I returned the car, a male agency employee claimed that he had found new damage to the front left tire. The Pre-Rental Report noted damage to the front left wheel or tire, but the employee insisted that he remembered inspecting the car (at least 10 days before) and seeing damage only to the wheel. Just by looking, it was obvious the damage to the tire occurred at the same time as the damage to the wheel.
The Assistant Manager of the agency e-mailed purported "before" and "after" digital photos in order to "prove" that the damage to the tire was new. However, examining the photos showed that the "before" photo was of a different wheel and tire.
Thrifty said they would charge my credit card UK pounds 298.98, which they said was the cost of a new tire, an "administrative fee of [pounds] 37.50", and a charge for refurbishing the alloy wheel (65.00 pounds) (which even Thrifty said had been damaged previously). In the end, Thrifty charged UK pounds 343.04 (about $500) over the rental for replacing one tire. (On the Internet (e. g., www.etyres. co. uk), tire prices in the UK for the type of car I had, a Ford Focus, run from 75 to 105 UK pounds.)
When I picked-up the car, I noticed 2 sets of customers engaged in heated arguments with a man behind the Thrifty counter. I could hear that the customers were challenging damage claims by the Thrifty representatives. The customers were complaining that the claimed new damage was not their fault, that they wanted documents (which the Thrifty representative was refusing to provide), that they wanted to speak with the supervisor or manager, who was not then available, and that they could not wait for the supervisor, because they had planes to catch.
When I returned the car I had the same experience. Again, the manager was "not available" and nothing could be accomplished at the agency. The Thrifty employees were surly, and their treatment of customers was uninterested and mean. It was obvious this agency was very familiar with, yet utterly indifferent to, angry customers.