LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- On 4/10/08 I rented a car to travel with a business partner to one of his clients. After finishing the appointment, we got into the car and it wouldn't turn over. Luckily, with my business partner in the car, I was able to get it to turn over and get him to the airport. But, that was the only luck I received.
Right after dropping him off, I had to stop the car and get something from the trunk. I stopped for 2 minutes and then couldn't start the car again. I contacted their Roadside Assistance and was taken through a series of steps of stepping on the brake, turning the key, moving the shifter and it started. I was late to another appointment so just kept the car.
I didn't drive it the following day because I was afraid it wouldn't start. On the third day, I drove a friend to an errand and then we had to get to a party...but the car wouldn't start. I called Roadside Assistance and advised them this was the 3rd time I had a problem with the car starting and wanted them to bring me a new car. After being on hold for 10 minutes, the young lady (Samantha) returned to say they had a truck coming to get the car. She didn't offer to have a new car brought to me.
I advised her that I got the car to start and then she advised me that she would not be able to assist me unless the car didn't work. I mentioned that after 3 problems, it is obvious the car is not functional and I needed a car that was safe and reliable. I also advised her that I could get stuck in an unsafe area which could cause liability issues for Dollar. Her response, "Make sure you drive in safe places"! I was appalled!
I was then transferred to Kiernan, the Operations Manager at LAX, who proceeded to tell me that he had two minutes to talk to me and that the 4 employees in his office were more important than my issue. He even had the nerve to ignore me and tell his employees that this customer is more important than you guys. I AM THE CUSTOMER AND WITHOUT THEM, YOU HAVE NO JOB.
After Kiernan was finished with his unprofessional discussion, I asked for a new car and a refund and was advised I could get 10% off but would have to drive the car to LAX. (I was in Irvine on a Friday night at 5pm.) I said forget the 10%, just come and get the car. He wouldn't because the car was working at the time. Well, we turned into the restaurant parking lot and as valet came to take the car, it wouldn't start! They came and got the car but I had to find my own way home.
The tow truck company that came to get the car called to make sure I had a way home. I got more customer service and concern from the tow company than the company was contracted to give me a reliable, safe car while on a business trip. By the way, the charges took a month to show up on my credit card. NEVER USE DOLLAR or HERTZ - they are one and the same.
DIA, COLORADO -- For all the customer's from the Denver International Airport Dollar Rental Car. Do not leave belongings in rented vehicle. Although it is against company policy, your personal belongings will become employee property. I worked as a temporary worker at this location. Several personal items such as clothing, money, CD's, sunglasses, etc. were taken from the job site. I am an eye witness to this. Also the cars are not cleaned properly. When there is a high demand of rentals, all returned cars are to be vacuumed only and air freshener sprayed to kill any smell. These cars are not very hygienic and not at all cleaned properly.
This is also coming from personal experience in the car wash bay. The bay area supervisors are constantly belittling employees. When we would try to take extra time to do more thorough cleaning we would be reprimanded by harsh words. The supervisors were constantly using profanity at us. When other employees would talk back they would tell them to punch their card and go home. I have seen several fighting matches in what they call the bay. Management has done nothing to solve these problems.
Also when offered employment we politely declined because I didn't feel comfortable working in these conditions. I mean what if it had been my family renting a car and forgetting something of sentimental value in a car. What was funny is that the bay supervisor thought that it was because our papers were bad and offered help where we could obtain legit paperwork. I was born in America and was appalled by this statement. What type of employees is this company hiring?! I could name four supervisors in the bay with no people skills and let's just say no integrity. So I was surprised when I researched this company and found this company statement on integrity (statement at end).
My advice would be not to rent at this company. They don't care about the customer, they care about your money. They don't care about the bay employees, they care that the dirty cars make it back onto the rental lot. What kind of integrity does this company really have? They are lucky they do not have more verbal harassment and sexual orientation discrimination lawsuits. And for my gay couples they discriminate on them as well.
I have witnessed a recent incident as early as 04/2008. What happened was this, two known gay women were not allowed to converse at break, work in the same area, nor allowed to ride in the same company vehicle. Do you really want to feed your money to a company like this? If you do you may as well fund a terrorist organization. They are also aimed at bringing down American Pride and Integrity. DO NOT RENT DOLLAR UNTIL DOLLAR CAN RESOLVE ITS INTERNAL MALFUNCTIONS.
Dollar's Statement of Integrity: Obey the laws and regulations covering our business conduct worldwide. Be honest, fair and trustworthy in all of your Company activities and relationships. Avoid all conflicts of interest in work and personal affairs. Foster an atmosphere in which equal opportunities extend to every member of the diverse Company community. Strive to create a safe workplace and to protect the environment.
Encourage a culture where each employee is recognized and valued. Also guiding us and upholding our ethical commitment is a set of Company policies on key integrity issues. All employees must comply not only with the letter of these policies but also their spirit.
BOS,JFK,LGA,CAK,LAS,NAP, FCO -- I rent about 25 to 27 times a year, domestically and internationally. It has happened numerous times now that whenever I book online with Dollar they refuse to honor the "BASIC" rate quoted online. I am not talking about added charges but just the basic rate. This happened occasionally in the past three or four years and each and every time in the last two years.
For the past two years, the rate charged is THREE to FOUR times the quoted rate, which I ALWAYS print out, EACH and EVERY SINGLE TIME! The last time, I told them to forget it and went and rented with Enterprise if they would not honor the internet rate. The employee shrugged her shoulders. What does she care? She gets paid peanuts and they all appear to have no more than a 10th grade or high school education. I have had to dispute charges through American Express but American Express does nothing if Dollar does not agree with the amount being in error.
Therefore, I intend to file a complaint with the SEC, FINRA and the FTC, since they are governed by all three and have them investigated for fraud. The corporate office franchises their name and says that they are not responsible for what the franchisees do but, in my opinion, they should NOT lend their name to franchisees committing fraud and THAT should be in the Franchise Agreement, in an enforceable manner.
Further, if the parent company or corporation lets this practice continue (and judging from the amount of complaints regarding this proliferating practice of not honoring the rates quoted on and printed by customers from the internet), word of mouth will work its usual way and everyone will avoid renting with Dollar/Thrifty.
What does this mean? The parent company is a PUBLIC company on the Stock Exchange, their symbol is DTG and their stock has already been going down. Sources: Yahoo Finance and Hoovers.com In my opinion, the unscrupulous, if not fraudulent, practices of their franchisees will drive their stock price into the ground.
I have an MBA in Marketing from Ivy league schools in the Northeast so before I form an opinion I research facts. There are numerous complaints on the internet (just google their name + the word "complaint") about this company doing their bait (with the lower internet prices) and switch (higher double, triple and quadruple rates when the customer gets to the counter).
There is a PATTERN here and all these independent people had the VERY SAME THING HAPPEN that happened to me! In my opinion, therefore, when customers lose faith in you and cannot depend on your prices, they go away and stay away, meaning the company stock will be run into the ground unless this company enlists law enforcement to take action against their own franchisees, but it may be too late.
UNLESS the franchisees or the company is in trouble financially and they intend to maybe file for bankruptcy and they are trying to get all the money they can upfront before they go Chapter 7? I do not know. This is just speculation. It will be interesting to know if they do announce they are losing money and that they may be filing Chapter 11 to give an appearance of "doing their best" as US Airways did, when they cut the labor force in half and then took those millions out like Wolf and Siegel did shortly before filing for bankruptcy. The Judge let them get away with it...incomprehensible!
If the company executives are NOT doing that and they are honestly trying to perform in a professional manner, according to generally accepted practices of good business, then they will do something immediately to STOP THIS UNSCRUPULOUS, if not fraudulent practice of BAIT AND SWITCH BY THEIR FRANCHISEES. The company corporate office is having a conference call on November 7, for investors but it may be only one way, I do not know.
I am out quite a bit of money, especially with the Euro exchange rate and if these agencies find anomalies in their investigation and they are found guilty of fraudulent practices, that should be a basis to not only bring criminal charges but also a civil complaint to recover charges plus punitive damages. I AM NOT INTERESTED IN ANY CLASS ACTIONS...only in an individual tort or civil action. If an attorney contacts me, please do not do it by phone--please do so by email.
The Parent Company's name is Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc., and their Corporate Headquarters is located at 5330 E. 31st St. Tulsa, OK 74135 Phone: 918-660-7700, Fax: 918-669-2934 http://www.dtag.com Website where people book is at www.dollar.com.
ALBURQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO -- DOLLAR: BAIT & SWITCH
I had planned a photographic study of the Texas panhandle on a tight budget and needed a sturdy hatchback for the job. Dollar Rent a Car promised a "Dodge Caliber or similar" on their web site at a base price of $109.88. The price was right, so I reserved the car through Expedia.
On the first day of travel, I arrived at Dollar's Albuquerque airport desk and gave the agent my confirmation number. She said the base models were all rented (however many THAT might have been) but the "upgraded" model was available for $179.88. She said a Chevy Cobalt sedan was also available for $109.88.
I sweated my options: pay more for the Caliber, take the sedan, or go to another rental outfit. I had looked over the cars and prices at other companies, but didn't have that information with me. I needed a hatchback, so I decided to take the Caliber and try to get an adjustment later.
She started tacking on insurance and options in a rapid-fire manner. Before I knew it, I was signed up for “full insurance” and other options that would cost me over five hundred dollars. I asked her to start over and limit my coverage to the damage waiver. Even then, the surcharges, airport concession fee, and various taxes brought the total to $435 and change for the week.
“It's loaded,” she said. Hm, I thought—more like I'm soaked. I had rented a Jeep Cherokee from Dollar a month earlier out of Oakland-- all-wheel drive, cruise-control--and it had only cost me $367 a week.
En route to the airport, after I finished the job, I stopped and phoned Dollar customer service. Morgan answered. I gave her my rental agreement number, reservation confirmation number, and asked her why I had been overcharged. She told me that the Albuquerque location is actually an independent Dollar affiliate named Fleet Rentals of Santa Fe. I said it didn't matter; Dollar negotiates the terms of association with its affiliates and is responsible when they don't deliver what Dollar promises. She agreed with that assessment, promising to investigate further and get back to me.
The phone rang ten minutes later. Before I could retrieve it, it kicked over to voicemail. I called voicemail. It was Morgan. She left this message:
“Hi Mr. P____, this is Morgan with Dollar. Um, ah, what we can do is, we can, we'll we'll get this taken care of. Uh, just, if you can, give us a call back tonight or sometime before you get to . . . the location, or even after. Either way is okay. And if not, call us back tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. And, once again, my name is Morgan. And sir, I hope you have a safe trip. Thank you. Bye bye.”
I called back the number on my display. A recording announced I had reached “PRC, a leading provider of outsourced customer care solutions” and gave me some options. I punched one and got someone who said he didn't know Morgan, and, in any case, I would have to call her back at the 800 number.
So I called the customer service number again (800-800-5252—you may need it). Lorenzo answered. He said he didn't know Morgan but he'd be happy to hear my story if first I'd give him my rental agreement number. We were starting over. I told Lorenzo my story and he made appropriately sympathetic mouth noises, finally telling me he would investigate further if I could hold.
I held. That was the last I heard from Lorenzo. I soon realized I had been jawing with these people over an hour, and I was running disastrously late. A mad dash to Albuquerque ensued. Along the way I lost the connection. Lorenzo didn't call back.
By the time I reached the Dollar desk to pay up, I could best be described as panicky. I reeked of stress sweat and my mouth tasted like the floor of a barn. Wild-eyed, I threw a credit card at them while I gave them grief over the entire mess. They gave the card back but, I would later discover, without my copy of the rental agreement or a receipt. I ran for the terminal shuttle and eventually boarded my plane exactly ninety seconds before they sealed the door.
When I got back, I phoned Dollar customer service again. Darrell answered. He said he couldn't do anything about the Albuquerque outfit, because it did it's own billing. He transferred me to the manager of Fleet Sales of Santa Fe doing business as Dollar Rent a Car. The man told me in an even, patronizing way that I had rented the “all-wheel drive, cruise-control upgrade” of the Caliber, which came with a higher price, and no adjustment would be forthcoming. I didn't think to ask how many base models were actually available; my guess is: not many.
So that's about it. I bit on the old bait and switch. Morgan never “took care of this.” Lorenzo and Darrell didn't either. And the manager of Fleet Sales of Santa Fe doing business as Dollar Rent a Car in Albuquerque told me to take a hike.
Forewarned is forearmed.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- I was asked at the counter if I wanted the extra insurance. I said NO. The clerk said "OK, initial here." I thought I was signing to decline the insurance. I later got charged $186 for Loss damage waiver. I called customer service and they said they could refund half. What a scam!
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- 40 minutes wait at counter, then another 40 for the car to arrive, no spare tire in vehicle, overcharge. An "insurance" for roadside assistance that we verbally declined was added to our electronic signature bill. When we complained with customer service, they said, "It was our responsibility as a customer to read the contract before signing." Never again!
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- Don't ever believe Dollar car rental company's low price. When we picked up our cars at Orlando airport, we were told that we have to buy insurances from them, or we would not get our cars. We were also almost forced to buy $45/car of a car tag for the toll road. The company also charges extra money if you return your rental car earlier. When you add all those expenses up, your car rental get very expensive.
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA -- I often rent cars for pleasure but mostly for business. I reserved a car to rent for three days to have around town. The internet special was the pick of the company. I had rented before with Dollar and always had a nice car. But this week was different. When I rented online, the price for the “special” was listed near the economy and compact cars. At least the price was essentially the same.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would end up with a disco-mobile. I think they saved John Travolta's car from the movie Saturday Night Live. This car was old and not well maintained. The car, my “special”, was a powder blue Crown Victoria.
I had never heard of this car before the other night. I complained and said the car was too big and the only other option offered by the guy at the counter was a smaller car for $24 more per day. Since I was staying local for the three days, I did not want to pay more. I realize, the disclaimer when I rented online said "it could be any kind of car". But in my wildest dreams I would not have imagined this monstrosity.
The crown Victoria is a cop car I guess. Well, I have never seen a powder blue cop car, have you? Heck, I've never even seen this car on the lot! Bottom line... Buyer beware.... Never ever get a "special" from Dollar. I think they pull the dust off of an old car to get a quick buck.
I just wanted to share my experience with Dollar Rental here in Raleigh. I had taken a rental for 5 days last week. I went to the Dollar rental at 8 am and asked for my car. Unfortunately the car given to me didn't have a few things which I wanted, so I asked them to change the car. At first the lady at the counter was not even interested in my request. After around half an hour they gave me a new car.
When I asked for a new contract (as my car was changed), the lady simply scribbled in my papers and told me that everything is all set and I need not worry about it. She will upload the new info later as the system was down. By the time I got out it was 9 am.
When I came back after 5 days, I reached the rental agency at around 8:50 am. They charged me for the extra day, since according to them I got my car at 8 am and I was 50 minutes late. I tried to reason with them that it took me almost an hour to get a new car and since the system was "down" (according to the lady at the desk) I could not get the new contract for 9 am. They told me that somebody from customer care will contact me and I will get my money back for the extra day.
Even after a week when nobody contacted me, I called up the customer care. They told me that original contract was for 8 am and they cannot do anything. Apparently I think that it was my mistake that I changed the car and not got a new papers. My fault in this whole episode is that I believed the lady at the desk. I am never going to rent from a Dollar rental ever again in my life.
AIRPORT BLVD MOBILE, AL, ALABAMA -- My family rented a van to travel to Gatlinburg, TN then DC. Price quoted was $40/day for UNLIMITED miles. When we picked up the car, the customer service person pretended to have a friendly discussion and asked us where we were going. Told her were going to DC and she says that it will cost us an extra 60 bucks per day to rent the car because that DC (TN was neighboring state for us) was not a "neighboring state". Re-read the fine print and there was a small statement saying that the "unlimited miles" only applies to neighboring states.
So our price for renting went from 250 for the week to a little over 600. I wanted to turn the car down but my trip was the next morning and our hotels were already booked so couldn't do that. In hindsight, we should have selected return the car in TN and rented another car up there.
State of the car was not the best either; probably the worst rental that I had. Seems as though it has been in a previous accident and Dollar marked it indicating that they were aware, which was fine with me except for the fact that it was a bit embarrassing to drive around with a car with giant scratches/dents all over it. Plus it felt as though the balance or tire rotations was off as the steering wheel shakes a bit and moves to the right slightly when driving at speeds >65 mph; but we didn't catch this until we were on the interstate.
When we came home to return the car, the same lady was there but her face was very unfriendly and cold this time. Seems as though she was having a bad day or I was being an inconvenience to her. Needless to say, I will never rent a car from them again. Even if I have to pay a bit more from a diff. company, if the car condition was better or the customer service was better, it will all be worth it.