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Worst Car Rental Experience in 30 Years
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- I was charged almost 3x what I was quoted online, with surcharges and fuel. Pressured into upgrading and/or paying $10 a day extra for GPS (we declined both, and found the GPS was there anyway). I asked for the prepaid fuel option, but was charged $96, at $10 a gallon, at the end of the trip. All right, I didn't read the fine print, assumed the clerk had done as I'd requested. However, this clerk was the only one available to serve a long line of people, so we waited one hour and ten minutes to be served - after 14 hours of travel, you can understand that I was tired and irritable and willing to believe that when I declined certain options, I'd be respected.

When we were given our car, which was scraped and dented, the attendant would not assist us in making a vehicle inspection and filling out a form, said merely "we don't worry about any scrapes under six inches". I finally spoke to two more agents before I could get the form and mark the damage on the vehicle picture.

Upon complaining to the parking attendant, I was referred to the manager. When I saw him, risking missing my flight, I was referred to the 800 number for Customer Service. When I waited on the phone for 20 min with Customer Service, they hung up on me twice when I said I wished to make a complaint.

CAVEAT EMPTOR. Read the fine print, to know that you are being cheated into signing for something you didn't ask for. I will NEVER use Thrifty Car Rentals again. By the way, the guy coming on to his shift just as we were leaving the rental office remarked to his fellow worker, "Now you get why over 30 employees have quit since October." What a surprise.

By the way, my review on Thrifty's Facebook page was removed by them. It is curious to me that none of the large travel companies have a category for reviewing car rentals, and the ones posted online are solely positive ones funded by each company.

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They Cheated Me
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- I drove 221 miles. The checkout agent at Boston Logan airport told me, "Don't worry, we'll mail you a receipt." When the receipt arrived they recorded 404 miles and my gasoline charge (I knew I was going to get charged for about 220 miles of gas) was $151.

I called their Customer Service line 1800 334 1705 and spoke to Nicki who couldn't help me but sent me to Carly in the Oklahoma Main Office. She basically said, "Too bad. You returned the car, you got the bill. We can't and won't check it or change it." When made suggestions she said, "No." So I said I would call American Express and dispute the charges and she said, they would wait to hear from AmEx. When I started to say how upset I was, SHE HUNG UP ON ME.

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Would Not Honor Reservation
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

CVG AIRPORT, KENTUCKY -- I had a car reserved for a trip from Jacksonville Fl. to Cincinnati Ohio for Jan 10-17. My plane was delayed and Thrifty was informed that I would not be able to pick up my car on the 10th as scheduled due to arriving after they closed. I stayed in a hotel overnight and went to Thrifty the next morning and Thrifty refused to honor my reserved rate. New rate was $170 more than my reserved rate. The terms and conditions of their rental agreement plainly states on #8 that Customers with reservations who experience weather or mechanical delays with airlines will be accommodated. Not good customer service so I went elsewhere to rent a car.

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Dishonest And Overcharges
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

HOUSTON, TEXAS -- Thrifty does not answer the questions asked. I asked for the lowest price for a car, which would've been a weekly rental rate. Instead I was charged $569 for 4 days for a compact car, and that was refusing the insurance. It was truly a compact car, and the smallest car I've ever driven.

The situation went from bad to worse. Integrity is lacking at all levels and the customer service does not improve through the ranks. My experience was horrible enough for me to write my first review ever. I will not ever patronize this company again. They could offer me the car for free and to keep it, and I still would not think of dealing with them. STAY AWAY.

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Beware! Classic Bait and Switch!
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

RENO, NEVADA -- I forgot what it was like to deal with a corrupt car rental company! So don't be a "deer in the headlights" like I was!

We reserved an Economy car described as a Kia Rio or similar (4 doors with a trunk). When we got to the Thrifty/Dollar rental desk, they stated that "their Economy car was a Fiat hatchback and it wouldn't fit our two pieces of luggage" (our luggage was average sized). I stated that the car I reserved does fit 4 people and our two pieces of luggage. She stated, "Well everyone has a different perception of what two pieces of luggage means." The Fiat barely fit two carry on pieces! She then recommended I rent a mid sized car. Are you kidding me? For two pieces of luggage and two people?

I told her I wanted a car similar to the Kia Rio that I reserved. She offered me a Toyota Corolla. My initial reservation total was 129.00 for 7 days. She ADDED 200.00 for the Toyota Corolla! I was livid! She left me no choice but to accept it, or lose out on the 129.00 for the reservation and have to find another car somewhere else. What was Thrifty/Dollar's response when I contacted them? Oh well, you signed for it and drove off with it.

PLEASE AVOID THIS PAIN! DO NOT RENT FROM THRIFTY/DOLLAR! But if you are stuck with a reservation you can't get out of, bring a picture of the car type you reserved, just in case, and...good luck!

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Thrifty Purposely Misrepresent and Tries to Sneak in Fees
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

HOUSTON, TEXAS -- I reserved a rental car from Thrifty through Southwest Airlines online booking. The car was to be picked up on Saturday, February 15th and returned on Tuesday, February 18th; the estimated charge was 178.00 which I paid on my credit card. When I went to pick up the car I asked if I could change the return date to Thursday, February 20th. The associate at the counter told me that was fine. I asked how much it would cost and he told me it would be the same rate, $44.00 per day.

After he went through all the options (insurance, toll pass, etc.) he told me to sign on the small computer screen in front of me. The screen was small and difficult to read (it was grey with black lettering, about 3" by 3"). I tried to review what I was signing and realized the total was $650.00. The associate never verbally told me any costs associated with the rental agreement unless I asked. I asked him if that was the cost and he said yes. I asked him why it was so much and he said it was because I rented it for extra time.

I told him that it was more than three times the estimate. He said that the estimate was only for the car, and didn't include taxes and insurance. I told him to take off any optional charges (insurance which I had through my regular coverage, toll pass which was 45.00 and prepaid fuel), and it still came to $416.62. I asked him why it was so much still, and he said taxes.

When I was getting ready to return the car I looked at the receipt and realized there were 2 return change fee charges of 15.99 each. I returned the car at 8:30 am. The woman checked me in and printed me a receipt which also included an additional late charge of 15.99 for returning the car late (the receipt said 8:35 am). When I rented the car they did not tell me it had to be back by 8:30 am, it wasn't until I carefully read the receipt that I saw the early time it had to be back. Still, I got it back at 8:30 am and they refused to reverse even that fee. The total I paid for the car was 437.06.

I talked to two customer service representatives, neither of whom cared that I had been mislead about the charges. I was also not told that adding an extra driver would cost $11.00 per day. I only added an extra driver because my traveling companion has a license and I thought I would add them just in case (they didn't drive at all during the trip as expected). They only cared that I had "signed the contract" no matter how much the associate had misled me while it was happening. There was a long line of customers waiting behind me, the computer screen was almost impossible to read, and my six year old was waiting impatiently after the long plane ride.

If I had understood the additional fees I would not have extended the rental or added the extra driver. The rental agency was dishonest, purposely not up front about the fees and costs of the rental, and took advantage of a person far from home and needing transportation. The associate behind the counter was clearly impatient the whole time I was reviewing the charges, and kept trying to rush me through the process. They also still have not credited the $178.00 that I paid through Southwest.

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Thrifty Car Rental from Dusseldorf Airport
By -

THEODOR-HEUSS-STR. 71-73 (DUSSDELDORF AIRPORT, GER -- I would like to add my story to similar experiences that I have now seen on this site. It appears that some Thrifty car rental places in Germany are taking advantage of foreign travelers. Please be warned about this company, and avoid them or be very careful when renting from them.

I booked my two-week rental through Expedia for a total of 327.40 euro. When I arrived with my family into Dusseldorf, we were met taken off-site to the rental agency. They explained that my US insurance would not be acceptable, and coverage with a Visa card would only be allowed with an advanced approved letter from Visa stating that the car was covered. They said that I would need to purchase an additional insurance from them for ~20 euro per day and they would charge me a minimum of 600 euro deductible upfront. While this is pretty outrageous, we just had an overnight flight from the US and more stuff than we could carry, so I paid the money.

The rental vehicle was fine, and we returned it on the morning before our flight. After much delay, so that we were getting worried about making our flight time, a guy comes out to inspect the vehicle and finds a tiny hairline scratch on the tailgate near the license plate. I couldn't believe it; I would not have even though to mention this if I had done a thorough inspection of the vehicle before accepting it. Then, before taking us back to the airport, they made me sign a form (in German) saying that it was scratched.

They said that although I was probably not responsible, they would check their records and make sure that it was noted before so that I would be off the hook for it. They would not, however, give me my deposit back. Again, in a tight spot, I signed the form and we made our flight back home. After a few weeks, I filed a complaint with Thrifty in the US and requesting that I get my deposit back.

I did not get a reply from them, but yesterday I did get a bill from the German agency saying that the damage was repaired for a fee of 681.42 euro -- remarkably close to the deductible. They also charged my credit card an additional 81.42 euro. What I have been able to decipher from the German bill, is 171 euro for painting, and many other expenses for unrelated parts such as some rear flaps, debasement charge (51 euro), allowance cost (19.65 euro), phone/fax business charges (50 euro), and others that I can't figure out, which bring the total to 681.42 euro.

I have now asked Visa to block the payment. I have also requested proof that the car was actually painted. I anticipate that nothing was done to the car and that this will happen to the next unsuspecting customer as well. I have also sent my complaint to the consumer protection agency in Dusseldorf. I don't actually anticipate that anything will come of this, and that I will just end up paying a significant fraction of the tiny VW's value for the privilege of renting it. But, I would like to warn others.

If I had noticed the warning posted here and elsewhere about this kind of scam, I would have chosen another company (or taken the train!) If you do rent from a place like this, I highly recommend that you go over the car in extreme detail and get them to sign off on every blemish. I am not exaggerating about how small this scratch was. Once they make you buy their insurance, it is in their interest to find a problem with the car, and they probably will.

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Thrifty Car Rental: Bait and Switch!
-

POMPANO FL, FLORIDA -- Before our winter vacation trip to FL, I shopped for rental car deals. A great promotion from Thrifty offered me a minivan for our week in FL at a rate lower than what most dealers were charging for compact cars. When I made the reservation in advance, I was surprised by the price and was not sure how valid, so I called the Pompano Fl location and inquired. They assured me the promotion was good and that they would have my car or an upgrade avail on my date. They also told me a spouse was included in the rental rate.

When we got there, the manager of the Thrifty Car Rental Pompano FL location (Mr. **) told me that my reserved van was not avail. (supposedly Thrifty in FL was "all out" of vans), and the only option was a tiny compact. We are a family of 5 and luggage, on vacation. He offered me no options except to call other locations myself, and hope for the best. We spent over 4 hours on the phone with customer service, being passed from representative to representative and getting hung-up on. Their only option was to make a new reservation at a higher rate and a different pickup location. It was apparently a Bait-and-Switch Promotion!

I reached the off-property Ft Lauderdale Airport location, explained our dilemma, and they said they had no vans. When I asked to speak to the manager, they hung up on me. The second call I was patched to his voice mail! I called back from another phone and asked about renting a minivan that day. The agent (**) assured me they had vans and gave me the rate (much higher than our reservation). When I said I would be right there to pick it up, and I already had a reservation, he suddenly claimed he made a mistake and they had NO vans. I asked for the manager and they disconnected the call.

I called back, and got the manager, a VERY nice man (**), who said he would go get a car for me and have it ready. We got there in the dark, and they were waiting. We did agree to take the insurance, even though we are covered on our own policy and through the credit card, but felt we wanted to give them something for their help. We did not agree to pay the $10/day extra for the spouse to drive. That was an unexpected turn!

In any case, the van was relatively new and shiny on the outside. Only after we got in and drove a bit, did we realize it smelled like it had been used for a sex and Pot smoking festival, with a heavy dose of cheap aftershave. The next day we tried to air it out in the sun, but it was really dirty inside, and many parts broken or rusty. Also, the gas mileage was AWFUL! The 20 mile trip to the airport used almost 1/4 tank!

When we returned the car, I was careful to fill up near the airport. I even filled over the line. At vehicle check-in, the agent demanded to see my gas receipt (I never take one) and I told him just to look at the gauge. It was tough to communicate, but he finally agreed to settle it. Apparently, you need to prove you filled less than 10 miles from the airport!

All in all, the Pompano manager is awful at customer service. He made NO effort to plan ahead and have the proper cars, nor did he help us secure another car. The Ft. Lauderdale/Port Everglades manager, **, is a gentleman and truly represents Thrifty in how he fulfills customer service.

NEVER, in 25 years of renting cars in Florida, has a rental company ever told me: "We have no cars for you, too bad, go away", when I had a reservation in advance. I think the BBB should look into the promo and how many people got ripped off... Thrifty's telephone customer service agents need better training. If I can't be assured that the car I rented will be available, if not an upgrade, then why would I want to rent from Thrifty? I don't need the aggravation.

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St Maarten Thrifty Attempted Ripoff.
By -

5310 E. 31ST ST TULSA,, OKLAHOMA -- This is to make sure that Thrifty Car Rental 102 Airport road Simpson Bay in St Maarten N. A. doesn't attempt to make an additional false charge against my Visa. The charge of 131.01 is $5.91 over what my paperwork from Expedia shows would be the total cost of the rental car.

My husband and I arrived in St Maarten late afternoon on May 17th and proceeded to Thrifty Rental to pick up our car reserved through Expedia for seven days to return on the May 24th 2011. We were the first people to the rental counter. We had arrived first, we were the last to leave of 7 couples arriving with us to pick up cars. The person waiting on us was new and didn't understand the computer system well. We showed him the reservation made through Expedia showing a total dollar figure and he didn't know how to back into the number in his software.

We decided to take the car and speak with Expedia to resolve the overcharge after we returned. We were given a car, we looked over the car, found dents and scratches, had them noted on the proper form and left. When we arrived at Simpson Bay Resort we found out there wasn't a door handle to open the passenger side door.

We learned that Thrifty maintains a desk at the resort from the resort front desk personnel. We found the person manning the desk and explained the lack of a door handle. He called the main office where we rented after we showed him the lack of a handle on the passenger door. He told us told us he had another car for us outside. The resort rental person wrote out a damage transfer sheet showing we were getting another car. We were told to keep our original contract with it.

The day before we were to turn the car in we drove down the hill from the resort to go to breakfast . I noticed the car would lurch rather than take off smoothly. I took the car into the rental agent at the resort desk as he was close. The agent explained he didn't have a car that day at the resort. He further explained we would have to take it back to the main office a couple of miles down the road.

I asked him to drive the car before we took it to the main office. I was concerned that the car was not safe. He was reluctant to test drive the car but eventually obliged us. My husband jumped in the car with him. He took off at a high rate of speed on the resort ramp leading from the front desk. My husband asked him to slow down as it was more noticeable at slow speeds and it was dangerous to drive fast where so many people were walking. He stopped driving fast than he noticed the lurching as we had.

My husband was reluctant to drive the car; he suspected the transmission. We didn't want to be stranded between the resort and the rental place. The resort agent assured us the car was low on transmission fluid and said the car would make it to the rental office. No problem. Any other car rental company would bring you a car or have the vehicle towed to their location. This company has no concept of service or safety.

We pulled up to the rental office an employee came and we explained what the vehicle was doing. He got into the vehicle drove it back and forth it did the same thing. He went into the office to arrange another car. A few minutes later another man came out and saw some fluid on the ground near the left front tire. He drove the car around the corner to the wash area my husband and I followed. My husband told them he wanted the car jacked up so he could take a closer look as long as they were accusing him of damaging the vehicle. They complied.

After jacking the vehicle up the mechanic with the agent standing there looked at my husband and said, "You have hit the oil pan." We both replied that we hadn't hit anything. My husband knelt down and looked. He could see the plastic cover that is supposed to protect the oil pan was completely eaten away. My husband responded that the entire bottom of the plastic cover was worn away. He also pointed out that the dents and scratches in the oil pan were rusted not shiny metal as you would have if the damage was recent.

My husband brought his face closer to the pan. Asked the mechanic and the rental agent to come closer. He again pointed out that there was no new damage, showing that all the scrapes were rusted over the front leading edge was scaly rust. It had been there a long time with no new bare shiny metal showing. He also pointed out that there were no puncture holes or oil on the pan. The mechanic said yes it is rusty but it wasn't leaking. My husband replied again that we had not hit anything that this was obviously old damage. He also stated that we were able to drive the vehicle to the rental place without the engine seizing.

My husband stated again that the agent at the resort rental desk said the transmissions oil was low and that was the cause of the lurching. My husband stated the oil must be leaking from the filler bolt on the pan or from somewhere above. He repeated there is no puncture holes on the pan and no oil showing anywhere on the pan. My husband is a Private Investigator. He is accustomed to running investigations and asking questions to obtain answers. He had the feeling they were going to attempt to run a scam by the way they were acting prior to him asking them to jack up the car. They stopped answering his questions.

While the vehicle was jacked up my husband continued to take pictures of the dented rusty bottom of the pan and its worn out cover. He then told the rental company he wanted the plastic cover removed so he could look closer and take photos even though the cover was worn away from the bottom. My husband wanted to see the sides of the pan. They complied removing the cover. They wouldn't say anymore about the vehicle. They asked us to leave the wash area. They brought us another car.

My husband took a beach towel I was holding to transfer to the new car and lied down on it on the ground in front of the vehicle after getting the man's attention. He ran his hand on the inside bottom of the plastic cover. When he pulled his hand out it was full of oil from this replacement vehicle.

The plastic cover had a crack approximately 8 inches long but not completely worn away. The man then told my husband, "I will get you another vehicle". He brought around another car of the same make and model. My husband lay on the ground again ran his hand on the same location again. His hand came out covered in oil. This plastic cover also had a crack which my husband photographed. At this point my husband who is usually reserved and quiet said, "What kind of a racket do you have going here, attempting to blame me for a leaking pan that all of the vehicles you bring out have."

The man said nothing. He brought around an upgraded, much newer vehicle. Again my husband got on the ground ran his hand this time the plastic cover was not cracked and no oil was leaking. Before leaving they asked my husband to write out a statement. My husband said, "I have nothing to report." "We did not hit anything," he told them. He could not report what he did not do.

He told them, "It is obvious that you don't inspect or provide proper maintenance to your vehicles as I has just found two more with the same defect." The man from the car rental said they wouldn't give us a car unless we wrote out a statement. My husband wrote out exactly what he told them that he had nothing to report. I have a copy of the statement my husband wrote.

The following day was our day of departure. We came to return the car we were given the day before. My husband started the check in process. When you rent the car Thrifty requires their customers to allow them to take two separate imprints of your card on credit card slips. On one of the credit card slips they write the contract amount. On the other slip they write 850.00 dollars or leave it blank (I can't remember) and require you to sign both. They said when we left the island they would give the slip back to us that represented the deposit to tear up.

We finished the checking out. My husband said, "You haven't given me the deposit credit slip you asked us to sign." The man replied, "It looks like you have a damage report here." My husband replied that we had not damaged the car and suggested that the man read the statement my husband wrote. My husband asked to speak to the manager. They said he was at a meeting and encouraged us to call their customer service number.

My husband told them that they wouldn't be able to get away with what they were doing, that he had taken pictures of all of the leaking cars they had attempted to give him prior to giving him the upgraded car. He told the agent he wanted to show these pictures to the manager. This agent replied again that the manager was in a meeting. We had to go to the airport to catch our flight and left.

This company needs to be stopped. My husband will be sending these pictures to Expedia, as well as Visa. His intention is to send this package to Thrifty headquarters, Media outlets, and the Insurance Industry to learn if Thrifty or Dollar at the same St Maarten address (companion businesses under the same roof) have made similar claims against other unsuspecting innocent people and got away with it.

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The Worst Rental Car Experience in Thrifty!
By -

We were supposed to pick up the minivan in Las Vegas airport that we have reserved on Thrifty.com about 1.5 month before. Even with drop off in San Francisco, weekly rental, unlimited miles the price was pretty good, about $450. The pick up time we indicated on reservation was 11 am. We came to airport 11:10 am, huge line, so we got to the counter around 12:15 pm.

Customer service lady refused to honor our reservation price even after I showed printout, actual email received from Thrifty and went to Thrifty website on my iPhone to show her the reservation. As a robot she was saying continuously: "There is nothing I can do, computer shows different price, your rental price is $575 instead." For some reason she looked surprised that we had a nerve to argue with her. 15 minutes after she finally called manager.

New lady went over our reservation, said she will do a "special" arrangement for us (!) to honor the price the company gave us! What "special" arrangement?! All you have to do is honor your own reservation! Manager promised us that she will adjust the price, but since it will take time, meanwhile we can go pick up the car, and she will meet us there with modified invoice. Anyway, another 40 minutes were spent trying to decline their additional insurance and trying to prove that our own car insurance does cover rental cars. We had to call our insurance to get them fax our policy, otherwise Thrifty won't agree.

Advice to everyone renting car: if you are planning to use your own insurance make sure to have your policy on hand where it's clearly defined! Finally we went to get a car, we waited another 30 minutes, no one showed up. We left deciding to call Thrifty and resolve this matter over the phone.

Wonderful week in California passed by, we got to San Francisco about 4 pm and went to return car to one of the city locations. I somewhat expected problems so wasn't surprised when a technician gave as a printout of total price $865 after we returned the car. After we asked what is going on he just said a computer gave me this price. Here we are again at customer service counter. Plus side, only 1 person ahead of us. We got to the counter, the nightmare is all over again:

  1. There is no mentioning anywhere that manager in Las Vegas adjusted the price.

  2. Our reservation had unlimited miles, their reservation had 1500 miles. We we were hit with additional miles charge.

  3. We brought the car too early! The weekly charge kicks in ONLY when car is returned at 5 pm, not a minute before. Since we returned car 4:05 pm our weekly reservation disappeared and some day by day change appeared! The funny thing is that manager suggested us to get the car again and drive around for an hour, and come back at 5 pm because the computer (again) won't let him to adjust anything! Finally we negotiated to not getting a car, and simply come back a hour later and he will make another adjustment that looks like we returned car at 5 pm.

Saying that we were furious would be a big understatement, we travel quite a bit, rent cars very often. Sometimes we have issues, but not anywhere even close to this one.

I have to thank the manager in San Francisco who spent quite some time with us, on a phone with Las Vegas, Thrifty and finally resolved the whole issue. He even apologized for all our trouble, something that no one in Las Vegas never thought of! Actually our final price came about $30 less than our original reservation. We haven't complained, but for all the time and troubles they should have given us the car for free!

Lessons learned: Avoid Thrifty even if they have lowest prices (though I assume this could have happened to any other car rental). Always have your insurance card AND insurance policy if you want to decline rental's insurance. Call your rental company before pick up and triple-confirm price, pick up time, drop off time, miles to avoid surprises (though, again, it might not help).

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Thrifty Rating:
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1.0 out of 5, based on 28 ratings and
113 reviews & complaints.
Contact Information:
Thrifty
5330 E. 31st St.
Tulsa, OH 74135
918-660-7700 (ph)
www.thrifty.com
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