CANCUN -- We rented a van on January 2nd at the airport in Cancun (reservation **). When returning the van they said that there was a damage at the wheel rim. When observing it very carefully you could see a very small indentation on the rim (about 1mm in diameter).
A damage like this could only be caused by almost [destroying] the whole wheel, so it was obvious that the damage was already there because the wheel was otherwise perfect. They charged us 400 dollars for that damage which is clear that was already there when renting the car (invisible to the naked eye unless you knew it was there and you are an expert in rims). We took pictures of that alleged damage. I am enclosing one.
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.
AUSTIN, TEXAS -- You're taking a trip, you go online and request rental car quote for a car at your destination, request a full size car and see the words full-size car like a Chevy Impala or similar. When you get to the car rental location the car is a mid-size "smaller" car. But wait, you were quoted and are paying for a full-size car. Here is how it happens; Clearwater Transportation LTD runs Thrifty Car Rental / Dollar Rent a Car at Austin Bergstrom Airport Texas. When they get car rental request for a full-size Car Chevy Impala, they gives you a Chevy Malibu, Toyota Camry, or Nissan Altima - all are listed by the manufacturers as Mid-Size vehicles.
"How do you get less than what you were lead to believe your paying for?" I asked them, and here is their answer: "There will always be a reference vehicle and will state 'or similar' because that different locations runs different size, makes, and models in any given category. When you book a reservation we do not make any guaranty to a specific make, model, or exact specifications."
The Rental company can magically re-size a vehicle from the what the manufacturer has stated its size Mid-size to the new Full-size. So what is next? You order a full-size 12oz steak dinner and get a 8oz smaller version and are charged for the 12oz because that all they have and that what we call our smaller steaks here the full-size steak dinner.
How can Car rental company advertise car rentals of Mid-size cars as Full-size. The secret is in what you call it. I was told by that Car rental company manager, "You better contact the renting location and find out what that company runs in it size class." So you can't believe or trust in what is advertised on National Car Rental websites. You have call the company and ask them so what do you call a Full-size car at your location. What is this a new version of the shell game. Car Renters beware. You may not get what you paid for, trust no one, verify, then if they are playing word game go to someone else. Your money is good at the other guy store.
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.
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.
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.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- I have never been so upset by a rental car experience as I was this time. One word sums up this experience: RACISM. I rented a car for three days. The pickup experience was good. The car was a Prius and it had problems. The car kept saying "does not detect key" and was a pain to start each time. I could deal with this and was not completely upset with the car. Just annoyed.
The big problem came when I returned the car. I got on the shuttle to go back to LAX and I was holding my briefcase in front of me. The driver approached me and told me to put my small case on the rack. I very calmly said that I had fragile items inside and I would hold it. I also thanked him for his concern. He then insisted that it was a rule that all bags must be put up on the rack and told me again to put the bag on the other side. I again politely declined trying to explain again about the items in my bag and that I would hold it. He then told me I was blocking the walkway. However the bag did not protrude any further than my knees when I was sitting down.
I again in the most polite way possible told him that I would continue to hold my bag. At this point you asked me to get off the bus. I said I would not leave the bus and he could get the manager of the location to come and talk to me. He started getting more angry and told me to get off the bus. At this point the other passengers on the bus told him to leave me alone. He continued on for another two or three minutes and I said I would not get off the bus unless the manager of the location came out and told me that I needed to get off. At this point he just became frustrated and said "WHITE PEOPLE" walking to the driver's seat and slamming a clipboard down.
Keep in mind that every person on the bus was a "white person". At this point I stopped talking to him completely. An older gentlemen probably around 65 or so was extremely upset by his statements and started raising his voice at the driver. I told him it would do no good and the best thing we could do was ignore his ignorance.
I called customer service but they would not connect me to the location to speak to the manager. I actually never in 35 years have had an experienced this. While I was not really offended because I can recognize that he did this out of complete ignorance and obviously did not have enough education or common sense to know better, I still feel like I need to say something.
TAMPA, FLORIDA -- May 2013 Starting with the positive. Got a great rate for a five day rental on a mid size SUV and the gentleman at the front counter at the airport was extremely nice, friendly, and courteous. From that point on, there is not a good thing I can say about my experience with Thrifty. The first car I was given didn't even make it out of the parking space. Awful noise coming from transmission when I put it in reverse. Thrifty guy told me the brakes were wet because the car had just been washed and the noise would stop after it was driven. Funny because the car didn't appear to be just washed and I know what wet brakes sound like. I refused the car.
Second car was absolutely covered in whole dead bugs. The windshield was so filmy with bug guts you could barely see through it. There were used drink cups and swizzle sticks in the car. I refused this car also although the Thrifty guy assured me that "The car has been serviced. This is Florida. Those bugs just don't come off". Again kind of funny because on our way out of the airport an hour later, this same car (recognized the scratch on the back bumper) was in front of me pulling out of the garage and spotless.
The third car I accepted. A couple of minutes after hitting the main road, I noticed the Oil Change Required light was on. It stayed on the entire trip making me somewhat nervous about all the driving I did and waiting to see if the actual oil light would come on. When turning the car in, I mentioned it to the girl who did the check in and she said that light stayed on all the time because Thrifty serviced its own cars and so they couldn't turn it off. Funny that every mechanic I know knows how to reset the codes.
I really don't appreciate being treated like a stupid woman which is exactly what Thrifty employees did. Nor do I appreciate having to worry about a car I've paid to be able to drive. Don't care how good the deal is, I won't be a Thrifty customer again.
Update 6/13/2013 - Today I received an email from Thrifty stating I was going to receive a coupon in the mail good for one free day of car rental. A few minutes ago, I got another email stating that I should ignore the previous email. Apparently, I will not be receiving a coupon and they apologized for any confusion their 'eagerness" had caused. Way to Win customers and inspire confidence Thrifty. Wasn't going to use you again anyway.
SALT LAKE CITY AIRPORT, UTAH -- When I did comparison shopping online before my trip with the same type of full size car among various car rental companies, your pricing was the reasonable one, and that is why I choose your company for rental car this time. But when I returned my car to your company location, I noticed that the price printed on the agreement was higher than what was I booked. (I can supply you with the evidence that the confirmation email that I received from your company after I booked car rental online if you would like).
I asked the guy at the return location, but he insisted that you have to raise the price, and I have to pay more. I did not get much time to argue with him because I have to catch up my flight. I have rented cars for my various trips through different car rental companies in many years either by booking via Expedia or Hotwire.com or via rental car companies directly. But never once a company will not keep their promised price based on the booking price! Your company breached the trust that I entrusted in your company and did not keep up your contractual obligation to keep the rental car price as you have already agreed upon when I did the online booking.
I demand a refund of the price difference into my credit card immediately, and an apology from your company! If your company will not honor your online car rental booking price, you should not in this business at all. I will report your misleading and dishonesty business operations to FCC, and other consumer protection agencies, as well as post thousands of review comments at Internet forums, that to make sure there will be no victims to fall into your cheating traps in the future!
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA -- I rented a car from Thrifty through Expedia. This was an international car rental for the Copenhagen, Denmark airport. The overall price breakdown provided included "estimated taxes and fees" and came to a grand total of $132.00 for a one day car rental. Upon arrival I was informed that there was an additional VAT Tax of 25% and a Location fee of 300 DKK. These additional fees increased my overall cost of a one day rental by 69%.
I went back and complained to both Expedia and Thrifty. I knew Europe had a VAT Tax, but why weren't these taxes and fees included in the "estimated taxes and fees" in my initial price breakdown? The answer from Thrifty was that these additional fees were clearly detailed in the T's and C's.
Am I at fault for not pouring over the Terms and Conditions? Yes. However, if they as a company already know that the customer will incur these fees, why wouldn't these fees be detailed in the price breakdown provided when I placed my order? Why would these fees be buried in the T's and C's if for no other reason than to appear more price competitive than one really is? Is this not a clear example of a bait and switch and deceptive business practices?
The customer service was terrible. They couldn't have cared less and were completely unwilling to do anything at all to turn around this customer experience. To top it off, the car had a dent in the back door which apparently did enough damage so that you couldn't lock the door. We didn't realize that until later on that night. Again, Thrifty's response was sorry, but again, we aren't going to do anything for you.
After multiple emails and phone calls back and forth, they just told me they have closed my ticket and that's it. This company is unethical, has incredibly deceptive pricing, and couldn't care less if you had a good or bad experience with them. I own a small business and I can tell you one thing, we are never doing business with Thrifty again. Beware, Thrifty, Dollar and Sixt are all under the same umbrella corporation. I won't do business with any of them.