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.
TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- I decided to shop price instead of Hertz, my home car rental company for many years. I chose Thrifty. It was a nightmare. I arrived in Denver to pick up my car. It was February 6, 2010. To find my reservation, they had to use my confirmation email because they had lost it, including the credit card information I had given them in making the registration. I waited so long at the counter while they tried to find it, that the clerk gave me a bottled water! We finally just started over.
After I finally got ready to choose my upgraded car, they gave me my GPS - a plug in with a chord, not built into the car. It was new, so the counter person didn't know how to use it. I had to unpack it from its box and read the directions myself. By this time, the clerk and I had hit it off, so we almost had a date. I never did take her up on the invitation to dinner, but she was the only good thing about Thrifty.
The car choice was not the promised upgrade as promoted to me when I made the reservation. Only 3 Hyundai Sonatas - all alike - were left. So, let's see, did I want Hyundai #1 with the yellow fabric seat covers, Hyundai #2 with the gray cloth seat covers, or Hyundai #3 with the dirty black seat covers! I chose the green one with yellow seats covers - not as garish as it sounds.
Before I left the counter, my friendly reservations specialist told me to go ahead and join the Blue Chip club before the end of my 17-day visit, because I would get a one-day refund credited at the check-out. I was surprised she hadn't asked me that during the check-in, since we had to start all over again. But I had my laptop and she gave me the website, so I thought I was all set. Yeah, right!
In Denver, unless you want to pay a fine, you have to avoid the toll roads, since its all pre-pay. Otherwise, Denver fines you $25 every time you get on, even if you didn't intend to. So, right out of the lot, I am trying to avoid the toll highway that leads away from the Denver airport. But, I can't get the GPS to give me an alternative route, so I just figure I'll take the first exit before the toll station. Well, that didn't work. I now owe Thrifty another 27.50 for my toll and fine. I got off the toll road immediately after getting on it, before the censors (I thought), but I guess not.
During the trip, the car was okay. Not as clean as I originally thought, and it was out of window washer fluid which I filled up when I took time to vacuum the car out the next day. A previous customer had left peanut shells under both front seats. I don't know, maybe the circus in town distracted the guy in charge of cleaning the car! Or, maybe it was a Republican, who knows!?
Before I turned in the car, I took time to register online for the 17th day discount by joining the Blue Chip club, but I got an email the day before I left saying the computer had been down, had lost my information, and would I please try again. Because it was just a day before taking the car back, I thought I better call customer service. I did.
After going through the usual queue of phone choices, verifying that I spoke English and all of that, I finally reached a customer service representative. She said she couldn't help. The computer was down and I would just have to try again. So, I did, assuming that I might get the chance the next day when returning the car to see my girlfriend at the counter and assure my 17th day discount. I also filled the car with gas before I went to bed the night before, as I was supposed to do.
When I returned the car, the place wasn't even open. It was 6:30AM and the only person at Thrifty to talk to me was the person receiving cars. I felt sorry for her. She could not speak English. So, figuring I would have to deal with this later, I just took my ticket from her hand-held computer, and walked to the bus and went to my plane.
Before I boarded the plane, I called Thrifty. As it turns out, I guess Oklahoma (Thrifty headquarters) wasn't open yet, so I got no help. Later in the day, however, I tried again and got the response that they would send me a Blue Chip discount for my next 17-day trip! Lovely.
I have since written two emails and one letter and heard nothing. I have never been able to join the Blue Chip club. And, would you believe that, in reviewing this file, I just noticed that they charged me for $50 extra for 20 gallons of gasoline, as if I had NOT filled the tank! The person who couldn't speak English had asked me if I had filled it. I said "yes", but she must have marked "no." Anyone out there know someone better than Thrifty? Oh, and P.S. NOTE TO THRIFTY: A Hyundai Sonata only has a 17-gallon tank!
ASBURY PARK, NEW JERSEY -- THRIFTY/DOLLAR RENTAL CAR- ASBURY PARK, EATONTOWN NJ-NEVER AGAIN NOT IF IT WAS THE LAST AGENCY AROUND!!! I am so disgusted with this company and the experience that I have had with it. I rented through Thrifty through a very nice girl out of one of the other offices. When I rented I was told that I would have to go through Dollar Rental car in Asbury Park because it was closer. I called them because I rented with them in the past in Florida and had a great experience. I had an accident and my insurance was paying for it.
I easily could have gone through Enterprise because that was who my insurance company suggested but chose Thrifty. Upon renting I found out that I would be charged $5 a day as well as tax on the amount because my insurance company wasn't covering that part. Needless to say Enterprise told me that they would not have done this as well I called the insurance company and they told me that most agencies waive this fee. I also rented in the past when I had an accident through Enterprise and was not charged these fees...
Anyhow this was the least of my problems so it seems. I got in the vehicle and it was disgustingly dirty, the window was hard to see through and when I tried to use the washer fluid it was empty. There were crumbs and hair all over the place it was obviously not cleaned. As well I checked the oil level and it said it was extremely low.
When I called the office I was told that they were trying to give me a nicer car therefore they did not have time to clean it and put the fluid in and that they did not think it was that dirty. They stated to me that the oil level was fine but I personally know it was not. After driving the car for some time it seemed as though one of the tires was low and when I called about this they told me that was fine as well.
Day 9 of my rental I was very sick leaving the store and had a friend drive me a half mile home. As soon as I got home I got a call from the "owner" being extremely rude telling me that he saw someone else driving "HIS CAR" and that I was in breech of contract and I explained the situation to him because I was ill and was vomiting. He told me that he will now be charging me an extra $150 on top of what they are already charging me and that was him "BEING NICE because he could charge me $400". I again explained that it was an emergency and I was not in the position to drive.
I told him that this was also not explained to me when I signed the paperwork and that ** the person who did the paperwork with me didn't say that. He then proceeded to tell me that he was ** and I told him that a few minutes earlier he told me he was the owner, **. He then told me that he wants his car back between 9 and 12 then next day or he will be calling the police to file a police report for a stolen vehicle if I do not return it.
The whole experience has been horrible. I would NEVER rent from them again I would rather be without a car and walk. As now I am without a vehicle because my car is not yet done being fixed. I would like to say that you catch more bees with honey and had he been a little nicer and had a little more customer service skills I would not even be writing this review. I am disgusted with not only the vehicle but the treatment I received from this company.
JFK, NEW YORK -- I'm a very frequent traveler and renter of cars all over the country and the world. On this occasion, I had relatives from Europe visiting and offered to make their car reservations for them. Without going in to all of the details, let me just say that after their 8 hour flight from Europe, we spent SEVEN HOURS at Thrifty JFK getting a car which ended up NOT being what we had reserved. It was a nightmare from beginning to end. I will never rent from Thrifty/Dollar again.
SAN JUAN PR -- Made reservations same day in the morning to get the car at 1:30pm. Booked through carrental.com. Had our confirmation email and number. They didn't have record of it so, no car. Wasted the first day of my vacation. Not done yet, I'm going after carrentals.com. Unhappy customer.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- Worst customer service I've ever experienced. For a 2 week rental they charged me $698.They were suppose to refund the money that was on hold and never did. No one had on name tags at the desk. They very unprofessional and disrespectful. It is true what they say "cheaper isn't always better". Never again will I purchase anything from this company.
AUSTIN, TEXAS -- Thrifty Car Rental has a business practice of showing sweetheart rates and then gouging the customer with hidden fees. For example: Monthly rate: 17/day. Day rate: 60/day. Return a day EARLY and you have the day rate. Fuel refill cost: $2.00. Good, right? Not so fast. They don't tell you at the counter that fuel taxes are not included. Second driver doubles the cost. On and on...it's ridiculous. I just parked my car at the airport to avoid a $2,000 price bump on a $1,000 rental. WOW.
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.
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.
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.