Thrifty Complaint - they damaged my car!
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- I'm writing with a complaint about the experience at Thrifty Rent-A-Car, and I hope someone will take this seriously.
I have used Thrifty Car Rental services a total of six times in a span of just over a year. This has been all at the same location, Orlando Airport, FL. Each time I left with a positive experience without any major issues. There was an incident during the first car rental transaction when the clerk counter failed to mention extra charges listed on the receipt. We went back and resolved them telling the clerk counter we did not need all the extra unnecessary insurance since we had our own insurance coverage. I have looked through some of the letters at planetfeedback.com and that seems to be a prevalent problem among many other consumers too. The first two times with Thrifty, I rented a car from them. The last four time I used their airport parking service. Once was the self parking service and the other three times I used the valet service.
My most recent experienced with Thrifty was about two weeks ago. I went to the location on Saturday, June 29, 2002 around 5:30 in the morning. I followed the signs toward the valet parking section and parked and got my luggage out from the car while an attendant wrote down some information from the car and handed me the ticket. I left my car keys in the car so the vale attendants could park the car. I then walked into the main area and signed the form and told the clerk when I expected to be home. I returned to the thrifty location about a week later on Monday, July 7 around 7:00 in the morning. I paid the valet clerk and saw my car through the glass being parked on the curb.
I could tell it had been raining most of the day by looking at the car. There was a lot of dirt and water marks all over. The major thing I saw that stood out were some black marks on the rear passenger side. At first I simply thought it was dirt or something else but I got closer and tried to wipe it off when I noticed they were actually scratches. The black spots were the parts where paint was scrapped from the car. The scratches were about four inches long. Right above the scratches was the red side marker lamp that was shattered. Only a few broken pieces were still attached. Also the part that holds the light was popped out of the socket so it is now partially outside the slot. I was furious. This was my new silver Lexus IS300, four dour sedan. I only got this a year ago and I have taken extremely good car of the car. That's the primary reason I used the valet service, because I felt that I was leaving my car in good hands, and the previous three times I used Thrifty, my car was returned to me the same way I had left it, with nothing wrong.
I immediately notified the clerk at the valet counter and she had the attendant who had brought the car out to see what the problem was. I pointed out the damage and then he went back inside and came back with a Polaroid camera. He took one picture and took me back inside and the clerk gave me an accident report form to fill out. I wrote down my information and handed it back. The clerk said she would place this in the box of the person in charge of claims, and that I should call her later in the morning to check on the status of the report. I took the business card with the phone number, (407) 380-1002 and took a look at the picture to make sure it accurately showed the damage I received on my car.
I got home and later called back around 10am. I spoke with the person in charge, Dana Finley, and explained to her the situation. She told me to get an estimate for the repair from three different auto shops and fax them to her. So I got two estimations that day, one was for approximately $370 and the other was about $380. The next day, July 8, I got another repair estimate, but for some reason this particular body shop wanted to charge over $600. But I took all three estimates reports, as requested, and I handed them directly to Ms. Finley at the Thrifty lobby. I asked her what I should do next, and she said to wait a few days and call back then. She was going to put the estimates in a file so that the managers could review them and decide accordingly on the amount to be paid.
I waited until Saturday, July 13, to call again. I called around 2 in the afternoon but got a voicemail, so I just left a message. I called again the next day on the 14th and spoke with Ms. Finley again. She told me that she had a chance to review it and that a check was in the mail. That's all she said so I waited patiently for the check to arrive.
The check arrived in my mailbox on July 17. However to my surprise when I opened it, the amount only read $250. This was well below the lowest estimated repair which was $373.05. I did not understand the reasoning of paying only a portion of the estimated repair costs. I called the next day on July 18 but got the voice mail box again. I left a message saying I had received the check, but there seemed to be an error, and that I would appreciate it if Ms. Finely would return my call.
I did not receive a call back, so I decided to call again on July 19 and this time I got through. I asked Ms. Finley why I was only compensated for $250 when she knew that it would cost at least $120 more to repair the damages. I had, after all, directly handed her the repair estimates. She replied that Thrifty could not know for sure whether it was one of their employees who caused the damage or a Thrifty customer. Apparently the cars that use the valet parking service are parked in the same lot as the self parking area. So, the damage might have occurred when one of the employees was moving my car or another car nearby, or another customer that was self parking his own car might have backed into it. Either way, she said, they could not be held responsible. She even said that the company paid more than they should have and the amount paid was reasonable. I then asked her what else could be done, but she replied nothing. I asked to talk to someone else, perhaps a manager, but she was the manager of the establishment and in charge of the claims department.
I am extremely unhappy with Thrifty's response to the whole situation. The entire ordeal has been very frustrating, and my car is still damaged. I hope this issue will be resolved.
Here's what I'd like to see happen: I would like Thrifty to compensate me for my losses. This means paying the remaining balance of the estimated repair costs. I have already received $250 which means there is still the amount of $123.05.
I'll definitely never rent from you again nor use your services, and you can be sure I'll steer my friends and family away from your company.
Please get back to me quickly about this issue. I hope to hear from you within 7 business days.
Thank you for taking the team to read my letter.