DO NOT use Dan Dooley Car Rentals

Jun 7th, 2007, 05:39 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 8
DO NOT use Dan Dooley Car Rentals

I have been to Ireland several times it always meets all my expectations. Every single time that we have returned we have gone with different car rental companies due to competitive deals. We have used Irish Car Rentals, Budget, Europecar, and Dollar (out of all of them Irish Car Rentals is highly recommended). However, this past trip we decided to use Dan Dooley Car Rentals. What a mistake! Upon arriving at the desk to sign in, we were surprised by an additional 1500EU charge that needed to be held on our credit card for possible damages. Since most car rentals already have a daily fee put into their rates, we immediately started doubting our choice. Ireland is a place where the roads are like sidewalks and its easy to have some damages. The only other option was paying an 18EU charge daily, which worked out close to 200EU for our stay. Obviously most people rather pay the 200EU than 1500EU, if there was a problem. Had we known this originally the rate would have been just as or less comparable to other car rentals.

Now the story of our car... We had signed up for a compact, small car. Most other rentals would give you new Opals, VW Polo's, and etc. We were beyond surprised when the car valet pulled up our 2003 Renault Laguna. Not saying that the make was a bad car but the car was BEAT UP. A jalopy of all jalopies. We had paid for the newer advertised models! The fog light missing, the bumper cracked and scratched, and the car was dented all over. It also had 57,000 miles on it! This is a rental? The interior looked is if someone sprinkled coffee stains throughout. We wanted to run to the desk and demand a refund but we told ourselves that maybe we were spoiled from our previous rental experiences.

However, this was not the case! We drove down to the Beara Pennisula and immediately I felt the car shifting harder than usual. I was wary but continued the drive. After stopping for gas and restarted the car, I realized the maintenance light was flashing. This remained on for the remainder of the trip. The next day on our way to the Healy Pass we drove an incline and the car made a hard jerk forward and the "auto transmission" indicator lit up on the dash. The car's transmission had slipped! I couldn't believe it, they rent this type of car out!?

I immediately called Dan Dooley and spoke with a customer service rep who told me they were very busy and that someone could not come and exchange the car for us. We were already 4 hours down on the coast and to drive up for THEM was extremely poor customer service. I chalked it up and told myself that maybe it was a one time occurrence. However, it wasn't. The transmission slipped at least 3-4 more times. Even the town locals remarked how they had never seen such an old car rental still on the road and agreed that we were taken advantage of. It got to the point where we just stopped using the car and walked most places. We were upset and called Dan Dooley back and spoke with Pat Dooley. Pat Dooley assured us that something would be done for us and we would be taken care of upon arrival at the airport car return. He had also remarked that the reason we were given such an older car was because they had not received their 2007 shipment and that they were incredibly busy at the time.

We arrived the following morning and nobody knew what I was talking about when I said that we had spoken to Pat and that something would be done for us. They called Pat Dooley himself and he wasn't available. I was furious! Again I felt I was being taken advantage of. I thought Irish trickery like this only involved little men dressed in all green! I was told to follow up after the bank holiday when I got home. I did so and of course Dan Dooley had claimed they couldn't find the problem that I had spoken of. Also, the maintenance light was due to a simple oil change and that he was sorry I had such a negative experience with his company. I swore to him I would never use them again and of course he promised "he would personally take care of me and make sure this never happened again". I told him that I felt I was not "taken care of" my entire visit by his company and I would decline his offer.

So, please, if you have made it this far in my post, DO NOT USE Dan Dooley Car Rental. There are so many other reputable car rentals and for the extra 100EU its worth getting a newer car with no damages, that is in good condition. I think Dan Dooley should change their name to Dan DooLITTLE.

KristenPilk is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 07:14 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,583
OK - you registered just to post this rant?? Twice??

Sorry you had a bad experience w/ Dan Dooley - but they really are one of the better car hire firms in Ireland. Any company can have individual problems and a bad hire now and then -- but in general DanD is fine and thousands of visitors use them w/o any problems.

Instead of just registering to slam your car rental company - why not tell us a bit about your trip?

And I'm not sure what you mean by "Since most car rentals already have a daily fee put into their rates"
janisj is online now  
Jun 7th, 2007, 08:04 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,420
I am going to defend the OP.

1. It is UNACCEPTABLE to rent a car that is NOT mechanically sound. No excuse, no "second" chance et. The rental car business is a service industry, if you can't get it right don't enter!

2. When I return a car that I have had problems with I expect the staff at the return to deal with it THEN, not have to call some corporate office or tell me "too bad"

For the above reasons I am very cautious in my rentals. I do not rent with "local" agencies where I am getting a "great" deal. If it's a great deal, there is generally a reason!
CarolA is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 08:10 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,832
I agree with Carol A. -- no rental car company should be renting 4-year old vehicles with 57,000 miles on them -- this poster's experience WOULD cause me to be wary of Dan Dooley, however fine their reputation might otherwise be.
azzure is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 09:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,427
Well, I don't agree with that at all. You get what you pay for. If all these things were so important (age of car), she could have asked about that when renting. People want everything -- real cheap rates and brand new cars. Who cares if a car has a dent in it, anyway.

I have rented a car from a firm that had 80K miles on it, a company can do whatever it wants. There's nothing wrong with that, I knew what I was doing and the rates were a lot cheaper, so I rented it (this was around where I lived). In fact, this company has made a business out of that -- it's called Rent-a-Wreck. And they have plenty of business because some people just want a cheaper car rental for a week or two, and aren't on special vacations or expense accounts.
Christina is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 10:07 AM
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It sounds like the OP got a real dog of a car. But - the time to fix this is when they show you the car - not when it breaks down - or after the trip.

When you rent a car - any car from any agency - you do an inspection, have then note on the documents any damage to the car - take photos if it's bad - and make sure everything works.

We have twice turned down cars they tried to stick us with that were no good. Once (Hertz) they had to bring a car from another location to our hotel. Another (Avis) had wipers that didn't work - and we waited about 15 minutes for them to get us a better car.

If you take the awful car they give you - you put yourself in a weaker position - and only cause delays later.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 10:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,549
the company's terrible response to even get someone to complain to is appalling and would give me pause using this company.
PalenQ is online now  
Jun 7th, 2007, 10:29 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,146
I'm sorry you had such problems, I'm sure it wasn't fun. I rented from Dan Dooley twice and they were just fine.
chatham is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 10:59 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 555
I like hearing about people's good experiences, and I like hearing about people's bad experiences. I learn from all of them. I learn what questions to ask, I learn how to plan ahead to deal with problem situations, and I evaluate whether the problems someone experienced are the kind of problems that would make me hesitate to use a company when the price difference between it and one of its competitors is negligible.

Thank you for posting, Kristen.
Eleni is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 02:29 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 227
I agree with a previous post -- if anyone attempts to stick you with such a vehicle, just say no. That happened to us in Aruba, and we refused to accept the vehicle. Interestingly, once they saw I was firm in my refusal, they found a perfectly nice new car on the lot.
gabriele is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 02:52 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 447
Wow, how frightening (and frustrating).
I would never expect a car like that, no
matter the bargain. Unless they advertise
a "rent-a-wreck" in the states for
peanut (often dented but definitely road worthy), you had every right to expect
a safe reliable vehicle.
pilgrim is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 02:53 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 447
Oops, what I meant was that "rent-a-wreck" franchises in the states had cars that
looked pretty tattered but ran just fine. They were popular with students in my college town. Ugly is one thing; unsafe is quite another. Sorry you had this experience!
pilgrim is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 03:20 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,216
Been there done that. Travel is a learning experience. Now you know not to accept a junky car. Just say no and get another one. Don't be a pushover for pushy car rental companies. It is your money, have some backbone.
IrishEyes is offline  
Jun 9th, 2007, 07:02 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 49,449
This is an important post,it generated talk about what to do when faced with such a situation for future use by other travelors. Thanks Kristen!
nanabee is offline  
Jun 9th, 2007, 09:01 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 497
You were lucky! We ordered a car from Dan Dooley a couple of years ago (Dublin Airport), but when we arrived they didn't have any car for us! And what's worse, they didn't care! It was pretty late and luckily we managed to get at car at Budget. I second your recommendation: DO NOT use Dan Dooley!!!
eri is offline  
Jun 9th, 2007, 09:25 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 17,549

Thanks for the warning.

As you can see, "rants" can serve a very useful purpose although it seems obvious that your experience has not been the same for everyone.
Dukey is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 04:40 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 8
I still stand by my post and still strongly feel "Do NOT rent a car from Dan Dooley". To answer many peoples comments on how it was our duty as the customer to check the car and etc. I do agree to an extent with this comment. Many of your points were valid. If you read my post you should understand that I was not upset with the dings or dents in my car. That only added to my frustration... I did do a once over on the car and saw all of this. However, I did not want to have judgments on a car that was a little dinged up. Unfortunately, I am not a certified mechanic and I did not check out the transmission! Not many people would, that is not something you would know until you started to drive the car and the problems occurred.

The other issue I was very upset about was the fact that they seemed like our problems with the car were not a priority and asked if we would return it ourselves. I'm sorry, but that is poor service.

I think the Fodor's forum is a great place to interact with travelers and that is what I am using this space for. Just as I would advise close friends and family not to use Dan Dooley's service, I think itís just as important to notify others. If this was my first and only trip to Ireland, I may not have ever returned. As you know, many things in Ireland are not walking distance and you depend on a car. Being that this car was NOT dependable, it severely altered our plans to staying very local on the Beara Peninsula. Had it been our first trip I would have missed out on so many sights. And even though this is my first post, itís only because I am a new member. I did not only join to pan a company. I will continue to recommend many companies, hotels, cottages, and etc. It just happened that I felt very strongly about conveying how upset I was about a certain company.

And to respond to the first response, my vacation was terrific despite the car because Ireland is beyond beautiful, especially in the Spring. I love the Beara Peninsula and will continue to return every year for a holiday. The sights, people, and food are beyond all my expectations. And the quality of relaxation that Ireland provides is unmatched. In addition, my sister will be spending her honeymoon in Ireland this year and will be frequenting many places me and my fiancé recommended. And one thing she will not follow our footsteps in is she will NOT be renting from Dan Dooley.

PS- The extra costs of 1500EU is for damage over 200EU. Most car companies give a much comprehensive insurance for their rentals and this cost was not made clear until we received the contract and were reviewing it at the kiosk. 1500EU is a ton of money for coverage if something goes wrong! And to have to pay an addition 18EU (approx $25) a day is ridiculous. No other Irish rental company asks for this.
KristenPilk is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 10:39 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 51
I agree with Kristen , she has a right to warn others about a specific company and then one can make up ones own mind, and if things go wrong, well, you were warned!!
barbarajo is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 12:06 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 41
Kristen, I'm not sure why you were surprised by the deductible on your rental. It's clearly stated on the Dan Dooley website under "rental info" that a €1000 to €1500 deductible would apply depending on the class of car you got. Also on the website, it states that you could reduce that down to €100 by purchasing their excess insurance at a rate of €12 to €18 per day, again depending on the class of car you got. Seems pretty clear to me.

If you've ever read this board before (and Trip Advisor's as well where I know you've posted this same complaint), this subject has come up lots of times. Almost all car hire companies have this same policy - the only difference is their rates.

Didn't you do your research before you booked with them? Didn't you read the terms and conditions before you decided to book? Did you compare their terms to those of Irish Car Rentals, Budget, etc. who you've used before? Did you email or call Dan Dooley and ask them questions about their fees? If you didn't like the terms of the contract, why did you sign it? If you didn't like the car, why take it?

It would be good advice for everyone to read the terms and conditions of their rental contract before signing it. Most of these terms are posted on each company's website so you can study them at your leisure, not while under pressure at the rental counter. Find something you don't understand? Email or call the company for clarification. They'll be happy to explain anything you don't understand.
kmg21 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 03:03 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 8
I appreciate everyone's help on this matter. And NO I did not read every bit of the terms and only found this site, with such conversations after the fact. I have to admit that after years and years of traveling, this was my only negative experience. However, I have always rented from major rental locations (Budget, Avis, and etc). I know that many times terms on car rentals can be very tricky and not clearly stated. Yes, I should have been more cautious about my rental but their company was suggested to us. I have heard many good things with Dan Dooley, and as this might be an isolated case I can see many people's points.

Again, my original post was not for the purpose of bashing Dan Dooley's 1500EU deductible and etc. It was just another portion of the story that people should know when renting the car. I actually took my chances and did the 1500EU a day and was fine. However on other sites I read people who were sadly mistaken when they returned the car to find this charge on their bill.

Also, to clear up why I did not return the car... I called up Dan Dooley to ask why they were renting such an older car. His response was that they didn't receive their "2007 fleet" yet. Ok... well where was your 2006? 2005? or 2004 fleet? Why was I driving a 2003? His response was that they were very busy at the time. I accepted that and sucked it up. The whole time I tried to maintain a level head about the situation and hope that my problems would be taken care of upon arrival. They weren't. Even if I had gotten a voucher, money off, or etc. I would have felt like something was done. But that was the problem. NOTHING was done. Nothing more than an apology. And yes, I initially got a good deal on the car. However, it wasn't such a good deal to have to worry that we would be stuck some place. Most places we wound up walking to. And I don't think I was expecting to get everything for nothing because my deal with Dan Dooley sure was more than NOTHING. In actuality, I only saved $75 going with his company. But we had decided to give Dan Dooley a "try". Unfortunately, MY experience was not a good one.

I will repeat myself when I say, I posted my experience for people to be wary of the company. That if they do use them to make sure its a newer car, a car that is clean on the inside, and a car that seems fit. I didn't even expect for so many people to post opinions on this topic but thats great because I appreciate people's views. Yes, I have learned from this experience next time I will read all the way through the contract before going on vacation. I will examine a car more closely and etc.
KristenPilk is offline  

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