Don't rent from Dollar...

Old Jun 1st, 2005, 05:50 AM
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Don't rent from Dollar...

.... unless you confirm the price you pre-booked it at before signing anything - and spend a lot of time reading all the small print!!

My daughter was in the US and booked a car for ten days from Phoenix Airport for my husband and son's trip. She asked about the taxes and all necessary payments and was quoted $273. She confirmed the price with them for the particular vehicle and from that airport with unlimited mileage. She booked with Dollar because I had read a number of reports that it was the cheapest and that they were also very efficient.

After a long day at work, they flew 10.30 hours to Phoenix and sleep was practically non existant. They went to the desk, signed the necessary and then were asked to sign more forms - they were tired, the man assured them it was perfectly normal to sign four forms. They were amazed to find they had been charged over $900. My daughter is livid and, as I type, she is attempting to contact them from Marseilles.

They both had a wonderful time and said the people were lovely and so obliging, the hotels - apart from the motel in Bryce Canyon and Bally's Las Vegas, were fine - (some more than fine!!) and the food was - well, just too much!!

No doubt I shall hear the full report on their return - they are now in the UK and will be home in around five hours.

Thanks to everyone for their good advice. Oh and thanks to the assistance from the good people here, the road trip from Las Vegas to Phoenix took less time than envisaged and they arrived safe, sound and very early at the airport.

Thankyou again

Melanie

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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 06:03 AM
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So what did they sign ?
Rental agents will often push extra insurance etc.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 06:14 AM
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I don't know yet - perhaps they have actually bought it!!!! Kidding. I am at a loss at the moment and will know when they return and are awake enough to tell me exactly what happened. Both my daughter and I go into great detail when booking anything to ascertain whether there will be charges added, whereas my husband and son are a little more 'laid back' and didn't expect to be ripped off as everything else has been priced exactly as booked. Dollar's website says "Home of our Lowest Rates". Right.

I just don't want anyone else to fall into this trap and so I hope others will be forewarned by my post.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 06:23 AM
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ALL the rental companies push the extras, ALL of them.

If the base amount charged was not what the reservation was for, I'm sure Dollar will adjust that amount.

If they signed (thereby agreeing) to all kinds of extras, then they are most likely out of luck.

Tired or not, if they are old enough to drive, then they are big boys and should have looked at what they were signing. Let this be a lesson before you ever go to one of those "free weekends" and end up owning a new condo or timeshare. Caveat emptor.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 06:35 AM
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My hunch is the signed for the pre-paid gas option. That would be $50-$60. Then extra driver - maybe $10 a day. Another $100. Then extra insurance - maybe $250 to $300 depending on the car. So you see it easily adds up.

But to get from $273 to $900 would take some doing. This is not a Dollar issue - it happens with almost all rental companies.

Will be interested to see what they did sign - the rental clerks can be very persuasive if the customer is at all unsure of what's what.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 06:45 AM
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Phoenix airport has terrible add-on charges. Perhaps they weren't all enumerated prior to booking? Our bill has almost doubled after taxes and fees in previous rentals there. We now rent in Chandler to avoid the Phoenix airport rip-off.

Because Melanie's family is in the UK, I imagine insurance was required of them. I know the reverse was true when we rented a car in England--and it was a pretty hefty sum as I recall, and the car, some weird Toyota I'd never seen before, absolute junk!! Of course that was our fault, as I think we'd asked for economy size or the like. I laugh at this episode...we were in Wales and had stopped by the side of the road to look at something. The wind caught the car door and knocked it into a rock ledge we were parked near and it put a dent the size one might expect after a small wreck in the door! I was horrified. I digress....$273 to $900 is quite a jump and there must have been optional upgrades involved as well as insurance on top of their already obscene taxes and fees.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 06:49 AM
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Hi Janis - so will I!! On booking the price quoted included the $6 per day for the extra driver. I have no idea how it came to be three times the price quoted - but I shall find out.

Big boys? Indeed. Both my husband and son are very aware of pushy salesmen and always stop them in their tracks with a polite but firm 'no thankyou'. Unless they had a problem understanding the accent, I have no idea (yet) how this happened. However, as I said, I just wish to forewarn anyone who may be a stranger to the US or otherwise. And none of my family are stupid enough to fall for a 'free' anything (I presume you were saying they are stupid or did I misunderstand you Travelerx?) which is why I find this so difficult to understand. 'Buyer beware' indeed!
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 06:57 AM
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That was a typical rb-travelerx comment, Bemused. Click on his name and you'll see it's characteristic of most of his posts. Let it slide. rb I sometimes wonder if you use a different name when you have something pleasant to add? It does get tiresome!
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 09:06 AM
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I have a comment to add on Dollar. I have never experienced the problem (with any rental agency) I encountered recently with Dollar. I have a trip June 9 into Las Vegas and was confirming hotel, cars, etc last week. Much to my surprise when I checked the Dollar web site the price was a bit higher than quoted when I reserved the car. Dollar assured me the rate nor reservation had been modified in any way. Luckily, I had made a screen print of the original reservation so I had proof of the rate quoted a few months ago. After 45 minutes on the phone with the customer service rep at the '800' number and with the LV location, they 'assured' me that the problem would be taken care of when I arrive in LV. I do have the names of the people I spoke with and I hope it all works out.I have traveled extensively for many years and never had this happen before. Will be interesting to see what happens. As someone posted on another thread on this board - always make copies of confirmations - you never know what may happen !
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 09:09 AM
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p.s. Their 'inflated' rate is still lower than I am able to get today for a car.... last minute prices ! Thus the reason for NOT switching car rental agencies.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 09:31 AM
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OO - I use one, and ONLY one name here and even give a pretty good hint of my email address. You state that " it's characteristic of most of his posts" and I'll say go ahead and click on my name and READ some of my posts.

I am sorry that Bemused's family got stuck with these charges. Members of my own family have been too, fortunately not as seriously as in this case.

I stand by my position that these fast talking "this is standard" tactics is not unusual at all. One especially must be careful if tired.

I did not imply they were stupid. Plenty of smart people make temporary bad judgements -- and the timeshare / land / coop scams (especially in hot tourist spots) is one arena where it frequently occurs. Bemused has given a warning of what happens at the rental agencies, I've given a warning of what ELSE can happen.

I hope you get some financial satisfaction, Bemused, but don't hold your breath waiting. I am glad that other than this they had a good time, and thank you (them) for visiting us here in the US
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 09:43 AM
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Hertz has ALWAYS treated me as I wanted, never jacking up rates, always giving me superb service (some time I will tell the story about two flat tires in the middle of the night in rural France and how Hertz came to the rescue)and for that I am loyal. To me the only rental agency that exists is Hertz!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 03:48 AM
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have used countless companies looking for the best rate. i have never had a problem with any of them,

i used one in california (i think it was thrifty or alamo ) the car had a ding in the windshield near the windshield wiper. while sitting vacant in the hot sun it just decided to crack. across the whole windshield. The response: no problem, i was not charged anything, and the ding was NOT noted at the time of rental.

Dollar, Budget, Thrifty, Avis, Alamo have all been very good companies to deal with. Maybe just a bad sales agent....
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 04:21 AM
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I agree with the last poster. I shop on Hotwire or Priceline and take what is cheapest. They all have cars! These might not be available to bemused, BUT Expedia or Travelocity probably are for comparison shopping. She also says she had "heard" that Dollar was the cheapest. On any given day there may be any other rental that will be cheapest. One reason for shopping on Hotwire is that they will give you the final cost complete with taxes so you can see what the charges for an airport will be. We often rent in Denver and they have high surcharges.
The price you pre-book is a base price. Then they ask for all the other "stuff" they push, although they don't seem to do that so much any more in my experience.
I am sorry this happened to our foreign visitors but if you are not totally understanding of something you sign then it is indeed buyer beware.
The gas option has become interesting to me. If you are going to be doing a lot of driving and can run the gas down to empty it can be an adequate deal. But with high mileage cars, if you are not going to do a lot of driving, then it isn't. I have gotten burned on it by not realizing I wouldn't use a whole tank--or having to stop to just get enough to get me to the airport!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 04:22 AM
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Oh, tell her to dispute the payment to the credit card company immediately.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 05:54 AM
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I've used Dollar quite often and only had one problem where the Fastlane was non-existant at PBI and the car had half a tank of gas in it so I had to swap it out for another (to avoid having to pay for the half tank myself). I wrote a complaint and got half my rental cost refunded. The OP's suggestions to read what you sign are spot on but to just say "Don't rent from Dollar..." when you don't even know the whole story is ignorant.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 01:24 PM
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I rented a car from Dollar in Vegas in March. I used my debit/credit card instead of my regular credit card. When I got home and looked at my online acct they had debited my acct nearly 3 times as much. I called immediately, turns out if you use a debit card they immediately debit your acct 3 times as much in case you keep the car longer. They are worried you will not have the money in your account.

The girl said I would receive a credit within 24 hours and I did. However, she also said the rental agent is supposed to tell me that at the rental time.

Did you use a debit/credit card?

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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 10:57 PM
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Gretchen- I use hotwire for the same reason as you, because I can see the final cost of the car with all taxes added. I rent away from the airport in Denver as the rates are almost double from the airport. I take a cab to Broomfield and rent there instead. The only negative about that strategy is that the rental office in Broomfield tends to have more "business-like" hours rather than the 24 hour possibilities at the airport.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 03:29 AM
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I can't see the benefit of doing that for the rates I am able to get. Where is Broomfield? I rented a car in May for about $16/day--full size car. That was on Hotwire--didn't even bother to bid on Priceline.
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Old Jun 18th, 2005, 07:13 PM
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You're right, for that price it isn't worth it. I rent an SUV at Christmas time to drive from Denver to Aspen (helps keep my kids from getting altitude sickness when we drive to elevation rather than fly). Last year it was going to be $800/week from the airport and I got one for $800 for two weeks at Enterprise in Broomfield. I doubt that Broomfield is the best choice. I rent there because my brother lives there and it is easy for me to drop it off the day before we fly back home.
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