Rental Car Woes

Old Jun 26th, 2002, 01:46 PM
Posts: n/a
Rental Car Woes

We had a problem with a rental car on our recent trip out west that I'm hoping some of you experienced travellers can tell me if I should try to do anything about.

I rented an SUV on-line with Dollar Rental. It was supposed to be a Jeep Liberty or "similar". It was for pick-up in Rapid City. All of the rental car agents are inside the airport there except for Dollar. They come and pick you up--the airport is almost 10 miles away from the agent.

They picked us up in a Subaru Outback station wagon. When we got back to the agency, the driver said, well this is your car. I said "what??". This isn't what I rented. To make a long story short, rather than try get back to the airport and rent somewhere else without being taken for a lot more money, we took the vehicle--this was all they had--it was an independent agent. But in my opinion, the only thing similar between a Subaru Outback and a Jeep Liberty (or any other mid-sized SUV) is the fact that it is 4-wheel drive. Am I off base here? To me, this was a mid-sized car that had 4WD. After that, the similarities end. If I wanted a car, I would have rented one--and a small, rather uncomfortable one at that. It also turns out, the vehicle had obvious rotor problems that we reported when we returned. Do I have any recourse? If I don't, be forewarned about what you rent on-line in the future.
Old Jun 26th, 2002, 01:52 PM
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I usually first contact the rental agency at the exact office where the rental is located and ask what is available. But, you should write to the company and see if they give you any type of satisfaction.
Old Jun 26th, 2002, 01:57 PM
Luv Subarus
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Lynn, actually a Subaru Outback is a superior 4WD vehicle to the Jeep Liberty. Putting aside the fact that the car was having some mechanical problems, many folks would probably be happier getting the Subaru than the Jeep. That's the dice we roll when we rent cars, my friend. One man's Camry is another man's Cadillac.
Old Jun 26th, 2002, 02:03 PM
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Wow, the Jeep Liberty must really be a dog compared to the Grand Cherokee--we have a G.C., obviously larger than the Liberty or Subaru, but to me, the Subaru was like being in a bucket of bolts compared to the Cherokee. Can't imagine the Liberty could be THAT bad!
Old Jun 26th, 2002, 02:05 PM
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Actually, a Subaru is an AWD vehicle, not a 4WD vehicle and Luv Subarus is correct - a much better car. That being said, if you were not happy with the car, the best thing to do would have been to turn it in for a new one or requested a discount right then since the car was not to your liking. The other thing you could have done was to seek some type of reimbursement when you turned the car in. Since you did not do any of those things, write to the president of the rental car agency explaining the situation.
Old Jun 26th, 2002, 02:23 PM
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I'm forever wary of Dollar anyway. They have started a new campaign to confuse customers regarding which types of insurance are "optional" (ALL OF THEM ARE!) and are really slick with bait-and-switch stuff like this.

Watch out for Dollar, every time.
Old Jun 26th, 2002, 10:47 PM
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Consider yourself lucky.

Three out of the last five times that I've reserved rental cars, they have had NOTHING available when I arrive. NOTHING! The explanation is "sorry ma'am, we overbook". Well No Shit Sherlock!

Even Budget, which requires your credit card number when you book online, has done this to me. "Sorry but a reservation does not guarantee you a car ma'am." Well, what exactly does it DO, then, bozo?
Old Jun 27th, 2002, 01:48 AM
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I would post this letter on It is a great consumer website that businesses actually look at. They have their own thread for rental car, read it and beware!!! Good luck
Old Jun 27th, 2002, 06:58 AM
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But I have a reservation! The reservation is supposed to keep the car here! You know how to TAKE a reservation, you just don't know how to HOLD a reservation. And the HOLDING is really the most important part of the reservation.
Old Jun 27th, 2002, 08:08 AM
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This may be a perfect case when you can get your credit card co. involved. You have nothing to lose by writing a letter to the CC co. saying you didn't get what you paid for but had to take the vehicle or be stranded. All they can say is no.

However, if Dollar listed the Subaru as one of the "similar" vehicles when you booked, you're probably out of luck.
Old Jun 27th, 2002, 08:17 AM
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I just checked the Dollar website and browsed the car classes. While I don't think an Outback is similar to a Liberty, neither of these cars is even mentioned online. I see a Suzuki Vitara (whatever that is) or "similar" as an intermediate SUV and a Grand Cherokee (or similar) as a full size SUV. I think Dollar will win any dispute because of the "similar"'s pretty vague but I'm sure that's on purpose. After all, THEY define "similar."
Old Jun 27th, 2002, 09:47 AM
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I'm not so sure that Dollar will win the dispute because they get to define "similar," especially since their listing don't show the car they delivered.

I mean, what if they stuck the guy with a 1980 Yugo and called it "similar"? Yes, that's an exaggeration, but you get the point.

In any case, as I said, you have nothing to lose by contesting the charge, and I've found that the credit card companies are totally willing to side with the consumer.
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