Dollar Bait & Switch & Overcharge

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Apr 17, 2018
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#1
On Jan 8, 2018 I reserved a car - it said RAV4 or equivalent. When I arrived on the appointed day and time, Jan 9, 2018; I filled out all the paperwork and then went out to the rental suv. It was not the same or equivalent to a RAV4, it was a jeep renegade which is not even close to the cargo capacity of a RAV4. We had no choice as we had to be in Houston the next day.

Cargo space RAV 4 is 38.4 cu ft., 73.4 cu ft. w/ seat area

Cargo space Jeep Renogade is 18.5 cu ft, 50.8 cu ft w/ seat area

Fuel capacity RAV4 is 15.9

Fuel capacity Jeep Renogade is 12.7 so also a lot more need to stop to get gas.

Before the day I was to return the car in Houston, I called Dollar to see if they could switch the car in Houston. They could not. Stuck again, we extended the car with the caveat that we would be discussing the bait and switch come billing time. They said no problem. They did not say there would be penalties. I got an email asking if I was extending. I said yes but we had to sort out that it was not as advertised. Given that we needed the space for a wheelchair, walker, luggage and other equipment, as you can see, this was truly a material falsehood. Also, the email from dollar/hertz said they would charge an extra $154 for the extra days.

Then I got vastly overcharged on my credit card. Essentially Dollar has found a way to charge me over $800 for just four additional days on a jeep renegade. Not only did Dollar do a bait and switch regarding the size of car, but it is now trying to get almost triple that to which it is entitled.

The cargo space we were given was less than 1/2 to less than 2/3rds what we were promised. So price of car should be less than 1.2 to less than 2/3rds of the agreed upon price when I first rented it ($8.71 x 32 = 278.72 and $11 x 32 = 352 at most! $8.71 is half daily rate. $11 is just under 2/3rds daily rate.) Daily rate was originally 17.41. Plus tax. How do you measure having to stop for gas 20% more times?

I asked Dollar to please refund $961. Their response was the "bedbug" letter.

Even IF it had been a RAV 4 as advertised, which it was not, it should be no more than $700 and Dollar charged $1472.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,665
12,004
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
So here are your issues-
1. You booked through Hotwire. Discounted pricing doesn’t always be you the best service or cars. Did you book directly through Dollar on Hotwire or did you use those Hotwire special rates where you find out the company after you book?

2. The car type is never guaranteed. If someone didn’t return an SUV so there was one when you arrived- they give you the closest they have. Were there any other SUVs on the lot you could upgraded to? It isn’t bait and switch - there is simply no way for any car rental company to guarantee the car you requested will be on the lot. If the people who had an SUV did what you did - extended their rental- that’s how things happen.

3. Your original booking was for over a month. Long terms rentals are always less expensive then short term rentals.

Now some questions on your letter.

You say you didn’t know about penalties- what kind of penalties are you talking about?

I don’t understand how the original month that you showed an invoice due of $600 and change turned into over $900 and what the service fees were for.

Did you see this bill before you left to question them on it? It looks like a mistake was made. I would not have left the rental place without speaking to a manager about the bill- although sometimes you don’t have time to fight if you are getting on a flight.

We have company contacts on top of our page.
Click on the company contacts tab above and read the information on how to use the contacts and start writing. Ask why you were charged over $900 for the month rental car when your invoice said $600 and ask what the extra fees are for, especially the service fee.

You will probably have to go to the Executives one by one but sometime needs to look at this and find out what that office did.
 
Nov 20, 2015
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#3
The Hotwire prepaid reservation was for a local rental(return vehicle to the Dallas location). You returned the vehicle in Houston. One way rentals usually incur higher daily rates and/or a drop off fee. Your Hotwire deal was essentially nullified. I'm guessing this was the main reason for the higher bill. They should have done a better job of explaining this to you.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,665
12,004
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#4
The Hotwire prepaid reservation was for a local rental(return vehicle to the Dallas location). You returned the vehicle in Houston. One way rentals usually incur higher daily rates and/or a drop off fee. Your Hotwire deal was essentially nullified. I'm guessing this was the main reason for the higher bill. They should have done a better job of explaining this to you.
I missed that! NOW I understand the difference. There is always a fee for dropping a car off at a different location than you picked it up. I didn't catch the final bill had the car returned to Houston.

I just went online to Dollar to book a Mid Size SUV with pick up at DAL and drop off in Houston for 4 days - it comes to $600 for just the 4 days.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
I think what happened is that once you changed the drop off and added more days, the original contract was voided and a completely new rate was given. It is usually a lot more money to return a car to a completely different city (not different locations in the same city) --.

Basically I agree with CCGormand.

The concession fee is the car rental passing on the costs from the airport -- and they can be high.

I just tried to do a test booking from October 9 to November 10 -- and the charge with all fees is around $1,700

Dollar is not advertising the RAV4 in the US as part of their fleet -- it was for 2017 and remains available in Canada but it seems that the Mid Size SUV category in Dallas is now listed as a Jeep Compass -- but it is a RAV4 in Montreal. Dollar may have changed their fleet in the early part of the year, which may be why there was not one available.

The jeep certainly has less cargo space and is about a foot smaller, but one rents a class or type of car -- it is not like buying fabric by the yard. The Hotwire reservation does say or similar. Some car rental companies do allow for someone to reserve a particular model but these are usually only special high priced models

That being said the person on the phone should have mentioned the extra charges for the change of the contract. Who was written to and what did the letter say?
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Apr 17, 2018
10
0
1
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#6
The Hotwire prepaid reservation was for a local rental(return vehicle to the Dallas location). You returned the vehicle in Houston. One way rentals usually incur higher daily rates and/or a drop off fee. Your Hotwire deal was essentially nullified. I'm guessing this was the main reason for the higher bill. They should have done a better job of explaining this to you.
Thank you. I see that reservation says return to same place but when I arrived to rent it, they knew I was taking it to Houston and I realized later they gave me the jeep because it had out of state license plates.
 
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Apr 17, 2018
10
0
1
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#7
So here are your issues-
1. You booked through Hotwire. Discounted pricing doesn’t always be you the best service or cars. Did you book directly through Dollar on Hotwire or did you use those Hotwire special rates where you find out the company after you book?

2. The car type is never guaranteed. If someone didn’t return an SUV so there was one when you arrived- they give you the closest they have. Were there any other SUVs on the lot you could upgraded to? It isn’t bait and switch - there is simply no way for any car rental company to guarantee the car you requested will be on the lot. If the people who had an SUV did what you did - extended their rental- that’s how things happen.

3. Your original booking was for over a month. Long terms rentals are always less expensive then short term rentals.

Now some questions on your letter.

You say you didn’t know about penalties- what kind of penalties are you talking about?

I don’t understand how the original month that you showed an invoice due of $600 and change turned into over $900 and what the service fees were for.

Did you see this bill before you left to question them on it? It looks like a mistake was made. I would not have left the rental place without speaking to a manager about the bill- although sometimes you don’t have time to fight if you are getting on a flight.

We have company contacts on top of our page.
Click on the company contacts tab above and read the information on how to use the contacts and start writing. Ask why you were charged over $900 for the month rental car when your invoice said $600 and ask what the extra fees are for, especially the service fee.

You will probably have to go to the Executives one by one but sometime needs to look at this and find out what that office did.
Thank you. When I rented it, they knew I was going to drop it off in Houston. The jeep renagade had out of state license plates.

I asked to look at the bill when we dropped it off. The gal at the drop off refused, it was on her handheld and when I asked, it was gone - said I get an email. I honestly thought the only issue was bait and switch. While everyone can say you don't necessarily get the same car, the difference in size is the issue, not what car. It is a significant difference in size.

Further, it was early morning, no one else was there. That morning we barely made it to the plane because it was one of their storms, big ponds on the freeway so had to go slowly to not hydroplane. Then after dropping it off, we did not have much time to get to plane and I had a wheelchair and carry on.
The penalties of keeping it longer- the service fee apparently.

Thank you. I will try again.
 
Apr 17, 2018
10
0
1
59
#8
The Hotwire prepaid reservation was for a local rental(return vehicle to the Dallas location). You returned the vehicle in Houston. One way rentals usually incur higher daily rates and/or a drop off fee. Your Hotwire deal was essentially nullified. I'm guessing this was the main reason for the higher bill. They should have done a better job of explaining this to you.
Thank you. At a minimum. However, when I arrived, and rented it, they knew I was dropping it off at Houston
 
Apr 17, 2018
10
0
1
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#9
I think what happened is that once you changed the drop off and added more days, the original contract was voided and a completely new rate was given. It is usually a lot more money to return a car to a completely different city (not different locations in the same city) --.

Basically I agree with CCGormand.

The concession fee is the car rental passing on the costs from the airport -- and they can be high.

I just tried to do a test booking from October 9 to November 10 -- and the charge with all fees is around $1,700

Dollar is not advertising the RAV4 in the US as part of their fleet -- it was for 2017 and remains available in Canada but it seems that the Mid Size SUV category in Dallas is now listed as a Jeep Compass -- but it is a RAV4 in Montreal. Dollar may have changed their fleet in the early part of the year, which may be why there was not one available.

The jeep certainly has less cargo space and is about a foot smaller, but one rents a class or type of car -- it is not like buying fabric by the yard. The Hotwire reservation does say or similar. Some car rental companies do allow for someone to reserve a particular model but these are usually only special high priced models

That being said the person on the phone should have mentioned the extra charges for the change of the contract. Who was written to and what did the letter say?
Thank you. The rate that was given by email was $17.34/day when they asked if I was extending. The problem seems to be that Dollar is a group of licensees and each rental place can just about do what they want.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,665
12,004
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
Thank you. When I rented it, they knew I was going to drop it off in Houston. The jeep renagade had out of state license plates.

I asked to look at the bill when we dropped it off. The gal at the drop off refused, it was on her handheld and when I asked, it was gone - said I get an email. I honestly thought the only issue was bait and switch. While everyone can say you don't necessarily get the same car, the difference in size is the issue, not what car. It is a significant difference in size.

Further, it was early morning, no one else was there. That morning we barely made it to the plane because it was one of their storms, big ponds on the freeway so had to go slowly to not hydroplane. Then after dropping it off, we did not have much time to get to plane and I had a wheelchair and carry on.
The penalties of keeping it longer- the service fee apparently.

Thank you. I will try again.
Once you changed the drop off- you voided the pricing you had on your reservation. The contract you had was no longer valid.

Knowing this- I don’t think Dollar is to blame. You should have asked at that time for a new price. Your original pricing was for a month returning to the same location. You changed to drop off at a new location (which adds drop off fees) and extended the days.

The out of state plates have nothing to do with anything. They simply rented you a car that was previously a one way rental.

I don’t think you have a case at all. Your original rental price was no longer valid when you made those changes.
 
Sep 19, 2015
1,662
2,900
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#11
Both the RAV 4 and Renegade are listed as 5 seats and 2 suitcases. While there is a difference in size between the two cars it is not enough to claim that the same category type was not received. One can not say that it was 10 percent smaller I want to pay 10 percent less.

The person should have said that the change in drop off would seriously increase the cost. The Dallas to Dallas pricing just was not relevant and that should have been made clear.

I think the Dallas and Houston airport locations are company owned but not certain.

If you want to write to ask for consideration on the lack of communication on the extra charges you may get someone nice but if there is already allegations of bait and switch in past interactions the company may be less likely.

There is simply very little way to guarantee a car model unless only one model is offered.
 
Apr 17, 2018
10
0
1
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#12
Once you changed the drop off- you voided the pricing you had on your reservation. The contract you had was no longer valid.

Knowing this- I don’t think Dollar is to blame. You should have asked at that time for a new price. Your original pricing was for a month returning to the same location. You changed to drop off at a new location (which adds drop off fees) and extended the days.

The out of state plates have nothing to do with anything. They simply rented you a car that was previously a one way rental.

I don’t think you have a case at all. Your original rental price was no longer valid when you made those changes.
As I said, the quote on the contract at the time of rental was the same as the reservation so your assumptions are incorrect. Please review new docs uploaded
 
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Apr 17, 2018
10
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#13
Both the RAV 4 and Renegade are listed as 5 seats and 2 suitcases. While there is a difference in size between the two cars it is not enough to claim that the same category type was not received. One can not say that it was 10 percent smaller I want to pay 10 percent less.

The person should have said that the change in drop off would seriously increase the cost. The Dallas to Dallas pricing just was not relevant and that should have been made clear.

I think the Dallas and Houston airport locations are company owned but not certain.

If you want to write to ask for consideration on the lack of communication on the extra charges you may get someone nice but if there is already allegations of bait and switch in past interactions the company may be less likely.

There is simply very little way to guarantee a car model unless only one model is offered.
The law is a little clearer - a difference of 1/3rd is significant. It's not a matter of exact model.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,665
12,004
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#16
The new email only claims to add $154 for the extra days. It also says you need to speak to the location about the “other issues”. What other issues are they talking about? The change in drop off?

I don’t see truth in advertising laws having to do with anything- you had a price for 30 days DAL to DAL. You changed the drop off point which null and voids what you had.

However- if they did not explain this to you- that should be your focus when you write to them. Make that the issue in your letter (you still should write to them). If whoever you spoke to did not tell you what we are telling you- that you need longer had a contract at that price you originally booked- that is what you should state in your letter and ask them to reduce the price.

I am certain that the sentence in your email that says “the other issues need to be discussed” is going to be what they will focus on. Did you send an email to them that resulted in the note sent or was it all verbal over the phone?

You should still write but focus on them not telling you that there were extra costs for changing the drop off.

Let us know how the letter writing goes- make sure you follow the directions as we tell you to in Customer Contacts.
 
Apr 17, 2018
10
0
1
59
#17
The new email only claims to add $154 for the extra days. It also says you need to speak to the location about the “other issues”. What other issues are they talking about? The change in drop off?

I don’t see truth in advertising laws having to do with anything- you had a price for 30 days DAL to DAL. You changed the drop off point which null and voids what you had.

However- if they did not explain this to you- that should be your focus when you write to them. Make that the issue in your letter (you still should write to them). If whoever you spoke to did not tell you what we are telling you- that you need longer had a contract at that price you originally booked- that is what you should state in your letter and ask them to reduce the price.

I am certain that the sentence in your email that says “the other issues need to be discussed” is going to be what they will focus on. Did you send an email to them that resulted in the note sent or was it all verbal over the phone?

You should still write but focus on them not telling you that there were extra costs for changing the drop off.

Let us know how the letter writing goes- make sure you follow the directions as we tell you to in Customer Contacts.
Please review the documents I'm uploaded. The reservation I used - new doc - had Houston as drop off. The issues were the suv was not as described. Clearly you don't know the law re truth in advertising so please stop adding opinions about it.
 
Jul 27, 2016
810
995
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#19
Please review the documents I'm uploaded. The reservation I used - new doc - had Houston as drop off. The issues were the suv was not as described. Clearly you don't know the law re truth in advertising so please stop adding opinions about it.
Let's try to separate the "vehicle wasn't what I was promised" issue and the "I was overcharged issue."

On the overcharge issue:

1. You originally booked for a pickup at DAL and a dropoff at a location in Houston (2319 W Holcombe Blvd) on 1/24.
2. Per the email you included, you contacted Dollar to extend the reservation to 2/10.
3. The email from the Dollar rep asks if she should go ahead and extend the contract to 2/10. Did you respond telling her to do so?
4. You returned the car on 2/10, at IAH, not 2319 W Holcombe. Had you told them when you asked to extend the contract to 2/10 that you were making that change? If so, did they tell you that the extra $156 would cover that as well?

On the "vehicle wasn't what I was promised" issue:

If you're going to say that there was a bait and switch, then you'll need to show that a Jeep Renegade isn't similar enough to a Toyota Rav4 to fall under the "or similar" terminology on the website. I think that's going to be a tough claim to make. If you're going to refer to "truth in advertising" law, you're going to need to be more specific about which laws, which state, etc.

In addition, saying that the rental fee should be reduced proportionally to the cargo size of the vehicle is going to be a very tough claim, since, for most purposes, the two cars are functionally the same. Finally, on the gas tank size question, you drove the car 676 miles. Based on fueleconomy.gov, both vehicles get about 25mpg. So, you would have needed about 27 gallons in either vehicle. The smaller tank in the Renegade likely meant that you would have had to stop for gas twice (plus the fillup at the end before the return) rather than just once. While I get that's a bit annoying, it's 10 minutes, so it's not something I'd expect more than a $10 discount for, at most.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
325
405
63
St. Louis
#20
Unfortunately, the issue with the vehicle types is common in the industry. Both of those vehicles are rented as a category Q4 by Dollar and there isn't much we can do but provide you the email address of the company executives to appeal your case.

As for the overcharge, to determine if you were really overcharged, we would need to review your actual rental agreement to see what the "extra days" charge was that you agree to. The email you posted that addresses the $156 authorization could be referring to the credit card hold authorization for the extra days. Also, the email is dated 6 days after you were scheduled to return the car on the 24th. Your actual rental agreement will be the driving force on what you should or should not have been charged.
 
Likes: Neil Maley