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Upcharge by Thrifty

Discussion in 'Hertz/Dol/Thr' started by William Cable, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. William Cable

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    Last November, we used Expedia for airfare and to book a Thrifty rental car for pick up on November 24 and a return on December 8, 2016. The agreement we got from Expedia indicated a compact car or larger. The Thrifty clerk said we would get a compact car and we indicated that we needed the larger car which was included on our rental agreement. The clerk told us that a larger car was not available but then she said we could get the larger car for an additional $50 daily fee even though she had just told us that one was not available. Although we showed her our rental agreement which stated a "compact or larger" car, she was firm that we could only get the larger car for the additional daily fee of $50. Since we needed the larger car, we paid the $50 fee for an additional fee of $599.20 beyond the amount we had already paid Expedia for the rental car. We believed the Thrifty would make this right when we returned and contacted them.

    We wrote to Thrifty and got a response saying: "Because you were offered a compact vehicle in line with the special pricing and chose to not take the offered vehicle, we are unable to refund the upgrade fee that was charged. However as a gesture of concern for the confusion I have issued a credit of 25% of the upgrade fee $149.80 to the account billed for the rental." We did receive this $149.80 credit.

    Since our contract specifically stated compact or larger and the larger car was available, we sent a second letter to Thrifty requesting the remaining balance of $449.40 and received an email "...declining reimbursement due to the fact that the reserved vehicle was available." Both the compact and larger cars were available.

    Thrifty owes us the additional $449.40. We copied Expedia and Hertz but received no response from either.
     
    #1
  2. johnbaker

    johnbaker Moderator
    Staff Member Advocate

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    @William Cable You can try to reach out to our executive contacts with Expedia but the way I read your story, as long as they offered you a compact car, they met their agreement.

    Good luck
     
    #2
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  3. Christina H

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    This has to be the most bizarre wording in a rental car agreement that I have seen. I just tried to do a test booking with expedia and Thrifty has a special rate which says "compact or larger. Vehicle determined upon pickup". And further it says "we pick the car". That is the lowest price booking. I chose random days in Seattle and this special was $29 per day. To reserve a midsize car like a Nissan Sentra or similar it was $32 per day.

    It sounds like this special price means that they give whatever they want no guarantee of size and no discussion.

    I have to agree with johnbaker, the company may say "you got a compact and that is what we offered in the contract and we pick the car."

    I would still use the contacts as write as suggested.
     
    #3
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  4. Mike Z

    Staff Member Advocate

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    When they say compact car or larger they mean that they get to choose what you get, with a compact being the minimum size. Not sure what is smaller than a compact thought. This wording insulated them in case you got there and the only vehicle they had for rent was a 4 wheel drive SUV. In any event, they gave you what was contracted for and you do not get to choose the size car you want. You can always give our contacts a shot, but if you are looking for a refund you are going to fight an uphill battle. You may have a smidge better chance looking for perhaps a credit on a future rental.
     
    #4
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  5. Grandma

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    Yes, it means you have to accept anything they offer. We always prefer small compact cars, so we assumed, what can we lose by accepting this offer? Then they picked us a huge SUV. No, we were not pleased from the free upgrade. (It was during the high gas prices era.) Since that experience we have never gone for the 'we pick the car' option.
    Btw bigger hotels (for example in Vegas) usually have the same 'we pick the room' offer. (Usually the saving is less than $10/night.) No, it does not mean, that if the Penthouse suit is avalibale, you can get it free. (It usually means you get a tiny smoking room next to the elevator.)
    I would not recommend to use this option neither for cars nor for hotel rooms.
     
    #5
    Mike Z likes this.
  6. sas80

    Staff Member Advocate

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    'compact or larger' means "if we don't have a compact car available, you will get a larger vehicle".

    When you arrived, they had a compact vehicle available.

    you are lucky they gave you a credit, that is some good customer service right there!
     
    #6
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  7. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    As the others have said, the agreement most likely said THEY get to pick the car. Saying it is a compact or larger only means you will get a car that is not an economy car.
     
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  8. Mike Z

    Staff Member Advocate

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    Before saying all is lost, I do have a couple quick questions;

    What size car did you want that was $50 extra per day?
    If you priced out two rental options for a similar rental period directly through the company, what would be the upcharge of the larger vehicle you chose?

    I guess what I'm getting at is this... If you can normally book your choice through the company for say $60 per day and the compact for $$30 per day then in reality the upgrade should have only cost $30 extra per day and not the $50 you were charged. Perhaps if you look at it and work it from that angle you may have a shot at getting some sort of credit or refund.

    I see that they already gave you a 25% credit on the upgrade fee but perhaps you were charged more than the difference would normally be?
     
    #8
  9. Barry Graham

    Barry Graham Administrator
    Staff Member Forum Director

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    I think that if they say "Compact Car or Larger" you have a right to challenge the wording. It's very misleading.
     
    #9
  10. Christina H

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    The key issue is that the comapany chooses as it states even before booking "We chose the car" makes it sound like there is little discussion. It is a strange way to book a car but I noticed other companies doing that on expedia when i tried to do a test booking
     
    #10
  11. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    I hate to say it but it is a little misleading:

    Special
    Compact or larger - Vehicle determined upon pick-up
    Passengers 5 2 to 4 doors 2/4 Air Conditioning A/C
    Fuel info: Full to full
    • Automatic transmission
    • Unlimited mileage
    Reserve now, pay later Free Cancellation Earn Expedia+ points
    Pick-up
    Shuttle to counter and car

    When you go to book it, all it says is this:
    Special
    Compact or larger - Vehicle determined upon pick-up
    Passengers 5 Luggage Capacity 2 2 to 4 doors 2/4 Air Conditioning Air Conditioning
    • Automatic transmission
    • Unlimited mileage
    Fuel info: Full to full

    Not until you get to actually putting in your info to book do you see this:
    Special Special
    Compact or Larger, We pick the car or similar
    Passengers: 5 · Luggage: 2 · A/C · Automatic

    If you are not a regular renter, I can see how this can be confusing. But it was a LOT cheaper to book the size you wanted in the first place instead of this come on. An SUV for the same date I looked at to try and book was a mere $18 a day more.

    When you see "Special" sometimes specials aren't very special. You took a chance and it cost you a lot more than if you have booked the car type you wanted. I hope in the future you won't fall for these come ons - even if you had received a compact, it was only $2 less a day than booking the regular rate for a compact.

    Always remember - if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. There is always fine print or details you need to look for.
     
    #11
  12. jsn55

    Staff Member Advocate

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    I'm very impressed that you got some of your money back. "Compact car or larger" is very clear. You'll get a compact car or a larger one, they pick the car for you. If they have a compact car available, that's what you get. Did you think that you could chose any vehicle you liked from their lot when you arrived?
     
    #12
  13. mmb

    mmb

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    I'm just baffled that you would pick a category that included a compact if you DEF didn't want a compact. Too risky for me to try that.
     
    #13
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  14. George M

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    OK. Maybe there's too much information trying to get out of my brain this morning but here goes:

    I'm not sure why this thread made me think of the 1960 Smokey Robinson and the Miracles song which included the lyrics, "My mama told me, 'You'd better shop around.'" Maybe it should be this forum's theme song.

    Expedia, Kayak and the rest have their purposes - - mainly for comparison and finding what's available. However the same, or better, deals can usually be made directly with the airline / hotel / car rental company. Looking at the Thrifty site I see no ambiguity. You book the size you want and if they don't have any they'll probably go up a level or two.

    You can get discounts through AAA, AARP, USAA and a lot of organizations but you still deal directly with the company, not an intermediary that uses confusing wording in its listings.

    One last thought - - when I just Googled Thrifty Car Rental the first site to come up was the real Thrifty site but the second one was titled Thrifty ... but was actually for something called rentalcars.com. Always be sure that you're dealing with the real company, not a misdirection.
     
    #14
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