Priceline and Thrifty disagree on class of car promised, I got a smaller car for the higher class price. Neither will credit the difference.

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Aug 13, 2019
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#1
I reserved a rental car through Priceline.com for a Rogue or equivalent (called a Compact SUV by Priceline) for pickup in Anchorage AK at the off-airport Thrifty location on 7/12/19, returning 7/20/19. When I arrived Thrifty claimed the Rogue was a Mid Size SUV and provided us with a Hyundai Kona as their compact SUV (which Priceline calls a Mid Size Car). I paid extra for the greater visibility and storage space of the Rogue (or equiv) - the Kona provided neither of these. We were in a hurry to arrive at our destination on time, and did not have extra money to pay to upgrade for what we reserved in the first place, since this was a big trip for us. Now I am caught between Priceline and Thrifty, each saying to call the other. Neither will acknowledge that they used different terminology in their broker/bid process. I presented paperwork at checkout showing "Rogue or equivalent" for the price paid and Thrifty refused to honor it. Priceline now says I have to call Thrifty for a refund. Do you have any advice? Each time I call Priceline I have to start the conversation over. I'd like to escalate (and theoretically have, or so they told me - but 2 weeks later they returned the same response I have gotten all along: call the Thrifty office). Thrifty has made it clear to me repeatedly that they will not budge on this. Why am I paying for the miscommunication/misrepresentation between the companies? Thanks for any help or pointers you can provide! I can't find a way to escalate with Priceline - should I try Thrifty Corporate?
 
Aug 13, 2019
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#3
Thanks - I'll look for the number there if it makes sense to talk to Thrifty corporate. I agree that this is Priceline's mistake but Priceline won't budge on pointing me back to the Thrifty counter (not corporate) after multiple calls and "research" on their end. I was hoping for some guidance or experience before I start the process again with Thrifty corporate - if they are going to send me back to the local AK location I am not going to make any progress. I also suspect they will point the finger at Priceline, who points the finger at Thrifty, etc. I was wondering if anyone else has experience in this "monkey in the middle" situation that might help me break through? I've asked for escalation at Priceline but waited 2 weeks for the same answer.
 
Aug 13, 2019
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#5
Wonderful! Not sure why I didn't think to check that myself, thank you! That gives me something concrete to approach Thrifty about instead of the he said-he said business I've been stuck in.
 
Likes: VoR61

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#6
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Jan 3, 2019
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#7
My suggestion would be to contact Thrifty and let them know you were unhappy with your experience ask for some credit or small refund. You booked a compact SUV with Thrifty and they provided you with a compact SUV. Hyundai's own website classifies the Kona as a compact SUV. However, it seems the person at the front desk must have been mistaken since Thrifty's own website calls the Rogue a Compact SUV as shown in the previous post. It's their customer service that they did not deliver and they should stand by it. Use the contacts and keep the tone calm and curious. Lead them to the correct decision. Ask them how they would have handled the situation. Do you have a certain dollar amount in mind? Do not waste time chasing after Priceline. After you booked the vehicle, it's irrelevant how Priceline classifies the cars. Priceline did not give you a car, Thrifty did.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#10
I completely understand your frustration with your situation.

However, the problem with your claim is that at the end of the day, Thrifty rented you a compact SUV. They are not under any legal obligation to rent you a specific car type. But how did this problem occur? Rental car companies have been quietly reclassifying cars over the years and the definition of a "compact" car has been "shrinking" over the same time.Doing a little research, the industry standard for a "compact SUV" rental car includes the Hyundai Kona, Buick Encore, Ford EcoTrim and the Nissan Rogue Sport. The Rogue Sport is NOT the same vehicle as the Rogue which is classified as an intermediate SUV.

Don't get me wrong. I think you have a legitimate complaint. Because both Thrifty's own website and Priceline continue to publish "compact SUV" as "Nissan Rogue or similar" and I can see how this is deceptive. But, technically speaking, the Kona met the requirements of the car classification (holds 5 passengers and 3 pieces of luggage). Since you booked with Priceline, Thrifty may stand firm.

Thus, I would pursue Priceline's exec team first.
Keep it simple. State that you booked the car rental based on the example given in the reservation (a Nissan Rogue or similar). State that the Kona that you received was not equivalent to a Nissan Rogue. Specifically, the cargo space of the Kona was half of the Rogue. This negatively impacted your trip experience. Asking for a $50-100 credit may be better received than a partial refund request, but either is fine.

Good luck
 
Sep 27, 2018
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#11
Hmm I now see what I found contradicts what VoR61 found — not sure if Thrifty or Priceline to blame.
Except when you click on the website link, at the bottom it says 2017, compared to your chart which is 2019. Some of this might be due to the Rogue growing in size, now I am comfortable in one, whereas a few years ago it seemed tight. Plus the definitions of size comes from interior room, so just making the door panels thinner can add a couple of cu ft, which can push a vehicle into the next size class.
 
Likes: VoR61
Jan 6, 2015
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#12
The key in this case, I believe, is what a prospective renter would reasonably think/do when searching for a car.

When I "Googled" the guide, a thrifty.com link came up, and clicking on it shows the Rogue to be indeed an intermediate size SUV. When I attempt to navigate to it on their site, however, I cannot find it. But the SUV rental link readily available on their site is, I think, what most would "use to choose". And that shows it to be a compact size.

It therefore seems reasonable to me, if I were looking, to assume "compact". Moreover, how does a renter know what year the vehicle is at that location vs. another? If the Rogue is truly now "intermediate", Thrifty is at fault for not updating the rental page in my opinion . . .
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#13
Except when you click on the website link, at the bottom it says 2017, compared to your chart which is 2019. Some of this might be due to the Rogue growing in size, now I am comfortable in one, whereas a few years ago it seemed tight. Plus the definitions of size comes from interior room, so just making the door panels thinner can add a couple of cu ft, which can push a vehicle into the next size class.
Interesting that the design may have changed and that may mean the difference in classification. And if it changed from one year to another ie 2018 to 2019 model -- further confusion.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#15
There would not be a problem at all if our OP had rented directly from Thrifty. If a traveller wants the cheapest rental car, there are online booking agencies like PL to deliver that. They all fall all over each other to deliver the cheapest and people think this is a good idea. If the traveller wants a specific size rental car, dealing directly with the company is the best solution.
 
Sep 27, 2018
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#16
There would not be a problem at all if our OP had rented directly from Thrifty. If a traveller wants the cheapest rental car, there are online booking agencies like PL to deliver that. They all fall all over each other to deliver the cheapest and people think this is a good idea. If the traveller wants a specific size rental car, dealing directly with the company is the best solution.
Particularly as you rent outside the US. Plus the rental companies are also covered by the words "xxx model or similar". "Similar" in rental car lingo is the same as "airline math".
 
Likes: Patina
Dec 17, 2018
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#17
There would not be a problem at all if our OP had rented directly from Thrifty. If a traveller wants the cheapest rental car, there are online booking agencies like PL to deliver that. They all fall all over each other to deliver the cheapest and people think this is a good idea. If the traveller wants a specific size rental car, dealing directly with the company is the best solution.
Well… I don't know about that. If the Thrifty website is still showing the Rogue as a compact SUV, then that directly contradicts what OP was told. Thrifty can't have it both ways... they can't claim the Rogue is compact on their website and then say it's really not when you get to the desk. I think what happened is Thrifty reclassified it, and then just never changed their website. They changed the paper that Christina found, but not the actual website. But I think that's on them, then. They need to make sure everything is consistent. I'd be wanting some sort of small refund or credit also.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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#18
A long time ago I reserved an SUV from Hertz to carry the six of us in Maui. Hertz (and the other agencies at Kahului Airport) were out of SUVs when we arrived, so Hertz gave us a Ford Econoline which had been stretched to seat 18. I drove that to Hana and to the top of Haleakala in the dark to see the sunrise. It took four parking spacers in a lot, two spaces at meters, and could not be driven to our parking space near Kanapali Beach. It got a spectacular 4 mpg.

Hertz's position was that if they didn't have what we reserved, tough.

And that's with booking directly.
 
Likes: FrankL183
Sep 27, 2018
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#19
Lets remember the customer still got what they ordered. When you reserve a vehicle it is a model or "equivalent". Thus, if Thrifty is saying the Kona is an equivalent, and when I look it up on Google it comes up as a "compact sport utility vehicle". All rental car companies do the same thing, feature the most desirable car in the class, and then fill their lots with the losers in that category.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#20
I first searched for a Thrifty description of the Hyundai Kona, but found none. I then used cars.com as indicated above, but now at this url:
https://www.cars.com/research/compare/?acodes=USC90HYS061A0,USC90NIS111A0.

Below are some of the key comparisons as they relate to size. The format for each item is: Kona, Rogue

Length: 164.0", 184.5"
Width: 70.9", 72.4"
Height: 61.0", 68.0"

Horsepower: 147 @ 6,200 rpm, 170 @ 6,000 rpm
Curb Weight: 2,890 lbs., 3,454 lbs.

Passenger Volume: 94 cu.ft, 106 cu.ft.
Maximum Luggage Volume: 45.8 cu.ft., 70.0 cu.ft.
Interior Cargo Volume: 19.2 cu.ft., 39.3 cu.ft.

Except for the width, the Rogue looks significantly larger to me. So if the Rogue is a "Compact" according to Thrifty, I don't see how the Kona can be.

That said, these numbers might be explain the class change of the Rogue in the guide. Nonetheless, the Rogue is shown on their rental page as a Compact . . .
 
Likes: Patina