Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental And Hidden Costs--Don't Get Caught

Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental And Hidden Costs–Don't Get Caught

It Pays To Be Thrifty
I needed to rent a car just for one day recently. Since there numerous companies operating from Shannon airport only ten minutes away, I went online to compare prices. I followed the quotation process for about seven or eight outfits. And Thrifty came up with the lowest offer.

Having been ripped off for insurance and various other extras in the past, I was careful to avoid these options. As you can see from the invoice below, there is a zero in all columns relating to baby seats, GPS systems, insurance supplements.

DEAR —,

YOUR BOOKING IS CONFIRMED.

BOOKING REFERENCE: TW:—-

CONTACT DETAILS*********************
CUST NAME : —–
CUST ADDRS: ——
EMAIL ADDR: —-
HOME PHONE:—-
WORK PHONE:—
MOBL PHONE: ——
BIRTH DATE: –/–/–

PICK/DROP DETAILS*******************
PICK UP : 14:00 on 09/–/10, Shannon Airport
DROP OFF: 14:00 on 10/–/10, Shannon Airport
CARGROUP: C Ford Focus(manual) or similar

MISCELLANEOUS EXTRAS****************
FLIGHT NUM: NO FLIGHT
BABY SEAT : 0
BABY AGES :
EXTRA INFO:

PRICE DETAILS***********************
******EUR 57.50 Hire Price
******EUR 0.00 Baby Seat Surcharge
******EUR 0.00 Drop Location Surcharge
******EUR 0.00 Insurance Age Supplement
******EUR 0.00 Cancellation Insurance Supplement
******EUR 0.00 GPS System Supplement

******EUR 57.50 Total Charge

We charged your card EUR 34.5, the outstanding balance of EUR 23 should be paid on pickup.

So far, so good. I'm not sure why there was an arbitrary deposit of €34.50, but I was due to collect the car within the hour and would be paying the balance immediately in any case.

I was mildly surprised at the counter when I was handed a receipt to sign and the 'Total Charge' had changed from €57.50 to €58.20. Then it occurred to me I had already paid €34.50 as a deposit, that made a total of about ninety-something euro!

Sure enough, somewhere on the four or five pages was another 'Total' figure of €92.70. I had missed the following line when I scanned the paragraph below the 'Total Charge' on the bottom of the invoice.

The hire price above is inclusive of rental, VAT, Collision Damage Waiver Insurance, Theft Protection Insurance and unlimited mileage. When collecting from an airport location, a fee of 28 Euro including VAT will be added to your rental total on collection of your vehicle.

The suggestion here is that I would be charged this extra fee only in the very unlikely event that somehow, on a mere whim of mine, I made the decision to collect the car from the very location I specified in my order.

Their other locations are at Dublin, Cork, Knock and Kerry airports, with two city centre locations, Dublin and Cork. Interestingly, I have since learned that pickup from cities incurs an identical 'Premium Location Fee.' Sigh.

Let me spell this out for you.

Since 100% of Thrifty's business in Ireland requires it, this pickup fee is wilfully hidden for absolutely no other reason than to swindle the customer.

Folks, I do an inordinate amount of business online using eBay, PayPal, Google Checkout, and a myriad of other turnkey shopping cart solutions, as well as the odd (an sometimes labyrinthine and irritating) in-house payment schemes. But never NEVER have I come across mandatory costs added after a 'Total Charge' figure.

As I said in my official complaint to the company, this chicanery is more egregious than Ryanair, and boy that's saying something. Shame on you Dollar/Thrifty.

But yes I took the car anyway, as you can see above I had declined the 'Cancellation Insurance' because I was to collect the car just an hour after ordering–so upon cancelling they would have kept my deposit. Good money after bad.

In my frustration as I gathered up the paperwork and headed for the lot, I grumbled "I suppose if I'm five minutes late returning I'll be charged for another full day." The person at the counter blithely corrected me and explained that I would probably be charged for an extra two days at least.

I have since learned anecdotally from a summer worker that the counter assistants in Shannon airport, perhaps in an effort to stave off boredom, regularly hold competitions to see who can charge unwitting customers the most over the initial hire cost.

Welcome to Ireland!

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