A surprise $600 bill for my Mexico car rental

LDProd/Shutterstock
LDProd/Shutterstock
Arjun Aiyer receives a surprise bill for an extra $600 after renting a car in Mexico. The company alleges the vehicle was damaged while Aiyer was driving it. But where’s the proof?

Question: We recently rented a car from Thrifty for a week at Cancun airport. We were quoted a rate of $136. The estimate at pick-up time, with mandatory accident insurance and one additional driver, was $371 for the week, which I accepted and signed.

One or two days later, while driving on the highway, the car overheated and stalled. Obviously, they had given us a car with very low radiator coolant. We called Thrifty road service and asked for a replacement car, which they delivered about three hours later, ruining our afternoon excursion.
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Was I scammed by my car rental company?

That's not my crack / Photo by andres musta - Flickr
Question: I recently rented a car from Thrifty in Toronto for two weeks. I travel more than 26 weeks a year and rent lots of cars, but this is the first time I have been scammed by a rental car company.
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Case dismissed: The valet service damaged our rental, but we got the bill

Car rental damage cases are usually disputes between two parties — the renter and the agency. But not always.

Ron Goldstein recently rented a car from Thrifty in Los Angeles. He left the car with a parking valet at the DoubleTree by Hilton Guest Suites Santa Monica. It’s a decent hotel about a block from where the 10 freeway ends, and street parking isn’t really an option.

And then things took a turn for the worse.
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Paying up front for rental car nicks and scratches

The late-model Chevrolet that Sukumar Thanawala rented from Thrifty Car Rental in Munich in the spring looked “absolutely fine” when he returned it, he said.

But a few weeks later, Thanawala, a software designer from Naperville, Ill., noticed that the rental agency hadn’t refunded his $763 deposit. When he asked why, Thrifty furnished him with a photo of a barely visible nick on the car door and a small scratch on one bumper. “You have to look really hard to find it,” Thanawala said.

Thrifty had done what by some accounts is becoming more common when a rental car is damaged: It had pocketed his deposit.
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Maybe you should have walked away from that Mexican rental car

Ah, the ol’ Mexican car rental scam.

You show up at the car rental counter with a confirmed reservation, only to learn that you have to buy mandatory insurance. And before long, you’re paying 20 to 30 percent more than you expected.

It happened to Sheldon Rittenberg when he rented a car through Hotwire at the San Jose del Cabo airport recently.
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Help! My car rental company charged me for running a red light

red lightHere’s a problem travelers are running into more frequently: Months after a trip, they get a bill from their rental company charging them for an unknown traffic violation, plus a handling fee. Often, there’s little recourse.

Or, in Alex Backer’s case, none.

He just received a ticket from Dollar for a violation that supposedly took place back in May, and was told he had no choice but to pay.
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After car rental disaster, angry customer mails “gesture of goodwill” back to Thrifty

junk carLike most travelers, Bette Waterstreet doesn’t expect much when she rents a car. A clean, running vehicle that’s in the same car class she ordered will do just fine. But that’s not what she got when she rented from Thrifty in Ontario, Calif., recently.

“It was a junkmobile,” she says. “Absolutely filthy.”

Does Thrifty owe her anything for the inconvenience?

Yes. And no.
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