A bad tire on my Thrifty rental

Thrifty Rent A Car in Omaha rented Charles Sass a car with a damaged tire, which needed to be replaced to safely drive the car. Will Thrifty reimburse him for the cost of the tire?

Question: Can you help me receive a refund for my purchase of a new tire for a Thrifty rental?

I rented a car from Thrifty, and the car had a soft and unsafe tire. After driving only a few miles, I noticed the left rear tire was low. I put some air in it at a gas station. I then drove to my final destination in Wayne, NE and went to bed.

Next morning, the tire was completely flat. I enlisted the help of a local service station to get the tire fixed. The mechanic took the flat off and it was obvious there was a nail or screw in it, but he suspected there was more wrong than that. He took the old tire completely off and showed me the inside of the tire as being cut and cupped and unsafe to put back on the road.

It was clear that the person who rented the car before I did, drove it flat for a distance before putting air in it and bringing it back to Thrifty.

I was told by a representative of Thrifty to put the old tire in the trunk and submit the bill for new tire to the customer service representative at the window on the day I returned the car. I bought the new tire. The bill for the tire totaled $119.53.

I have emailed the owner of the local Thrifty franchise and she requested a copy of the receipt. I told her that I left the invoice with her customer service representative and sent her a copy of my credit card bill showing the repair. I emailed several more times and received no response.

Obviously, my question is — when can I expect to be reimbursed for my expense and trouble?–Charles Sass, Wellington, Fla.

Answer: Thrifty should have rented you a safe car.

If you had purchased Thrifty’s Premium Emergency Roadside Assistance, they would have sent help. But their website states, “Whether you have a blowout or hit a curb, realizing you have a flat tire can be stressful. We will send someone quickly to install your spare tire.” and given the distances in Nebraska, having the spare installed would not have improved the situation.

It was likely in your best interest to do as you did and get permission from Thrifty to replace the tire. After Thrifty told you to replace the tire, they should have reimbursed you immediately.

When you got no response from the owner of the Thrifty franchise in Omaha, you could have appealed to executives at Hertz. Hertz owns both Thrifty and Dollar. They are ultimately responsible for ensuring that their franchise owners treat their customers fairly.

Our advocate emailed our contact at Thrifty and we received the following email from you:

Just a note to tell you that Thrifty sent a check to me last week for $119.53. I don’t know if you were responsible for this in any way, but if you were, I thank you. I applaud your efforts of behalf of all consumers who believe they were treated unfairly. I am pleased with my outcome, even though it took four months to get some resolution.

I am pleased with the resolution and also pleased that you did not have an accident from driving a car that was rented to you in an unsafe condition.

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