Thrifty Car Rental St Paul Mn – There are many reasons why people hate car rental companies, but perhaps the most important are the hidden fees and unexpected costs that renters often find on their final bill. I, like countless other consumers, fell victim to this. A recent phenomenon deserves further investigation.
Remember that earlier this week I analyzed a column by consumer advocate Christopher Elliott that addressed Thrifty Car Rental’s $932.96 fee for a one-way rental from California to Minnesota. Elliott argued that the fee was due to client Matthew Oen of the Minneapolis-St. Returned to the car at Terminal 1 instead of Terminal 2. Paul Airport (MSP).
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I pointed out that Thrifty charges a one-way landing fee ($0.49/mile) for a $932.96 fee (in pennies) to return a rental car to MSP at Orange County Airport (SNA).
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Note that your fare receipt from Thrifty indicates a return to “Humphrey Terminal” which is Terminal 2. I suspect it also showed up in the booking because Southwest flies there at MSP.
Elliott and his team concluded that this accounted for a small difference in fares, plus a $932.96 “service” fee. In fact, that’s exactly what Oyen was told when he contacted Thrifty to question the service charge.
I still can’t believe this is the case. Note on the final bill that the location number is 076013. I called Thrifty and asked which location it was. Called MSP Airport. According to Thrifty, there is no difference between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 in their system; It’s the same code and it doesn’t matter where the car is returned at the airport. I called again and got the same answer.
So I still believe that the charge was a hidden charge for a one-way car rental and had nothing to do with the car being left at Terminal 1 instead of Terminal 2.
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But here there is no irregularity on the part of the consumer. In fact, your request for a refund was 100% reasonable and warranted since your initial booking indicated a $0 refund fee.
Despite being a preferred partner of Rapids Rewards, Thrifty does not appear when searching for a one-way ticket from SNA to MSP on Southwest Airlines. Could it be that the one-way drop rates aren’t showing up correctly and that thifty is no longer offered as an option?
I spent a lot of time on this topic in the last few days. So is Elliott’s team. And while we disagree that $932.96 was added, it seems clear to me that the consumer, Mr. Oyen, should not be liable for a charge he did not agree to.
And isn’t it crazy that three receipts show three different amounts when Oyen never deviated from the plan (in terms of pick-up, drop-off and pass duration)? Although airline fees are so heavily regulated, it seems absurd to me that this is still in the wild west of car rental fees.
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Now, I think Elliott and his team made a good faith effort to look into this issue. While I think the sensational headlines about paying $932 to return the car to the wrong terminal and the same airport were wrong, I am grateful to Oyen and his team for helping him recover the money from Thrifty.
This whole incident is a reminder of why people hate car rental companies and why you should keep a close eye on your bill, especially if you’re booking through a third-party website like an airline or online travel agency. Instead of just waiting for an invoice to arrive via email when you drop off your car, you’ll need to write down the total.
The moral of the story is that hidden fees and car rental companies go hand in hand. As unfortunate as it is, you can protect yourself better if you’re prepared to scrutinize every bill you receive before charging your credit card.
Matthew is an avid traveler who calls Los Angeles home. He travels more than 200,000 miles per year by air and has visited more than 135 countries. Matthew, who has worked in the airline industry and as a travel consultant, has been featured in major media around the world and shares the latest airline news, frequent flyer program commentary and in-depth reporting on his Live and Let’s Fly blog. About his worldwide travels. A story from consumer advocate Christopher Elliott caught my eye, how a man was allegedly charged $932 for returning his car to Terminal 1 instead of Terminal 2 at the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport (MSP). But I think something else is going on here.
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A consumer contacted Elliott, who writes the nationally distributed Travel Troubleshooter column, complaining about Thrifty Car Rental’s $932 charge. He claimed he had to pay a $932 fee for leaving his car at the wrong terminal in Minneapolis, which is 3.8 miles away.
First, Thrifty is not willing to take the car back to Terminal 1 or Terminal 2 at MSP. Your website and contract do not distinguish between two drop-off points. Second, the column also notes that the man picked up the car in Santa Ana, California and returned it to Minneapolis.
This is called a one-way pass and there is always a hefty landing fee. Elliott didn’t get it because he bought into the consumer’s mistaken belief that the charge came from returning the car to the wrong terminal.
“It’s true that car rental companies routinely charge extra if they misplace a vehicle. But almost $1,000 for four miles seems excessive. That works out to $245 per mile. Come on!”
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I went to Thrifty’s website and searched for a one-way rental car from Santa Ana John Wayne Airport (SNA) to Minneapolis (again, no difference between Terminal 1 or 2, the only option was MSP).
Note the deceptively low price in bold for a one-week pass and the total of taxes and fees below. Why can the price increase so much?
You see, the problem wasn’t that the man paid $932 for leaving his car at the wrong terminal. Instead, he had to pay $932 to pick up his car in California and drop it off in Minnesota. This is standard for car rental companies operating in the United States. Whether or not they were informed of this charge in advance is a completely different matter.
Why so high? A one-way fare costs 49 cents per mile between origin and destination, and the two airports are far apart:
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Have you ever wondered why so few people trust the media? Maybe it’s because even mainstream travel writers often don’t seem to do their due diligence. The first thing is that renting a car one-way is very expensive. The second is that a person does not have to pay $932 for returning their car to the wrong terminal at MSP. Another thing is going on here.
Matthew is an avid traveler who calls Los Angeles home. He travels more than 200,000 miles per year by air and has visited more than 135 countries. Matthew, who has worked in the airline industry and as a travel consultant, has been featured in major media around the world and shares the latest airline news, frequent flyer program commentary and in-depth reporting on his Live and Let’s Fly blog. About his worldwide travels.
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