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Old Aug 17, 08, 12:01 am   #1
 
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Returning a few hours early -- what will they do?

I reserved a car on Thrifty.com from Friday late morning to Tuesday afternoon because it gives me a rate about $70 less than if I had reserved it until Tuesday early morning when my flight actually leaves at 7 a.m. With the reservation set up like that, I got the weekly rate instead of the daily rate.

Because of the early morning flight, I'd need to return the car about 10 hours earlier than the stated return time in the reservation. I've never rented from Thrifty before and I'm not sure what will happen in this situation. When I return the car in the morning, what happens to the rate -- will they charge me an early return fee, adjust the rate, or let me have the original quoted price with no problem?

Last edited by FlyerInCmh; Aug 17, 08 at 12:51 am. Reason: clarification
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Old Aug 17, 08, 4:04 am   #2
 
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You should have no problem if you return it on Tuesday as per your contract.
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Old Aug 17, 08, 2:45 pm   #3
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Where are you renting from?

I've seen early return penalties ($10.99/day, IIRC) at CLT and possibly other corporate locations (I'll need to go back to my receipts/rental agreements from LAX, SEA, OGG, etc. and confirm), though locations differ in policies and franchises typically have different policies than corporate stores.

I'm not sure if you can avoid the fee (if it is charged) by notifying them immediately when you pick up your car rather than keeping your original estimated return date but then returning early, but it might be worth asking. (In other words, I'm not sure if the early return fee is based on the reservation's estimated return date or the rental contract's estimated return date, since they can be different.)
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Old Aug 17, 08, 8:06 pm   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackal View Post
Where are you renting from?

I've seen early return penalties ($10.99/day, IIRC) at CLT and possibly other corporate locations (I'll need to go back to my receipts/rental agreements from LAX, SEA, OGG, etc. and confirm), though locations differ in policies and franchises typically have different policies than corporate stores.
It's from LAX. The return will be on the same calendar day, just earlier in the day. Thanks for checking.
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Old Aug 18, 08, 7:50 am   #5
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Some car companies are pickier than others - Avis has a minimum number of hours the car has to be kept in order to qualify for a weekly rate . . . It doesn't hurt to ask in advance.
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Old Aug 18, 08, 12:45 pm   #6
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I think I actually threw away my old LAX receipts during house cleaning a few weeks ago, but I'll be renting in LAX in, oh, about 22 hours, so I'll check for you then...
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Old Aug 19, 08, 12:00 am   #7
 
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As I recall, I had a few 6 day rentals from National and they just gave me the weekly rate.
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Old Aug 19, 08, 11:44 am   #8
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Decided to go car-free in LAX today and do public transportation, so can't give you personal experience. Direct number to LAX is 310-846-2301, but good luck finding an option that allows you to speak to someone at that location...
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Old Aug 19, 08, 9:25 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackal View Post
Decided to go car-free in LAX today and do public transportation, so can't give you personal experience. Direct number to LAX is 310-846-2301, but good luck finding an option that allows you to speak to someone at that location...
I'll give it a try. Thanks for the number!

Also, thanks all for your replies.

Last edited by FlyerInCmh; Aug 20, 08 at 10:03 am.
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Old Aug 20, 08, 2:05 pm   #10
 
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Returned a car around 2 hours ago.
Original plan was for 5 days, weekly rate of a little below 100 USD.
Returning two days earlier. They automatically charged 3 days 16 USD each plus taxes etc.

I remember a while back when i did the same thing they reduced the rental price in a similar way, but charged some kind of early return penalty of 25 USD or so - not this time.

Both time i reserved the car on their website.
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Old Aug 23, 08, 11:04 pm   #11
 
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Here's an "unofficial" explanation...

...from someone who rents cars in various cities 364 days a year...

Thrifty quietly, without fanfare, got rid of their early return penalty. Their rental agreements use to include a section that warned you that you would be assessed an early return penalty if returned more than 12-24 hours prior to your scheduled contract date. If you look at their current contracts, there is no reference to an early return penalty being assessed. And having played attorney for over 3 decades, I guarantee you can give them a run for their money if they do try it without it being in your contract Course Thrifty has quietly imposed other charges (see my other post re the new increase in frequent flyer charges that go into effect 9/1/08). One Thrifty customer service rep who I know pretty well, recounted the upset they rec'd when they were imposing that early return penalty.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Unterwegs View Post
Returned a car around 2 hours ago.
Original plan was for 5 days, weekly rate of a little below 100 USD.
Returning two days earlier. They automatically charged 3 days 16 USD each plus taxes etc.

I remember a while back when i did the same thing they reduced the rental price in a similar way, but charged some kind of early return penalty of 25 USD or so - not this time.

Both time i reserved the car on their website.
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Old Aug 24, 08, 7:30 pm   #12
 
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Is it a penalty if they recompute your rate based on the actual pickup and drop off times? That might mean forfeiting a weekly rate and paying more.




Quote:
Originally Posted by randix View Post
...from someone who rents cars in various cities 364 days a year...

Thrifty quietly, without fanfare, got rid of their early return penalty. Their rental agreements use to include a section that warned you that you would be assessed an early return penalty if returned more than 12-24 hours prior to your scheduled contract date. If you look at their current contracts, there is no reference to an early return penalty being assessed. And having played attorney for over 3 decades, I guarantee you can give them a run for their money if they do try it without it being in your contract Course Thrifty has quietly imposed other charges (see my other post re the new increase in frequent flyer charges that go into effect 9/1/08). One Thrifty customer service rep who I know pretty well, recounted the upset they rec'd when they were imposing that early return penalty.
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Old Aug 24, 08, 9:52 pm   #13
 
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Welp...

We typically almost always rent on a weekly basis even though we only intend to keep the vehicles for 3-4 days because of the discount you get for a weekly rate. Can't ever recall at Thrifty being charged anything but the weekly rate, no matter when the vehicles were returned. Hope that helps. I might add that is not our experience with Budget, depending what city you are in. fwiw.


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Originally Posted by lewisc View Post
Is it a penalty if they recompute your rate based on the actual pickup and drop off times? That might mean forfeiting a weekly rate and paying more.
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Old Aug 25, 08, 4:10 am   #14
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In my experience, the computer system is programmed to charge the lesser of the weekly rate or the daily rate times x, regardless of the values.

Even if it were something insane like the weekly rate is $150 and the daily rate is $50, whether you have it for three, four, or five days, you will still pay only $150.

Barring a computer glitch, at no time would you ever pay more than the weekly rate.

The only time a rate might get recalculated would be if you book a weekend rate that requires a certain number of weekend days and you do not meet those requirements. Depending on the weekend rate, it is possible for one weekday to be more than two weekend days.
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Old Aug 25, 08, 10:20 pm   #15
 
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Another suggestion to keep in mind, and one I have used, is this. Make no mention of having to return early when taking the car. When you do return early, simply state something urgent has come up and you need to catch an early flight home, OR, the airline has changed your flight time to earlier so you have no choice. That is if you don't mind lying, which kinda is a given when your trying to work the system to avoid some fees.
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