"Bait and Switch" Wont ever use Thrifty Again

 
Old May 30, 09, 8:55 am
  #1  
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"Bait and Switch" Wont ever use Thrifty Again

Reserved a midsized vehicle for 10 days with Thrifty. When I got to the counter all they had were PT Crusers! My choice, pay 10/day ($100 total) for something else or accept a smaller, compact instead for no change in rate. We all squeezed into a compact for 10 days. I think Thrifty got a deal on PT Cruisers, as their lot was full of them. The Thrifty guy even admitted that no one likes them but was the only chioce! So unless you like PT Cruisers, rent from someone else. The old "bait and switch" sales trick is dishonest. Hope they go broke!
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Old May 30, 09, 9:26 am
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Thrify's definition of a 'mid-size' car is one that has 4-5 doors, holds 5 people, & at least 3 suitcases. No promises made about how comfortably, of course. The PT Cruiser fits that definition. Further, remember, when making a reservation you are told your vehicle will be 'XXX or similar'-it sounds like that's what you were offered, 'similar', when you arrived to pick up your rental. I don't see where there was any 'bait & switch', just your particular distaste for PT Cruisers.
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Old May 30, 09, 2:01 pm
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Won't ever use XXX Again

I used to make comments like the above, starting with National, then Alamo, Hertz, Avis, etc. But after several decades of renting cars, if I stuck with my original statement ("I'll never rent from ___ again), I would now have nobody to rent from!!
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Old May 30, 09, 4:02 pm
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First of all a welcome to FlyerTalk for the OP!

While I have to agree that I despise PT Cruisers, and the OP's situation would be enough for me to go to another agency or pay to upgrade, there was no bait and switch involved unfortunately. Thrifty classifies the PT as a midsize, which is consistent with every other agency IME. Midsize is a catch-all category these days, housing everything from the Kia Spectra to the Mazda 6, and everything in between. I've seen the PT as a midsize at Budget, Avis, National, and Alamo for certain, along with its competitors the Rondo, Matrix, and HHR. Another reason for the unfortunate PT-ville experience of the OP is that Dollar and Thrifty are predominantly fleeted by Chrysler, and when people don't want to buy PTs (for good reason), guess where they go?
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Old May 30, 09, 4:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Big Hugo View Post
Reserved a midsized vehicle for 10 days with Thrifty. When I got to the counter all they had were PT Crusers! My choice, pay 10/day ($100 total) for something else or accept a smaller, compact instead for no change in rate. We all squeezed into a compact for 10 days. I think Thrifty got a deal on PT Cruisers, as their lot was full of them. The Thrifty guy even admitted that no one likes them but was the only chioce! So unless you like PT Cruisers, rent from someone else. The old "bait and switch" sales trick is dishonest. Hope they go broke!
I wouldn't call it a bait and switch, but I had the EXACT same situation in Norfolk airport. I was a bit surprised they wouldn't give me something else at the same rate, nor would they reduce the rate if I took something smaller which I was more than willing to do. Fortunately there were like 5 other desks in the lobby, it wasn't busy and I did some walking around until I was happy with Alamo!!!
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Old Jun 2, 09, 7:41 am
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"Or Similar" definition

Thanks for the replies...it all boils down to the term "or similar." I have no problem with Kias, or anything else that at least resembles a car. I consider a PT Cruiser a specialty vehicle... a modern hot rod, type truck. Even the Thrifty attendent said "most people dont want to rent a PT Cruiser!"

The fact of the matter...Thrifty got a real good deal on PT Cruisers (Chrysler cant sell them) and substitutes their mid size "car" reservations with a PT Cruiser. And that sales technique is called "Bait and Switch!" Lets face it, if they offered PT Cruisers on their websites.... no one would rent one. They have to substitute them at the rental counter where the consumer might have no other options. Not honest. Hope they go broke.
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Old Jun 2, 09, 7:58 am
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Originally Posted by Big Hugo View Post
Thanks for the replies...it all boils down to the term "or similar." I have no problem with Kias, or anything else that at least resembles a car. I consider a PT Cruiser a specialty vehicle... a modern hot rod, type truck. Even the Thrifty attendent said "most people dont want to rent a PT Cruiser!"
I'm no fan of PT Cruiser, but frankly I don't see the difference between it and many other mid-sized vehicles.

As you never know what exact vehicle you are going to get, I would never book anything less than full size for 5 people (or 4 adults).
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Old Jun 10, 09, 4:34 pm
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Originally Posted by dgwright99 View Post
I'm no fan of PT Cruiser, but frankly I don't see the difference between it and many other mid-sized vehicles.
The PT Cruiser is an old, low-budget vehicle. It has wallowy handling, poor power, loud engine and tire noise, and a quirky design to its controls. None of these characteristics disqualify it from being a mid-sized vehicle but do partly explain why many of us consider it an inferior alternative to pretty much every other mid-sized vehicle in a rental company's fleet.

What should disqualify the PT Cruiser as a mid-size is that it's much more cramped than pretty much anything else in a rental company's mid-sized category. It's narrower than many other mid-sizes, so it's hard to fit 3 passengers in the rear seat. And it's shorter than anything else called mid-sized, with limited trunk space. There's no way you could fit bags for 5 people back there. My wife and I fill it up when we pack for a week. I know from plenty of road-warrior experience than most other rental cars, including most cars classed as compact and even some in the economy category, have roomier trunks.
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Old Jun 11, 09, 6:23 am
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A little off topic here, but reading this reminded me of the hoopla over the PT Cruiser when it first came out. Remember how people were on waiting lists and were also willing to pay thousands of dollars over the MSRP? I thought Chrysler had a real gold mine here. I don't know what happened to make the PT Cruiser's sales plummet, but whatever the reason, I guess it helps explain Chrysler's current situation.
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Old Jun 12, 09, 1:13 pm
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Originally Posted by darthbimmer View Post
The PT Cruiser is an old, low-budget vehicle. It has wallowy handling, poor power, loud engine and tire noise, and a quirky design to its controls. None of these characteristics disqualify it from being a mid-sized vehicle but do partly explain why many of us consider it an inferior alternative to pretty much every other mid-sized vehicle in a rental company's fleet.

What should disqualify the PT Cruiser as a mid-size is that it's much more cramped than pretty much anything else in a rental company's mid-sized category. It's narrower than many other mid-sizes, so it's hard to fit 3 passengers in the rear seat. And it's shorter than anything else called mid-sized, with limited trunk space. There's no way you could fit bags for 5 people back there. My wife and I fill it up when we pack for a week. I know from plenty of road-warrior experience than most other rental cars, including most cars classed as compact and even some in the economy category, have roomier trunks.
True, and I wouldn't disagree with you that it's an undesirable car. However, like Tuneman1984 indicated, Thrifty's hardly alone. In fact, I've seen the PT Cruiser classified as a standard-sized car at Enterprise--that's one size BIGGER than a midsize!

It's unfortunate that the rental industry's vehicle classifications are strange sometimes, but it's hardly a bait and switch when Thrifty is just following the crowd. Besides, people complain about cars all the time--I've heard people go nuts over minivans, Jeeps, Subarus, and all matter of other vehicles. One person at Dollar went absolutely bonkers because she was promised a Toyota Rav4 by Hotwire and she was getting a Dodge Nitro, even though the Rav4 appeared nowhere on Dollar's site (Dollar.com showed a Nitro) and that was just Hotwire's estimation of that vehicle class.

And why should you not pay what you reserved? You booked a midsize, thereby statistically depriving Thrifty of booking that midsize for somebody else and taking in the higher rate on that midsize over the compact. The point becomes clearer if the difference is greater: if you had booked a large SUV (like a Dodge Durango) at $150 per day and then walked up to the counter and said, "I don't need that big SUV. I just want at $30 per day compact." Thrifty (or whomever you're renting with) has been holding that vehicle at $150 per day for you on the assumption you're going to be paying them $150 per day. They have told other people that it wasn't available and have deprived themselves of that potential revenue. You show up and suddenly short Thrifty $120 per day because now that Durango is sitting and not earning money. Had you just booked the compact in the first place, Thrifty could have told other inquirers that yes, it DOES have a large SUV available at $150 per day, and they could have booked it. Your actions have cost them money, so why shouldn't they hold you to what you said you'd pay?
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Old Jun 12, 09, 1:27 pm
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Originally Posted by tonypct View Post
A little off topic here, but reading this reminded me of the hoopla over the PT Cruiser when it first came out. Remember how people were on waiting lists and were also willing to pay thousands of dollars over the MSRP? I thought Chrysler had a real gold mine here. I don't know what happened to make the PT Cruiser's sales plummet, but whatever the reason, I guess it helps explain Chrysler's current situation.
What happened to make PT sales plummet?!?! That's easy...people actually started to drive them...word got out.

Prerelease hype was its only chance!
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Old Jun 13, 09, 5:18 pm
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Originally Posted by anti_ice View Post
What happened to make PT sales plummet?!?! That's easy...people actually started to drive them...word got out.

Prerelease hype was its only chance!
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Old Jun 14, 09, 12:25 am
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Originally Posted by anti_ice View Post
What happened to make PT sales plummet?!?! That's easy...people actually started to drive them...word got out.

Prerelease hype was its only chance!
The the PT Cruiser was a pretty good car when it started selling in 2000. The problem is that it's the same vehicle today. Chrysler never invested in updating it. Nine years is an awfully long time in the auto industry, where the normal product cycle is 5-7 years. Everything else in the segment is much better than the PT Cruiser now.

Taking this back on topic, the fact that Thrifty has rental lots full of execrable PT Cruisers and Dodge Calibers is a reason why I now avoid renting from Thrifty when I have to book a smaller car.
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Old Jun 17, 09, 2:39 am
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Originally Posted by darthbimmer View Post
The the PT Cruiser was a pretty good car when it started selling in 2000. The problem is that it's the same vehicle today. Chrysler never invested in updating it. Nine years is an awfully long time in the auto industry, where the normal product cycle is 5-7 years. Everything else in the segment is much better than the PT Cruiser now.
The PT is, in my experience, a love-it-or-hate-it car. Some people love the comfortable seats (they're upright bucket seats, like what a minivan has) and the flexibility of the room (I've seen more luggage crammed in a PT Cruiser than you could ever stuff in a Charger--I'm serious!). Others hate the noise, weird interior layout, or the crappy turning radius.

FWIW, I've reserved midsizes and Wild Cars from Thriftys all over the country and have never even seen a PT on the lot, much less been forced into one.
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Old Jun 17, 09, 9:42 am
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The first time I drove one was in 2005 at YVR. I was offered the choice of a Corolla or PT. Having worked for Toyota for 2 years at that point, I opted to try something new. Therefore I uttered an enthusiastic phrase you'd never hear from me ever again...

"I'll take the PT Cruiser!"

I don't think I even made it off airport property before I realized the mistake I'd made, and I had about a 90 mile return trip ahead of me. A few months later I found myself at the Avis desk at YEG and had this interaction with the rental agent:

"Okay Mr. Tuneman I have a Pontiac Grand Am or a PT Cru-"
"Grand Am!"

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