We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Beware of Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental in St. Maarten

Rochester, New York
Level Contributor
50 posts
17 reviews
Save Topic
Beware of Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental in St. Maarten

First let me say that when planning our trip to St. Maarten, many blogs recommended renting a car from the local companies because ‘when you are renting from the big names, you are renting from independent operators and will get no support from the named company.’ This being our first trip to the Caribbean, I still felt more comfortable booking the car through AAA with a familiar name like Dollar.

When we picked up the car I got a bit of an uneasy feeling from the start because the person who was delivering the car was paying more attention to my reactions during the inspection than he was to the condition of the car. I pointed a few marks and scrapes out to him as he was taking notes.

Our 4 night stay was uneventful as far as the car was concerned. We drove it only a couple of days around the island and never at night. When we dropped off the car, my paperwork was passed to about 3 different employees before ending up in the hands of the guy that did my return inspection. He said ‘Let’s take a walk around the car’. As we completed the first lap he said ‘OK, there’s some damage on the car, I’ll show you but don’t stare…... See that white truck over there? That’s the supervisor. If you stare, he’ll know I found something and I’ll have to report it.’

I replied that he must be mistaken because I had no incidents. He paused and verbally referred to a scratch on the left side of the front bumper that was there when I picked the car up. I informed him of that and also that I had pointed it out to the person that delivered the car. He responded that ‘he didn’t note it’. After a little more back and forth and delays I asked him ‘what he wanted’ and basically he said that ‘I could take care of it with him, or I would have to fill out an accident report’. I told him there was no way I would be giving him cash and then he said ‘OK, let’s go fill out a report’. I said ‘Fine let’s go’. We then went into the office and filled out a brief report on which I stated that ‘all marks on the car were present when I picked it up’. He added a note of ‘damage to the front bumper’.

After arriving home an additional charge of $262 was made to my credit card with no information, details, or invoice substantiating the charge. I intend to dispute that charge.

I really did not know what to expect or if I would incur any additional charges. I thought that the exchange may just be a scare tactic to extort cash. I had made up my mind that I was not going to stay quiet on this. There was an elderly customer on the lot at the same time that was also being given a hard time. The thought of these thugs taking advantage of the elderly sickens me. They should be fired. There are a lot of friendly, honest people on that island that would be grateful to have those jobs. I’m really not sure what is more disturbing to me, the extortion attempt or the fraudulent charge to my credit card.

Of all the cars I have rented in the States, Europe, and Canada, I have never witnessed the business practices that I experienced at the Dollar Rent A Car in St. Maarten.

New York, NY
Level Contributor
354 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Beware of Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental in St. Maarten

It's unfortunate that you had to learn the hard way about rental companies on the island. It's true, you should rent from a local company on the island. ANy questions that you have can be answered here:

www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/postlist.php…

There are several sponsors who are rental car companies. Use one of them.

St Martin / St...
Level Contributor
1,223 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Beware of Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental in St. Maarten

I am so sorry to hear this. I am glad you preferenced that you had been warned about "Name Brand" companies prior to making your decision. Being a first time visitor, I can understand your wanting to stick to names you recognize. Your report will hopefully help many who feel the same way as you felt and hopefully they will rethink their decisions. The top companies I have total respect for are Kenny's and Unity. They are run by good and truly respectful residents of the island that pride themselves in running their companies fair and square. There are a few others that are top of the line but their names escape me. I know that if you fight the bill you will win but just the fact that you will need to follow up on this long after your vacation is over is a sad thing and just puts a negative energy over an island that really is quite wonderful. Thank you for sharing your experience and thank you for stating it quite eloquently as well.

Auburn Washington
Destination Expert
for St Martin / St Maarten
Level Contributor
4,382 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Beware of Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental in St. Maarten

We have always gone with Hertz and never have beed disapointed.

St Martin / St...
Level Contributor
1,223 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Beware of Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental in St. Maarten

Actually Hertz has been good to many people that I hear and so they could be the exception to this rule although I had a good friend who had used them for years and then was taken advantage of a few years ago so they stopped using them. This could have been a fluke and so that is why I don't mention them. Glad you have been getting good service with them. I will try and get that one incident out of my mind and include them in my list from now on.

You do realize though that Hertz on the island is not affiliated with the US and you should make this clear when recommending them. After having his issue, my friend contacted the Hertz in the US with his problem and they were told flat out that they had nothing to do with it and that he had to resolve it directly with the company on the island.

Edited: 18 February 2010, 12:28
Auburn Washington
Destination Expert
for St Martin / St Maarten
Level Contributor
4,382 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Beware of Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental in St. Maarten

sxmlover, when you go to the Hertz web page they link you to the St Maarten page. When you call the toll free number for Hertz they will do the reservation for you and sent the confermation via email. No deposit is requested and the price they quote you is the price you pay. Insurance is included in the quote.

Give them a try.

nj
Level Contributor
19 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Beware of Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental in St. Maarten

what happens if you dont want the insurance? i am thinking about buying insurance for my trip and car insurance is inlcuded, cheaper than buying their insurance

Auburn Washington
Destination Expert
for St Martin / St Maarten
Level Contributor
4,382 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Beware of Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental in St. Maarten

The liability is the unsurance that is included with Hertz. I rely on my CC to cover the colission damage.

St Martin / St...
Level Contributor
1,223 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Beware of Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental in St. Maarten

Hi Scubaman...thanks but I am a Lesley Bruce fan forever....I like getting my car at the airport and the man is a Saint...LOL...

But just so you know, although there is a link, if you have a problem with them on the island and try to deal with the problem back in the US, you will be surprised at their answer. My friend who was a truly loyal fan like you used Hertz forever and had a serious problem with them a few years back. He contacted the Hertz company, I believe their main branch being located in Texas, and has was told flat out that it is name only (individually owned). He was told that they pay for the right to the name and link but that is as far as it goes. He had to absorb the $'s and changed to a new rental company immediately.

And a few years back it was confirmed that the Hertz on the island is fully and privately owned by a well known resident of the island.

I am not saying you or anyone else shouldn't use them. For many people, it works just fine. Even I used them once about 6 years ago. What I am saying is that if there is a problem, the customer will not be able to contact the US office for any support.

PS...May I add that things could have changed since 2 years ago (it's possible) but that I am unaware.

Edited: 19 February 2010, 21:56
Auburn Washington
Destination Expert
for St Martin / St Maarten
Level Contributor
4,382 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Beware of Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental in St. Maarten

Sxmlover, Yes I was aware of that. I just have always had a positive experience with them through out the years. Having local ownership is a plus and maybe that is why I like them. Shuttle people were always at the airport to take me to my car in SXM and returned me to the airport at the end. Same as most other rental companies on SXM. Every body has their favorites and I respect that.

10. Re: Beware of Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental in St. Maarten

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 19 August 2010, 07:16
Get answers to your questions about St Martin / St Maarten