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.

I will never rent from Dan Dooley's again

Level Contributor
228 posts
38 reviews
Save Topic
I will never rent from Dan Dooley's again

I just wanted to let everybody know about my experience with renting a car from Dooley's. I will never rent from them again. My husband and I had arranged for a stick shift car rental from Dooley's. We were to have the car for about 2 weeks and we got the full insurance.

My car in the States is a stick shift. I have been driving stick shift for the past 20 years. I know how to drive a stick.

When we got to Dooley's they told us that they were going to give us a slightly bigger car than we had arranged. Although at first I thought this wasn't such a great thing since the roads are so small, I had no complaints since usually the larger the car is the more expensive and so I figured it was like I'm getting a free upgrade.

Once we got in the car I wanted to drive the car around a little bit in the parking lot, since I don't normally drive on the left hand side of the road. But this wasn't completely strange to me since I have, in the past, driven a stick on the left hand side of the road. In other words, I have some experience with the stick shift being on my left. And never before have I had any problems.

As I drove in the parking lot the car did stall twice, maybe three times. If you drive stick you know this is no big deal. My husband normally drives automatic but sometimes we switch cars and then he drives my stick. He routinely will stall out a couple of times in the beginning. It happens all the time. It is no big deal. It does no major damage to the car at all. It is just what happens if you are a little rusty with a stick.

After driving in the parking lot at Dooley's, even though I had stalled a couple of times, I was ready to exit the parking lot and get on the road. After all, like I said before, I have had many times in my life experienced people stalling out once or twice and then having no more problems. It is just a matter of getting used to the clutch.

As soon as I exited the parking lot we noticed a smell in the car. It didn't seem right so we immediately came back into the parking lot. As we got back in the lot smoke started coming from the front of the car, from under the front hood. A Dooley's employee came out and immediately said we burned the clutch. Just seconds later another employee came up and said the same thing. I did not believe what I was hearing. I told them that this was ridiculous, that I normally drive a stick shift and I have no problems at all with a clutch. I told them there is no way that I could have burned out a clutch in mere minutes. They said they saw me stall out in the parking lot. I said, yes, that was true, I did stall out but no more than twice, maybe three times at the most. They insisted I burned out the clutch. I told them this was ridiculous. They quickly said to me that they would give me another car, but that if I burned out the clutch again that I would be responsible for that or they could give me an automatic, but I would have to pay for that (automatic being more expensive, of course, than stick). They repeated this several times. When I continued to insist that there was nothing that I did to the car that would cause this to happen and when I kept on pointing out that I normally drive a stick shift (something they probably weren't expecting, since not many people from the US drive stick) they then said that this was a diesel stick and not a gas stick and, thus, that made the difference. Honestly, I did not believe them. I felt like I was being conned. I felt like they put me in a car that was already damaged, expecting me not to really know how to drive stick and then expecting me to completely fall for this trick. I felt like they just were trying to get me to upgrade to an automatic ($350 US dollars more).

But neither I nor my husband are mechanics and so we couldn't really know with 100% certainty what was really going on. We felt we were being had, but since we were on the first day of our vacation, we had just landed, we were a little jet-lagged, and we were in a foreign country, we just gave in. We ended up taking the automatic car and paying an extra $350 US dollars. It was not a nice way to start the trip.

Since I've been back in the States I have asked dozens of people about what they think about what happened. Not one person I have asked thinks what happened was legitimate. Everybody I speak with who drives stick knows that you can stall out a couple of times and it does no real serious damage to the car. Not one person has said that the fact it is diesel versus gas should make that big of a difference. Of course, every clutch is a little different and it always takes a couple of minutes to get used to the clutch. But that is just the point, this is typical when you get in a car with a clutch that is not yours. This doesn't burn out the clutch. A car does not start smoking out the front hood when an experienced stick shift driver stalls the car a couple of times.

All in all it was a very unpleasant experience and a terrible way to start a vacation. I feel like we were taken advantage of. Like I said, I will never rent from Dan Dooley's again.

Limerick, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Limerick, Killarney
Level Contributor
27,033 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: I will never rent from Dan Dooley's again

I alternate between driving a petrol stick shift and a diesel stick shift (I drive a petrol, hubby drives a diesel and at the weekend I drive whatever car is convenient, if I need to drive) and to be honest there is NOT a significant difference between the two. Certainly not the significant difference mentioned by you.

I am not a mechanic but I would think it would take a lot of hard work to burn out a clutch. Learner drivers rarely burn clutches and they stall quite a lot!!

Suffolk, United...
Level Contributor
93 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: I will never rent from Dan Dooley's again

Complete BS, you would have to give a healthy clutch serious abuse to get smoke . Easy enough to get a burning smell but smoke - no.

Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
4,586 posts
184 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: I will never rent from Dan Dooley's again

Myself, my mother and my aunt all learned to drive in the same stick shift car, it was on the road for nearly 20 years and the clutch never burned out.

I hope the rest of your holiday wasn't marred by the rocky beginning.

Dublin Ireland
Level Contributor
2,142 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: I will never rent from Dan Dooley's again

Sorry to hear about that bad experience, I also agree there is no way a couple of stalls could burn out a clutch.

I suggest you lodge a complaint and follow through with that. Like Lolly said, I hope it didn't ruin the rest of your holiday

Destination Expert
for Dublin
Level Contributor
4,560 posts
263 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: I will never rent from Dan Dooley's again

"I will never rent from Dan Dooley's again". If you could put a bit of music to that and "stick" it on Youtube you could have a hit.

I agree with what other people are saying about the clutch. I remember renting a car in Orlando many moons ago. The handbrake was located in a different place to what I am used to and I never disengaged it. There was a fair bit of smoke coming from my car after a few blocks I tell you, much to my embarassment.

Moosup, Connecticut
Level Contributor
1,687 posts
127 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: I will never rent from Dan Dooley's again

from a previous posting:

National Consumer Agency

4 Harcourt Road

Dublin 2


Opening Hours:- Lines open Monday - Friday 8am - 6pm

Tel:(01) 402 5555

Locall1890 432 432

Fax:(01) 402 5501

Consumer Complaints in Ireland



Edited: 17 September 2012, 18:18
Saint Louis...
1 post
Save Reply
7. Re: I will never rent from Dan Dooley's again

The same exact thing just happened to me! I got about a block and half down the road out of the Dan Dooley's parking lot at Dublin Airport when the car would no longer go into gear. They sent out someone to come get us. I was sitting there annoyed, but not apprehensive, because I obviously didn't burn out a clutch by driving just down the road .. right? But then the guy came and immediately said that we did it, so I was scared that we were going to get charged with the bill. Eventually he told us we would need to pay for an upgrade to an automatic, because if we burned out another clutch we'd be liable for two clutches. So we paid the upgrade fee ($150 euros) and went on our way because we were tired, jet lagged and wanted to get on with our holiday. I hope we don't have a fee on our CC when we get back -- I've seen where other companies won't cover a burnt out clutch at all.

New Jersey
Level Contributor
131 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: I will never rent from Dan Dooley's again

yikes.. renting from them next week. maybe i'll just opt for the automatic upgrade to avoid the BS

Level Contributor
180 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: I will never rent from Dan Dooley's again

If you made your reservations through their US rep , you should contact them first with your full story, they may be able to assist. They were able to resolve a issue for us last year, and removed the extra fee's they were assessing on site. We have been to Ireland 4 times and have always flownin to Shannon, and rented from Dooley's , and with the exception of of last year , we have been pleased. First we had paid in advance, and on arrival since my husband was driving and not me( who made and paid for the reservation) they said I had to be added as the driver. They made us pay an extra 95 euros. I e mailed the US rep that night and she took the charges off. Our car also had a musty smell, and we had to exchange it a few days later, but that went off withot a hitch , or extra charges. Good communication and positive attitude makes all the difference.

Cork, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Ireland
Level Contributor
13,528 posts
368 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: I will never rent from Dan Dooley's again

Morel, did you ask online here about which rental company to rent from prior to your holiday? Dooley would not have come out top of the list had you done that.

BTW, you couldn't have burned out the clutch that quickly in the parking lot. You don't have to be a qualified mechanic to know that. The Dooley staff were mistaken, rude and unprofessional. But that is nothing new to me.

Moral of the story: You get what you pay for.

Once again I say to you all, book from the mainstream companies, AVIS , Hertz and (maybe) Budget.

Edited: 23 March 2013, 22:09