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Bait and switch at Dollar Car Panama City FL ECP airport

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Killingworth, CT
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5 posts
53 reviews
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Bait and switch at Dollar Car Panama City FL ECP airport

An old fashioned bait and switch. STAY AWAY.

This Dollar Rent a Car is a franchise and not a corporate store. I mad reservations for a mis size car, arrived on time to pick the car up only to be told I had two choices: take a sub compact car that wouldn't accommodate our luggage saving $30 off the 8 day rental or take a mini van at the cost of $10 more per day costing about $100 more plus extra gas. It was late,we were 2 hours away from our hotel and the other car rental places were booked. We took the van, and I called Dollar customer service the next morning to complain about the failure to honor my reservations. The customer service rep wanted to call Panama City. I asked to speak to a manager. She put me on hold for about 5 minutes, the phone began ringing, and then disconnected. I emailed Dollar customer service. They did respond saying it would be 20 to 30 days to respond. Awful Pathetic and just plain dishonest. I'm done with Dollar. You should be too.

SE Indiana
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546 posts
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1. Re: Bait and switch at Dollar Car Panama City FL ECP airport

Well....Ummmm....What did you REALLY expect from them? You went cheap and got burned.

Learn anything or gonna continue trying to scrimp?

Alabama
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655 posts
203 reviews
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2. Re: Bait and switch at Dollar Car Panama City FL ECP airport

Try Enterprise next time. I've used them for years and it's usually fine. That kind of overbooking sometimes happens with them too, but it's always been a free upgrade...not an extra charge if I didn't downgrade.

Gallatin, TN
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1,744 posts
25 reviews
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3. Re: Bait and switch at Dollar Car Panama City FL ECP airport

Wow, that was brutal 34oSc.

I admit, Killey, Dollar should have had the car you requested on the lot when you arrived. Was your flight late or any other issues? It could very well have been that someone didn't return a car when they were suppose to or someone gave your car to someone else by mistake. Not trying to be ugly, but we are human and mistakes happen. Being in the travel industry for over 17 yrs I see it happen alot. Especially w/hotel rooms. You can't kick someone out of the room they're in if they decide to stay longer than originally booked but that's another story. Back to your's. You have 2 options.....

1st, is there another Dollar location in Panama City area? What about Destin? I know it's out of your way and not your responsibility to do this but you can go back to ECP location and ask them to look around at other locations w/in an hour's drive and see if they can find the car you want bring it to the airport location OR better yet, to you at your hotel. THAT would be good customer service. Swap the cars out and call it Even Steven on price and inconvenience.

OR 2 ---Go ahead and keep the mini-van. Document EVERYTHING that happend to the minute. Write down names of those you spoke with and dates and times. Contuinue to call Dollar Customer Service and tell them what happened. You may very well have to pay more since you did get a bigger car but if they'll work w/you and go half of the fee, maybe that'll make both satisfied. I know you feel you got the wrong end of the deal and you're right they should have had the mid-size car there for you but as I said, things happen and they did the best they could at the time. If you don't get any satisfication from the ECP location, file a formal letter of complaint w/the company when you get home. I'm pretty sure you'll get a response if you keep trying. It's very important to them to have satisfied customers. Tell them you've alredy posted this on TA and would love to make a new post of how they worked hard to fix the problem to your satisifaction.

Last but not least....remember, you are on VACATION! Sun, Sand WARM WEATHER! Enjoy this time w/your family and don't let this mistake ruin your week.

Hope that helps.

Karen

Saint Louis...
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463 posts
8 reviews
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4. Re: Bait and switch at Dollar Car Panama City FL ECP airport

You must have missed this episode of Seinfeld.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWTMa76BzH0

:)

Valparaiso, Indiana
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337 posts
80 reviews
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5. Re: Bait and switch at Dollar Car Panama City FL ECP airport

We drive to the panhandle annually and have had success with Avis every year. We use the option on their website to pay ahead and receive discount.

Killingworth, CT
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5 posts
53 reviews
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6. Re: Bait and switch at Dollar Car Panama City FL ECP airport

Seriously, isn't your comment a little like blaming someone for being robbed? I've rented cars in the past when the model I reserved wasn't available and have never been charged for the bigger car.

SE Indiana
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546 posts
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7. Re: Bait and switch at Dollar Car Panama City FL ECP airport

Well, I thought EVERYBODY already knew not to mess with Dollar...Now you know too!

Stay out of seedy places and you're less likely to be robbed...

Edited: 09 April 2013, 22:27
Killingworth, CT
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5 posts
53 reviews
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8. Re: Bait and switch at Dollar Car Panama City FL ECP airport

The manager of the Dollar / Thrifty rental place at the Panama City ECP airport called today saying the employees misunderstood her instructions and should not have charged me for the upgrade. She was refunding the extra fees. Given how certain the employees were of the policy, I'm having a hard time believing the excuse but nonetheless happy to get the refund. You decide if you want to take the chance with these guys if you're planning to rent from them. Thanks trip advisor for hosting a place people can compare notes and make informed choices.

queens, new yoek
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12 posts
6 reviews
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9. Re: Bait and switch at Dollar Car Panama City FL ECP airport

Thank you for the great tip. I did what u said to do. We reserved and paid for our car rental before we went. It is also less expensive. I don't want me and my family stuck at the airport with no way to our house. One question, how long do you think we will be at the airport waiting to do the paperwoak etc....Again thank you for the heads up.

Milwaukee
Destination Expert
for Milwaukee
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10,364 posts
63 reviews
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10. Re: Bait and switch at Dollar Car Panama City FL ECP airport

If you join Dollar's free club online you can input all your personal information and possibly avoid the dreaded agent desk altogether. I'm not sure how it works in ECP, but in Tampa with my reservation I was able to go directly to the garage and pick up my car.

Obviously I am late to this post and don't know all the history, but I am having a hard time following 34oSc's rant. Dollar, like most of the other car rental companies have had their issues, but Dollar is a major national brand, not a fly by night company.

There seems to be more of these bait and switch and hard sell insurance stories. I think Hertz and Avis are about the only ones who I have not heard stories about.