‘I felt like a ping pong ball’: Customer upset about rental car issue

Paul Frey flew to Maryland for a destination wedding.

He says his flight got in about an hour late, and that by the time he got to the rental car counter, it was closed.

“It was very frustrating. I felt stranded,” he said.

The rental company, SIXT, marked him a “no show” and he was out the money.

“It was $275 for a three-day rental, approximately,” he said.

SIXT lists its hours of operation in multiple places, including on its website and on the reservation.

But Frey says that didn’t sink in. “With a car rental facility associate with an airport, you would think it would either have longer hours or … arrangements with other companies,” he said.

When he got home, he complained to SIXT and to Travelocity -- which he used to book the car -- but says each company kept passing him off to the other.

“I felt like a ping pong ball ... I was getting nowhere and then my frustration was building, so I figured I’d copy you on it because I’ve seen your segments on the news,” he told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke.

Frey says the businesses became more responsive after that, but he wasn’t about to wait around for answers; so he disputed the charge with his credit card and he got a refund. Plus, Travelocity gave him a $50 coupon as a “goodwill gesture.”

Stoogenke emailed both companies for their responses.

SIXT emailed: “For prepaid reservations, the customer can pick up the vehicle at any time during their reserved rental period during our operating hours, but no refunds will be issued for unused rental days in the case of late pick-up or early vehicle return. SIXT also offers customers a flexible key-drop during after-hours at many locations to be able to return a vehicle when the branch is already closed. We inform our customers of our operating hours via the booking confirmation and encourage our customers to review our rental guidelines before making a prepaid reservation. Our hours of operation can also be found on our website, our app, and on our Google listings.”

Travelocity emailed: “To confirm, Mr. Frey was marked as a “no show” by SIXT as the car rental center closed at 9:30 and Mr. Frey arrived past both scheduled pickup and SIXT’s hours. All said, we understand this can be very frustrating given the delays he encountered with his flight. As it seems Mr. Frey has already received a refund via dispute with his credit card company, Travelocity will also be adding a $50 coupon to Mr. Frey’s Travelocity account as an additional goodwill gesture.”

Here is advice no matter what rental company you use:

  • Read the fine print.
  • Know the hours of operation.
  • Know its after-hours policy (and keep an eye open for any extra fees associated with that).

Here are the links to five of the major rental companies’ after-hours policies:

(WATCH BELOW: Family runs into $5,700 problem when company says they didn’t return rental truck)