Rental car company taking advantage of tourist that don’t sign up for Sun Pass.

We recently heard from Ken, a tourist from Tennessee, that rented a car from Thrifty Rental Car and was charged $225.00 for toll “violations”. All because he declined to rent a Sun Pass toll transponder when he picked up his rental. Thrifty Rental Car refers to each trip under a toll gantry without a Sun Pass transponder a “violation” and charged Ken, $25.00 for each “violation”. The fact is that no official violation was ever issued by any tolling authority, law enforcement or state agency. Thrifty, along with other car rental companies, are allowed to charge this outrageously high “violation” fee because they can.

Apart from being totally wrong and unethical, this practice by Thrifty Rental Car leaves a bad taste in the mouths of tourist that come to our city to work or play. Is this the kind of impression that we want to give? I would say not! After all South Florida and the state in general depends on tourist dollars as a major source of jobs and revenue. Not to mention the financing of our shinny new Marlins Stadium.

Instead of finding ways to screw tourist shouldn’t all car rental companies be mandated to automatically ”opt-in” on Sun Pass for all customers? Some actually do like Avis, Budget, National, Alamo and Enterprise.

But the shame not only falls on Thrifty Car Rental. It is shared by Sun Pass, FDOT (Florida Dept. of Transportation) and MDX (Miami-Dade Expressway Authority), for allowing this to happen right under their noses. These agencies conveniently look the other way and act helpless as businesses like Thrifty are allowed to rip-off tourist. This is wrong and something should be done to mandate that all car rental agencies automatically include the Sun Pass transponder with every rental.

Here is a link to the Sun Pass site with regard to rental agencies and their policies.

Here is a copy of the e-mail by Ken:

I just received a bill from them for the last rental. I went through tolls on this trip to the value of $3.75 total which was billed. However, they are charging me an administrative fee of $25.00 per toll. This totals $225.00 administrative fees as I went through 9 toll stations. Well, when there was a toll station I stopped but as you know there are many that have no stations. My largest fee was $0.75 and the smallest was $0.25. As they indicated, when I rented this car I signed the agreement and must owe it. Being from Tennessee we have no toll roads so this is a shock. Let’s see now…$225.00 plus $3.75 for the tolls, Thrifty has traded my business for $225.00. When I go to the new rental location in Ft Lauderdale there are so many companies wanting my business that I can’t imagine that Thrifty would want to get rid of me for life for $225.00. However, I guess that they do. I will fax this letter to you. I doubt they would pay attention to me. They have already charged my card and even put it on the wrong credit card when I went through the process of having it changed. Oh well, for $500.00 I have learned who my friends are. At this rate Hertz looks like a bargain.


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