RENTAL CAR DISPUTE: Man charged 10x what he anticipated for rental car, warns others of “trap”

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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)– Richard Behrends opted to rent a car for a December road trip to visit family and friends.

“I went on Expedia and found a good unlimited car rental deal and that was with Thrifty [Care Rental] in North Charleston,” said Behrends.  

Behrends said the rental process was simple.

“The attendant asked me where I was going and I said, oh maybe Kentucky, not knowing it mattered since I had unlimited miles,” he said.

After returning his car he noticed an additional $80 charge on his bill.

“I asked her what is up with my charge here and she said, oh you went across the Mississippi to the West and I said so? And she said oh see it is right in the contract you are not supposed to go west of the Mississippi because if you do we can charge you 32 cents a mile,” he said

Behrends said he was never verbally told about the geographical restriction listed in smaller print in the contract.

“It is probably a good idea if you have something in the contract that is so unique that you make sure and tell people,” said Behrends.

The manager of the North Charleston Thrifty Car Rental location on W. Montague defended their position saying video footage showed Behrends was distracted while signing the contract.

“I wasn’t on the phone when she asked me where I was going which would have been a good time to tell me about the 32 cents a mile if I went west of the Mississippi,” Behrends said. “If I had known that I would have never rented from you guys,” he added.

Behrends said the manager then took the bill but instead of knocking the charge he added to it. 

“He added another $784 to my bill I couldn’t believe it and I said what is this about? He said I am just correcting what the other people didn’t do. It says right here I can charge you 32 cents a mile for the whole trip,” Behrends said. 

The bill he thought would be about $160 now totaled $1033.

Donald Valley, the local Thrifty manager, said he couldn’t comment on the complaint.

The investigators emailed the company’s parent company, Hertz.

They stand by the manager’s decision, saying they say do verbally warn customers about the restriction.

Behrends disputes that claim and hopes others learn from his experience.

“If their staff at the counter does not bring up this clause someone else can fall in the same trap that I did,” said Behrends.

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