Six reasons not to rent from Thrifty Car Rental in Denver Colorado

A photo of the Thrifty Car Rental parking lot at Denver International Airport on Saturday, June 18th.
Note the lack of rental cars at the rental car agency.

Recently, I was coordinating a trip to Denver Colorado for 14 people. I planned ahead, and reserved rental cars through Travelocity, about a year ahead of our trip. Unfortunately, I went with Thrifty Car Rental, and here’s six reasons I came to regret that.

I’m having to post about experience here because despite me making multiple calls, in-reaches via social media, and filling out their customer survey, I have yet to hear back from Thrifty Car Rental about my experience.

So, if you’re renting a car in Denver, Colorado, and you think you may want to choose Thrifty Car Rental (perhaps it’s the cheapest option on Travelocity), here’s 6 reasons to consider going with a different company instead.

As one of my relatives explained: Yes, Thrifty Car Rental may be cheaper, but if costs you 1-3 hours of your vacation time waiting around for your car to be ready, then it’s not worth it.

1) False promises from 1-800 number and social media: I had reached out to Thrifty on the 1-800 number and via social media before the rental to ask if there was anything I could do to ensure the cars were ready.  I was coordinating 14 people flying into Denver and we counted on the cars being ready, based on the promises from both your Twitter team and the 1-800 number.   Both of them assured me they had noted it in my file, but that clearly wasn’t the case.

2) Cars were more than 90 minutes late: We had reserved two minivans for 12pm. Luckily, I was in the long line at Thrifty by 11:30. Unfortunately, neither car was ready by the time we checked out, and nobody wanted to take responsibility- I heard it was the vendor’s fault for not having the cars cleaned, etc. etc. Then I was told that having a reservation for a set time really didn’t mean anything, and I was lucky to even be getting cars at all. That’s an awfully low bar to set. 馃槮

3) There is NO local Denver number provided for the Thrifty Car Rental DIA location.  Why not make communication easy for your customers?

4) Oil change adds to delays: After waiting over 90 minutes for the cars, one of them got “flagged” at the exit booth (meaning we could not leave) because apparently it needed an oil change.  Thankfully a manager magically appeared (in the 90 minutes prior to that, I was unable to find any sort of manager who would take responsibility for the situation) and was able to fix this, but it added yet another 20 minute delay to the trip.

5) Desk agent tried to sneak insurance onto our bill: After an extensive conversation with the desk agent we DECLINED any extra insurance. We were very clear about this with him because I remember talking about the fact that both my sister and I have Geico.  So you can imagine my surprise when I looked at the emailed receipt and found that he had tried to add it on.  I don’t know if he is paid on commission for that, but that’s wildly unethical behavior.   Thankfully, I think the manager I spoke with after returning the cars was able to fix the problem.  

6) We also had an “extra driver” fee tacked on for one of the minivans that I had reserved.  I’m not clear how Thrifty thought I’d be able to drive two cars at the same time, so you can imagine that extra charge was also a big surprise to me.

After filling out the customer experience survey from Thrifty Car Rental, I received a one sentence email from a Hertz representative (Hertz owns Thrifty), not addressing any of these issues. I emailed him back, but never heard back.

As a general note to ALL companies. If you’re going to ask for your customer’s time to fill out a survey, it’s good business practice to actually respond to those surveys. And that doesn’t mean sending a 1 sentence response about “sorry, we’ll take this feedback into consideration.”

Have you also had a terrible rental car experience? If I were in Congress, I’d hold hearings on this yesterday. There are horror stories throughout the US of experiences like mine and it’s high time somebody held these companies to account.

Hampton Bay Fans from Home Depot: A Cautionary Tale Against Buying Them

Does your home have ceiling fans?聽 They can be a great, cost-effective way to cool your house, but as I’ve discovered, getting the wrong brand of ceiling fans (in this case, the Hampton Bay brand offered at Home Depot) can make your ceiling fan into a time-sucking nightmare when the light-bulb goes out.聽 In fact, based on my experiences with Hampton Bay today, I would strongly recommend you buy almost ANY other brand other than Hampton Bay.聽 And if you look at these reviews on Home Depot’s own site for another Hampton Bay fan, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

The back story:

My wife and I had lived in our house about two years when we decided to get ceiling fans in two of our bedrooms. We purchased two Hampton Bay fans (the Sovana 44 inch model, it’s item #184-595, Model 14412), and had them installed in our house.聽 So far, so good.

However, the first time the light bulb went out, I discovered why some customers (including me now) hate Hampton Bay fans.聽 The glass over that goes over the light bulb is incredibly difficult — if not impossible — to remove.

In theory, it twists off.

In reality, getting it to twist off can be incredibly hard to do.聽 And, you’re not alone.聽 Try googling “Hampton Bay Fan remove light” and you will see the stories of hundreds (probably thousands) of other customers who have also make the mistake of purchasing a Hampton Bay fan.

There are tips on YouTube (and in the YouTube comments), such as using duct tape and making loops on the glass so you have something hard to pull on, or using a toilet plunger.聽 I think these might have worked for me previously, but as of right now, my kids don’t have an overhead light in their room because I can’t get the Hampton Bay fan light cover to come off.

Hampton Bay Ceiling Fan Hack

So, after trying looking at the owner’s manual (not helpful) and looking online, I thought perhaps I’d try the customer service line at Home Depot/Hampton Bay (can’t tell if they’re the same company or not).

That was a colossal waste of my time.

After waiting on hold for 9 minutes, I was given helpful advice such as “try turning it counter-clock wise, and hard.”

People ask why I’m skeptical of corporate America, and I will now point to Hampton Bay ceiling fans as exhibit 1.聽 Home Depot clearly knows that its customers are having problems with this product, yet it continues selling it, probably because the profit margins are high.聽 In other words, sorry customer, we know you’re going to lose hours and hours trying to replace a simple light bulb, but we at Home Depot just don’t care enough to fix the problem.

So, save yourself hours of pain, and get a fan from a company other than Hampton Bay!