Warning on priceline car rental!

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Cinderella

DIS Veteran
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Aug 18, 1999
Please be warned - although priceline state that an intermediate car will fit 2 adults and three children and 2 large and 2 small suitcases - this is not always the case.

We knew that we could end up with a two or a four door but, we were told that we were getting a two door coupe when we checked in. I asked if there were any four doors but, was told no and that if we wanted, we could pay $10 per day to upgrade to full size.

We decided to go and see the car. We could only fit the two large cases in the trunk and we had to put the small case in between the two children in the back of the car. The car was beautiful however - a brand new Toyota Celica.

We managed fine but, anyone travelling with three children and more than two large suitcases may want to bid for a full-size, rather than run the risk of having to pay extra dollars to upgrade at the airport.

I would certainly use the service again. We got Alamo and had no wait at the desk when picking up the car and the journey from the airport was quick. Apart from the upgrade, the guy at the desk wasn't pushy and didn't try to force any other extras on us.

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As you know, I administer the message board to help Priceline bidders, so I'm very interested in this. Priceline does not currently offer an "intermediate" car. Among other sizes, they offer a "standard" and a "midsize." A Toyota Celica is neither a standard nor a midsize car. It fits the specifications of what Priceline lists as "Compact" car.

Would you please go back to your Priceline email and confirm exactly what size car you bid.

It appears from what you've said here that Priceline is not at all at fault, but rather that Alamo didn't give you the size car you bid for.

Rental car companies frequently run out of cars and do not have adequate inventory to fulfill all reservations. When that happens, they are obligated to give you a higher class car at the exact same price as your reservation. The same thing holds true for Priceline reservations.

Please follow up here, Cinderella, because it certainly appears from what you've said that Priceline did nothing wrong here. It appears that you were actually taken advantage of by the agent who checked you in. It appears that what he was doing is a common practice among rental car companies. It's called an upsell. Or as you describe an upgrade.
 
Thanks TravelSheryl,

I will go and check. I think it was an Intermediate. I bid for it on the new priceline.co.uk site. It was an all inclusive package, which covered insurance. My husband was suspicious and thought that it maybe was a compact. Who would I complain to, if this is true? Would I contact priceline and tell them what happened, or would I got to Alamo directly? Thanks.

cinds xxx Co-Moderator Resorts Board
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Travelsheryl, I have just found my printout and it says Mid-Size - ICAR. Sounds like I was duped by Alamo. What do you think I should do? To be honest, I did want to complain there and then but, my husband wanted to drive a Celica. I didn't feel to safe having the suitcase on the back seat though.

cinds xxx Co-Moderator Resorts Board
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I think you should let Priceline know what happened because when things like this happen, it gives Priceline a bad name, just like the subject line in your post. If you can change the subject line, I hope that you will, as it's defamatory.

A midsize car can seat 5 people (albeit not 5 large people, but 5 people). Per http://www.toyota.com/html/shop/vehicles/celica/specs/celica_specs.html the Toyota Celica is a 4 passenger vehicle which also means that it probably had seatbelts for only 4 people.

Alamo's corporate headquarters should know about this as well. If you are willing to notify them, you may be able to find contact info. on their website.

You certainly were taken advantage of by Alamo. Priceline is clearly not at fault here.
 
Thanks TravelSheryl. I will let priceline know what happened, as they certainly need to know when this type of thing goes on. I have not read about this happening on a priceline car bid before and I am wondering if Alamo are intending to make a habit of doing this to British people. I hope not. It is difficult when you are in another country and you don't know what cars are what.

I know that I did read a post a little while back where someone had got Alamo with priceline and were offered a free upgrade and ended up being charged a lot of money for it. That is what put me off taking the $10 upgrade - I would have hated to have got home and found that was going to be $20 a day instead of $10.

I will definitely contact Alamo also and complain and I will let you all know what happens. Luckily, we also took a photo of the car when we were dropping it off at Alamo, so we would have proof, if our suspicions turned out to be right.

cinds xxx Co-Moderator Resorts Board
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TravelSheryl -

I am looking at my priceline printout reservation that I will use next month with National and the printout says...

Mid Size/ Intermediate

Then I looked on Nationals website and it says Intermediate- Pontiac Grand Am or similar!

I'll let everyone know our experience when we get back.

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Alamo's website also lists Pontiac Grand Am or similar for a midsize car. The specifications of a Grand Am include a 5 passenger seating capacity. The specifications of a Toyota Celica list a 4 passenger seating capacity.
 
TravelSheryl,
Was wondering if you could answer this question for me.....I bid for a standard size car through priceline. My bid was accepted through Alamo. They don't offer a standard size car so what size should I be expecting to get when I pick it up?
Thanks for any info,
Paula
 
I've never been able to figure out the difference between a Standard and a Midsize. I think it's just what different rental car agencies refer to as the same size car. From Priceline's website, both the Midsize and Standard will accommodate up to 5 passengers, 2 large bags and 2 small bags, so I would say you are entitled to a Midsize car. A full size car is definitely larger than a Standard/Midsize and would be considered an upgrade.
 
Sherrie,
A Toyota Celica has 5 seatbelts, hence it is a 5 passengar car.
FYI, standard via Priceline with Alamo boosts you to a Full size car. I know, I have been there and know exactly what they have me slated for.
Alamo did not dupe this lady, Priceline may have.
so far, my experience with Priceline explains to me why they are going down the tubes. Yes, I read everything, but, when you bid on something, you expect the all the companies participating to have the class of vehicles one bids on. Alamo does NOT have a Standard sized vehicle. They have economy, compact, intermediate, full size and up. No standards. Alamo automatically bumps you up to full when/if your bid for standard is accepted by them.
I am really sorry Cinderella was put into such a situation, but, I don't believe it was Alamo, I do believe it was Priceline.

Gail

Offsite - 88
CBR - 89 & 90
PO - 91
OKW-92,OKW-93,OKW-96, OKW-97 2X'S,OKW-98 2X's
OKW-99 2X'S,OKW-00 2X's
Jamaica-SandalsInn 98&00

 
I am not going to argue with your opinion, as everyone is entitled to theirs. I do take issue, however, with your statement that a Toyota Celica is a 5 passenger vehicle. Toyota itself states that a Celica is a 4 passenger vehicle, as evidenced by the link I posted above.
 
I rent cars quite a bit for business - Always "intermediate or standard" and have never gotten a 2-door, or Celica - I tend to agree this is a four pass vehicle.

By the way Cinderella - how was the rest of the trip, if I remember right did you stay at the Hyatt Orlando? How was that?

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A Toyota Celica has 5 seatbelts, hence it is a 5 passengar car.

Gail, TravelSheryl is right, the Celica is a 4 passengar car (4 seat belts). It a sporty car but a sub-compact in size (about the same size as a Honda Civic). Alamo may have it priced the same as a full sized car (?) but it is not the same size car. I'm surprised Alamo rents it, it is about the same size as an Economy car.
 
There's no way a Celica would qualify as a mid-size or intermediate. Alamo basically cheated you. I doubt you were singled out because you are British - they happily do the same thing to Americans every day.

The rental car industry is a quagmire of deceptive business practices, hidden charges, scare tactics, and poor customer service. The 2nd-tier agencies like Alamo, Thrifty, Dollar, etc. are particularly bad, but even the big 4 (Hertz, Avis, National, and Budget) are guilty in many instances.

On the question of what a Standard class car is, I think some agencies use that term for a full-size car with only 2 doors. Since there are very few of these actually in the fleet, you will usually get a 4-door full size when you reserve a standard.

--- Mark
 
To all,
I stand corrected. The Celica is as stated.
A 4 passenger vehicle.
Go get em!!!!

Gail

Offsite - 88
CBR - 89 & 90
PO - 91
OKW-92,OKW-93,OKW-96, OKW-97 2X'S,OKW-98 2X's
OKW-99 2X'S,OKW-00 2X's
Jamaica-SandalsInn 98&00

 
Do you think it's possible to upgrade @ the Hertz counter if I rented a Priceline car that will be too small for our family?
Thanks!
 
Do you think it's possible to upgrade @ the Hertz counter if I rented a Priceline car that will be too small for our family?
Thanks!
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Zobie thread.

The rules for Priceline from 2001 probably no longer apply. There really is no use in bumping a 10 year old thread. You might want to post your question on the transportation forum. They would have more experience with this type of situation. Or they may just tell you to rent a car that you know will be large enough for your family so that you avoid this problem completely.
 
Do you think it's possible to upgrade @ the Hertz counter if I rented a Priceline car that will be too small for our family?
Thanks!

You can upgrade IF they have the next larger size available. Usually the smaller sizes sell out first. Several times the rental car company first offers me an upgrade for so much per day which I say "no thanks." Then, the CS says, "Well, we are sold out of the size you reserved, so we will give you a free upgrade." This happens to us almost every single time we rent. I buy a mid-sized via Priceline,and then get upgraded for free.

So wait and see if they are sold out of the car you reserved before paying for the upgrade. Of course you risk them not having the size you want, but like I said,the rental companies usually run out of the smaller sizes first. The later your arrival time, the more likely the smaller cars will be sold out (assuming you are traveling during a peak time of the year).
 
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