Puerto Vallarta Stories and Tips

Beware of Thrifty Car Rental

When we visit Mexico we usually rent a car - while in Puerto Vallarta for a week we planned to go to Bucerias, Sayalito, Mismaloya and downtown a few times. Let me preface this by saying that I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, but in this instance I feel that a warning in justified.
We usually rent from Ace Car Rental in Cabo and Playa del Carmen - their rates are usually the best offered and we have been happy with their service. They do not have a Puerto Vallarta location. We made a reservation with Thrifty - feeling very comforable with a US brand, and the rate was unbelievable.....yes.....unbelievable!!! The week prior to our vacation the rate had dropped to $30/week....too good to be true.
We do not purchase extra insurance - we rely on the secondary insurance provided by our credit card. BLI (Basic Liability Insurance) has always been included in the quoted rate. Of course they always ask you to purchase SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance) at $11 - $15 per day since this reimburses medical cost at a higher rate for the injured person.
When we get to the counter, we are told that BLI is not included in Puerto Vallarta - only in Cabo and the Cancun area. OK....an additional $12 day. The vehicle was very clean and in good condition. We inspect the car for scratches and dings and take pictures.
Upon returning the car we find that the rate quoted in US dollars is now being charged in pesos. The conversion rate at the bank is 12.1 but Thrifty is charging 13.9. Tax is 16% and airport fees another 10%. Our $30/week car has escalated to $175.00 !!!
There's more.....the young man who inspects the car says "perfect" - suddenly appeared a lady who points to the rear fender saying "new damage". We produce our pictures showing the damage ( a scratch) had been there upon rental. The young man confirms that we did indeed take pictures with our phone on the rental day. She then calls a manager and they produce a picture on their computer showing "no damage". He wants to see our time stamp but he
doesn't have a time stamp on his computer. Beware....the scam may be that if you don't have a good photo of prior dents and dings, they will produce a photo showing no damage and charge you extra.
After 20 minutes of arguing, the manager finally agreed to allow us to check out. If you are flying out on the day that you return the car, allow plenty of time - better yet - don't rent from Thrifty.

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