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Warning: Rental car scam

Durango, Colorado
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6 posts
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Warning: Rental car scam

I rented a car a couple of weeks ago in Penang from a reasonably popular local rental agency (Big Thumb Car Rental). I'd hired from them twice before in 2015. I lived in Asia for years and have extensive driving experience there, and have owned a few cars in Asia myself. I rented the car for a week and spent most of the time about 1 hour inland from Penang out in the kampung, driving mostly between my hotel and a relatives house. Practically no opportunity for damage. When they delivered the car to my hotel we made note of several scratches in various locations. They surprised me by taking several photos around the car themselves...never saw any car rental agency do this before anywhere but thought it not a bad idea. I should mention that upon checkout they took a MYR 500 cash deposit from me. Upon returning the car to the Penang airport they told me there were two new scratches on the right front bumper about 6 inches below an existing large scratch of exactly the same length and parallel orientation. They then produced the photos they took on checkout which did NOT show the two allegedly "new" scratches. I'm absolutely certain I did not cause these new scratches. A lengthy argument ensued. After threatening to call the police and get my highly-placed relatives involved they reluctantly relented after I suggested they might have Photoshopped the two scratches out of the pictures they took. Perhaps I touched on the nature of their scam....Photoshopping damage out of pictures THEY took is very easily done. I got my 500 MYR cash deposit back and caught my flight.

Next time I'll take MY OWN photos.

So much fraud these days concerning minor damage on rental cars. I had a similar experience a few years ago at the Budget rental outlet at Heathrow.

Edited: 3:29 am, February 15, 2016
16 replies to this topic
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11. Re: Warning: Rental car scam

Hi All,

I am the owner of BT. Great to see everyone is having open discussion here. We noted about complain from britishconsumer2016 (Let’s call Mr A).

We have been in car rental industry for more than 5 years. Customer satisfaction is always our upmost priority. Nevertheless, we also have a set of standard policy applies to make sure everyone can enjoy the best services from us.

Here is our thought.

- “I was offered a vehicle typical of a teenager's first vehicle, a bright red KELISA with black roof livery and gold painted sporty wheel spiked rims with curled up antenna!”

Mr A book a Kelisa car from our online booking system for 11 days at RM 50/day last month. Kelisa is a budget car and not a new model compare to other cars (we also have other executive sedan car for rent) as per stated during booking Kelisa was registered year 2007. Indeed, we upgrade and facelift it to ensure it looks good and feel comfort for our customer. Checkout the picture at: http://i68.tinypic.com/4gg8si.jpg and http://i66.tinypic.com/30ac01h.jpg. (Let us know if it looks bad for a 10 years old car)

We are always try our best to deliver the best services to meet customer expectation. If there is other car available during that time, we often offer free upgrade. Mr A books for 11 days and we do not have other cars available during that time. Thus, we are not able to do free upgrade and keep our promise to deliver Kelisa per his booking request.

And We noted the “hanging thing” & “bunny sticker” and apologies if that give you very bad experience of renting the car.

- Regarding the “grinding noise”, the budget Kelisa car is a 2007 car as stated in our website and booking system. It might not be as quiet as a new car. But it just passes our regular 3 months’ services and checking to ensure it is safe to drive as customer safety is important to us. Based on our records, you drove 635km within 11 days without any issue. This further proof that our trusted workshop done their job well.

Furthermore, we provide 24 breakdown support to ensure customer get necessary helps when needed. We will double check and look in to the noise for that car again to ensure other customer won’t have similar experience.

- As for the sun visor, it is only available for executive car model. Budget car doesn’t include by default. If case if you need one, you can always ask from us. We are happy to find a pair for you.

- Lastly, full to full policy is part of our standard policy (also happens to many car rental companies). The penalty is to encourage customer return the car in full tank so that we can hand over to the next customer without need to drive in-out to refill it. Just imagine if we were handling pickup/drop-off for 20-30 cars every day, we may not able to deliver all cars on time with full tanks. Hope that clears why there is full to full policy apply to most car rental companies.

And Yes, we do not have big name stand behind us. We are just a local Malaysian car rental company. But it doesn’t stop us trying to provide the best car services to our customers. We always open for suggestion and complain if there is anything we can learn and improve to become better.

Once again great to see everyone here to have open discussion.

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12. Re: Warning: Rental car scam

I rented a car fro La Belle Rent a Car for 2 days just to drive out of Georgetown. Staff Ms Fateha was pleasant & friendly in her interactions with us. She let us have Perodua Myvi as the car we had initially ordered, Perodua VIVA , was not available on that day. We managed to return the car as it is. She's fine with minor scratches but not dents. Petrol was fully topped up when we collected the car and we did the same upon return. Ms Fateha was upright and upfront with the conditions and there was no ill intention from the company. I'll definitely give my thumps up to La Belle and will patronise them on my next visit. There were only 4 reviews on La Belle and since all were positives, I went for them and got a good deal. Thanks Ms Fateha!!

Penang Island...
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13. Re: Warning: Rental car scam

Thank you for the warnings. Last month, I tried to rent a car from the Big Thumb because they offered the cheapest rates & has the best rating on FB. But they didn't have any (large) car that I wanted. So I proceeded to rent from the vendors at Penang Airport. I rented 3 different cars - each from different vendors over a period of 3 weeks (my car is being repaired). Three things I learned from the experience are:

1. Ask around for cars on promotion. I rented out a Nissan Almeria 1.5L for 99myr/day for a week. Cheap, considering that its usual rental is around 150myr.

2. Double check the dings, scratches the vendor staff already marked on the checklist. Sometimes they are not thorough...

3. Ask for newer cars. As a rule of thumb, I would rent a car that's about 6 month old. Those of 2 years plus... only if I run out of options which usually not the case.

Lastly, local/independent vendors often offer value-for-money, newer cars.

Edited: 1:18 pm, December 26, 2016
Francescas, France
1 post
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14. Re: Warning: Rental car scam

Dear BT, You can't please everyone... Let your conscious decide... Furthermore, why don't they rent from others... Because 1) your price and car is attractive OR 2) your service is sucks

Destination Expert
for Penang Island
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15. Re: Warning: Rental car scam

This is an old post. What's the point on bringing up again?

We listen two side of the story (for TA and also BT) and it explain quite clearly on this case.

If there's similar case or new case , it would be better to start a new Topic instead.

Have a great day.

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16. Re: Warning: Rental car scam

Hi! I'm also facing the rental car scam in Penang's airport. I choose the first car rental counter (Winmaxx) after I pick up my luggage. i choose local car Bezza for 2 days because Bezza still consider a new car for me. After the registeration, they ask me for the deposit for RM150.00 which I think still consider reasonable for me. However, when I return the car to them in the airport, their staff told me that they have a lot of problem which tourist got summon but didn't inform them. Tell me to provide my saving account number and they will deposit to me after they check the status of the car about 2-3 days processing will do. Then I provide my saving account number to them and rush to check in my luggage. However, I'm still checking with them for my deposit after a month. At first they say will refund my deposit but later on they say I've to go to their counter to get back the refund myself after a month. I'm here to tell others tourist pls do be careful when choosing a car rental company and I also hope I can get back my money.

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