3OYS: Scottsdale woman disputes car rental charge

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz --  A Scottsdale woman claims she was overcharged for her rental car. She tried to resolve the matter on her own, but when things didn't go well, she called 3 On Your Side for help.

Tara Martz is a single mom who admits money is tight. So when she needed to rent a car recently she went to a place called Phoenix Car Rental near 29th street and McDowell. Tara says she went there because their website advertised cars starting at just $129 a week. "For the full week's rental, everything's included, unlimited mileage, everything included with that," she says.

When Tara arrived, she says the rental company once again verified her rate at $129 a week. So, she went through with the deal. She didn't have a credit card, but Phoenix Car Rental's website indicated they accepted cash. So she handed over a $300 cash deposit and drove off in her rental car.

But the problems started when she returned the car. "I returned the vehicle one week later and when I did, the price changed," she says.

Instead of $129 plus tax, Tara says her bill was close to $370. Tara protested the charge but claims she was forced out of the office. "They locked me out of the business and would not even give me my receipt, would not talk to me, would give me no further explanation," she says.

Tara filed a report with Phoenix Police and later contacted 3 On Your Side. Gary Harper tried calling the rental car company but they hung up on him when he introduced himself. So, Gary showed up at the business, and when they saw him, someone immediately locked the door.

But Gary stuck around a bit and then heard a demand come over their P.A. system. "You are trespassing you need to leave the property," the announcement said.

Gary left, but later a representative from Phoenix Car Rental, which also goes by Saban’s Rent-A-Car, called, saying Tara’s charges were correct. The company claimed they charged $16.95 a day extra because Tara didn't have a credit card, and when he included other incidentals like taxes and other various rental surcharges, the bill came to $369. "I feel taken advantage of," she says. "I feel stupid. I feel sad. I feel used."

The Better Business bureau gives phoenix car rental an "F" rating, saying the company has a pattern of complaints from consumers who say "the price they are charged for the rental is much higher than what was originally quoted."   Tara says she's not surprised.   "I hope nobody else goes there. I don't want this to happen to anybody else.”

Again, despite its "F" rating with the Phoenix Better Business Bureau, the car rental company says it charges customers correctly and fairly.