I have had largely OK experiences with this car rental brand in Australia. Vehicles provided have predominantly been received in clean, tidy and good condition. Majority of hires have been smooth with one disappointing experience in the middle involving one of their licensees operating in Suburban Melbourne who I felt were dishonest and were also caught posting fake reviews to boot (Dandenong Thrifty / Lawrence Vic Pty Ltd). To Thrifty AU Headoffice’s credit, majority of the reviews identified have been removed after I advised Thrifty Head Office (though not without mentioning the acronyms ACCC and CAV and further note there are some fake reviews still outstanding)
Thrifty AU I note publicise about being 100% NRMA owned along with pushing “Smiles all the way” marketing, however, in reality have found my hiring experiences with them to be not that much different to any of the major car rental brands operating in Australia. Some staff it was noted seem dejected / depressed at certain locations with some even found to be complaining about upper management between themselves upon me walking through the door and up to the counter – indicating a probable internal culture issue at some locations.
Standard form contracts through their AU wide booking reservations systems need to be reviewed and updated to improve transparency and disclosure where some locations it has been noted have had to resort to using a ball point pen to cross out rates and manually write in the inclusive rate before handing the agreement to me to sight and sign.
While Thrifty have traditionally tended to be my go to rental car brand when I am in Australia (mostly born from positive hiring experiences at home with their NZ Subsidiary), I will admit that I am on the fence about continuing my regular custom.
To be brutally honest, the issues identified above I don’t believe are unique to Thrifty, The Car rental industry in Australia bluntly speaking as a whole needs a swift boot up the backside and a clean out. There is no doubt in my mind there are real issues that need to be looked at.
I note there is now some organizational body called the Australian Car Rental Conciliation Service, but appears to be set up by the industry themselves rather than structured as an independent body, cynically, I can’t see this as being any more an attempt by the Industry in Australia to say to their government, “Hey, look at us, we’re doing something!” and delay government intervention.
Will gradually start looking to rent from some of the smaller independent operators rather than through the big brands next time when I am Australia.