Dollar Rent A Car, 5630 Arbor Vitae St, Los Angeles, CA (3/8/2009)

I don’t know why I keep giving Dollar at LAX a chance. Perhaps because if they’re not the cheapest, they are at least close to it. I’ve had them hit me with a fuel charge (I was told to return it as I took it) and a higher LDW (my contract said $9.95 but the receipt said $14.95). Each time, a refund of the money, but no refund of my time to chase them down. I’ve rented from them at least 6 times in the last 6 months.

For this most recent rental, I arrived at LAX, picked up my luggage from the carousel and walked out to the pickup point, where I waited nearly 15 minutes for a Dollar shuttle. Three Hertz buses went past, as did two each of the other vendors including National, Enterprise and Avis. Still no Dollar. When it did arrive, it was nearly full and a few customers were left standing. At least the driver was apologetic.

A brief drive to their location where we all piled out. There is usually an associate there to greet the bus for the Dollar Express customers and hand out keys/contracts. Not today! We ALL had to go into the building. Most lined up in the regular queue, but Dollar has a special line for Express customers. This would have been fine, but the single person at the counter took ten minutes dealing with a customer’s service issue before he took the Express customer ahead of me and then me. At the point of 15 minutes after I disembarked from the shuttle bus, I had my contract in hand.

By this time, it was raining. Not a problem, except that there is no cover between the office and the garage where the Intermediate-sized cars are located. I got drenched. Into the garage, the usual boring cars, but I did see shiny white Dodge Avenger was hiding at the end. With a “satellite radio” antenna! I chose it and loaded my stuff.

Driving out to the guard gate, there was a line of six cars waiting to be checked out. Another fifteen minutes of my time wasted in this queue before I was out and headed to the 405. Total time from airport to highway: 60 intolerable minutes. So much for “Express,” eh?

On the 405, I tried to tune in satellite channel but it was inoperable (“Please call to subscribe”). Other problems with the car included the terrestrial radio only pulling in one station, squealing brakes and the four hamsters hiding under the hood were rather tired. On top of all that, whatever cleaning chemicals they had used to deodorize the vehicle had given me a headache.

Between the long delay to get the car, the strong chemical smell, the crappy radio and the squealing brakes, I award Dollar LAX ONE star and a place on my “no fly” list. I will not rent from them again. I suggest you do the same.

Link: Dollar Rent A Car, 5630 Arbor Vitae St, Los Angeles, CA (3/8/2009)

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