Rental car company taking advantage of tourist that don’t sign up for Sun Pass.

We recently heard from Ken, a tourist from Tennessee, that rented a car from Thrifty Rental Car and was charged $225.00 for toll “violations”. All because he declined to rent a Sun Pass toll transponder when he picked up his rental. Thrifty Rental Car refers to each trip under a toll gantry without a Sun Pass transponder a “violation” and charged Ken, $25.00 for each “violation”. The fact is that no official violation was ever issued by any tolling authority, law enforcement or state agency. Thrifty, along with other car rental companies, are allowed to charge this outrageously high “violation” fee because they can.

Apart from being totally wrong and unethical, this practice by Thrifty Rental Car leaves a bad taste in the mouths of tourist that come to our city to work or play.   Is this the kind of impression that we want to give?  I would say not!  After all South Florida and the state in general depends on tourist dollars as a major source of jobs and revenue.  Not to mention the financing of our shinny new Marlins Stadium.

Instead of finding ways to screw tourist shouldn’t all car rental companies be mandated to automatically  “opt-in” on Sun Pass for all customers?  Some actually do like  Avis, Budget, National, Alamo and Enterprise.

But the shame not only falls on Thrifty Car Rental.  It is shared by Sun Pass, FDOT (Florida Dept. of Transportation) and MDX (Miami-Dade Expressway Authority), for allowing this to happen right under their noses.  These agencies conveniently look the other way and act helpless as businesses like Thrifty are allowed to rip-off tourist.  This is wrong and something should be done to mandate that all car rental agencies automatically include the Sun Pass transponder with every rental.

Carlos Garcia,


Here is a link to the Sun Pass site with regard to rental agencies and their policies.

Here is a copy of the e-mail by Ken:

I just received a bill from them for the last rental. I went through tolls on this trip to the value of $3.75 total which was billed. However, they are charging me an administrative fee of $25.00 per toll. This totals $225.00 administrative fees as I went through 9 toll stations. Well, when there was a toll station I stopped but as you know there are many that have no stations. My largest fee was $0.75 and the smallest was $0.25.
As they indicated, when I rented this car I signed the agreement and must owe it. Being from Tennessee we have no toll roads so this is a shock.
Let’s see now…$225.00 plus $3.75 for the tolls, Thrifty has traded my business for $225.00.
When I go to the new rental location in Ft Lauderdale there are so many companies wanting my business that I can’t imagine that Thrifty would want to get rid of me for life for $225.00. However, I guess that they do.
I will fax this letter to you. I doubt they would pay attention to me. They have already charged my card and even put it on the wrong credit card when I went through the process of having it changed. Oh well, for $500.00 I have learned who my friends are. At this rate Hertz looks like a bargain.



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2 Responses to Rental car company taking advantage of tourist that don’t sign up for Sun Pass.

  1. Sharyn Budnetz says:

    I rented a car from Thrifty in Feb. 2013. They offered to sell me a Sunpass (unlimited) for 7 days @ $49.00. I declined it and they wrote in in big red letters on my printout.
    At NO time did they inform me that there would be a $25 administrative fee tacked onto the toll charge. My toll totaled $1.00 ! They billed me $45.00 in fees.
    Thrifty needs to educate their agents on informing their clients about the Sunpass issue. This is a scam to consumers. I am in the process of fighting this. They charged my credit card. My friend later told me that I could stop at Publix in Florida and buy a Sunpass for $4.99 and it would go towards the tolls. What a ripoff at Thrifty

  2. David says:

    I had the same problem as ken and the others with the Thrifty/Dollar company, I tried to pay the tolls I inadvertently went through, that has no toll both to pay cash and does not inform you that you are on a toll road until after you are on it, and then you see the sign that says Sun pass Or we will bill plate # I asked at a sun pass tool booth at a bridge toll that had an attendant taking cash and he gave me a Sun pass flyer with there phone # on it I immediately called sun pass but they were closed as it was Sunday, When I turned the car in later that day I asked to pay it at the Dollar/ Thrifty lot at the airport they said I could buy a sun pass for $55.00 then and now that would take care of the 6 $1.91 tolls I went through totaling $11.46 or it would be billed to my credit card when the tolls came through plus a $15.00 Administration fee per toll totaling $90.00 plus the $11.46 in tolls, I said I would report it as fraud to my credit card company, Which I did the next day and South west / chase shut the card down paid my legitimate charges that they verified and said thrifty will now have to asked for there money and verify the legitimate charges for the rental and the tolls minus there $15.00 administration fees! I also had called Sun-pass first on Monday morning
    And told them what happened first and gave them the plate # and asked to pay, But they told me that it would have to be paid through Thrifty/Dollar and would not let me pay or bill me, I asked if they were aware of the scam Thrifty was running and they said they were, I told them then they are willing participant and a part of the circle of deception and fraud! I also asked if they were getting Kick backs from thrifty and how much like 40/ 60% and they claimed they were not getting any kick backs, I then told the agent I would find out to verify there claims through the freedom of information act! and if they were getting any kick backs I would be filing a class action suit! I will follow up when the info becomes know to me.

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