Monday, March 22, 2010

Budget Rent A Car

I seldom get mad. I seldom stay mad. But, when I do, I do. The scam, known as Budget Rent A Car took us for a ride to the tune of $691.52! It wasn't a tune, it was a major rip off.

Here's the scenario. We went on-line to rent a car. We had a confirmation # for a weekly rate for an economy car that was to cost us $253.38. We also had a coupon for a free upgrade. The Budget bus picks you up at the terminal and takes you to the car lot to finish all the paperwork. This is a key element of this story. The lot is in the middle of nowhere and if you don't like the "deal", you're screwed. In more ways then one.

So we get there - before the sentence could be finished we were told, (A) no economy cars and (B) no next car class upgrade. We would have to take a Mercury SUV. Well, there we the middle of nowhere and we swallow and agree - to the horrible tune of $509.00! We were mad enough about that. I mean totally mad. But whatcha gonna do? So off we drove.

We enjoyed the car but it was waaaaaay more then what we needed. A six passenger SUV with bells and whistles we couldn't figure out because there was no operator's manual in the car.

Our week ended. We turned in the car at 6AM. They rush you through and hand you a receipt which, we stupidly did NOT look at until we got home. Stupidly and luckily as we would have both fainted.

I would have thought we were the only ones this happend to but, not true. A passenger on the shuttle to the airport told us a story of how they charged him $128 per day for a Ford Focus (an economy or compact car class)! How can that be? His bill was over $700.........THAT should have been the clue for us.

But, who in their right mind would think that a CONFIRMED reservation for an economy car in the amount of $253.38, would end up costing $944.90? Not me and probably not you either.

So, what to do? Well, we did charge the amount. So, we did call the credit card company and tell them to put a "hold on the charge" as we wanted to challenge it.
We intend to call Budget and attempt, through customer service, to get some relief.

After all, that amount is almost as much as my total social security check that I live on for a month. Anybody have any other ideas of how to resolve this dilemma?

My suggestion to you is DON'T use Budget Rent A Car - EVER. It was an oldfashioned "bait and switch". I thought that was against the law? Hmmmm, your thoughts would be appreciated.


Unknown said...

No advice but plenty of sympathy. I use hotwire with good results in New Orleans. You prepay upfront but the leases have always been straightforward and no hidden fees.

1st Mate said...

I'm wondering if you have a printout of the confirmation, and whether that might carry some weight when you talk to the company. But do it SOON, the longer you take the harder it'll be to get any results. There's also the Better Business Bureau, and probably a complaint website you could post on, and make sure Budget knows you're doing it. They basically trapped you into a bad deal.

One Small Voz said...

Report them to the BBB and let them know you did. I did this with a scam online airline company with shady reservation tactics (Cheap-o-Air, I think). I send them an email letting them know I had reported the shady tactics to the BBB, had saved screen shots as evidence, and that they could either refund my ticket or contact the BBB investigator assigned to my case. They chose option 1 and I received a full refund. Good Luck in your case! said...

I had something similar happen when I turned a car in as I was leaving Australia so it isn't jusst Budget that does this. You have my sympathy. You didn't say where this happened which might be helpful to future visitors.

Steve Cotton said...

The BBB is your best option. But you might want to call the Attorney General's office in the state where you rented the vehicle. Each office has a consumer fraud office. If there are other investigations under way, you might get some interest from them. This last option will be difficult, but every state has a consumer protection law. You could sue Budget in small claims court for their bait and switch.

Babs said...

I SO appreciate all of your suggestions and advice. I will call Budget tomorrow - right after I call the BBB. I need to do it because I'll be in the blue skies heading back to San Miguel on Thursday!

Anonymous said...

Babs, if you were in San Miguel you could have rented a donkey for a lot less.

Katie said...

In case you want to write to the man in charge:
Mr. Ronald Nelson
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Avis Budget Group, Inc.
6 Sylvan Way
Parsippany NJ 07054

I have always had good luck when I address a consumer complaint to the top of the pyramid. Also, if you were in Colorado, the daily newspaper of the closest large city may have a consumer complaint desk that would follow up with Budget if you do not get any satisfaction.

Good luck!

Babs said...

Thanks Katie for the info. I'll keep everyone informed as to the final outcome.
Richard, I'll be home late Thursday. Hope to see you soon! Get that donkey ready.

commentbug said...

I feel your pain I like to use enterprise or rent 4less. file a complaint with the better business bureau.

Calypso said...

A thousand bucks is a whole lot of dinero amiga - you might have been off to buy a wreck; and had better luck - ugh!

No help here - haven't rented a car for 20 years - based on your story may it be another twenty at least!

Jacque Parsley said...

That happened to us in Mexico. It was twice as much as it said on the internet. The oil light come on the minute we pulled out of the airport.
I don't have to worry about it again because I am never driving in Mexico. I know never say never.