Ming the Mechanic:
Budget sucks a bit less

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Budget sucks a bit less2003-12-28 07:50
13 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

So, this is an update on my ongoing experience with Budget Rent-a-Car. See here and here. Quite a few good people helped me out by quoting or linking to my original article about my horrible experiences renting a faulty car that broke down, and then being billed more than $3000 on top of the already-paid full rental and insurance. See in Google here or here. And I sent letters to Budget headquarters, laying out the whole story. And other people sent e-mails. I didn't get any responses from them, so I'm not sure how much difference it made it getting their attention. I would like to think it is what made a difference.

At the same time a lady at Bank of America, my U.S. credit card and checking account, was working on the case. At first they had credited my account with the disputed overcharges, around $3200. But when Budget didn't respond through the normal channels, they had to take them out again from my account, which left it around $3000 overdrawn. And another department of BofA started hassling me about that, threatening to close the account shortly. Which would be a bit disasterous, as I'd have no good way of being paid in the U.S., or of paying bills. At the same time, a third department went to work on it. Specifically I spoke with this lady, Charlotte, who seemed to be a rather tough old broad, not putting up with just anything. And apparently, in the VISA system, there are ways of forcing other parties to respond even if they don't want to. And it took quite a while, but it seems she's getting somewhere. In the past week two credits have gone into my account, totalling around $2400. Which brings my account almost up to zero again. And there's $800 to go of the overcharging, so hopefully she's successful with that too.

Again, I wish I could say it was because we got the attention of Budget's US headquarters, and they decided it just wasn't right to treat people like that. But that doesn't really seem to be it. Merely that there is some sense built into the VISA system, and I'm lucky that my bank has somebody who's job it is to try to right certain kinds of wrongs.


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13 comments

29 Dec 2003 @ 14:55 by vibrani : Very disappointing
how some businesses operate these days, Ming. Your log is doing a good job in exposing them and probably preventing potential future Budget customers and that may provide some solace. Hope you get your full refund.  


1 Jan 2004 @ 04:43 by bluewhoooo : BUDGET RENT A CAR
I WOULD LIKE TO ADD A WORD OF ADVICE TO ANYONE WHO RENTS A CAR FROM BUDGET OR ANY OTHER CAR RENTAL. THIS ACTUALLY HAPPEN TO A FRIEND OF MINE. A WOMAN FRIEND HAD A CAR ACCIDENT AND RENTED A CAR FROM BUDGET FOR 2-3 WEEKS. AFTER RETURNING THE CAR SHE RECEIVED A NOTICE FROM HER BANK THAT A FAIRLY LARGE AMOUNT HAD BEN TAKEN FROM HER CHECKING ACCOUNT LEAVING HER NEARLY BROKE. SHE HADN'T SPENT THE MONEY AND AFTER HAVING HER ACCOUNT FROZEN UNTIL THE BANK COULD INVESTIGATE WHERE HER MONEY HAD GONE. THEY FOUND THAT A MANAGER WHOM HAD RECENTLY BEEN LET GO, HAD TAKEN A HANDFUL OF RENTAL CONTRACTS FROM THE FILES WITH HIM. THESE CONTRACTS HAD ALL THE PERSONAL INFORMATION INCLUDING BANK ACCOUNT NUMBERS CREDIT CARDS NUMBERS ECT. ON EACH OF THE CUSTOMERS THAT HAD RECENTLY RENTED A CAR FROM BUDGET. THIS MAN TOOK MONEY FROM THESE ACCOUNT IN WHICH HE HELD A CONTRACT. HE HAD ALL THE NEEDED INORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE TO DO THIS. THEY ARE STILL TRYING TO CATCH UP WITH HIM. MY FRIEND WENT TO BUDGET RENTAL AND ASKED WHAT THEY DID WITH THE CONTRACTS AFTER A CAR WAS TURNED IN, THEY FILED THEM. YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO ASK FOR THIS PAPERWORK AFTER THE RETURN OF THE CAR SO IT CAN BE DESTROYED BY YOU AND NO-ONE ELSE HAS ACCESS TO YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION. IT TOOKS WEEKS TO STRAIGHTEN OUT HER ACCOUNT. PLEASE HEED THIS WARNING. GET YOUR PAPERWORK EITHER RIPPED UP IN FRONT OF YOU, OR GIVEN TO YOU.
1JAN.1904 @ 3:38 BY BLUEWHOOOO
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU.
BE SAFE, CAREFUL AND SMART IN THIS COMING YEAR.
GOD BLESS  



16 Oct 2004 @ 01:17 by karen @162.83.138.41 : Lack of concern for customer service
I think we have been dealing with a company that has no regard for customer service or human decency. Perhaps that attitude has filtered down to lower levels in the company. I contacted Budget corporate customer serive regarding the condition of their cars and was met with the same apathy you describe. I will never use their services again.
Here is my story...I was extremely disappointed when I arrived in st thomas and was given a car with obvious dents, a lock mechanism that didn't work properly and suntan lotion all over the pasenger seat. (I guess after hearing your story I should be glad it even ran.) The agent seemed annoyed that we weren't pleased with the car and told us the only other thing she had was a year older. We accepted that and she told us that it was in an unmarked parking lot spot. So my husband and set out searching for the car. We looked at the keychain and looked at every White chevy on all levels and couldn't find the car in any spot in the entire parking lot.

To add insult to injury I was about five months pregnant and the heat was overwhelming. Finally we came back in and told her that the car was no where to be found. Meanwhile, she had taken the keys to the first car and gave us the wrong keys back so our luggage was now held hostage in the trunk of the first rental car. Finally she offered for someone to drive the first car (that didnt lock and was full of suntan lotion) around so that we could retrieve our luggage before going to a different car compnay. She didn't offer to have the same person just find the invisible car for us. I truly think it did not exist. We were treated horribly and not even offered a different class of car. I have never seen anything like this and I travel quit a bit as a consultant. The difference is that my company uses Hertz for all our business travel.

By the time I called it quits with Budget and walked next door to Hertz I was ready to pass out from heat exhaustion and extremely frusrated. The lady at Hertz gave me a glass of water and calmed my hysterics. There is no reason that anyone should have to go through the BS that I got from the Budget rental in St Thomas. Hertz gave me a clean car for LESS MONEY. So in the end I won out but not with out an hour of my pregnant self trapsing around the parking lost looking for a nonexistant car. It ruined my first day of vacation and could have ruined my heatlh and that is disgusting. The lack of customer service will be Budget's own demise.  



26 Dec 2004 @ 01:50 by ERAC Sucks @209.128.93.30 : It could be worse...
It could be worse. You could have rented from Enterprise. Check out their hate site at [link]  


12 Apr 2006 @ 19:24 by Ben Leighton @130.36.62.127 : Budget sucks
Every time I have ever rented from Budget, I have been miserable. Budget sucks. I was just forced to rent from Budget this week in Yakima, WA because theirs was the only rental agency open after my flight arrived at 12:00 midnight. When I got back to the air terminal to return the car, there was nobody there to accept the car. I waited 30+ minutes and nobody showed up. I then had to leave the keys and contract on the counter for lack of anything else I could do with them, because I had to catch my flight.

This morning I called to get my receipt faxed to me and they acted like I was interrupting their daily slacking. I told them there was nobody there yesterday between the hours of 4 and 5, there was no posted sign that said they'd be back, and there were several customers there trying to drop off cars. They had no response for me other than, "must have been out washing cars".

Budget sucks ass. Don't ever rent from budget. I have also rented from Budget in Portland Oregon three years ago, at which time I was given a very small car although I had reserved an SUV. I rented from Budget in New Jersey 2 years ago and was charged double, then treated like a jerk when I demanded my money be refunded.

I say again, Budget SUCKS ASS. And although you may THINK they are less expensive, let me just tell you about my most recent rental: I was charged $62.60 for a Ford Taurus with 30,000 miles on it, which I rented from 12 midnight until 3:45 pm (approximately 16 hours). I consistently get a rate from Avis of $55 or less per day (these rates are INCLUDING taxes & fees) and get better, newer cars. Hertz I also hear is comparable in rate and service, although my company does not have a corporate rate with them so I am unable to rent with them frequently enough to verify.

To sum up, BUDGET SUCKS ASS. If we all band together and rent from somebody else, Budget will go out of business. The world will be a better place, and peace and harmony will reign for-ever. Our children will experience car rental bliss for all time and from this point hence, and the evildoers and apathetic Budget losers will all have to move to another country because we all hate them.

BUDGET SUCKS ASS. Good night, and good luck.  



22 Jun 2007 @ 20:35 by Stiletto @69.143.30.188 : BUDGET DOES SUCK!
They have this new fucked up policy of not renting to people whose credit is not up to par -- would have been nice if they stated this on their site so people like me aren't left stranded at the freakin' airport!  


9 Nov 2009 @ 22:07 by Ashley Pallotta @199.209.255.240 : SAME thing happened to me in Ireland
Wow, same exactly thing happened to me in Ireland. I drove the car 9 km when the clutch burnt out and they charged me $1800!! I also found out of another person, Zoltan, who rented a car from the SAME LOCATION (Dublin Airport, Budget) exactly one week prior to me (I found him by doing this very thing and blogging, so continue doing what you're doing). Both of us were rented a silver VW and both of us drove it less than 9 km and both of us were charged $1800 nearly 6 weeks after the actual incident and they towed this vehicle all the way across the country to repair it in Flynn Brothers car repair, which by the way, Budget owns. (Did they really even repair it?) I did everything you did to no avail: countless attempts to contact Budget in Ireland, Budget HQ in the U.S., Federal Trade Commission, European Consumer Centre, Car Rental Council of Ireland, Christopher Elliot (MSNBC travel guy) and other news agencies. But here we are, 5 months later, and Zoltan and I are finally making progress!! Here's what we did and here's whatyou HAVE TO DO. You have NO RIGHTS here in the U.S. You have to use their court system. I know it sucks but it's worth it. Zoltan and I hired a local "solicitor" in Ireland local to the Budget HQ in Ireland. In Ireland, the loser of the court case pays lawyer fees. Suddenly they are scared. Zoltan sent a new invoice... $1800 PLUS lawyer fees plus time spent over 4 months equating to an extra $2K. They actually SENT the laywer a check for 3000 euro which is what he asked for minus lawyer fees so he is fighting to get the lawyer fees. They sent the laywers for me a check for $1800 only and yesterday agreed to pay about $2200 plus lawyer fees (so I'd be making a little money on this now). I'm demanding 3000 euro total and I will deduct the lawyer fees from that. if they wanted to settle for just the cost of $1800 they should have done it 4 months ago before I put so much time and stress into this. Zoltan and I are making them pay for what they did and that cost is approximately $4K more than what they charged us. You need to do the same. Get a laywer in France. It will be a civil matter.
Oh also, we had the Irish police (Garda) pay them a visit and even though it is a civil matter, it still scared them a little. The U.S. can't do shit for you, sorry. Your credit card (as well as mine and Zoltan) can't do shit and won't. No laywer here will help you either. You simply have no other option. Take it from someone who'ss been there.
See my post: [link]  



22 Apr 2010 @ 14:26 by Imi @196.210.231.241 : Avoid Budget if you can
Agree with everyone that budget sucks. our experience is as follows:

1. Booked a car online to and got a confirmation in a booking that they would have a booster seat available, which *suprisesuprise* was not there. Never-the-less their booking contract includes a charge for non-existent seat
2. they tried to give us a car that has clearly problems with the ignition lock. In order to be able to turn the key to start the vehicle you need to wiggle the steering wheel, push the keys and dance around the car. well their agent had already left the office when we found out that we do not know the correct procedure to be able to turn the keys. As a global company they should get locks like that changed as they might get worse and not work at all at a later stage (which would be very convenient when we are in middle of Namib desert with no cell phone coverage).
3. After a lot of expensive international calls etc they finally gave us a go ahead (over the phone conveniently as there is no written proof…) to purchase the seat.
4. At the return of the car seat, conveniently they could NOT refund the seat immediately on their credit card EFT machine even though there is one in the office.
5. After we leave they conveniently lost the receipt for the booster seat I provided
6. Two weeks later, they conveniently have the nerve to charge me full rental, including the rental for booster seat that (as if they get their way) we have “donated”.
7. Also they charge me for couple of extra kilometers over 600 km even though the odometer showed something like 590 km (I zeroed it when I rented the car and checked it when I returned the vehicle).
8. Now that I'm trying to get my money back, they cannot refund as THEY have LOST the receipt. I guess they cannot even send me my booster seat (or at least it would be fully worn out).

stay away from Budget!  



24 Feb 2011 @ 05:01 by dee @121.218.232.79 : budget car rental
I agree. stay away from budget We had car booked from Aussie after we left by agent and gave us booking number on fax. They said they couldnt find it and we charged again, I thought it could be fixed later but no , nine months later still trying. The budget people in N.Z were no help at all and wouldnt even respond to emails. I have now got on direct to Ireland and hope I can fix it.No customer service from Budget down under.  


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Other stories in
2012-05-03 00:04: An evolving path
2012-01-02 13:52: 2011 Accomplishments and 2012 Aims
2011-11-17 02:20: Your inner piece
2011-02-01 00:05: Slow Mo Flow
2011-01-22 18:40: Recognition
2010-08-23 00:36: Where's Ming?
2010-07-20 14:24: Getting other people to do stuff
2010-06-22 00:27: Inventory
2010-06-19 23:10: Conversations
2009-10-28 12:31: Then a miracle occurs



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