Ming the Mechanic:
Budget sucks!

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Budget sucks!2003-10-29 16:15
picture by Flemming Funch

I had quite a nightmare experience with the car we rented from Budget Rent-a-car 3 months ago when we first came to France. And it is no way finished, as it seems they succeeded in ripping me off of $3300 on top of the full rental and insurance we paid, where really it should have been them who ought to have reimbursed me for our extra trouble and expenses.

In brief, we rented a car for 3 weeks from Budget in the airport in Toulouse, France. I opted for full insurance and paid it all in advance. During those 3 weeks we decided to drive to Denmark. On the way the car broke down on the freeway in Hamburg, Germany in the middle of the night. Budget had it towed away, and we went and received a replacement car in the Budget office of the Hamburg airport in the morning. We continued in that car. 6 days later when we were coming back, they weren't done reparing the French car, so we kept driving the German car and handed it back at the end of our rental period in Toulouse. In the meantime they had decided that it was our fault the car broke down, because Ford wouldn't repair it under warranty. They at first wanted to bill us the full cost of the repair (1400 euros) and the cost of transporting the two cars back to where they belonged (1300 euros). I refused. Instead they charged 800 euros for an accident deductible. There hadn't been any accident, mind you. I thought that was the end of it, but the next day another $2300+ was charged to my account from Budget Germany. I didn't get any explanation for it, but assumed it would be the rental price for the German car, plus a charge for transporting it back. Note that I already had paid for the whole period and didn't get any refunds.

When I found that out, I asked my bank to reverse the charges (around $3300). They did that, pending investigation, and I sent them my story and all the documentation. But Budget never answered their queries. So then, last week the bank re-reversed the charges and deducted the amount from my account again. And, well, the checking/visa account was almost empty already, so the result became that it is now $3000 overdrawn, and I'd be in risk of losing my account, screwing up my credit, and not having any way of paying my U.S. bills.

The full story with details is at the bottom, for anybody who's particularly interested. But let me bring out a few points and pieces of advice that are good to pass on:
  • When you rent a car in a European country from a big car rental company, you might not actually be dealing with that company at all, but with a small local franchise. I realized later that I was dealing with one company in the south of France and another in northern Germany, and not at all with Budget Rent A Car System, Inc, despite that it has big signs and business cards and everything saying BUDGET. Only when you get the final bill do you realize who you've been doing business with.
  • A car rental franchise in one place has very little interest in covering expenses that are incurred with another franchise in another place, even if it is their fault. Even if it has the same BUDGET sign in the same big letters over each of their booths.
  • Europe is not the U.S. You can't count on the existence of a general rule that "the customer is always right". Asking to talk to somebody's supervisor might not get you anywhere.
  • It is common in several European countries that even though you opt for the full insurance, there's a large deductible, which they might well forget to mention to you. The approach of some companies is that if anything at all happens to the car, you pay that deductible. It is often 800 or 1000 euros.
  • A car rental franchise is likely to have the view that if anything breaks down on the car, the warranty of the manufacturer will cover it. And if they don't, it is YOUR fault. Doesn't matter how many other people have driven the car before, or what state it was in when you got it.
  • If your rental car breaks down, there's an emergency number to call. But don't expect that they'll actually deal with anything other than having the car towed away. They might leave you in the night in the rain in a foreign country until their offices will open on the next business day.
  • If you get a replacement car in a different office or a different franchise than the original car, and they make you sign a new contract, it is NOT "just a formality". You're likely to become liable for paying exactly what it says on it. You've better get a written and signed statement from them that says it is a replacement car, and it will be covered by the original contact. Verbal statements mean nothing later on.
  • A car rental company is free to bill you extra charges, damages, etc., without asking you. It is probably hidden in the small print you didn't read, but it doesn't even have to be. Your bank is likely to pay the charges, even if the money isn't in your account.
  • If you don't agree with the charges, your credit card company can not just cancel the charges. They might be nice to temporarily reverse them while they're looking into it. But they've already paid the company, and unless they agree with the wrongness of the charge, and they can persuade them to give the money back, there's nothing much you can do about it. Particularly when the charges happened in a different country than your bank is in, and all the paperwork is in French and German.
  • Neither the car rental franchises nor the bank are going to care much about whether it is fair to have to pay $4600 for renting a small faulty car for three weeks, which broke down and didn't get your where you were going. What matters is what the papers say and what you can prove. Or, what they can get away with.
I have rented a lot of cars, both in the U.S. and various European countries, and I've usually felt really safe and comfortable about the transactions. Minor problems like a broken taillight were usually accepted with a smile and a "Thank you for your business!" But then again, I haven't ever used Budget before. Avis has always been nice to me.

Anyway, here's the FULL ACCOUNT for anybody who's bored or who's really interested:

From the States I ordered a car for 3 weeks in Toulouse, Budget had the cheapest rate. $150/week for an intermediate car, unlimited milage. When we got there I opted for the full insurance and paid it all in advance. Turned out to be 1132 euros. Which is about 3 times as much as the quoted rate, but I figured that "full" insurance would be worth it. Only later did I notice that it said 800euro deductible in small letters. But that's not the point here.

I paid the full amount in cash. They also ran through an authorization on my card for, I believe, 600 euros, as security.

We got a Ford Mondeo diesel car, which was a smaller than standard car, but very nice and roomy. Only problem with it was that the engine died a couple of times when we first got it, as I started off like I normally would expect. I shrugged it off as the car being a little low on power, or us having a lot of luggage, and I just pressed the accelerator a little more and it was fine.

We drove it around in Toulouse and surroundings for a week without incident. Then, we decided on a road trip to our family in Denmark. Certainly shouldn't be any problem with the rental contract as it has free miles and it includes a map of most of Europe as the countries we can go to.

On the way, the car broke down in Hamburg around 3AM in the night. At first it just wouldn't go very fast, and beyond a certain point it would just rev up without moving any faster. We stopped at a gas tank, but couldn't think of anything to do with it. We decided to try to make it a little further to a hotel so we could deal with it in the morning.

We made it a few miles further, and then it just wouldn't move at all. Seemed like the clutch had given up. Now, that was in the outskirts of Hamburg in a residential area not next to anything very useful. A taxi driver checked for us if there were any vacant hotels, but his office insisted there weren't.

Then we remembered to look at Budget's paperwork, and there was an emergency number in France to call. They were very friendly, and the guy called me back a few minutes later and said that a mechanic from Ford would show up within the hour and fix the car. I was very impressed and figured they would probably just come and take care of it, or bring us another car. No such luck. 1.5 hours later a tow truck showed up. The driver spoke only German and all he knew was that he was to take the car away to the shop. Without us, that is. It is raining, in the middle of the night, and we had a lot of luckage, two cats, a sleeping kid, etc.

Another call to Budget's emergency service and I explain the situation. He promises to call back with a solution, and hints at that they might either bring us back to France, to our destination in Denmark, or at least get us a hotel and another car. Then, when he called back quite a while later, while I had been trying to hold off the tow truck driver, the best he could suggest was to find a coffee shop and call him back at 8AM when he might get hold of somebody at Budget in Germany.

We decided instead to take a taxi to Hamburg airport and wait in front of the Budget office there until they would open. Which was another 3 hours or so.

When the office opened I put in another call to Budget France emergency number. I was on hold for about 20 minutes before I got through, and another 20 to argue with them and try to make it clear to the German Budget guy what is going on. Mind you, that is with my $3/minute Danish cell phone. We hadn't planned to spend any time in Germany at all.

The German and the French Budget people seemed to have trouble coming to any kind of agreement. The French people wanted them to give us a car exactly like what we had. Which they don't rent at all there. Then they wanted to be sure we didn't get a car of any higher class than what we had. The equivalent class there would produce a VW Golf which is a much smaller car, and which couldn't possibly fit all our stuff.

Eventually the guy at the counter agrees to give us the smallest car he had that would fit our stuff, which turned out to be an Audi A4, which was approximately the same size, although a bit smaller. After conferring with his manager, they just gave us the car without having reached any agreement with the French branch.

He made us sign the rental contract for it, stressing that that was a mere formality, and we would of course not pay anything extra for it, as we had already paid for the other car and it would all be sorted out in the end. This car otherwise seemed to be a good deal more expensive than the first one.

The clerk at the counter, Markus, also wanted to run through a card for security again. I explained that we had no money on the card at the time, and we in no way had planned for this, and that it wouldn't be reasonable to expect we could do that. So, after speaking with his manager on the phone, he just made up a bogus authorization number for 1495 Euros. That was not authorized. And, again, he insisted that it was just a formality in order to check out the car. A replacement car.

We told him, and later the French emergency guys, and the Toulouse rental office, that we were planning on returning from Denmark 6 days later, and if they had repaired the French car, we'd be happy to switch back and drive the right car back to Toulouse. As, obviously it would be a problem for them if the cars ended up in the wrong country. I was just trying to be nice.

We checked with the same 3 different offices several times while in Denmark, and they each called us several times during that time. Each time we tell them the same story, and repeat that if they get the car fixed, we'll make a point of coming by and switching them. But up till the day before they didn't know if the car would be done. And on the day before, they called and said that it wouldn't be done for another few days, and we should just take the German car to Toulouse.

But still, we followed the first plan and by our own expense spend a night in a hotel in Hamburg on the way down. Despite that we otherwise had absolutely no business or interest in being in Hamburg.

We called them in the morning again, to check if the car was done. It wasn't, and the Emergency office in Paris said that of course that meant that we had to take the German car back to Toulouse. And then we drove on.

But shortly after that both the German office and the Toulouse office started being upset that we somehow couldn't wait an extra three days in Hamburg for the car to be done.

And the Toulouse office now said that they had heard from Ford who had been looking at the car and Ford had determined that it was our fault it broke down, so we'd need to pay for it.

And that is when the whole thing started getting a good deal more bizarre, and I no longer will be able to expect that car rentals are just smooth, good service. And I got more involved in the inner workings of a car rental agency than I'd ever wish.

They had sent the car to Ford, as obviously it was a Ford. Apparently they expected that it would be fixed under warranty for free. But Ford said that the clutch was worn out from driver mis-use, not from any error in manufacturing. Like if one leaves one's foot on the clutch, keeping it half pressed down while driving. Sounds very reasonable. It was a rental car, which had gone 15000km already. Driven by all sorts of out-of-town drivers who might not have been used to a stick shift. The bill from Ford to Budge says in German that Ford can't repair the car for free for them under warranty because the clutch is worn down and that normally happens from the routine use and wear and tear of the car. So naturally Ford expects Budget to pay for it.

But Budget sort of translated that to mean that obviously it is our fault in particular, and we would need to pay for the repairs and any other expenses involved in the whole thing. They gave me a long story about how otherwise they would have to pay it, and it would cost them a lot of money. So? The Toulouse people seemed to be sort of personally suffering because I suggested that I didn't think it was our fault, and that it is their problem to make it all right.

Of course, at this point we were way beyond that they would make anything alright for us. It had cost us lots of extra time and money because their car broke down, and we were trying to be helpful in bringing the right car back. And now they think we should pay for their part too.

Did I actually break their clutch? Very unlikely. I have been driving cars with stick shift for 25 years. I drove the car like I've driven any other car, and have never worn down the clutch on a car, and, no, I don't leave the clutch pressed half down when I drive or anything like that.

I understand of course that if I rent a car and for fun drive it off a cliff or I enroll it in a stock car race or something, the rental agency would be upset and want me to pay for it. But, aside from the fact that I don't think we did anything to break this car, other than drive it, I'm a bit shocked that they will operate that way.

I looked at the back of the rental contract, and indeed it refers to that if it is the exclusive and inexcusable or intentional fault of the driver that generates the damage, the driver would be responsible. No mention of being responsible for parts of the car that breaks during normal use.

Anyway, we drive back to Toulouse in the Audi. Costs a lot more in gas since it uses super gasoline, rather than cheap diesel, and its milage isn't as good. And nothing goes wrong with its clutch, despite that I drive it the same way as the other one, and for much longer.

A few more phone calls from Budget in Toulouse, stating the same things, of how they have a lot of expenses and we should pay for it, and we should take the Audi back to Hamburg and pick up their Ford. I tell them I don't agree, and rather they should reimburse us for our extra expenses.

I hand in the car in Toulouse at the designated day when our original rental contract was up. You know, the period I had paid for in advance. And again, a long discussion with the lady at the counter. They add up their expenses like 1400 euros for the repair, 800 euro per car for getting it transported to its right place, and various other odds and ends. And again, it sounds like it is coming out of her pay check. I keep insisting that it isn't our fault and I don't plan on paying for it. And she talks about how they'll then have to give it to the legal department, etc. I tell them they have no rights to do that.

Then, after another call with her manager, the lady says, ah, well, they've found a better solution: maybe they could just pretend that it was as if we had an accident with the car, and there was a deductable on the insurance, and then they would just charge me 800 euro.

I still didn't think it in any way was our fault, or we were responsible, and really they ought to be covering our expenses. And, no, we didn't really have an accident. But after thinking about it for a while, I figured, well, if that sort of ends the nightmare, what the hell, I can get them off my back. So I reluctantly said ok to that, provided that they promised it would be the end of the matter, and they wouldn't pursue it any further. I felt under duress and blackmailed, essentially. But I thought that would be the end of the matter. They seemed relieved that everything could now be accounted for right. So they charge those 800 euros for the bogus accident deductible on 8/11. $916.39 at the time.

But then, the next day, Budget Germany unexpectedly charged several other amounts on top of that, more than $2300. They hadn't mentioned anything about that. And there wasn't coverage for that on my account, so it was suddenly more than $2000 overdrawn, and I was charged about $350 in insufficient funds fees for various routine items that happened in the next few days.

I don't know what they're thinking. But, most likely, the French Budget guys had refused to take responsibility for the matter in relation to the German Budget people, so the German people just charged whatever it said on their contract, plus whatever it cost them to get their car back. All of which they had told me I of course wouldn't be paying for.

Now, when I discovered those charges, I called the bank and asked for a reversal of the charges and for my card to be cancelled.

It should be a very simple situation. Car breaks down, they replace it. Nothing I at all should be involved in paying for.

I thought that the reversal of the charges meant that the bank sort of took the money back from Budget. And that Budget then would try to come up with some documentation of why they think I ought to pay for it after all. But I learned that it really is the other way around. The bank has already paid the money and can't get it back unless Budget volunteers to pay it back. And the bank isn't going to absorb it as it isn't just some fraudulent charge from an unknown person, but from a company I was already doing business with.

So, the bank eventually deducted the amount from my account again. They handed the case over to another department which will try to negotiate about it on my behalf. But it doesn't look particularly promising.

And who do I complain to? A Better Business Bureau in Germany? The Budget corporate office? The latter might have some potential.

And of course I can quietly enjoy if this page happens to end up on the first page of search results when people go looking for Budget car rental on the web.

So, what did I learn from all of this? Well, the key points mentioned at the top. And to never ever rent a car from Budget again.

[< Back] [Ming the Mechanic]



29 Oct 2003 @ 16:31 by Jon Husband @ : Yuck!
It's sounds really bloody unfair - fraudulent, in fact. I can't imagine that Budget corporate won't pay some attention, particularly given that you paid full insurance and have documentation

There must be some form of Better Business Bureau, or "ombudsmand" type of service that is accessible in these European countreis. There have been too many tourist, and too much commerce transacted, for there not to be.

You're there of course, and now know people who maybe able to help you. I can ask my friends and colleagues who live in Europe about this, if you would like.

Failing that, it IS the era of Net activism. I'll be glad to become an agitator on your behalf.  

29 Oct 2003 @ 17:22 by ming : New models
Indeed, if shared information from a distributed network of buyers and sellers were readily enough available, it would make all the difference. A company with a reputation to protect could of course not just expect an unsatified customer go go away and be quiet.

I will write to Budget corporate. In a couple of days, after I can tell them to go look up this page on the net. Yes, it would be a little strange if they'd pay no attention.

And I'll ask some locals here what is the equivalent of BBB here. Thanks Jon for your support.  

30 Oct 2003 @ 00:24 by waalstraat : Hi Ming, Oy,..feh....
I would like your permission to post this article on my Hodgepodgeblog site (and it might be cool to have every one post it on their site too) and then send Budget Europe an EMail with a link to my site (and those who post it on their site should also email Budget). After that, anyone looking up Budget on search engines would get this horror story from numerous sites...this could also be pointed out to the Budget people....with the web one hip dissatisfied customer may be able to turn away thousands of customers...warms and Blessings

30 Oct 2003 @ 03:22 by jmarc : i never meta tag i didnt like
i'm with waalstraat. Google bomb them. here are the tags for their page. paste them into your blog for a while. good luck. {link:http://www.radioreview.homestead.com/files/budget.txt|meta tags}  

30 Oct 2003 @ 05:58 by ming : Googling
Well, if a few people just link to my posting here, that would probably do it. My blog already has pretty good Google MoJo, so it doesn't take much before something appears on page one of a search. But, yes, link to it or post it anywhere, that'll all help.  

30 Oct 2003 @ 06:51 by waalstraat : Ming
Sometimes you have to take anger out of you back packet, don't be attached to it but use it as a tool, and in this case I think bandwagoning would be most appropriate. If a hundred of you friends would link to this article, or reprint it on their log, that would be more frightening to a corporation than one article seen on Google even with a good MoJO. Especially if the corp. was notified before hand and made to realize that anytime anyone searched for their name on a search they would be see a hundred or so logs with articles about your horror story....I think the company would want to settle it very fast...I also found the best way to solve anything with a corportation is to call their home office and ask to speak to the CEO eventually you will get his executive secretary, tell the person your story, and tell her about the hundred allies who are about to print logs if this is not taken care of post haste...you'll see it will work...it even has worked for me in Europe without threats( talking to the CEO Sec) many times; and like you pointed out, they are much less customer service oriented in Europe.  

30 Oct 2003 @ 11:10 by Kyle Johnson @ : hey

30 Oct 2003 @ 11:45 by martha : excellent idae Bernard
I think he has hit on a great suggestion ming. I'm willing to post it on my log if it will help the budget people notice the disrespectful way their company treats their customers.  

30 Oct 2003 @ 15:48 by Seb @ : link text
If you link to this, be sure to include the word "Budget" and perhaps "car" in the text of the link.  

30 Oct 2003 @ 17:55 by ming : Yes please
By all means. I need all the help I can get. The more people link to this story, the better it will all appear in search engines, and the more easily I'll get Budget's attention. And thanks a lot to those of you who already did so!  

31 Oct 2003 @ 23:50 by Vibrani @ : Budget
what does Budget have to say about this? It appears to be false advertising if a company claims to be Budget and yet isn't part of the Budget company. Have you hired a lawyer?  

1 Nov 2003 @ 07:42 by ming : Corporations
Well, that's called franchising. Might be convenient for getting the same burger in Baghdad as in New York, but seems less appropriate for big expensive mobile items you can rent. As to a lawyer, sure, that would be great. But these guys cleared out several thousand dollars I didn't even have, so there's no budget for paying for that. Budget itself hasn't answered anything, except for the interactions in France and Germany mentioned above.  

1 Nov 2003 @ 10:09 by waalstraat : You know Ming
I have been thinking about it I think in court in America, you could probably win if you sued the Parent company, it doesn't matter if the contract (even) reads that the parent company isn't responsible for the actions of their franchise...I believe there is a presumptive responsibility they bear because they received reinbursement for the use of there name and their name implies certain policies and responsabilies they accept, if there wasn't presumptive responsability, then people could get snared into getting involved with the most unethical franchises, because they shopped a brand name that implies ethical treatment....I would check it out if I were you...I think Vibrani is right...I think in America you have a face value case against the parent company...and it won't matter that it happened with European franchises....  

19 Nov 2003 @ 14:20 by Patrick @ : Car Rental
Interesting that you had problems with car rental that you assumed were partly at least due to the fact that you were in Europe. Have you ever tried to get the full, including ALL insurance charges, price for a rental over the phone in the states? It cannot be done - when you arrive to pick up the car there is always, but ALWAYS, some extra they "forgot" to mention on the phone. I'm not suggesting Europe is any better, just that these car rental companies wouldn't know honest trading if it came up and bit them.  

25 Aug 2004 @ 21:14 by Vince @ : and I thought I had a bad experience
I had a terrible recent experience with Budget, with too many complaints to mention here briefly. I should mention, though, that I was promised compensation by a Budget representative. After taking the measures appropriate to Budget's compensation department, however, I was told that nothing would be done for me. The offered my a 10% discount on my next rental, though! Wow, those aren't in every USA Weekend or moving service advertisement or anything are they?  

1 Sep 2004 @ 17:33 by Ronald Milford @ : Thanks for the heads up
I was about to submit my fastbreak application. After what you have been through, I will not be renting with Budget ever again. I am from Trinidad but I travel to the US quite often. Budget is "Penny Wise and Pound Foolish". Keep the faith man. If more people would start reacting (and if they are smart), they will make good by you.  

3 Sep 2004 @ 12:31 by ming : Budget
It took me quite some time before I dared rent a car after this. It will never be Budget again, certainly. But Avis has always given me a good experience, and Hertz has worked fine too.

Anyway, after about 8 months I eventually got Budget to pay me back. It mostly involved some dilligent work by a tough cookie at my bank. And eventually, after 6 months or so, I got an answer from the Budget central office, which helped a bit too. I'm not sure what factor it played that I posted my story here, but I'd like to believe it made a difference. They're a lot more likely to screw you over if you don't have any way of fighting back. And negative publicity is, I'm sure, something they respect.  

28 Sep 2004 @ 01:59 by Oleg @ : "BUDGETED" in ESTONIA
Distressing experience with Budget (their Estonian franchise), was taken out for $500 of insurance claims (minimum liability) with no fault of my own except for not paying attention to their own negligence. Will never use them again, would strongly recommend you never do too, unless you want to have a headache and lose money because somebody else is doing a lousy job.
I suggest a new term - "to get budgeted", - to receive poor service and end up being ripped off, a la Budget.  

27 Oct 2004 @ 22:25 by JustMe @ : Avis, Budget
FYI, both companies are now owned by Cendant Corporation.  

28 Oct 2004 @ 00:29 by ming : Cendant
Yes, I discovered that too when I looked at Cendant's site. They own a disturbing number of brands. Makes it much harder to "take one's busines elsewhere" when the competitors are owned by the same guys.

Well, actually they didn't start any of them, but just bought up those corporations, as well as a whole bunch of others. So I guess some of their initial corporate souls, if they have any, remain.  

31 Mar 2005 @ 01:57 by WebDeveloper @ : Another against Budget
I am a local web developer currently working on a website for a localy owned and operated car rental company, and I am pleased to announce that I am linking to this website for proof against dealing with budjet.
Thank You for your stories!  

20 Apr 2005 @ 16:24 by Julie Farrell @ : Budget
I rented a car at the Orlando Airport from 4/6 to 4/12/005. While doing the paperwork I will admit that I was tending to my two year old daughter and a little distracted, but I was very clear that I have rented cars before and I did not need the optional insurance, as I have an auto policy in Massachusetts. The agent assured me he would not charge me for the insurance and with his pen showed me an amount of 91.99 for the weekly rental, excluding tax and a $10 gas charge. I asked him THREE times if that amount was it, there's nothing extra, etc. and he kept telling me that was it and just sign here quickly and initial here for a $10 gas charge, meaning I didn't have to put gas in the car before returning it. I did as he said and quickly gathered my things and my daughter to get to the car. It was late at night and I was anxious to get out of the airport and get her to bed. Well, upon returning the car I see a charge for $300!!! Apparently the agent did in fact underline that I accepted this insurance charge of 21.99/day, which is RIDICULOUS! Who in their right mind would agree to pay that??? Not to mention I work in the auto insurance industry in Massachusetts so I'm knowledgable about insurance and I know that I didn't need that kind of coverage on a car I didn't even use for 3 days since I was with family. Well, after speaking to budget and emailing them I have basically been told too bad. I personally think the agent pulled a fast one and adjusted that paperwork AFTER I initialed and signed. Do you know where their corporate office is?  

26 Jan 2006 @ 03:42 by Caffi Kirk @ : defective door panel on rental car
Now Budget is wanting to charge ME for the damage. All we did was open the passenger back door, and the panel on the door cracked. They want to charge me $299.66 for a defective door. Any suggestions? Thanks for the help.  

23 Feb 2006 @ 11:41 by Karla Compton @ : budget " they must be stoped"
Did anyone ever find where the corp. office is for budget? We should all ban together an stop this company. This can't be legal, and if it is ,it should be outlawed 'pronto'.There has to be some recourse or legal action we can take. They charged my bank account for 31 days rental , I had it for 5 days. I'm being charged for thier incompadance. My bank would not allow me to charge anything unless the funds were available,so how can budget have more rights over my account than I do? something is really wrong here,I'm going to hunt down some answers.Please feel free to contact me we can exchange imformation. We must not give up..........  

6 May 2006 @ 00:25 by David Barton @ : Budget are a bunch of thieves
My wife and I were driving in Hawaii on the third day of our honeymoon in a Wranger rented from Budget and a Japanese tourist in a rented Taurus came around a blind corner on the wrong side of the road and crashed head-on into us (thanks mate!). Thankfully, no-one was injured, but it ruined our honeymoon and we are still yet to resolve the issue with Budget months later. This was my first accident in 9 years of driving in many countries in Europe and in the US.

I didn't take out the LDW as it was $25/day on a vehicle costing $75/day as we have vehicle insurance in our home state that covers other states. We reported the accident to Budget and our insurance company and let them sort it out, only Budget decides to flout Hawaii law and sell the vehicle as a salvage title and charge us the difference, when the cost of the repairs was significantly less than the vehicle is worth.

The is illegal under Hawaii law and our insurance company is doing a good job fighting Budget's insurance division, who continue to send threatening letters to us demanding thousands of $$'s (although the numbers continue to decrease with time).

It's been a complete nightmare made worse by the appalling attitude of Budget. I have never experienced such poor customer service, such disgraceful lack of consideration and a blatant regard for the law as with Budget. Obviously I will never rent with them again and it has made it hard to rent a car at all from a major company.

The best way to hit them is to spread our bad stories and reduce their customer base.  

10 May 2006 @ 00:24 by ming : Cendant
The Budget corporate office is a company called Cendant. See {art:939|here}. They own a frightening number of brands. The combination of contacting Cendant and my own bank's dilligence eventually produced a result, after more than half a year.  

9 Jun 2006 @ 10:11 by Judy Bristow @ : Budget
In April my husband and I moved my mother in law to another state. We flew into Las Vegas Nevada where my husbands aunt reserved us a car on her credit card. Okay fine, so we thought. I waited for my husband to return with the keys, he came and found me and said they needed another credit card. I was reluctant and questioned why. Finally, my husband talked me into using my bank card with the Visa logo. We both were told just a formality. Well, to make a long story short my husband and I were charged and so was my husbands aunt. As a result several of our checks for our bills bounced. My husband spoke with the so called corporate office, they assured my husband and I that all overdraft fees along with the original amount would be reversed off the card and put back into our account. Okay fine. I looked up my account on my banks online site about five minutes ago. Well, Budgets been busy taking money out of my account again and causing more over draft fees. My husband has no knowledge of this yet but he will very shortly.

Thank you for giving me a place to vent my frustrations. It is a good thing that I live 12 hours away from Las Vegas because I would probably be venting with my hands around someone's neck. Just kidding, but it seems like a nice thought right now. Thanks again.  

6 Jul 2006 @ 03:21 by i am me @ : budget
budget rules ;)  

6 Jul 2006 @ 03:26 by hahaa @ : budget
all of you guys are fucking idiots. cendant is a big company, and if you havnt heard of it, you're all dense. cendant recnetly purchased budget when it went bankrupt after the 9/11 attacks and got it back up on its feet again. just because a major company owns budget and other brands doesnt mean dick all. you dont do your research, most and many companies are all owned in this mannor, and cendant isnt just one big company. it is 4 separate companies. cendant car rental group is just avis and budget and deals stricktly with those 2 companies only so go fuck yourselfs and i'm glad yyour cars broke down fuckers, u all have no lives get on with it  

19 Jul 2006 @ 16:54 by Angelica Lawrence @ : I WILL NEVER USE BUDGET AGAIN
I live in Dallas,TX, I rencently rented a car from the Lovefield Airport location. That night there was a big storm and I hit this puddle of water and some sticks in the road, after that the car just dies. SO I'm thinking water got in the engine or something. I call Roadside assistance to come tow the car, this was about 10:00p.m., mind you I have my 6 month old son, crying in the car with me. 11:30 came and Roadside assistance was still not there, so my husband came to pick me up and I left the car there. Teh next day I went to make the incident report and they told me the car had a hole in the oil pan, so I was lkie fine I'll pay for that. Now two months later they are suing me for 2,600 for a transmission on the car. If that is not the biggest bunch of bull I don't know what is. Believe you me, I'll fight it all the way!!!!!  

6 Aug 2006 @ 20:25 by Aron @ : Budget claims "a scratched left door"
Same as Yours, Flemming. You rent the car (for 300EUR), you clean it up and return it. And then, when you get home you'll have a letter in a couple of days stating that the car was damaged and you have to pay the 800EUR as stated in the contract. Funny how cheap car-rental turns out to be the most expensive one yet. NEVER RENT a BUDGET ! Seems to be a custom of (German) Budget to treat tourists that way.  

13 Aug 2006 @ 18:29 by DH @ : Budget Sucks
I rented from Budget last week and got into an accident (single car--my first in 20 years). I had given Budget my debit card--and actually had about 3800 in my checking account--unusual. I was 6 hours away from home and had two little kids with me. I called and reported it and spoke with both the branch office that I rented from and the insurance adjuster. Then I found out that Budget had cleaned out my checking account---It took out 3,300 without telling me! The amount had been taken out BEFORE I spoke with the adjuster--who authorized the withdrawal. They left me with no money and could care a less that I was stranded. Really morally reprehensible.  

15 Nov 2006 @ 04:40 by JeffMc @ : Budget - they screwed me too
Budget Rent a Car dramatically overcharged me for a rental in November of 2005. While the company holds that this charge is valid, the following events show that no consumer could possibly expect this outcome, given the circumstances.

As part of a family trip over this recent Thanksgiving, I needed a rental car beginning Nov 24, returning Nov 28.

The reservation was made through Southwest Airlines web site in combination with my flight. The estimate for the entire rental was provided by Southwest to be under $150.

I picked up the car from Orange County/SNA on November 24th as scheduled. At the counter in Orange County, the estimate provided by Budget was $131.40 and was also written on the rental paperwork.

The original route plan was to begin in Orange County, tour Disneyland with family, drive to my second home in Las Vegas for a meeting, then drive back to Orange County, return the car and fly home.

As a result of the unanticipated Thanksgiving traffic we encountered on the Sunday the 27th drive to Las Vegas, it became clear that we would not be able to drive back to Orange County in time to catch the flight scheduled.

The next morning, Monday, I immediately contacted the Budget office I rented the car from to see if the rental could be changed. My cell phone records show my call at 9:04AM to (949) 252-6240, the Budget Orange County office, for over 2 minutes to change my rental to return to the Las Vegas location. I was forced to leave a message, where I explained my situation and requested a call back with recommendations. I received no call back from Budget, so at 11:07AM, I made another call to (949) 252-6240, the Budget office, for over 2 minutes while I attempted to speak to an employee. I was again forced to leave a message where I again explained my situation.

After not hearing from Budget Orange County, I located the number for Budget Las Vegas, and I spoke to a lady there and explained my situation, asking if I could return the car to the Las Vegas location. She simply said that was fine, and said so in a way that made it seem as though it was a silly question. I figured that the situation must come up often, and was relieved to know that I would be able to return the car locally. I thanked her and told her I’d be by to return the car on the agreed upon time. I then contacted Southwest Airlines, and was able to rebook my flight leaving from Las Vegas rather than Orange County.

When I returned the car later that day, a courteous gentleman checked the car in and gave me a slip showing the car had been returned and inspected, but not the receipt I usually receive. I went inside to the counter to get my receipt, and waited for 10 minutes, when I was told “you’re all done, we’ll send you the bill”. Although odd, I was focused on making my plane, and didn’t inquire further. As a frequent business traveler, I rent cars often and have until this occasion, never had a problem, so I had gained a comfort and trust for rental car companies. I caught my plane home, on time, and figured that I had another successful trip.

No communication or receipt was ever sent to me by Budget after the return.

I was shocked when I then received my American Express bill and found that Budget had changed me $1,101.45 (nearly 10 times the estimate, and an overcharge of $970.05). I immediately contacted Budget to report the error. I spoke to a nice woman named Jean in customer service and was told she could likely fix it, and gave me a file #346342. She said it would take a few days and she’d get back to me. Several days went by without a return call, and I contacted Budget once again. I was asked to give an account of what happened all over again to a man, who later told me that I had returned the car “without authorization”, so my rental contract was invalid and had been re-cast at Budget’s highest rates. I explained that I had called both Orange County and Las Vegas offices and that the representative at the Las Vegas location not only told me it was fine to return the car, but did not mention there would be any additional fees involved. I was then told that the Las Vegas location is a “special location” in that it’s a franchise or something, as though I should have known that. I explained that no one at the Las Vegas location told me that on the phone nor did they tell me that I would face these high charges when I returned the car, because if they did, it would have cost me less to simply drive the car back to Orange County and catch a flight the next day. When I asked the Budget Customer Service Rep. what I could do further, I was told Budget would not budge, and to handle it through my credit card company, American Express. I’ve contacted American Express, and they agreed with me and charged-back Budget -- now Budget is threatenting to take me to collections on this. What can I do? Consumers need to know that even if they do all they can (as I did), unscrupulous vendors can still try to bilk them with hidden rules and charges.  

15 Dec 2006 @ 22:24 by beprotected @ : Is AmEx defrauding you?
Announcement Regarding Products and Services Charged to Your American Express Monthly Statements:

Have you or anyone you know been charged by American Express for products you did not order, such as cookbooks and or travel related magazines? Have you been charged by American Express for travel luggage insurance or other travel related services, even though you never requested or authorized such charges?

If so, I may be able to help you. Please email me at Ididnotorderthisproduct@hotmail.com, with your name, email,
phone number (optional), and description of what happened to you.  

12 Mar 2007 @ 17:25 by Andrew @ : Budget sucks big time
So I was moving from Malden Mass to Pawtucket RI
I needed a 10 Ft Truck for a day, and I used Budgets online, got a one way Truck for bout 115 bucks. So they give me a drop off location and I was pretty excited that I had saved bout 70 bucks (compared to most other companies). Anyhow the day before I picked up the truck, the location I was supoosed to pick it up at, called me and let me know they had no truck! and that I could try one of the other locations (And the kind getleman thought they would have a truck the following day, a saturday!) Of course I knew I was srewed and kept recalling my dads advice " cheap things are expensive"
Anyway I called Budget, they got a hold of an Inventory manager and they promised to call me before 8Am the following day with a truck location. But after calling them the following day at 9:30 AM they got hiold of another inventory manager who located a truck in Salem Mass (About 30Mins away). They promised they would waive the extra mileage because of their mistake, which I accepted.
So I did my move and decided to drop off the truck the same day at about 11:30PM. I called Budget first to find out if the location at Westminster St. in Providence had a drop box, which budget affirmed. It turned out they did not have a drop box, neither were they open on the weekend.
Anyway I went dropped the truck off at a friends house, went back to Malden and called Budget the following day at noon. They actually apologized for their mistake again and informed me of another drop off in Cranston (about 10 miles away from the intial drop off location)
I got ther truck back at 11Pm that night.
Now budget charged me an extra days rental, insurance, extra mileage and 3 small charges of 24.5, 20 and 5 bucks, I dont know for what.
All in all they charge me a total of about 349.5 bucks instead of 125 bucks.
I wanna sue these guys real bad.
They are really terrible at their organization and totally dont give a shit bout their customers
what sayeth?  

28 Jun 2007 @ 18:35 by Karen @ : Budget phone
It sucks too  

9 Jul 2007 @ 18:02 by vanessa @ : BUDGET IN TAMPA FL AIRPORT SUCKS
My Husband and i just rented a car from Tampa FL Budget rental at the airport and the guy working there told us we could either fill the car with gas before returning it or we could bring it back and they give their customers the gas there for only 2.89 a gallon so my husband only put half a tank of gas in it and figured they would only charge him 2.89 well he was freaking wrong they charged us over 6.00 a gallon double for the gas when we returned the car and that man wasnt there some young girl was and she said that they alwasy charge doubel for gas and she said we must have misunderstood what that guy said and we were botht there and that is what he said so he freaking lied to us and they of course would not take that extra 56.00 charge on our bill for the gas so we will never ever again rent from them crooks. I plan on writing the corporate office and the BBB business office about their policy there and of course my husband got that dam insurance and it was 20.00 a day when in fact our own car insurance would have covered the car.  

25 Aug 2007 @ 16:30 by Budget Screwed Me Too @ : Budget Is Not Customer Service Friendly
Budget screwed me. I rented a car at Budget's Las Vegas Airport franchise. When the car's defective tire blew (through no fault of mine) on an interstate in Flagstaff, Arizona, I was told I could not get a replacement car because the Las Vegas office was a "franchise" and no franchise cars would be available in Flagstaff for a few days. Thus, I was told to replace the tire at my own expense. I had no choice since I was on the side of the road with a non-working car, and had many miles to get to where I was going. Budget hasn't reimbursed me for the replacement tire. Basically, I just paid for maintenance on their car. Thanks, Budget.  

18 Sep 2007 @ 18:43 by Brent Goldberg @ : Budget Truck Sucks Too!
I dropped off my Atlas Storage truck rental using "overnight dropoff" and the next morning they complained that I didn't fill up the tank "completely" and charged me an additional $40 for a gallon of gas that they "claimed" to be missing. It wasn't; I filled it up and have the receipt to prove it. They are just ripping me off. And they have been absolute d***s about it. DON'T RENT FROM THEM!!!!  

21 Dec 2007 @ 15:17 by Bev @ : me too!
What a nightmare, Ming! There are so many companies that have locally owned contractors, (DHL) is another one and then when a consumer has an issue, no one wants to take responsibility.
Here's my personal Budget horror story, but it's nowhere near what you went through!
We had a reservation for a one-way FULL size car, which is usually considered to be a Taurus, Imapala, etc..we get to the airport and they only had an economy. They all had bad attitudes and even sat in the back room complaining about me. They were saying “What does she expect anyway?!” We needed the bigger car.
We ended up with a Hyundai Sonata. That’s a mid-size in my book. With no price reduction. The counter droids told me “You only guarantee the price, not the type of car” Wha….?!
I’v spoken to Budget on the phone about this, they told me “Well the problem is, that location is privately owned” SOOOOO…if it’s a PROBLEM, then WHY are you allowing them to be part of Budget?
Well, I got a letter from them yesterday..blah, blah, bunch-o-crap…and Roi the head droid writes this…’The reservation was made for a full size vehicle. The vehicle received was a Hyundai Sonata which is a full size vehicle.”
Argumentative. Roi needs to get a different job, away from all public interaction.
So I did a little research this morning and here’s the deal…Budget lumps their cars into ’small, medium, large’ categories.
The ‘medium’ size includes the intermediate, standard and full size cars. So Roi should not have even used the term “full size” OR someone should have told me as I made the reservation what the deal was. But I was told “full size” on the phone. we had to leave things that wouldn't fit in the car.
We rent a car several times a year and will NEVER use Budget again ever. It was a sneaky stunt and I just might make a complaint against them with the BBB.
Yeah, I think I might just do that.
OH…HAHAHA!!! and Roi sent us a $25.oo coupon.
How generous.  

7 Sep 2008 @ 06:07 by Elizabeth @ : Budget in Canada sucks too
It seems Budget sucks everywhere.
I had read comments from this site before I rent a car. Seeing there was no more complaint since Dec last year, I told myself that might be Ming and you guys changed them a bit already. But it was not true, Budget still sucks and sucks everywhere, not just US, Europe, also in Canada.

We live in Vancouver, BC and had rented a car at Budget for a 16 days trip to Jasper and Banff. We picked up the car on July 26 at Budget (1412 Southwest Marine Drive), paid and we were told the amount included additional driver for the period. A contract was signed with the name and extra charge of additional driver stated in the contract and we were given a copy of it. We returned the car on Aug 12, everything seemed OK, no call from the rental office and we thought "might be Budget not so suck now" and planned to rent at Budget next time. But real nightmare followed.

When we checked the credit card bill from bank at early September, Budget charged us another $190.40 next day after we returned the car. We called the office and spoke with the guy called Ken to clarify, he said this was the charge for additional driver. WHAT, ADDITONAL DRIVER?? We referred him back to the contract with additional driver's name and the additional charge stated on the contract already and told him this was double charging. He was very rude, saying he could not reverse it and asked us to talk to the account office.

You can imagine the staff's attitude in the Account Office. When we called and demanded an explanation, the woman Helen explained that the rental office made a mistake by only included the name of driver but no additional charges were levied and thus we had to pay this $190.40.

We didn't understand. When we signed the contract, we were told the amount included the additional driver already. It is actually double charging!!

When we demanded to talk to her supervisor, this woman called Helen even hang up the phone. LOL What kind of service it is!!
Finally, we called again and was given the number of her supervisor in an extreme rude manner. We spoke to the Accounting Manager, Allison, again you can imagine the attitude. She argued the contract that we were given was "open contract" only. We reasoned that as customer, a contract was signed with details and the total amount stated on it and that we had already paid it, there was no reason at all to charge us again. Moreover, no telephone call, no another bill or receipt was received. But again, all of our words were not helpful to the situation.

Our plan is to make a complaint against them with the BBB but I doubt how useful it will be.

If these locations are all privately owned and the parent company is not able to help, I guess the only way is like Bev said, NEVER USE BUDGET again.


6 Dec 2009 @ 04:28 by sharlotte @ : Dont I know it
Its all about money I wouldnt even work for the company if I didnt need the income. I have a little nest egg but Florida never paid much and I need to keep working. The Airport in Orlando is busy and Ive gotten used to the people but it makes it hard to look people in the face and lie or lead them on just to upsell. I see some of these people all the time or I see that they are struggling as it is but at Budget if you dont talk them into buying more or buying a renting a GPS or something you are useless.  

7 Jul 2010 @ 16:02 by bob @ : budget sucks
Budget just screwed me over for a rental truck for which I had a confirmation number. Glad I called on my own idea to make sure the rental location had my truck. Budget said sorry, can't help.  

8 Feb 2011 @ 19:48 by Angry first-time customer @ : Overcharged 300%
Budget just lost another customer. Their customer service is the absolutely worst I have ever had to deal with. They took the time to insult me, both in writing and over the phone for a mistake done on their part.

As a Enterprise customer for over 7 years I wanted to give them a try - big mistake. Never again!  

17 Mar 2011 @ 00:53 by Nicole Blackwood @ : Rental thru Hotwire, Charged extra!
Buget lost a customer, and Hotwire might loose a customer. We rented a car through Hotwire for a week at Charleston South Carolina. We were supposed to get a Full-Size SUV (Jeep Grand Cherokee or equivalent). We showed up at the airport, and they did not have any Jeep Grand Cherokee's left. They offered a Ford Flex, but it didn't have the cargo space we felt we had agreed to - room for 4 large suitcases. The agent came back with a Chevy Traverse. We drove that around for a week. When we returned a week later, we found out that we had "approved" the upgrade and we were charged an additional $130.

I thought rental agencies were supposed to give you a free upgrade if they didn't have the car you reserved in stock?

I have traded two e-mails with Budget. In very nice prose, they apologize for the "misunderstanding".

3728373 RA # 233028832

Dear Ms. Blackwood,

Thank you very much for letting Budget know about your disappointing
experience. On behalf of our entire Budget team, I apologize for the
issue you had with an upgraded vehicle dispute. I understand that this
occurred at the Charleston SC Intl Airport on 07MAR11 and your rental
agreement number was 233028832.  

30 Apr 2011 @ 10:36 by Matt A. @ : Budget does not honor contract
Had Budget San Diego Airport location not honor an online reservation, because the price they had given me online was too low! Yes, you can really get their best price online, you just won't get it when you go to pick up the car! Had printouts both of the web page and the confirmation email, but they did not matter -- the rep & manager did not question the validity of the reservation, they just did not want to give me the price on it.  

29 Apr 2016 @ 04:24 by Cathy @ : nfeHnEAWHw
Adam, in video production we just use "Russian style" to describe a filming technique that involves very little potosprtduc-ion cosmetic improvement, it has nothing to do with the Russian culture, maybe only with Russia's lack of professional post-production studios. :) Scamp, hats off.  

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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