Incompetent Personel, Greedy Company
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA -- Two or three years ago I had very pleasant, courteous and professional experience with BUDGET in Sunnyvale, CA. And the price was right too. At that time, I decided to stay with BUDGET for my future needs. Disclaimer: I do need to rent a car once, sometimes twice a year. In other words, I am not a heavy user of the rent-a-car service(s).
My experience from Jan 14th 2015: I needed a car for 5-7 days from Sunday Jan 11th 2015 onwards. Called BUDGET's 800 number to make reservation. A lady on other side was very nice, polite, friendly and fast. Her name was Aisha, Usha or something similar - Japanese name. We agreed about the car (Ford Focus or similar). She gave me a quote for cca $580, including full insurance, unlimited mileage and taxes. She said that cancellation of the reservation will cost me $10. If I do not pick up a car (or something similar) I have to pay $50. I agreed and gave her credit card number.
Unfortunately, my traveling plans changed before the pickup day. I needed to cancel or change the reservation. I was willing to pay $10 fee. Called 800 number, after many automated questions, I got on the phone a live person. I do not remember his name. His attitude, during the conversation was "I do not care about anything, I have to do what I am paid for." No friendliness, very annoying attitude.
On the bright side. He understood what I want do do. I wanted to change the reservation day from Sunday, Jan 11th to Wednesday Jan 14th 2015. He said, no problem, I can do it for you. I asked him if I need to pay for the change, He said no. He also said, the full price is going to be $40 less than the original quote ($580). I said, great, I like the outcome.
On Jan 14th 2015, I've showed up at the BUDGET office (San Jose International Airport) to pick up the car. The sales associate asked for the reservation number. I gave it to him. He checked his computer and said that I need to have another reservation number, because my reservation number was for the past Sunday Jan 11th 2015. I told him, I do not have any additional or new reservation number. He said, in such a case, he will use the original reservation number to proceed with the process. The price is going to be $880 + $80 for GPS. Total of $960. I could not believe my ears. The price went $300 UP just because of the change of the pickup date. If I would have known that, when I changed the pickup date, I would cancel the reservation and go shopping elsewhere for the better price.
Reminder: the person, who made a change over the phone four days before, told me that the price is going to be $40 less then the original quote. I told sales associate that I am going to one of the competitors to get a better deal. Another reminder: I was at San Jose International airport where are cca 10 other Rent-a-Car offices in one row. He said, that I will not find a better deal, because today was a very busy day for all of them. Most of the cars in my category were gone. I said to myself... "hmmm this is a bummer."
Then I told him that I would like to talk to his manager. He said, Ok... just wait, please, for a sec. Then I waited, 5 - 10 minutes. Nothing. I got bored and decided to talk to another car rental company (SIXT). The lady was very polite and friendly. She said, yes, we have car for rent, but not in Ford Focus price range. It is going to cost you $680 all included + GPS as a complimentary. So, I got 4 door BMW with GPS.
Went back to the BUDGET front desk. The manager did not show up yet. The initial sales representative was not there either. Few minutes later another gentleman came to the front desk. I thought... "wow... great." This is the manager. I approached him and started to explain my case. He listened to for a minute, saying nothing. Then a lady next to him said, no, he is not a manager. He is sales associate on training. Few minutes later the first sales associate came back (no manager yet) telling me that they can not do anything to accommodate me. The price is $880.
I said to him "Ok, then please cancel my reservation." He answered, "no, I can not do this. You have to talk to the company who gave you the reservation. I told him, the company was the BUDGET and you work for BUDGET." He was firm. He said few times in a row, you have to call the company who gave you reservation. I wished him a nice day, left the BUDGET's desk and went to SIXT. Paid $680 to SIXT. Got a better car, paid $200 less than BUDGET and got GPS for free.
Came home, called BUDGET, one more time, to cancel the reservation. I explained to the gentleman the whole situation and asked for refund. He said, "ok, I can cancel the reservation. It will cost you $50." Again, I could not believe what I heard. I told him that I was in the BUDGET's office to pickup the car on time. He still did want to waive the $50 fee. Then I asked him to transfer the call to his manager. A nice person (Daryl) answered the phone. He was very polite, he listen to me, and he apologized for all troubles I had with their sales representatives. He also told me that I will get a full refund in 2-3 days. Conclusion: Stay away from BUDGET. You can spend your time better.