Budget Rent-A-Car

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Empty Gas Tank!
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, CALIFORNIA -- On Monday, April 7, 2014, I had a terrible experience with a Budget car rental.

I had been awake for 18 hours, flying across the country after a week away from home. Aircraft mechanical problems had caused me to miss my connection to Santa Barbara in Phoenix, and the two remaining flights were full. After failing to get a seat on standby, I decided to change my plans. I would fly in to LAX, rent a car, and drive home instead. I called Budget from Phoenix, and arranged to pick up a car at LAX after I’d landed.

The plan seemed to be working. By 11:30 that night, I was half an hour from home. It was then, on an empty stretch of freeway at least ten miles from the nearest service station in either direction, that the engine shuddered and died.

Luckily, there was no traffic nearby. I was able to coast from the center lane to the shoulder of the freeway and come to a stop next to a huge erosion abatement wall. I don’t think I would have made it if I’d been boxed in by other traffic. If I’d been stranded on the freeway itself, I would almost certainly have been rear-ended eventually. What had happened?

I tried re-starting the engine, but it wouldn’t run. The fuel tank warning light had also come on. I had, apparently, run out of gas.

I was shocked. Budget had charged me $400 for a 1-way, 1-day car rental, and then had given me a car that didn’t even have enough gas in the tank to register on the gauge?

Well, that did explain why the gas gage display didn’t seem right. I had looked at it when I started the car, and I wondered why there was only a single, thin line connecting the Empty and Full marks. I guessed that may be the line itself might disappear as the tank emptied. It didn’t even occur to me, especially in my travel-weary state, that the tank might be too empty to even register. Of all the times that I’ve rented cars, and I’ve rented a lot of them, I have never been given one that had less than a quarter tank of fuel.

I was lucky in one regard: I’m a AAA member, and I had a cell phone signal. AAA sent a service vehicle with two gallons of gasoline, enough to get me to the next service station. Forty-five minutes later, I was on my way again. The Highway Patrol dispatcher told me that if I’d been another mile or two further up the road, I would not have had a cell phone signal at all, and I might have been stranded for hours.

I called Budget’s customer service number the next morning. The man who answered seemed unperturbed by my complaint. “I’m sorry this happened to you,” he said without much real concern in his voice, “but there’s not much I can do. I just changed the initial fuel level to a quarter tank, but that’s the only adjustment I can make.”

Steve, the desk agent at the Santa Barbara Airport Budget desk, was much more helpful and empathetic when I returned the car. He gave me a significant discount on the rental, under the category of “on-the-road expenses,” and said he was very sorry that I’d been put in such a potentially dangerous situation.

I wasn’t so concerned about the money. I knew the car was going to be expensive when I rented it, and I was desperate enough to get home that I agreed to the rate. What mattered more to me was having a feeling that someone at Budget actually regretted what had happened to me. I appreciated Steve’s obvious concern, and his sincere desire to make amends for the situation.

As it stands, despite Steve’s good efforts, I doubt that I will ever rent from Budget again. You can bet, too, that whenever I rent a car from now on, regardless of how late it is or how tired I am, I’m going to make sure that the tank is full before I drive it anywhere.
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Frontline Flea control cats
Posted by on
Rating: 2/51
MISSOURI -- I had purchased several times in the past - but the last Frontline Cat flea product did not work for our cats after we tried 2 months - couple of doses…(once a month, tried twice) company was courteous but kept saying maybe cats are immune to it now…then suggested try another one of their flea control products used on the cat food? I suggested just exchange the product (maybe it was from an old or bad batch) and I will try again, but after 2 or 3 calls, emails and other back and forth, it was not worth the hassle. They wanted me to return un-used portions then they would refund or credit or ??? I just wanted an exchange of what I bought to try again!! Too much trouble - I said never mind - I am done with your company . Don't have the time to spend on this return issue!!
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Mark L. on 11/14/2014:
After the last conversation with customer service at Budget Pet, and telling them never mind… They emailed/called me to say they were refunding my purchase. I appreciate that, but it sure took some trying… all in all - issue was resolved satisfactorily … thx
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AVOID Budget Rent-A-Car and Priceline!!
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- AVOID Budget Rent-A-Car and Priceline!!

This was the first time I used Budget but also the last time. I would tell everyone not to use this dishonest company. Reasons:

1. Did not get the car I reserved. Talked into getting a larger car.

2. Initially, I reserved an economy car on Aug 23, 2014 for 2 days. At their SFO airport counter, I told the staff I would need it for 4 days instead of only 2 days (before the deal was concluded and paid, NOT after!) and I wanted to make sure there would be no penalty. The staff assured me that there would not be any penalty except the additional rental for 2 more days. After I returned the car 78 hours later, my credit card was charged not just for 4 days but also a late charge of $20, a transportation fee of $20 (what is this??) and miscellaneous expenses. The final bill was more than double than what was shown on Priceline's website where I reserved my booking.

3. I contacted Priceline for assistance, and got an auto-reply saying that they needed 10 business days to check with Budget to reply. I waited for 10 business days, but nothing happened. So, I wrote to Priceline again, and they sent me another email telling me to contact Budget at 650 877 0988 direct.

4. I had called Budget at the no. given by Priceline more than 10 times during their said office hours of 07:30 - 19:30 San Francisco time over 3 business days, trying all the different options by pressing different numbers for billing, airport manager, etc but nobody of Budget Rental would ever answer. The auto-recording just kept repeating the same info (our contact hours are blablabla...or you can reach us at budget.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week...). I have also tried their contact us links of their website (as their recording machine advised) many times but none of their 'contact us' links works. As I'm writing this email, I just tried the "contact us" links on their website again, there was still no response, and I'm not surprised anymore.

5. While I've spent hours to follow up on this complaint over the last 2-3 weeks, two days ago Budget Rent-A-Car further charged my credit card another US$22.80 for passing by Golden Gate Bridge once (one-way only) on Aug 25. The pay-by-plate toll should only be US$7 but this is how Budget Rent-A-Car would suck its customer's blood without any advanced notice! As advised by my bank, I had no choice but terminated my credit card because I had then seen countless rip-off cases by Budget Rent-A-Car for even much larger amounts online.

6. Although Priceline's Support Team did reply to my emails (I've dealt with 5 officers so far, because every time I reply, there would be a new officer responding, making me repeat the same stories again and again until I'm totally fed up). I have just received another email from Priceline today, saying that since Priceline is not (but Budget is) charging my credit card, I have to chase Budget direct instead. What about the fact that I actually had to put my credit card details on Priceline's website when I made the reservation online at the very beginning only to let Budget rip me off afterwards?

As of today, I have spent many hours, making countless long distance calls (I am based in Asia now) to follow up on this issue but I cannot contact with anyone of Budget. Lesson well learned. That money lost does not bother me but I am not going to give in mainly for the benefits of other potential customers as dirty business practices like those must not be indulged.

Good luck everyone!
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Excessive mandatory insurance sprung on you at the last minute
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, CALIFORNIA -- I live in the US (California) and traveled to the UK. Before leaving, I reserved a Budget rental car through Argus. The agreed upon price was $490.97. In the confirmation email I got from Argus, it refers to "Optional Extras or Fuel Charges are payable at the rental desk". When I got to the Scotland airport, after traveling for 24+ hours, and I was delirious with jet lag, they demanded I buy insurance for 501.50 pounds, which, at the current exchange rate, worked out to $796.36! That's 1.62 times as much as the original rental price!!!

Because I'm not used to either driving on the left side of the road, or driving a car with a manual transmission, I felt having a car with an automatic transmission (which I reserved) was mandatory. Those were getting to be in short supply even when I was making my reservation, and were likely sold out by the time I arrived, so I reluctantly agreed UNDER DURESS to buy the insurance. I was standing there with two suit cases in hand. My friend that I was meeting there had taken two weeks of vacation to spend time with me. I had made numerous non-refundable reservations, etc. I pretty much didn't have any options at that point.

I contacted Argus the next day through their web site, and they opened a ticket, but said the issue could not be investigated until I returned the car. Now, why on earth would that be the case? I'll tell you why: it's so that I would be more likely to hang on to the car, rather than shopping around for a better deal and returning the car early.

I called Argus a few days later, and someone assured me (and I questioned it and clarified) that this $796.36 insurance charge was a deposit, not a premium, and that it would not be billed to my card so long as I didn't damage the car, which I didn't.

I returned home on April 2, and on April 4, they had attempted to bill me for the entire $796.36. They only got $671.33 because that's about all I had in my checking account. They got a little more than what I had due to the overdraft protection, and of course I incurred overdraft fees.

I emailed Budget, and they beat me over the head with the fact that I had signed their contract, and basically told me to go to hell. Argus is expressing a little more sympathy, but I have yet to get a refund. The guy said he would pull the audio tape of the conversation I had with the Argus customer support woman, and if indeed I was assured that it was a deposit rather than a premium, I would receive a refund. That was stated on April 8. Today is the 12th, and I have not been given any updates, and I couldn't get the guy on the phone who was assigned this case, and he hasn't responded to my emails requesting updates.

I think Argus and Budget are co-conspirators in this. If Argus had given me correct information, I would have shopped around for a new rental car, and returned the old one, thus, at least minimizing the carnage. But, I was misled, I was put off until it was too late to do anything about it, and now, I'm out an extra $671.33. This is highway robbery.

To summarize: I agreed in good faith to pay the stated amount of $490.97, and I did indeed pay this amount at the time I made the reservation. They ended up charging a total of $1297.33 for the rental car. That's 2.62 times what was originally agreed upon.

A rental company is well within its rights to charge insurance, but they should state their requirements UP FRONT and IN ADVANCE!!! They shouldn't spring this one someone at the airport! Even their own contract lists these charges as "Optional Services", but they refused to rent the car to me without me agreeing to pay these fees.

This is worse than bait and switch. Bait and switch at least gives the person the option to walk away. I had flown from California to Scotland, and I NEEDED a rental car, and had reserved one, and had paid the agreed upon price for it. Then, after they had me over a barrel, they extorted another $796.36 out of me. I will never rent from Budget/Avis ever again. I suggest you do likewise.
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Soaring Consumer on 04/13/2013:
I suggest contacting your banker. They might be able to reverse the charge and feesunder the circumstance, however chargebacks from debit charges are fairly difficult.
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Worst Customer Service Ever and Charges, Charges, Charges
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
PORTLAND AIRPORT, NEW MEXICO -- I rented a car at the Portland airport so I could attend my grandmother's funeral. I was thrilled that I got a good deal on Priceline at 60% off. My week long rental was only $179. I rent cars at least twice a year for travel and have never had any problems previously. How was I to know that I was about to engage in the worst customer service I have ever experienced in my life and be charged and erroneous $476.

One day in NE Portland, I accidentally parked in front of someone's driveway and my rental car was towed. It took me 42 phone calls, two days, and 11 direct hours of dealing with the situation to even talk to someone who was helpful. 80% of all the customer service reps I spoke with were some of the most non-empathetic people I have ever come across. They were rude, sounded annoyed from the start, had wrong information, I was hung up on three times during transfers, and all around unhelpful. Apparently it is Budgets policy that the customer cannot pick up the vehicle if it were towed. Every customer service person I asked (most of them just kept transferring me to the wrong person) could tell me that this was the policy, but no one could tell me where this policy was located or how I could get a copy. I finally found someone who could help me. He calls the manager of the PDX airport Budget and I am granted special permission to go pick up the vehicle from the towing company.

I get back home and the vehicle I rented from Priceline for $179 is now costing me $1000! My debit account, that I used as the security card when picking up the vehicle, has been charge $350, the full cost of the rental. I also just received a bill in the mail for $211 from Budget. Let me break this down. I completely take responsibility for the fact that I parked in front of someone's driveway. I paid $202 for the impound and I have the $90 parking citation to pay. Forget all of the illegal parking fees and I will have paid $476 directly to Budget (this does not include the Priceline rental fee I already paid).

Upon calling Budget customer service again to discuss this issue, I am told that the $350 that I was charged was for the towing fee and that I needed to prove that I paid the fee directly to the towing company. But $350 was the exact amount for a full price (non-Priceline) rental of the vehicle. I am convinced that no one knows what they are talking about. To top it off, the bill I received for the parking ticket states that the violation amount was $181.50. I have the ticket in front of me – It was for $90 and is not past due. Then they have a line item for $30.00 handling fee. Where did the other $91.50 come from??

This company does not have their act together and they are taking it out on the consumer. Not only was I two days without a car I rented, but they are charging me $476 in fees that they appear to have just completely fabricated. I am writing reviews every where I can and making a complaint to the BBB. I have never experienced such bad service in all my life.
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Reservations Mean Nothing and Neither Do You to Budget Rental Car
Posted on
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- On June 11, 2011 my wife and I made four future reservations for cars in Las Vegas, Nevada for trips from January 2012 through April 2012. The average number of days for each of the four rentals was five days. We used Travelocity to book but we also called Budget's 800 number to confirm and printed each reservation from the Budget Company Web Site. All seemed to be well but I must say that I was relatively new to dealing with Budget so I did not expect either their lack of concern or their lack of honesty.

On January 2, 2012 (approximately 7 months after our booking) we received emails (2) from a representative of the Las Vegas branch of Budget Car Rental stating that unless we were willing to pay approximately $1000 (yes, one thousand dollars) more than the confirmed price that they had no intention of honoring our reservations. We called immediately and the person who sent the emails refused to come to the phone although we had been informed that she was there. So we filed complaints with both Travelocity and with Budget customer service (now there is a misnomer) and neither of them felt like that a confirmed reservation meant anything as far as I could tell. In fact a Travelocity supervisor promised to call us back either way in two days and he, of course, did not keep his promise.

So apparently someone at Budget got the word and the supposed manager from Las Vegas did give us a call. She contends that Budget has the right to refuse service to anyone they choose and that she was choosing to refuse service to us because our rate was too low. They did not desire to have customers like us who sought out a bargain. Plus, she was sure the whole affair was simply a computer error and they couldn't be responsible for that, could they? Well, just to clarify this part of it we checked Hotwire.com, Travelocity, and Budget.com and all of them had the same rates that we booked. So to say that it was simply a one time computer was a blatant lie and Ms. T-------- certainly knows that.

In conclusion, add this complaint to the hundreds of others on the internet at this very momemt and you can find about a 1,000 reasons why Budget Car Rental Corporation is headed for bankruptcy. People will put up with a lot but dishonesty will eventually put you out of business.
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griffin21 on 01/08/2012:
I have seen many complaints about retailers not honoring confirmed orders due to pricing errors. I understand your frustration, but pricing errors do happen.

One time I went to Budget Truck at the confirmed time, and the truck was already gone. The guy there showed me that multiple reservations were made against the same truck. I was lucky that they had one larger truck to offer, but the point is reservations are far from ironclad as we would expect.
Jeff on 01/08/2012:
You know, I have used enterprise in the past, Hertz, Alamo, and national.....Budget needs to rename to Expensive rental car because they always see to be just that.
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Budget Rented Me a Faulty Car
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LOUISIANA, LOUISIANA -- On July 11, 2011 I made an online reservation to rent a car from Budget Rent A Car. My reservation was for 6 o'clock. I got to Budget at 6 o'clock and my car was not available. The girl working at the front counter told me they did not have my reservation on file yet and sometimes it takes 30 minutes to an hour after the scheduled reservation time for reservation to come through their system. I then waited 30 minutes after my 6 o'clock reservation before I asked if they could check to see if my reservation had come into their system yet. It still had not.

At this point I asked if I could cancel my reservation and just rent a car without one. The woman told me they were currently out of cars and were only offering SUV's so unless I wanted to pay for an SUV it would be best to wait for my reservation to come through. To make a long story short my reservation was made for 6 and I was not in a car until 8. That was 2 hours after my car was supposed to be ready. Come to find out the reason why it took 2 hours to get this rental car was not because my reservation had not come into their system but they did not want me to have an SUV for the car price. So they were waiting for someone to return a car before they would rent me a vehicle. Instead of telling me this they lied to me.

So I finally get in my rental and on my way. Once I got my rental car to my hotel I noticed that the headlights were not working. I did not think much about it at the time I just assumed that the headlights were not turning on because it was still day light. The next day I drove to Texas during the day light and once I got there I just parked the car at my hotel and did not drive it at night. The next night though I did need to drive my car at night and the headlights still did not come on. The parking lights and the bright lights worked but the dim lights did not. I called the emergency roadside assistance number because the Monroe Louisiana office where I rented the car was closed. I was then informed that corporate could not help me out or send me a new car because the Budget in Monroe Louisiana was not a car of the corporation which left me stranded in downtown Austin Texas without a ride. So I was forced to take a taxi to my hotel.

The next day was my day to return home and have the car returned. When I got to the Budget in Monroe I let them know the headlights did not work and I was stranded in Texas and corporate told me it should not be a problem for them to refund me one days off my bill because they were not able to send me a working car out. I was then told that they were not going to refund me any money because I did not call them to inform them the head lights were not working. To which I responded with you were closed when I needed a new car and I was bringing the car back today so what was the point in calling?

They told me that it was not their fault the headlights did not work in the car they check all the cars before they rent them out. I know they did not check the car before they rented it to me because it had just come in. Four other people then came to the counter to put in their opinion on why I should not get one day refunded back to me. This one man who worked there asked me if the air went out in a home I rented would I expect money off my rent just because it went out. To which I responded YES too. Needless to say all I got refunded from my $335 bill was $10.99. So I filled a corporate complaint and when I was filling the corporate complaint they also assured me they did not understand what the problem was with refunding me one day off my bill which was all I was asking for. I am waiting now to hear from someone that working in higher management in the Budget Corporation.
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Whiteduck on 07/19/2011:
I would have been ready to rip someone's head off...

Thanks for the review.
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Fraudulent practices - RUDE people
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AMARILLO, TEXAS -- I rented a car on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 from the airport location, which is independently owned and operated. I called the location first and explained that I only had a debit card and the manager stated that would be OK. At that time Manager took my debit card ( despite the written sign stating that they do not accept debit cards. The estimated charges were going to be about $215.00. He placed a hold on my account of $200.00. I called back on Thursday to request an extension and a better rate comparable to the one posted on website. S**** said I would need to bring the car back and close that rental out and re-rent the vehicle to get the new rate. I brought the vehicle back on 07-14-2011. She closed the rental out and opened the new one at the better rate. She took my debit card and without disclosing the amount placed a $500.00 hold on my debit card for estimated charges of $61.50. I received a text message from my bank indicating that my account had been over drawn by $167.21. I then asked her if she had just held $500.00 on my card. She said yes that was their policy. I explained that earlier in the week Budget had only held $200.00. She again stated this was their policy. I asked to see the policy, because nowhere on the contract I signed did it state this policy or was it indicated anywhere that they had held any amount on my card. She brought out a book and stated that these were also listed on the website. I read the policy and it states that "generally we require a debit card authorization hold of estimated charges plus $200..." I pointed this out to her and she said it was for credit cards. I showed her the words "Debit Card Hold Rules". She then claimed that they do not accept debit cards. I told her she just accepted mine. And that she couldn’t say they do not take them and then accept them and charge whatever they want. I asked to speak to the manager. He came out and I questioned why they had only held $200.00 earlier in the week (which was still being held on my card at this time as well. He replied with" I don’t know you from Adam. We are basically giving you a $20,000.00 car for $ 500.00. You could just take off in the car. I would hunt you down." I said “so now you are calling me a thief?" They refused to release the hold. I called the corporate office, who stated that because they were independently owned they were not able to do anything. They had requested several pieced of information from my rental contract that was not filled in my S****. I called my bank who was unable to release the funds even though the charges were disputed. I never gave them authorization to hold $500.00. They never requested authorization to hold this amount. I called the Budget office again and asked to speak to the owner, who conveniently had just left for the day. I find this suspect as I was sitting in the parking lot this entire time and had not seen anyone leave. I returned the vehicle on Saturday 07-16-2011, a few hours early. On Monday morning the $500.00 hold was still on my account. I spoke to my bank and they had not received the release from Budget. The written policy states" Upon returning the vehicle, we will process a released of the unused portion of the debit hold..." I called budget and spoke once again with S***** who states they funds had been released and it was my bank that was holding things up. I informed her that I had just spoken to my bank and they have not even received the release. She said it was sent. I asked for the name of the person who sent it. She refused to give that to me. As of the time of this complaint the hold is still on my account. This company was unethical, unprofessional, and deceptive.
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Alain on 07/19/2011:
Perhaps your best option at this point is to return the car (if you haven't all ready), pay whatever is owed and go rent a car from another company.
William on 08/10/2011:
Upon arrival to KCI Airport,I rented a car from budget. During the paperwork process, I asked if they had a Military Discount. The agent stated yes and would give me a discount. When she handed me the keys to our rental car, It was a gas hog. I asked for a compact car and she stated this was all they had. The total amount paid for 5 days ended up being $486.10. I guess the military doesn't get a discount but they get screwed. Would recommend to ALL to search for a better car rental company!
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FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- I made an online reservation with Budget. I paid for the car rental online as well. After reading the rental contract, I called the location where I would be picking up the car. I asked if the debit card I used to pay for the rental would be accepted at the counter when I picked up the car. I was told yes. I asked for the dollar amount they would be "holding" on my card once I picked up the car. I was told $100.00. I asked why the rental contract says the hold amount would be $200.00? The agent responded with "oh that is just a standard amount used on the rental contracts." odd...but OK. I asked if I would be subject to a "credit check" as this too is included in the rental contract. I was told there would be no credit check.

I went to pick up the car and the agent (Crystal in the Downtown Fort Worth TX location) looked at my card and told me she would not accept the kind of card I had. She would give me no explanation other than we do not accept your kind of card?) I told her to cancel my reservation. Crystal cannot do that. I have cancel it online. OK, I cancel the reservation online and I call customer service to complain. I told the agent that I had canceled my reservation and wanted a time frame for receiving the refund.

She asked if I had requested a refund? Canceling the reservation does not entitle you to a refund? You must request it? she told me that she would request the refund for me and I should receive it within 10 business days. I asked questions about their rental policies and why what was on the contract was different at the counter and vice versa and I informed her about how poorly I had been treated at the counter. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, she informed me that I signed the contract and that I was being rude. She then proceeded to act as if she could not understand me. Fast forward to today, two weeks later and the 10th business day. I have not received my refund. I called Budget again, spoke to Tony who advised my reservation had not been canceled (according to him my reservation was in limbo...odd, I have a cancellation number) and no refund had been requested.

He said he would take care of this for me and that it would be another 10 business days before the credit was received. I told him that the agent I talked to two weeks ago told me that the $50.00 cancellation fee would be waived. He said it would and that I would receive a confirmation e-mail stating that the reservation was canceled and that the refund had been requested. I received the email. The e-mail said that the cancellation fee would be $50.00 and that it was not waived. I called Tony back. Read the e-mail to him...Oh, I'm sorry, I should have told you that the e-mail would say that and that the $50.00 cancellation fee will be processed through another department. I have not received a confirmation e-mail from that department; but I am mad as hell. A monkey could do a better job. I'm now in the process of disputing all charges made to my card from Budget Rent a Car through my bank and informing every person I know not to use them. I find it quite interesting that at the time I write this, Budget has 80% more complaints than any other car rental company on this web-site. Go with Enterprise, and enjoy your trip.
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trmn8r on 03/25/2011:
Renting a car with a debit card is fraught with difficulty. While debit card use has increased substantially, the fact that you drive away with the merchandise (their car) makes putting down $200 or $300 seem indequate. Thus the need for credit checks, etc. Local policies vary, which could explain the differences you found between the website and the counter:
I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. Perhaps you can find a company that does a better job when using a debit card. I got my first credit card in 1988, after being told I couldn't rent a car without one.
Ytropious on 03/25/2011:
Credit is the way to go folks, even if you just keep one card.
Anonymous on 03/26/2011:
I can understand why the OP is mad. She called to verify that her debit card would be okay to use, and the agent said it would be fine, only to find out that when you get there, its NOT fine. Rude employees only add to the frustration and aggravation. budget should refund the total amount AND some, in MY opinion. They obviously have communication issues with their branches.
trmn8r on 03/26/2011:
I agree in principle, P-C. Debit cards really have been frowned upon in the rental car business. This likely explains the OP attempting to find out ahead of time if there would be an issue. I am a big believer in knowing what to expect, and I hate it when it turns out the opposite.

So, I agree this Budget needs work in knowing the rules and relating better with the customer regarding debit cards.

As a person who likes to avoid the possibility of trouble, I also think that carrying a CC is the way to go in the future. The title of the article I linked to at bankrate is something like "Don't use debit cards for car rentals".
redmx3racer on 03/26/2011:
From Budgets website: "Debit Card
At some locations, debit and pre-paid charge cards are not accepted at time of rental but are accepted for payment at time of car return."

What can get confusing for the average consumer is that if you prepay, they advertise on their site you can use a debit card. But it comes with these terms.
"•A prepaid car rental can be paid on budget.com with the following credit and debit cards*: In the U.S.: Amex, Visa, MasterCard, Discover. In Canada: Amex, Visa, MasterCard. *While debit cards are an acceptable form of rental prepayment online, they may not always be accepted as payment for the credit hold required when you pick up your car. Generally, Budget requires a credit card hold of total estimated charges or $200 (whichever is greater). At locations where a debit card hold is allowed, the debit hold will be $500 or estimated charges (whichever is greater)— unless you already paid toward your rental on budget.com, in which case the debit hold will be only $100. See full terms and conditions for rental requirements at your location during the online reservation process."

As someone who worked in rental for 10 years (not for Budget) I can see how things are confusing from both sides. If anyone ever sees a disclaimer like that my advice would be to call the location you plan on renting from directly, not call the 800#. Which did not work in this case unfortunately.
canucks1 on 03/26/2011:
Avis ripped me off, sounds like I cannot go to Budget either... Enterprise it is then.

Thanks for the tip.
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Do Not Rent From Budget, Unless You Have A Lot Of Time To Call Them Regularly
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I rented a car through Budget on Sat, Nov 27, 2010 pick up 08:00 AM. The day I picked up the car I asked how to return the car. I was told to drop it off with the Valet they will take care of it. Well, that is what I did.
To my dismay, one week later I get charged -93.25. instead of 54 USD Total. A few Days later I get charged another -24.39. I called budget, they said it was not their problem and I had to dispute it with the desk.
I found out that I was charged 2 days and that the car was checked out of the system on Sunday at 23.00. I had returned the car at 07.30 am before a 24 hour lapse. The location closed around noon on Sunday, and charged me the full Sunday.
If I was a tourist, and not renting from my location I would have had a bigger head ache. The next morning I went into the location and disputed the extra charge with the manager.
He apologized and said he would fix things. He even stated, usually I send budget an email. One week later I still did not receive my Money. I called the Budget Location at Hyatt san Francisco, again he said he would send another email. Well the story goes that I had to call him often until I got fed up on the 28th November 2010 and wanted to complain with Budget head office. Head office said they have never received the email. So I told them that this is an internal issue and that they must solve this problem. Budget central called Budget Location at Hyatt san Francisco, the manager did confirm that I was overcharged. And I was promised the refund.
On the 05 January 2010 I had been refunded only 24.39. I called budget again and they said I was only refunded the day's rental and not the extra charges of late fee, second day of insurances. They therefore promised another refund of 31.01. But this was still 5 USD higher than what I was supposed to pay.
I was told that the extra costs were insurances, and I hade to contact Budget Location at Hyatt san Francisco and sort it out. I called Budget Location at Hyatt san Francisco, and the manager told me that Budget central had charged me 2 days of road side assistance, instead of one. I called Budget central again and they refunded me the extra 5 USD.

I have learned a valuable lesson:

-Get the car Time stamped every time you drop off a Rental. (even though many rental car companys let you drop off keys in a postal box.

-NEVER RENT FROM BUDGET. I as the customer had to sort out their non communication between head office and local rental. This should have been the manager's responsibility to call. He should have realized that I had been calling for 4 weeks, and that the emailing system was not refunding my charges, and should have take responsibility and called the central budget location.
Central Location should call their local rental to verify the charges.

Pay a little extra and rent from any other company except BUDGET. My rental agreement number is 464507400 if anybody wants to verify my review.
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