NEW YORK, WASHINGTON -- Today I received yet another $8.95 charge on my credit card from Budget rental cars. Here is the original experience: I rented a car yesterday at the 304 W 49 St. facility in Manhattan yesterday. I can honestly say it was the worst experience in my rental car world. ** was the initial rental agent. I have to say, her customer relations skills are nonexistent. The previous customer was in tears because ** was so unhelpful. While waiting on me she continuously repeated, “Jesus Christ.” But, that is just her customer relation skills. Her agent skills are worse.
I asked the ** if I could add the E-Z Pass to my contract as I am from out of state and as I was going to be using the Henry Hudson Bridge, which is a toll bridge. She assured me I could pay cash. WRONG. Now I know, from a previous experience with Budget in Denver, that I will receive not only a bill for the toll, but also a fee for this “service” from Budget, which (4 years ago) was $10 and I predict the “service fee” will be nearer to $25 now, for EACH time I used the bridge. I am beginning to think this is a money-making racket Budget uses to increase their revenues. When I rented the car, I was told the gas tank was full, when I checked, I saw it was only a quarter full.
I returned to ** who snapped, “Tell the security guard.” I replied, “I did, and he told me to tell you.” After she cursed, she scribbled on my contract and gave it back to me. As I could not read what she wrote, I took a photo of the dashboard. Good thing. When I returned the car that evening and told **, the rental agent, she asked, “Did you take a picture?” I replied, “Yes I did. Now, tell me why you are EXPECTING ME to do the job of the rental agent?” When I told ** about the no cash lane on the bridge, she said, “Most of our cars don't have the EZ-Pass, but the car you rented does. Did you open the box?”
I asked, “What box? And if that is so, don't you think the rental agent should have told me that when I asked about paying for the EZ-Pass?” She began to give me another song and dance until I walked over and pointed to a sign on the wall about EZ-PAss. (This sign was so unhelpful, it did not explain anything, which was probably the point.) Now, most people rent cars to get out of Manhattan and unless you swim, the only way to do that is via a toll bridge or tunnel. Do not tell me the rental agents at Budget do not know this. When I get my “Service fee” letter I am reporting this to the Better Business Bureau.
And if Budget insists I pay this “service fee” I will charge them with fraud in Small Claims Court. I will NOT be taken advantage of again. So, Mr. **, here's the thing. You can help straighten this out, meaning, NOT CHARGE me for that “service fee,” or I will post this letter everywhere in the social media world that exists. Let me mention that I write about travel for newspapers and websites. And before I write about this adventure, I'll give you the opportunity to do something about it.
LOS ANGELES, NORTH CAROLINA -- Never again! My 9 year old son & I were traveling to Simi Valley, CA to see fam. to celebrate my son's 10th birthday, Spring Break, & Easter. Very special trip. We were traveling from CLT, NC where we live. We left at 11:40 ET, connected @ Cincinnati airport in KY for almost 3 hours. We finally arrived in LA, it was around 6:10pm, was on-time, & had been a long day for my son. I am more than familiar w/ the LAX airport & the area as I have been traveling to California for over 30 years back & forth from Charlotte.
My husband & I did book our rental car through Priceline which we don't usually do (we are Enterprise customers... to save a little since it was Easter weekend/Spring Break--I Fully regret now). Our reservation was for 6:30pm PT (like it mattered). We weren't able to catch the first 2 shuttles to the LAX Budget location due to both shuttles being full, so that was a 30-45 min wait at the airport. When we were able to "Squeeze" onto the 3rd shuttle, it was a 15 min ride to the Budget Rental Car destination.
As we were on the way over, I thought to myself, dang, there were two FULL shuttles before us, we are going to have to wait behind all of those people. I accepted that, but thinking that maybe 30ish people.... Boy was I wrong when we arrived! When we got off the shuttle, it felt like we were at Disneyland walking up to a brand new ride! At least 50 people in line outside & kids wandering around bored and complaining..... parents cursing & complaining... I'm excited about this since we'd already Pre-Paid for this rental car!
As I'm standing in line outside, I'm texting my husband who is on a different flight due to scheduling issues. I am pissed and my son is beyond tired from the East Coast/West Coast time change. Every 15-20 min someone would come out the front doors (Where I thought this HELL line ended) saying they were either going to AVIS or elsewhere, this place is BS, or this place wasn't worth the wait, or I waited 2 hours for this crap. That's just great! Look what I have to look forward to! We waited in the line outside the door for at least one hour and 15 min, maybe a few min more, just to see that the line wrapped all around half the area inside the doors!!!!! REALLY?
I'm beyond pissed and just over this place already! There was not ONE person in this place w/ a smile on their face, customers, workers, no one! As I watch all of the customers and the 3 employees working, this was just a bad situation all around! The employees didn't look the least bit friendly, they didn't want to be there, looked like they could give a damn less about how busy they were, all the pissed off people, etc! Why the hell do you only have 3 people working on EASTER/SPRING BREAK WEEKEND? Either they weren't prepared or didn't care!
After we finally got through the front doors, I saw that there were some seats over in the corner so my 9 yr old could go sit down. I felt so bad, my son was one of like 6 kids over there sitting down bored & tired beyond belief! Kudos to the little boy dressed as Batman walking around asking if he could save us lol, if not for him, most of us would have cracked! I am about 10 back in line, & a 4th employee decides to join the madness at the counter. It seemed as if he actually gave a damn and was trying to speed the line up. So that was a tad comforting.
When it was my turn to go to the counter After over two hours! I was helped by the one I didn't want to help me, the girl that looked like she was the least caring, worst attitude, rolled her eyes, bad customer service!! Just my luck! I was already pre-paid, so I had to give my CC for the $100 hold, fine, I knew that. Unlike Enterprise, you have to purchase their insurance at an $11 a day minimum. So I agreed to that, totaled $55 so I was fine with that, like I had a choice. I would've taken a moped at that point I had been waiting so long!!!
So I finally get my car, get my paperwork & tell me where to go... B37, so I walk all the way back there w/ my son & our luggage. They DON'T walk around the car to check damage, check fuel, etc, which really bothered me. When we got to the car, the keys were already in the car. So I start getting my son & I settled in & our luggage inside, a guy walks up behind us and asks us if we were assigned B37... yes we were!! (This guy was behind me in line.) We were assigned the same car! How does that happen?
I told him he needed to go back inside and check them on that! I had waited over two hours w/ a child. I was done. He was behind me in line anyway, so I said you can go get another car! Screw that! The next morning (4/06/15) I noticed damage on both sides of the front-end & had transmission issues not noted on the paperwork, so my husband drove the POS back not trusting it w/ my son & I on 4/8 to return. The guy questioned my hubby about the damage! It was already there along w/ bad transmission! BS charges, disputes if needed. Never rent from these jokers again. You get what you pay for!
GURNEE, ILLINOIS -- The rear driver side tire of our rental car kept going flat, and I had to keep stopping to fill it; probably since it was 4 below zero. I called Budget to ask if they wanted me to change the tire, or keep driving on it. The representative told me to do nothing and that they would bring a new car. I had to wait 5 hours for them to bring a new vehicle, greatly delaying our plans.
A month and a half later, I received a notice that they were going to charge me an additional $281.60 for roadside assistance. I at no time requested or needed roadside assistance. I could have easily changed the tire or kept driving and stop frequently to fill it.
I tried to call customer service to dispute the charges, but was told that department does not take phone calls and I had to e-mail them. Two days later ** e-mailed me that they were going to charge me the full $281.60 since I “needed” it, even though I did not request it. I escalated it to ** in the Executive Office of Budget. He said the most he could do is charge me half, claiming I could have refused to listen to Budget's instructions that they were going to switch out the car.
Then I asked for a receipt, so I could submit it to my insurance, which covers roadside assistance. Over a week and a half, I asked daily, and each time I received a receipt (from **) it either was for the incorrect amount or did not list roadside assistance at all. I called ** to complain, and asked if I could speak to his supervisor. He told me that there was not one higher than him in Budget, and refused to allow me to speak to anyone else. When I finally posted a complaint on the Budget Facebook I got the receipt.
Even though Budget is often cheaper, I'm going back to Enterprise (www.Enterprise.com). Their customer service is excellent, and they end up being less expensive in the long run, since they don't surprise their customers with unsubstantiated charges.
UNION STATION WASHINGTON DC -- In all the reviews I have seen, clearly this is not a good company. Wish my wife had checked beforehand. My wife rented a car for three days giving herself an extra day as she only needed it for 2. Well her wallet was stolen while she helped an elderly man at a restaurant with our kids there. So we filed a police report. She called the rental company. They would not extend the time even if I faxed my info over and credit card.
However they held 300 plus, took the 144 and then they said she would have to pay 45 an hr in cash. Yet she called to extend the rental and her contract stated 10 fee and 61 for the extra day which we were fined with? All because the police held her up due. Mind you she was driving a rental 200 miles with 4 kids, 2 that are toddler's.
The manager of the Union station was not nice to her on the phone and she did not want to deal with him due to the language he used on the phone with her. She paid the drop off fee for another location. The young lady at that location in Rockville was vary friendly and nice my wife ended up paying in cash 230 for 3 days.
I am an executive for an international company and I would never tolerate what the union station manager did to my wife and the language he used. I have a fleet of trucks rented through National car rental or better known as Enterprise. Go with them as this was the first time my wife did not have the option of renting with them, they were closed... Better over all prices and services!
PHILIDELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA -- I picked my car up at the airport. It had a half of a tank of gas. I returned it with three quarters of a tank of gas. They charged me for 9.78 gallons of gas. They never indicated that I needed to return it full. They did not have me sign any contract. I drove a total of 119 miles, I put in 10.587 gallons and Budget charged me for 9.790 gallons for a total of 20.377 gallons. This would indicate that a new Mustang would get 5.84 mpg, highly unlikely.
When the car was dropped off they agreed it had 3/4 of a tank. The tank is 16.2 gallons yet they charged me for 9.790 gallons more than twice what would fit in the tank. THIS IS FRAUD. I tried to deal with this at the local level and was laughed at, I called the customer service number they provided me and they said "good luck with taking it to court, it will go nowhere." I have tried repeatedly to reach people and you only end in loops or leaving a message and no one calls back.
ACROSS THE US -- Is there a 1 star? I have been a Budget customer renting cars through my corporate account for two years. I have received poor customer service at every level! They do not credit rentals with your Rez number or Southwest partner points and then do not want to correct it. Really?? Even Panera Bread will credit the salad I bought for lunch if I forgot to give my number for up to 30 days! They cannot provide any product knowledge on their vehicles. I have been told multiple times that a car has Bluetooth only to find it does not.
Walking back and forth through the snow to three different cars just to get an IMPORTANT safety issue is unacceptable! (It's not like I am asking [for] Sirius Radio or heated seats!) When I call customer service, they are unhelpful. I even had a representative hang up on me!!! I was not being rude or using inappropriate language - I was just direct and asking for a resolution. The few times I have encountered even remotely good customer service (I'm talking maybe two out of 50 encounters), it has been by overworked, stressed, but kind and caring people at the service desk in the Indianapolis Airport and Kansas City Airport.
I was told by corporate customer service that the Kansas City Airport was not one of their corporate stores - it was independently owned. (So the Rapid Rez-Rewards don't count there.) Really, I am not shocked, because they actually seem to have caring employees on occasion. Budget needs to take a look at their priorities. I teach customer service classes across the nation - I make it point to talk about my negative experience at Budget every time!
OMAHA, ILLINOIS -- We rented a Budget Car at the airport in Omaha. We got on the road. It was very bumpy. We pulled over. It was very unsafe to drive. Where we picked up the car was now closed as it was 10:00. The tire had bulges and flat spots in the tire. We waited 33 minutes when we called the emergency line to talk to someone. We were told they could not get us a car until the morning. We were forced to stay in a motel overnight because it was unsafe to drive the car.
The next morning they brought us a more expensive car. Now we are arguing with them over the bill. They don't seem to check their cars out. The car had close to 50,000 miles on it. That is a lot of miles for a rental. The kicker... when we rented the car they told us they were upgrading us. Never rent from Budget.
LOS ANGELES LAX, CALIFORNIA -- Anyone else finding their credit card charged with an extra 75 USD after returning car without any damage? Budget LAX did just this, and only when investigated by booking agency they produced an invoice without date or reason for the charge. Further investigation came up with allegation of stained seat upholstery, which definitely was not caused or noticed during our rental period. Photos produced by Budget did not identify the specific car and were taken more than 10 days after it had been returned.
Apart from the unjustified claim that the car had been soiled, it beggars belief that they can charge customers retrospectively without even informing them at all. To clarify, the car was returned in same condition as rented out, and smoke/odor was not at issue - we are non-smokers anyway. Staff on pick-up and return of car were helpful and friendly, and no issues were noted with Budget's performance other than that they are a thieving lot.
CONCORD NC -- The worst service I've ever experienced. I reserved my rental online through Priceline.com, I paid an extra $88 for insurance and roadside assistance prior to picking the car up. When I went to pick the car up the unprofessional representative working the counter told me she needed a card linked to an address to verify everything matched. I told her not to charge the card that I had money on a different card to pay for it.
She charged the card after she told me she wouldn't and over drafted my bank account. I immediately brought this to her attention and she refused to make it right. I asked her to do a walk around the car and she looked at me like I was inconveniencing her and refused that as well.
I took pictures of the many things wrong with the rental and the state of filth the car was in. We were given 2 keys on a ring together that could not be separated. The keys were accidently locked in the car the day we were packing to leave. I called the number given to me for assistance and was told I would not be charged for the locksmith, that it was covered in my reservation agreement.
I turned the car in weeks ago and just got billed $55 for a locksmith. I called customer service and received the same horrible service and run around. I've contacted my bank to dispute the UNAUTHORIZED charge to my account since Budget doesn't know how to take care of their customers. We rent cars whenever we go on vacation and will NEVER use Budget again.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO -- On arrival to the counter I learned the rental was 2+ time more than the daily rate quoted because of required third party liability insurance. This was 50% more than I had paid for liability insurance on the previous trip, just 3 months earlier. It's clear they change the liability rates based on the rate you received online, not the cost of the insurance. I'm not sure how the rental car companies will stay in business long term. Every customer was angry and fed up with the process.