Budget Rent-A-Car Complaint - Fraudulent And Deceitful
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- About 2 months before a family vacation, I reserved a car through Budget for a week. The web site had some options for things like a booster seat for my son, which I selected as it did not affect the rental price. I just selected the base car, no extra insurance.
After having some luggage issues with the airline heading into Orlando, Florida, I went to the Budget counter. After waiting in line for 25 minutes, I was waived over to this enormously long counter by Bob.
Bob proceeded doing his usual sales pitch and I interrupted him. I said "Look. I rent cars all the time. I'm tired, I'm hungry. Here is my confirmation number, I want only what's on this page." He says "Fine", and starts typing away. About 5 minutes and a noisy dot-matrix printout later, he comes back with the contract and says "Initial all the circles and sign the bottom." Then he pointed out that the car seat was $60, which I said to drop since I could buy 3 of them at a nearby WalMart for that price. He typed some more, explained nothing, and being that I was tired, I just assumed that he did what I requested. BIG mistake. He said as I was leaving "Don't fill the car when you return it, because our rates are less expensive right now than the pump prices."
One thing to note is that their contracts are VERY difficult to read the text. I think it's deliberate, so you can't see what they're trying to slip in there. Other companies have the item, the price and an Accept/Decline column. Not these guys. It's in small, poor quality dot-matrix print on the 3rd and 4th pages of a carbon-copy printout, and the text is all over the place.
When I went to the garage to get the keys, I made sure they didn't put a booster seat in the car. The very grumpy old man said that they don't even have a booster seat to give us and gave me a nasty look for even daring to ask.
I had a gut feeling that I should fill the car when I returned, so I did about 12 miles from the airport. When I turned in the keys, my $265 estimate was over $400. They noticed the gas tank was full and said that if I wanted credited, I needed to go to the customer service counter.
On the bill that I did not agree to but were on the contract:
1> Almost $70 for a 'fuel purchase option.' They don't give you any credit for unused fuel. So much for being less than the $19 I paid at the pump to fill it just before the airport.
2> A $60 charge for a booster seat that I had told them I didn't want.
That raised the rental rate 50% !!
Going to the counter to get a credit, the woman asked for my gas receipt. I showed her and she said "We aren't supposed to do this, but I'll give you a credit. You can't expect to fill up 20 miles from here and get a full credit." It was only 12 miles and I fired back saying that it wouldn't have been an issue at all if Bob (I was pointing at him at this point) didn't fill out a fraudulent contract. And the booster seat charge was still on there. I said "Why did I get charged for a booster seat that I told Bob I didn't want, and which you don't even have?!?"
I checked my credit card statement and the booster seat charge was STILL on there, so I called their customer support number and asked that it be removed. I explained how flagrantly they lie down there, and it basically fell on deaf ears. Either they don't care, it happens a lot and they're tired of it, or that's just the way they do business.
In any case, I will NEVER do business with Budget again. I've gone through Hertz, Avis and National and even some very small outfits, and never had a problem. I can only consider this a lesson learned, and I hope all of this helps you avoid the same problems as well. From reading some of the other posts, I'm not alone.