Budget Rent-A-Car Complaint - Budget Rent A Car Never Again
I, along with my wife and 14 month old, arrived in Orlando about 10:30am on Saturday May 30, 2009, excited about our family vacation. We collected our bags and made our way to the Budget Rent A Car counter and everything seemed to be going smoothly. Javier checked us in with the online reservation made through Hotwire.com. He gives us the sales pitch of upgrading us to an SUV for $10 more dollars a day, but we felt fine with our “full size” reservation. He then tries to get us to buy the insurance telling us this was what “most people” do. I decline and decide to give him a break as it is probably part of the required sales pitch. We take our rental agreement across the street to the garage to pick up the car and this is where our experience takes multiple turns for the worse.
As I was given the keys, I noted that they were for a Chevy Malibu, which according to the EPA classifications is a mid size, and I thought there had been some mistake. We make it down to the space and sure enough, it was a Chevy Malibu. I was confused as our confirmation from Budget Rent A Car’s website listed a Full Size car, Chevy Impala, Hyundai Sonata or similar. I understand the “or similar” but there is a great deal of concern that a Chevy Impala and a Chevy Malibu are considered similar, which are not considered similar by EPA or General Motors whom both classify the Impala as a “Full Size” or “Large” and Malibu as “Mid Size.” The trunk space alone is nearly 20% smaller in the Malibu as compared with the Impala. While I have highlighted the comparison with the Impala, it is similar with the Sonata, which is also classified as a full size.
After recognizing what I thought was a mistake, I went back to the key counter, passing five Hyundai Sonata’s and two Chevy Impala’s. I was then directed back across the street to where I signed my rental car contract. I went back down and talked with Javier again who greeted me with “Not big enough, need a bigger car?” I would not want to think that he purposely issued me the smallest car he could in a malevolent attempt to have me to pay more money for an upgrade. I pull out the rental confirmation and detail for him the differences between the Malibu and the Impala and Sonata, and he only attempted to have me agree to a Mercury Grand Marques for an additional $35 a day. At this point Javier became rude and dismissive telling me that the Malibu was what I had, unless I wanted to “pay more money.” Sounds fairly close or “similar” to extortion to me. I thank Javier and inform him that I needed to call Hotwire.
I called Hotwire and spoke to a very friendly and helpful young man, it was quite the contrast. After he made multiple attempts to reach customer service at the Budget Rent A Car there in Orlando, he called the main office, which only gave him another number that never got answered. After being on hold with him for 30 minutes he informed me that he had noted the complaint and gave me the number to customer service to continue trying. I then called the number and left my name and number along with rental agreement number, and have yet to hear from them. Not exactly the glowing example of promoting quality and service of Budget Rent A Car’s Mission Statement.
At this point my 14 month old had been in the parking garage for over an hour, he had drank just about all of his water and eaten all of his snacks. He was hungry and starting to fuss as he had growing tired of his stroller, but there isn’t really a clean or safe area to walk or play in a parking deck. Frustrated, we go to the Malibu to install the car seat and the car reeks of dry, hot and stale, cigarette smoke. I refuse to subject the health of my child to a situation resulting from others failing to properly clean a car. Again I head back to the key counter in the garage only to be referred back across the street to the rental counter. This time Javier would barely even talk to me. I told him that the car reeked of cigarette smoke and he referred me wait for the next available agent.
Miraculously the new agent now had a Hyundai Sonata, a “Full Size” car available. I was then able to go back over to the parking garage, pick up the new keys and load up my family. The new as well had an odor of cigarette smoke, but a hungry, crying toddler along with some airing out with the windows down convince us that we need to get going. Finally about 12:30pm, almost two full hours since collecting our bags, we were leaving the Orlando Airport to start our vacation. While there were no major concerns with the Sonata, we had to continuously be sure to air the car out before we loaded our family in it due to the smell. I also believed that I would be called by customer service, since I had left them my number, and the car could be sorted out afterwards. Much to my chagrin there didn’t appear to be much customer service present with the Budget Rent A Car in Orlando.
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