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Avoid Budget Rent-A-Car, rent from other companies!

La Crescenta...
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Avoid Budget Rent-A-Car, rent from other companies!

I travel on a more or less regular basis, but never had such a bad taste in my mouth left after my most recent Budget experience... And no, that didn't involve a traffic accident or any other serious incident, just "normal" dealings. I'm sharing my experience here with the hope that others avoid such troubles.

First, picking up the car. I made a reservation (10 days) through Costco, which was the best price I found. I opted for a full size (I normally go for intermediate) with unlimited miles, insurance paid through American Express and a free GPS. I went to pick the car up at 8am on 12/26. There were three customers in the entire rental car place (which is huge!) and I was the only one at Bidget. The first thing I heard after the obligatory salutations was how busy they were... Really (I looked around)? Then, it turns out that the full size they had available had two doors, which was inconvenient for me. Fair enough, I can't guarantee that I'm reserving a four door car; not a problem. I asked what options I had for a four door car, and the lady offered me an upgrade for extra $8/day. I didn't want to take that, so I asked for an intermediate car. Surely downscaling would be cheaper one might think... No! The price (she insisted she was putting in the discount code) was more than that for a full size. Luckily, I had an iPhone and was able to log onto the Costco site to check the prices and, sure enough, they were much lower that the price I was given. She "checked" again, but couldn't come up with that price, so I made another reservation through Costco. It came through immediately.

But that wasn't the end of it. Next, the woman tried to sell me insurance and starts to argue with me that I really need it. I subscribe to an American Express travel program that covers all rental car insurance (collision, liability, etc.) everywhere in the world. But it was hard to convince her in that and it took forever...

The next thing was the GPS. The printout from the Costco reservation clearly stated that the code comes with a free GPS. I spent about 20 min trying to argue with the lady that, but she would have none of it. She insisted on putting a different code for a free GPS which, of course, resulted in a much higher rate yet again. I refused and insisted that she put in the Costco code as per the original reservation. After a lot of moaning that she could run it through, but she doesn't know what will come out, etc., etc., she ran it and in her exact words: "Would you look at that!" the GPS came out for free...

I spent an hour and a half renting a car, when this should have taken far less than half an hour and the original reservation, if followed to the letter, would have come out as intended. This messed our trip plans quite significantly; we had a pre-arranged program where to go and what to see, and we missed a few.

But that wasn't all. The car comes with an automatic toll-paying system, a fact that was never mentioned to me. And, of course, there is a fee for using it. Conveniently, the box had a ON-OFF button, which was placed on ON. I was glad that I noticed it and I turned it to OFF. If you think that this would help, think again... Several weeks after the rental I get a charge on my credit card from e-tolls. I called the company (in NY) which said that regardless if the device is switched on or off, the toll will be picked up as that was the only way to pay (cashless toll). You'd think that you would be notified about these things by Budget, wouldn't you?

I'm sure that there is a fine print in the contract that states that, but if that is a satisfactory justification for anyone, they are fooling themselves. The entire experience with Budget was something I want to forget - from the moaning of the agent, to the pressure to buy options I didn't need, or rent for a price I didn't want, to the deceit by "forgetting" to mention important facts.

Avoid Budget at DFW like the plague, I know I would. I looked for a place to rate them as you do with restaurants and hotels, but I didn't find any; I'd give them zero stars if I could. And note that this is not directed at Budget as a company, I had fantastic experiences renting from them in many states as well as several times abroad.

1 reply
Austin, Texas
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205 reviews
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1. Re: Avoid Budget Rent-A-Car, rent from other companies!

You may want to ask that this post be moved to the forum for Dallas. The Dalhart forum doesn't get much traffic since it's a pretty small town in the panhandle.

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