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Budget car rental alert - Will not rent from them again

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Rented an SUV from vancouver airport last friday and returned it yesterday.
so when i picked up the car, i could barely find anybody to look over the car - finally found somebody - he gave the car a cursory glance marked a couple scratches that he saw. i also looked around did not find anything really - signed off the yellow form - all of which took maybe 2 minutes.

I did not hit anything or anybody during my trip. SUV did not have a ski rack. i loaded all my luggage including my skis in the trunk.

when i returned the car - the guy checking the car - looks it over with a magnifying glass (well, almost). then he climbs on the runner and checks the roof - and claims that the roof has some dents. when i look - I need to turn my head to look at it with different angles to be able to even see the dents he is talking about. obviously this pissed me off. I pointed to him and his manager - 1) we never looked at the roof when i picked up the car. 2) i did not hit anything and how can a dent be caused without any scratches.
I asked him to make an intelligent assumption as to how a dent could possibly be caused on the roof without any scratches - he says it is not his job to make assumptions - only to report on what he sees.

I really think this is a scam. they had the dents on there before and but decided to foist the charges on me. Of course it is partially my mistake - that i did not look at the roof - but really who does??? you know how it is - you land after a long flight, baggage takes longer it should to arrive, kids are hungry and screaming.

anyway!! - I would recommend that you do not rent from Budget again. even if you do - make sure you go over the car with a fine tooth comb - mark every little dent, scratch everywhere that you see.
post #2 of 17
They don't forewarn you at pickup and tell you that every square inch will be scrutinized at return so let's spend some time checking out the car now. Its a rip off ploy for sure providing them extra revenue. I wonder if its a Budget franchise at that airport with a private operator or a company installation. Not a good way to build a loyal following.
post #3 of 17

You really should have checked the car

Sorry, I can't resist replying. I'm not trying to act in a holier-than-thou manner; I swear I'm not.

But, I just thought it is obvious that a large part of rental companies income comes from you buying insurance (or may be also from insurance reimbursement). Which is why their favourite ploy is scaring you by pointing out that you need to buy their insurance because your private automobile insurance policy may not allow it to be used as the primary insurance for the rental car (all my private insurance policies so far allow me to use them as the primary insurance for rental car; check yours).

Based on this, it is in their best interest to strengthen this fear; for example by finding faults with the returned car. I am quite certain that the next time you rent a car, you'd think twice or at least consider more about purchasing their insurance coverage. This is exactly the result that they want.

So, the only sensible things to do are:

1. Check the car throughly. Enlist the help of your wife/gf/female companions too; I find them to be better at spotting imperfections (I wonder why).

2. Try to mark things as dented even when they are not. Mark those imaginary dings on that piece of dent-check-list paper in places that you expect will have significant chances of being dinged (door sides, front bumper, rear bumper). The attendants usually are too lazy to double check what I wrote/marked. If they are not, just play dumb, "Oh, I thought I saw a ding there". It's their responsibility to check what you wrote; if they are too lazy to do that, that's your advantage.

3. Check your private insurance policy if it can be used for primary insurance.

4. Check if your credit card can be used for primary insurance. My AMEX can and is the secondary reason I apply for one (the primary reason is the cash back, the tertiary reason is the cool transparent card ).

Anyway, what happened to you has happened. Someone has to reimburse the car rental company. If you have #3 and/or paid with #4, you just have to report it to them.

Hope this helps!
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am not denying the fact that i should have checked more thoroughly.

And yes - i do have credit card insurance - which will pay for the entire damage. but that's not the point.

I just feel that there is a certain amount of - deception or bad business practice involved here when you spend less than 2 min to look over the car on pick up - but you spend significantly more time when the car is returned.
by giving it a cursory glance - the rental company is creating an expectation that that is the same level of inspection the car will undergo when the car is returned.

I rent cars very frequently - and this has never happened before. Once i rented a car in france from hertz and some body swiped against my side view mirror while it was parked. I paid up without complaints. I really don't mind paying if there is an obvious damage to the car while the car was in my possession - even if it is only cosmetic.

the reason i have a problem with this - is that 9/10 people would not notice this dent that he speaks of - even if they looked for it on the roof. i am not even bringing up the issue of how the so called dents do not affect the car - functionally or cosmetically.

and as to your point that the rental car company by this incident - is trying to convince more customers to buy their insurance. I say that they have failed. I am certainly not going to. It will certainly make people - spend more time inspecting the cars.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
while I am on the topic of Budget - i should also talk about their so called "Fast break" service. for those who are not familiar - you can register for this free service on their website (every rental company has a similar service) by providing your CC number, address etc. and the promise is that when you go to pick up your car - the car will be ready, paperwork willbe done and there is NO waiting at the counter.

so this time - when i went to the Fast break counter at Budget - i see there is a line of people ahead of me. When i get to the counter - he has the paperwork but no cars. He says your car is not ready. Complete BS. why call it a Fastbreak - when you don't have my car ready !!!!
post #6 of 17
This happened to me many years ago. I now always check car very thoroughly. I am a lawyer and have dealt with the credit card insurance a no. of times. Not to be pessimistic, but I've never actually seen it apply. I think it's just a come on that unfortunately makes people think they have insurance when they don't. There always seems to be some exclusion that applies to the person's situation. Of course I could be wrong, but will be curious to hear if you actually get credit card insurance to pay.
post #7 of 17
Two rental companies I've crossed off my list include Budget and Alamo. They are horrible companies.
post #8 of 17
Originally Posted by hobojo View Post
Two rental companies I've crossed off my list include Budget and Alamo. They are horrible companies.
Then you might as well cross off Avis (common ownership with Budget) and National (common ownership with Alamo). The bottom line is it all boils down to the individual location. I've had wonderful experiences with most of them and horrific experiences with most of them. I believe Budget is franchised so that explains large gaps in quality of offerings and service among locations. I had one of the worst experiences ever with Alamo in Maui, but a pretty good experience with Alamo in Kauai on the same trip.
post #9 of 17
Hate to burst your bubble, but It's YOUR fault. You should have checked the car, not just the guy. If you didn't care enough to throughly check your rental then it's all on you. Just learn a lesson from this, don't trust anyone, and always cover your own ass.
post #10 of 17

Lincoln, Navigator by chance???

Budget Vancouver tried that with us in January on a Lincoln Navigator. We kicked up a stink and did not pay. same thing, dents on the roof. We did not have rack, nor did we tie anything to the roof.

They waived the charge as previuosly undetected.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Nissan Pathfinder.

obviously a scam. just the way they went about it - looked like a perfect
setup. Would have created a bigger stink - except that - i was getting late for my flight.
post #12 of 17
Budget is just that "Budget". People use them because they are cheap and so is their service. You get what you pay for. I spend 50% of my time traveling for my job and we use Hertz. They are our preferred vendor for a reason, excellent service. Sure it costs more, but in 15 years with literally hundreds of reservations I have never had a problem.
post #13 of 17
kick and scream- letter to the prez, copied to their marketing department-

I have had these types of charges reversed- I have been lucky in that each time this has happened I have had a digital camera and taken a photo of the so called damage- then in my letter said

a) this is minor/nothing
b) didn't happen on my watch
c) looks like normal wear and tear-

good lcuk
post #14 of 17

Never rent from Budget

A few years ago I drove from New York to Florida to see the countryside with my wife and the best rate I could find for rentals was Budget at the Newark (NJ) airport. There rate offered had no mileage restriction and the car (Nissan Maxima) only had 1,500 miles on it. Before signing the rental agreement (and paying insurance) I was informed that the only items not covered by insurance were wheel and windshield damage. The Maxima (did I say it was new) was a great car to drive (220 horses) and my wife and I had a lot of fun driving south. Everything was uneventful until the return to New York. Somewhere in Savannah, Georgia at around 10 PM we hit an obstruction. It was lying in the middle of the freeway and I didn’t see it because all the cars were traveling at a fast clip and fairly close to each other. The obstruction, which I later learned from the highway patrol, was a portable electronic freezer that must have fallen off a camper or RV. It was only a little bigger than a shoe box but it not only damaged the left front wheel of the Maxima, but also damaged two other cars behind me. The left tire blew up at 80 mph and only presence of mind (and constantly reading Car & Driver magazine) allowed me to handle the car until it stopped. The wheel was a wreck and I had to use the donut spare wheel which limited my speed to 50 mph and distance to 50 miles.

After doing a police report and changing the wheel we ducked at the closest motel and called it a night. The next day I called Budget and found out the closest rental facility was in the Savannah airport which was 80 miles going back south. My plan was to leave the car in the Savannah airport, get another car and head back on my way. It should have been that simple and that was when my nightmare began.

After reaching the airport, their budget rental office said that they could not do a car replacement. In fact, we could not even be assisted by Budget Savannah. Apparently, the Newark Budget rental office (where we got the car) was a franchisee and not a corporate owned facility. According to Budget Savannah (a corporate facility) we would have to rent a new car from them, leave the old car behind and find a way to get the old car back to Newark – at our cost. We called Budget Newark and they confirmed this. This meant our only option was to drive the car back from Savannah, GA to Newark, NJ on the donut spare. I started calling around car shops looking for a replacement spare wheel which could handle the trip. However, since the Nissan was a new model, no one carried the lug bolt configuration of the car. I spent most of the entire day driving around the state of Georgia looking for a solution. We had to look for a Nissan dealer to buy a completely new metal spare wheel for the Maxima. It was not the same aluminum wheel but a metal one. What made it even worse was Budget Newark wanted us to pay $600 for a new replacement aluminum wheel since the replacement we got from Nissan was totally different.

After that incident, I swore never ever to rent from a Budget Car rental store again. Also, after that incident we would only rent from corporate rental offices and not privately owned franchises.
post #15 of 17

Never rent from Budget

I also never rented from Newark, New Jersey again...
post #16 of 17
Marty, this is not your fault. Did you damage the roof?? No.

This is B.S.!!
post #17 of 17
Just remember, Hertz (maybe Avis) own all the cars and the rental outlets are basically their store front. So you can swap cars, the staff don't hassle you because they don't earn extra from it.

Budget is locally own, including the cars. So you can't swap cars, no way, no how.

And if you hit a dishonest outfit, you're in for a whole world of (wallet) pain.
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