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Budget Rent A Car review: failure to fulfill reservation

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I reserved a Ford Expedition 4x4 with a ski rack in advance for my party of 6 to drive to Whistler. The agency did not have this car upon our arrival at 9:30 that night. We tried to fit into an inferior minivan that would have cost less to reserve online (I had originally reserved one and then changed my reservation when our group increased to 6). We barely fit, so seeing that it was too late for us to hire a shuttle instead and that we were helpless, the Budget employee "Mickey," # [protected] (with surprising unpleasantness and an additional 1 hour delays in processing paperwork and mostly standing around) proceeded to charge us an additional $75 for an "upgrade," although this was clearly an inferior, less desireable, 2WD car. Knowing that we were headed to Whistler that night, the staff did not even mention that we might have any trouble driving to Whistler without the 4x4, nor did they provide us a map or even mere directions out of the terminal. So there we were, at 2 am, stuck in a blizzard on a hill about 13 kilometers past Squamish, in about 4 inches of snow. We seated two guys on the hood (to weight the front tires) and somehow managed to turn the van around and drive back to Squamish, where we took shelter in two $85 hotel rooms for the night and then (the next morning) bought cables to ensure safe passage to Whistler. We were already missing a day of skiing. So add the $75 charge from budget, the $170 in hotel rooms, and the $70 chains, and our costs had ballooned by $335. By the time we actually arrived in Whistler, we were exhausted, stressed out, and had colds from the harsh night in the blizzard. Budget rent a car, namely, the employee named Mickey, very nearly ruined our trip. Had it not been for the wonderful, kind people of Canada that we met, and the spectacular scenery, they may have succeeded.


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Jul 19, 2009 6:26 pm EDT
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

A minivan seats 7. An Impala seats 6.
An SUV seats 5.

Where's the problem?

Jul 08, 2009 2:55 pm EDT

I had a similar experience when renting from Budget in Austin, Texas for a trip planned 3 months in advance to attend the law school graduation of my son. I was taking his 3 grandparents, his mother, and myself, for a total of 5 adults. When the time came to pick up my "JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE 2WD or similar", there was no suitable vehicle available, and they tried to offer a Chevy Impala in its place. After informing them this was totally unacceptable, and after making repeated phone calls to their customer service department (with no solution), I left the facility. I made more phone calls from home, and after a while Budget customer service called me to inform me that my vehicle would be arriving at my pickup location within 45 minutes. Calls to the facility informed me that the vehicle that was being sent was a lesser class than what I was being charged for.
The good folks at Discover informed me that since I agreed to rent this lesser vehicle, I should have to pay the rate. Apparently they have never reserved a rental car and received a lesser one than agreed and for the same rate. Budget refused to negotiate the rate, informing me that they would only negotiate after the rental period was completed. They issued a credit for 68.20, and I offered to pay $200.00. They refused my offer, and upon disputing the charges with Discover, I lost that appeal.
People can call it what they wish, but I consider it to be fraud when you have an agreement to provide a certain vehicle for a negotiated rate, and then you substitute a lesser vehicle in its place when time to provide the service.
I do not see how they get away with such business practices!


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6 Sylvan Way, New Jersey United States