Budget Car and Truck Rental / fraudulence
On January 16, 2009, my husband and I rented a Budget 24 foot box truck from Taylor Rental in Port Jefferson Station, NY to move his great aunt into a group home. When we went to fill out the papers, my husband inquired about the additional insurance. The rep noticed that we were paying with our American Express card, and told us that we were covered by Amex as the primary, and our regular auto insurance as a secondary. He also told us that we had to opt out of the insurance otherwise Amex would not cover any damages.
We knew that we would not be finished with the truck until after store hours, so the rep told us to just put the keys in the drop box and the truck would be checked back into the system in the morning. A different rep walked us around the vehicle..only major thing noted was graffiti on the sides.
We took care of moving his aunt and returned the truck after hours, locked everything up and put the keys int the drop box as we were instructed . The next morning, we received a phone call from the store, asking us to come down and fill out an accident report for the damage done to the roof. We went down to see this for ourselves and sure enough there was a hole in the roof approximately 7 inches wide.
We told the rep that we didn't do this, it must have happened overnight, and he said that he had absolutely no stake in this (of course he did, he gets a commission from Budget!) and that he would just fill out an accident report that said "customer denies damage". He said sometimes Budget decides to pursue these things and sometimes they don't. We'd know in a few weeks if they were to pursue this or not. So we left...
About a month later, we received a letter from Budget with a $4, 700 bill! The pictures of the damage are not like anything we saw, they were 10 times worse. The estimate was done in Florida, which is very sketchy because this truck was rented in NY.
We found out that they gave us COMPLETEY INCORRECT information...we were virutally driving around WITH NO INSURANCE! Can you imagine if we had hit a pedestrian? We'd be living out on the street! Basically the whole thing about Amex will cover you was false- when we inquired about this, they do not cover commerical vehichles. Neither did our personal auto insurance because it was a commerical vehicle.
To top it all of, even if we had taken the additional insurance, there is a clause that states it doesn't cover roof damages. So we would have been screwed anyway. When we inquired about this with Budget, the answer we got was "it is up to the renter to know what is covered and what isn't".
Sorry I left my crystal ball home... how were we supposed to know that we were given incorrect information? You trust that the vendor is giving you legit info... lesson learned!
We now have a lawyer involved and are in the process of contacting the State Attorney General. Our personal auto insurance rep said that this is a common scam to get rid of old trucks and replace with new ones at the consumer's expenese.
If anyone is interested in filing a class action suit, please contact me ASAP. I have spent the last hour browsing this website and am horrified at some of the postings about them...this cannot continue!
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