Budget Car Rental / previous damage charge
May 10, 2016 rented from the Orlando Airport. Car had damage in 3 spots. Completed a damage report before leaving. Upon returning the car on May 18, 2016, the man checking me in noticed the damage. I showed him the pink copy of the damage report. He recommended taking a picture of the form since "they've been having a lot of calls about this". I did so. June 6, 2016 I received a call from Viking Billing Services about the damage. I told them it was pre-existing and that I had a copy of the damage report. June 9, 2016 I received a letter from Viking billing me for (approximately) $675 for damage and administrative fees. Called Viking, told them I had a copy of the damage report, and was able to email scan it to them. While faint, you could just make out the date, my contract number and the employee number of the man who completed it. I attempted to get an acknowledgement in writing that the case was closed (which is what I was told when I called), but never did. I told my husband I wondered how many other people they tried to charge for the same damage. How did they manage to lose both the white and pink copy of my damage report?
March 16, 2017 my husband rented a car from Budget online via the AARP portal for our trip to Florida. We needed a mini-van, and this was the lowest cost company. I expressed my concern about renting again from Budget because of the problem I'd had with them in May 2016. However, it was decided to go through with it anyway. We picked up the car from the Orlando Airport. At the counter we specifically told the aggressive salesperson numerous time that we did not want them to fill up the gas tank upon return. We're familiar with the area and always stop at the same place on our way to return the car. My husband also indicated that he wanted me, his wife, to be put on the contract as well. We returned the car later than we wanted due to unexpected traffic delays on March 25, 2017 at 7 pm, with our flight home at 9 pm. It was really busy, and we didn't want to just drop off the keys, but were running out of time, since we were also traveling with my sister in a wheelchair and knew security would take some time, so we had no choice or we'd miss our flight.
A few days after returning home, I was feeling uneasy, so I looked at our credit card statement. There was a $123.91 charge from Budget. I emailed the details to my husband and he called them. They were charging us for the gas fill up (on a car that was returned full), and for a 2nd driver. We had signed the contract "agreeing" to both. Fortunately, my husband was by then interacting with a supervisor who agreed to refund the gas charge, and also, because I'm his wife, there should not have been a charge for a 2nd driver. Two days later we had that refund on our card. However, now we had another charge of $22 for tolls. Again, I sent the details to my husband who called Budget. The agent was nasty and tried to tell my husband we were still responsible. We never use the automatic toll device in rental cars, we always pay cash. Plus, we had never been to the area where the toll was incurred. My husband asked for a final invoice to be emailed to him. It was and it clearly showed that not only was the tank full (goes back to that first charge), but that the car had been checked in at 8:00 pm. The toll charge was incurred at 10:35 pm - 2 1/2 hours after we returned the car and were literally in an airplane flying home to NYS. The agent tried to convince my husband that he had to call the toll company and that Budget couldn't do anything. My husband told him you put the charge on, you take it off. 1 week later, there was no refund. I disputed it with our credit card, and my husband called back, got another reasonable person and 2 days after that the charge was reversed. We trusted that the counter agent was honest when he told us where to initial and sign the contract, and that's how he tried to sneak in the fraudulent charges. I believe that Budget has a company-wide corporate policy to aggressively sell services not needed and if that fails, to sneak them onto contracts so that people don't see them until after, making it harder to dispute them.
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