Budget Truck Rental / bad return policy
I am writing to advise you of a multiple problem rental encounter. I have never used Budget before and this is my first experience. Let me compliment all your personnel who spoke to me face-to-face. Each person whether employed directly by Budget or through a partner arrangement were polite.
As per my agreement, I attempted to contact the Dispatching Dealer at [protected] on Saturday, November 20, 2010. I attempted to contact this number approximately 20 different times on this date from 9:00am CT through 7:00pm CT. Each time I received an answering message which told me to contact the National Budget Toll Free Number. I was unable to leave a message On Sunday, November 21, 2010, I again attempted to confirm my truck and trailer reservation. However, I was unable to make contact with the Dispatching Dealer. At this time, I decided to call the 800 Budget number. I was advised by the operator that the rental was confirmed but that I should continue to attempt contact with the Dispatching Dealer. I continued to attempt contact through that day but was unable to make contact.
According to the rental contract, the truck and trailer were to be picked up at 10:30am, Monday, November 22nd. Since I had been unable to make contact with the Dispatching Dealer, we arrived early to the location at approximate 10:10. During the signing of the contract, two separate phone lines were ringing. One of the lines were never answered and received no discernible voice mail. The other line was answered and responses seemed to be in relation to Self Storage business. My hypothesis is that a separate line exists for Budget rental customers and this is why I was unable to confirm reservations.
Upon arrival we were told that Community Self Storage had a truck as requested but no trailer. The representative at Community Self Storage was highly apologetic but advised that Budget was not her employer. That it was my responsibility to drive to another location on Hwy 98 and retrieve the trailer from that location.
During inspection of rental truck, it was discovered that no moving blankets were supplied. It was a clear expectation during my rental request that moving blankets would be available. The move was to assist my elderly grandmother (81) to move from Mississippi to Texas to live with me. Some of her belongings are over 50 years old and 2 of them are antiques. These moving blankets would have relieved a little bit of stress from the situation. Unfortunately, Budget did not supply these.
Additionally, an inspection of the Dolly provided revealed a large tear in the strap and appeared to be unsafe to use. We did use the dolly but it was not without trepidation.
After inspection, the truck was driven to 6497 Hwy 98 West in Hattiesburg, Mississippi to retrieve the auto trailer. While there, a locking mechanism was purchased for $13 dollars. This lock did not work on the back of the truck and I fully expect to be reimbursed for this cost plus tax. The salesperson, Kay, assured me this lock worked with the truck rental.
I advised Kay at the 98 West location that if the truck was driven over 44 miles an hour a violent shaking took place and I was concerned for my safety and others on the road. Kay advised she did not work for Budget. She explained that sometimes Budget trucks did that and for me to have someone look at it if I felt unsafe. She also advised there were no other trucks available.
On Wednesday, November 24, 2010, an attempt to deliver the truck was made to the Destination Dealer. The worker there refused to take the trailer because he did not have a space for the trailer. Again, we were reminded that Morningstar Mini Storage Plano did not work for Budget. On the contract, Budget indicated the Destination Dealer at the address 5920 West Plano Parkway, Plano, Texas, 75093; dealer number 750930. Why did a legal contract contain this address if the dealer was unable to accept the trailer and has not accepted trailers for some time?
At this point, a call was made to Customer Service at [protected]. My first attempt at conversation was met with the phone being hung up on me before an amicable decision. My second attempt was not met with better results. Individuals answering the customer support line were hostile. My simple request to speak with a manager took 18 minutes to process and I did not receive a manager. The person who answered the phone was a second line employee who repeated multiple times that it was the responsibility of the renter to return the truck to Budget. Repeatedly, I explained to him the truck and trailer were at the designated Destination Dealer as written in the contract. His response continued to be that I had to return the truck and trailer to Budget. When it was remarkably clear that I would be charged more money if I did not do as I was told, the truck and trailer were driven less than 3 miles from the Destination Dealer. Why could the Budget dealer not come get the truck?
It is my understanding after speaking with your phone representatives and on-site personnel that erroneous information is routinely communicated on the contract agreement. When the contract is written, a database pulls the nearest location according to zip code. No attempt is made by Budget to ensure this location is actually able to accept a truck and/or a trailer. In this day and age, I can not understand why partnerships are not required to login an internal Budget system and advise if space is available. In this instance, the Destination Dealer knew well in advance his trailer spots were rented for several months. He attempted to contact me but was only given my work number not my cell number. A search on google.com provided a plethora of similar stories. This process is broken and I would recommend some adjustment be made.
Overall, I have to say this is the worst customer service experiences of my life. While I am happy that my 81 year grandmother is living with me now, I am forever mentally scarred by the way Budget has treated such a life-changing experience. Our family should have spent more time with one another to ease the burden of moving. Unfortunately, due to Budgets poor business model, our family spent an enormous amount of time and energy dealing with Budgets inefficiencies. I hope everyone at Budget enjoyed Thanksgiving. Our family was unable to enjoy our meal on Thursday due to Budgets disorganization.
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