Incredible, I’m still fuming over this, but it’s just as well, we should all be more wary of rental car companies. Now, more than ever, you have to be diligent when looking over rental polices because it’s clear these companies are at war with the consumer. Almost every time, a simple car rental turns into a costly lesson. Let me tell you a story where Budget / Avis stole more money from me than the actual rental. And, I did nothing wrong.
My situation arises from renting a car from Budget / Avis on their website for a trip to California.. If you find yourself in an airport, you’ll notice they won’t let you rent on the spot, it has to be online. So, I do that and choose the option of PREPAYING for the 11 day rental. This option seemed reasonable as it afforded me meagre discount of perhaps $1 USD per day. The total rental prepayment was $343.51 USD. Lurking in their insidious fine print was something that would be incredibly costly.
On my trip, I followed all the processes, used the car for 4 days and had to unfortunately return early from my trip for personal reasons. I expected, like any car rental I had ever returned early, that I’d be charged for the days used. When returning the car, the fellow looking over my car provided me with a receipt for the rental. It amounted to $168.17 USD. This is the amount I used on this rental. This was expensive, but at least reasonable. I asked the man: “Does this mean that my card will be credited back and everything would be ok?”. He said: “Yes, the recipe looks good, no need for you to go to the counter.”. So, off to my flight home I went.
So, imagine my shock and surprise that I would be paying $175.34 USD for services I did not use.
I called Budget’s customer care line and spoke first with Oliver (employee 94793) and he wouldn’t relent in how many apologies he’d give, nor how this policy wouldn’t change. I offered to take a credit, and still nothing. They’re going to take – sorry – steal this money. I asked for a Supervisor, still shocked and stupefied. Michelle came on the phone (Employee 93355) and again apologized, reiterated this insane policy enacted on October 28th would not change and that “No refunds are due”. I again asked for something, a credit, or some sort of sane action. Nothing.
What is this policy? Deep in the fine print of your rental is an absurd statement that reads “If you return the vehicle before the original return date (early return), you will not be refunded any portion of the payment”. Apparently, this is legal somehow.
This is nothing short of a scam.
At current conversion rates, the amount of money Budget has just stolen from me (for no services rendered) is $230.47. I get nothing in return but apologies.
I simply ask, when a policy your company has means you can steal this much money from people, it’s not working.
Needless to say, avoid these fuckers.
Update: Budget did reach out to say their sorries and just about nothing else. If anything, be warned that you could lose a lot of money by prepaying. This type of trick has been coined as “Gotcha Capitalism“. You can see this in airline fees, and even prepaid wireless services. In fact, I just canceled my Public Mobile account, and they would not refund me the unused portion. Companies, more and more, are taking advantage of our inability to catch these tricks.