Never, EVER, Rent from Budget!

If you want to make your move, car rental, or your life in general as hard as possible I would recommend Budget Car/Truck Rental. If you want a smooth experience, decent customer service and fair rates you should NEVER USE Budget.

Let me tell you why! Last Monday I was looking for rental vehicles to facilitate a move for my family, we only needed a small truck as we were moving only .9 miles by vehicle, and half a mile as the crow flies. The company I work for has a negotiated discount with Budget, so I decided to use their service as it was comparable to others.

I booked my 10 foot truck, gave them my info, printed my confirmation/reservation and forgot about it until Wednesday when I got a call telling me they would not have a ten foot truck available at the location I had selected. This poises our first question, “Why does their reservation system show some vehicles as being available and others as not being when there is zero accuracy in that data?”

The agent that called me was apologetic and offered to upgrade us to the next larger vehicle with the caveat we would have to pick it up from a different location. I mentioned that it would require 20 miles of additional driving and since that class of vehicle is a flat rate plus mileage it would impact my cost and he adjusted it to include those extra miles for free, and gave me an extra 5 miles free to cover the gas difference. At this point, other than a bit of bother the customer service appeared excellent and I gave them glowing reviews.

I called on Friday afternoon to re-verify my rental as their site had recommended doing so, and I was informed that Jarred their inventory manager in the area would have the vehicle where I needed it, and at the time I needed it.

Jarred is a liar.

I then called the Budget location at 10am on Sunday as my appointment was at 1030 to pick up the truck, and I was in the middle of a move. The young man working that location told me that it was available and would be there. I drove to the location and listened to the two people in line in front of me be told that none of their vehicles were available and there was nothing Budget could do because their terms and conditions never actually promise to do ANYTHING. Question number two, “Why have a reservation system when you have no intent of honoring it, unless you get lucky and manage to honor it?” I will admit to smirking a little as the people in front of me grew angry because I had had MY truck verified four different times, first by the website, then the northeast rep for Budget, by their inventory manager locally (via the store rep), and by the store rep that morning.

I get to the front of the line, present my reservation number and thought, “I should let my wife go now, and I will follow!” I am most certainly glad I did not, as the SAME EXACT BUDGET EMPLOYEE behind the counter who had verified it for me 30 minutes prior was now telling me that no truck was available.

Okay, so why make reservations with Budget, and even more, why ever use Budget?

I called their customer service number and spoke with a rep; he put me on hold and called the same guy in front of me who had already lied to me. The rep came back on the line and told me that my only option was to pick up a vehicle NINETY FOUR MILES AWAY, not round trip 94 miles, but a 188 mile round trip on a day I was moving. He told me that the local inventory manager had previously said that a vehicle would be ready, which indicates the local inventory manager really needs a new career, perhaps sweeping floors.

Third question: “Does Budget strive to hire idiots, or are their policies really that inept?”

I pointed out that taking three hours to get the vehicle to even start moving was silly, and that I would have to pay for 94 miles of travel in a 15 foot truck, and 188 miles of travel in my own car, and in return he said, “I will give you a 25% discount!”

I was appalled; did he really think 10 bucks was going to cover over 45 bucks in fuel costs and three hours of time from my wife and I?

I stayed calm, but at this point he started to tell me that since their terms and conditions do not actually promise ANYTHING, he could not do anything else. I asked if he could, with a week notice, ensure I would have a vehicle the following weekend, and he repeated the corporate line that their terms and conditions do not actually promise ANYTHING.

Still calm, I informed him I would never use Budget as a service again, and I would inform other consumers of the issue so that they are not left in the same position. All of their employees told me the same thing, this happens more often than it does not, and their customer rep actually tried to tell me that they have millions of cars but only 80k of trucks so it was difficult. “Why do they make reservations they KNOW they cannot support in advance?”

I got on my phone, did a U-Haul reservation, drove to a convenient location and picked it up. I am out 90 minutes (times two with my wife), an additional 30 bucks in costs, and my move started two hours late. I was moving until 11pm as a result and literally ran out of help and energy thanks to the long day. So, now I face getting another vehicle to finish the last few items, and that puts me another 50-75 bucks out of pocket. Renting a vehicle from Budget ensures that you will pay over 100 extra dollars, never get a vehicle from them and waste your time hassling with them.

Please, please, please NEVER USE BUDGET RENTAL FOR ANY OF YOUR NEEDS. Keep in mind my questions about Budget.

“Why does their reservation system show some vehicles as being available and others as not being when there is zero accuracy in that data?”

“Why have reservation systems when you have no intent of honoring it, unless you get lucky?”

“Does Budget strive to hire idiots, or are their policies really that inept?”

“Why do they make reservations they KNOW they cannot support in advance?”

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