1. Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
    Dismiss Notice
  2. If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
    Dismiss Notice

Budget No Show

Discussion in 'Car rentals' started by JoO, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. JoO

    JoO

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2015
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    4
    I reserved a car through Costco for Budget car rental. I made a point of confirming the car rental two times before arriving at St George Utah airport: both one week and three days before arriving (directly with Budget; once via email, the other by phone). Upon arrival at the airport, I was told there were no cars available. I had just arrived for a work trip on the other side of the state and the airport is a long way from the city of St. George (10 miles). It ended up costing me two days on each end of my trip and $500 cash out of pocket ($250 each way) to arrange a ride to my drop off point 6 hours away as well as my return, requiring the person who drove me 24 hours of driving time (to St George from a Grand Staircase-Escalante trailhead, and then back to the trailhead, and then the other way...back to SGU and then their return back to GS-E). Why so much? The person who gave me the ride was driving a Toyota Tacoma 4wd with off road tires.

    I contacted Costco customer service about what happened and was completely blown off. Well, they did say they were sorry, but were completely uninterested in addressing this with Budget. BTW, I have been renting cars for more than a decade through Costco and have never encountered this.

    At the airport, I pressed Budget to come up with a solution and in the end did offer me a 15 passenger van or a sports car. Mind you, I had reserved a Ford Escape because I need room for a LOT of gear I would testing for work, and was assured twice before my arrival that it would be available. And I would have to wait for both vehicles to be returned by their renters. I asked them to call into St George Budget, which they reluctantly did but said there were no cars available. As for the 15 passenger van or Mustang option? I drive a small car at home and wouldn't even know how to drive something like a 15 passenger van, nor would I be able to fit my or other people's gear in a small Mustang. That's why I rented the Ford Escape in the first place. The people at the Budget counter at SGU literally shrugged their shoulders and acted totally uninterested in helping me. I was literally left stranded for 10 hours while I waited for a drive to drive from a trailhead 6 hours away. I would think Costco would have an interest in addressing this issue with Budget, but alas no. I contacted Budget by phone and email and have gotten NO response either. I get that there will be no renumeration for this even if either party had stepped up to apologize, but I have totally lost my faith in both of these entities and feel I need to make people aware of the potential for this to happen to them.

    Some may wonder why I use Costco to rent. All I can say is in the past I have saved as much as 35% doing so. Budget stacks a lot of extra fees on when you book directly, particularly when picking a car up at airport. Also, I wrongly assumed that Costco would stand by me if something like this should occur. When I tried to call them when all this came down at SGU, they said there was nothing they could do. Like I said, this is the first time I have encountered this in probably a decade of Costco car rentals. Wondering what others would do in this situation...I was told by a Budget CS rep that have even had this happen with pre-pays! One other thing: I had all my paperwork/reservation docs with me and presented them to the Budget agent. My guess is that they had someone come in with cash and rent that Ford Escape at full price and had nothing to lose cutting me free from my reservation.
     
    #1
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2015
  2. Warren

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    120
    I'm not sure how much blame rests with Costco. They don't own Budget nor does Budget answer to them.

    Others will come along shortly with specific advice on who best to contact at Budget.

    Only other thing I can suggest is if you have a SPECIFIC vehicle requirement and are renting at small airport, why not make reservations with multiple companies? Since regular reservations can be cancelled without cost, it is virtually free insurance for that situation.
     
    #2
    jsn55 likes this.
  3. JoO

    JoO

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2015
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    4
    Not really saying Costco is to blame...but if they are acting as 3rd party defacto agent, and have a financial interest...should they not have an interest in dealing with this? As for the suggestion to make multiple reservations, good idea for the future. But I have been renting cars for at least 25 years and this is a first...trying to figure out if it's a fluke or a common occurrence and I have just somehow been lucky in the past.
     
    #3
  4. Warren

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    120
    Costco took a small commission and should speak with Budget on your behalf, but they don't have leverage for your specific situation (especially if the location is run by a franchisee).

    The fleet size at smaller airports is usually small, so running out of cars is more likely than at larger locations. Also if you visit during high season and/or special events, chances of it happening are higher so multiple reservations will help you cover all the bases.
     
    #4
    Neil likes this.
  5. Realitoes

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2015
    Messages:
    1,003
    Likes Received:
    1,219
    JoO,

    Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for a rental company not to have a specific vehicle available. In fact most, including Budget, do not guarantee it even with a reservation (actually, it is possible they may not even have a vehicle available at all). Normally, if they don't have the type of vehicle you reserved available, they usually offer you an upgrade at no additional cost - which it appears they tried to do by offering you a 15 passenger van.

    Can I reserve a specific make/model car?
    "Answer: Yes. Although our standard fleet isn’t reservable by specific make and model, our Street Fleet is. Book your choice of any of our Street Fleet vehicles, and we’ll do our best to have that exact car waiting for you at the pick-up counter. And once you're behind the wheel of your favorite rental car, if you decide to keep your vehicle for a few more days, that's no problem at all. Since Budget offers each customer this same flexibility, please understand that we can't guarantee that the specific make or model you choose will always be available – some of our renters undoubtedly will decide to keep their favorite car longer than they originally planned, which might overlap your rental request. But if we have the car of your choice at the location when you arrive, you'll get it!"

    Personally, I believe if you have a reservation for a specific vehicle, then they should hold that car for you, but unfortunately, it doesn't work that way in the industry. You can attempt to write to Budget and complain about the situation, but I do not see them providing reimbursement of your incurred expenses. The only thing they may provide is other type of minor compensation such as a rental voucher or such.
     
    #5
    Neil likes this.
  6. jsn55

    Staff Member Advocate

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2014
    Messages:
    5,380
    Likes Received:
    5,296
    I am totally confused. Is Budget the only car rental agency at this airport?

    I book car rentals through Costco all the time, but they are the agent and have little control over the companies they use. If a company developed a record of not treating customers well, I'm sure Costco would ban them from their group. Lack of a specific vehicle happens often enough ... if renters keep a car longer than they originally arranged, the rental company has little recourse, for instance.

    But I don't understand why you were unable to rent a vehicle from someone else ... can you tell us why?
     
    #6
    AAGK likes this.
  7. cp556

    cp556 Moderator
    Staff Member Advocate

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,137
    Likes Received:
    1,493
    I wanted to see the status of car rental agencies in St George. I found Hertz, Avis, Enterprise and Budget, and there may be others I did not see.

    So there might have been choices to either reserve more than one vehicle, or attempt to rent a car from another company when Budget disappointed.

    There's been good information posted on this thread ... but I would advise @JoO to check our COMPANY CONTACTS list above. Send an email to the first contact, briefly and politely outlining that the SGU Budget did not have a car for you despite your checking twice before arriving. We suggest being brief, polite and persistent. If a week goes by and you've not received a reply, move on to the next contact on the list. Keep copies of all your correspondence to form a paper trail.


    And let us know what transpires.
     
    #7
    jsn55 likes this.
  8. John Grier

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    63
    not sure why you didn't take the 15 seater van option. It's not that much bigger than a Ford Escape.
     
    #8
    jsn55 likes this.
  9. Algebralovr

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2015
    Messages:
    407
    Likes Received:
    614
    John, I believe you are thinking of the Expedition with that statement, the Escape is smaller than a Dodge minivan. It carries less cargo than a 2000 Grand Prix, although it has more headroom for the cargo. The Escape has seating for "5" technically, although I would not put more than 4 if possible.

    @JoO you might have had better luck flying into an airport that was larger than SGU , such as LAS (Vegas for those who don't know the codes). The drive from Vegas to St. George isn't bad at all. Something to keep in mind when flying into smaller airports. My luck is that is I plan to fly into or out of a smaller airport, something always goes wrong. I usually find the closest large airport and plan to drive the extra 2 -3 hours. On the other hand, when we were through Vegas last December, nearly all the rental agencies had run out of cars. We had a minivan and they were thrilled when we returned it. They had oversold. Apparently quite a few people make car reservations and don't pick them up.

    I recommend you write to the corporate contacts and express your dissatisfaction with the situation. Maybe they will offer you a free car for a few days in an upcoming trip.
     
    #9
  10. John Grier

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    63
    no no. Have a Ford Kuga which is a Ford Escape in USA I believe. Seats 5 easily & think you can also get an extra row of seats making it an 8 seater.

    Most people seem happy to get a bigger vehicle, when they book a smaller one.
     
    #10
    jsn55 likes this.
  11. AAGK

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,745
    Likes Received:
    2,921
    To clarify, had you prepaid? Did Budget refund you that amount? What was the total bill supposed to be with budget? Assuming you were refunded, price out the cost of a similar rental from one of the other airport rental companies and subtract the amount you would have paid budget for your compensation request. that is what they owe you. If you weren't refunded than the full cost of a rental from Avis, or whoever, would be your working figure. Also, I wouldn't get into explaining the driving 24 hours thing as it won't affect your refund in a positive way. I am also curious, any reason why you didn't scoop a car from a different agency at the airport?
     
    #11
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015
  12. McNeal

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2014
    Messages:
    256
    Likes Received:
    300
    I respectfully disagree with those who suggest that Costco can wash its hands of this situation.
    To the layperson, their view sounds reasonable. But, 300 years of Anglo-American common law disagree.
    Your reservation (contract to provide auto) was between you and Budget but probably had some fine print that indicates the specific auto is changable for a class of vehicle or better.
    (I recently used Costco to rent a Large SUV Chevy Tahoe or better from Alamo. They gave away the last Tahoe 5 minutes before I arrived. They gave me the largest behemouth I've ever driven, Lincoln Navigator, instead).
    But, since you booked with Budget using Costco's website and Costco recieves a referral or booking fee from Budget, they become Budget's Agent. As Budget's agent (not yours) they are co-responsible for delivery. They also, have extreme leverage over Budget since all car rental companies clamor to be on Costco's website and offer huge discounted rates to be included.

    In the final analysis, the question is whether Budget and Costco fulfilled their contractual obligation to you?
    A Ford Mustang would not fulfill their obligation (Even though a "luxury" more expnsive, it's not a higher model in the same class)
    Your refusal of the 15 passenger van, as too big for you to handle, may get them off the hook.
    But, you should appeal up the Costco AND Budget's corporate chain of command for some recompense (e.g. credit for future Budget rental, perhaps?)
     
    #12
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
    George M and Neil like this.
  13. Warren

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    120
    Legally there may be a relationship, but practically there isn't one. The $1-$2 commission Costco received isn't enough for them to fight hard for this guy. Sure they have leverage over Budget, but they'll use when they have MULTIPLE problems with Budget, not one guy at a small airport (which likely is franchisee which changes the equation further).
     
    #13
  14. McNeal

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2014
    Messages:
    256
    Likes Received:
    300
    We'll have to agree to disagree.
    I've grown weary debating legal issues on the Forum.
    Suffice to say, I know I'd be able to join Costco and Budget as co-parties and have them both held jointly and severally liable for any judgement against either of them.
    So, the only question I ask in this case "is either of them legally liable for breach of contract?"
    The answer is probably not because the fine print is reserving a class of vehicle (or better) not a specific vehicle (e.g. Ford Escape OR similar OR better) .

    I strongly disagree with your counter advice to not bother filling appeals up the Costco corporate ladder, since they probably won't fight hard.
    So, I still strongly urge our client to appeal the decision up the corporate chain of BOTH Budget and Costco.
    We've seen many of our clients follow the "Elliott System" and receive restitution because they pursued their escalated appeals when the odds were stacked against them.
    If you don't ask, you don't get.
     
    #14
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
    Neil likes this.
  15. Warren

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    120
    I didn't tell the OP NOT to contact Costco. I just don't see Costco taking the issue seriously enough for them to get involved, much less to use their weight to lean on Budget. But if there is a contact at Costco that will fight Budget, then share so the OP can use them.
     
    #15
  16. jsn55

    Staff Member Advocate

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2014
    Messages:
    5,380
    Likes Received:
    5,296
    I'm laughing at "behemouth" for a Navigator ... I bid a tearful goodbye to my Navigator just two years ago. Lincoln's electrical problems are well known, except to me, and I had to finally give up on my truck after 13 blissful years. I loved that truck, but the morning I rolled the window down and the radio blasted on, I knew he was a goner.
     
    #16
  17. Mike Z

    Staff Member Advocate

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2015
    Messages:
    1,162
    Likes Received:
    1,269
    As the agency offered you a bigger vehicle when they didn't have the Escape, I don't see why they would be responsible for compensation fo $500. I also don't see where anyone from Budget offered to get you a car from Enterpise or any other rental facilities. So that said, i am not sure what fair compensation would or should be. Costco should be trying to help at least. I rent through Costco when I travel because the rates you get are fantastic compared to everywhere else most of the time.

    As far as the 15 passenger van, it is WAY bigger than an escape. I've driven a 15 passenger van several thousand miles at my current job and can say it is a handful. You would get half the MPG that the escape gets and it is difficult doing normally easy things like merging with traffic. However, If you know how to pay attention to your mirrors, it isn't too terribly difficult to drive. An added plus is that the darn thing is big enough for one to convert it into a hotel room if needed. lol
     
    #17
  18. JoO

    JoO

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2015
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    4
    The other three car rental dealers were either 1. closed or 2. had a relationship with Budget (Avis). No I didn't get a refund because I was only able to reserve the car through budget. They didnt have a prepay option at SGU.
     
    #18
  19. JoO

    JoO

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2015
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    4
    OK finally I have a resolve to report! But before I go there, let me just say that to those of you who suggested I take the 15 passenger van, here's the issue: I am a female, 5'2 in and 115 pds. I provide that information so that you could try to imagine me sitting in the driver's seat of a 15 passenger van. I know how this works because I was once asked by my kid's school to chaperone an event, and rode along in the passenger seat of one. My feet didn't even reach the floor on the passenger side!
    Now the good news. I did persistently run this up two different ladders: Costco and Budget. It took no less than 8 different emails and phone conversations until I contacted by phone by Costco rental car manager, who was pretty outraged that one of their customer service agents did nothing more than say "we're sorry,hopefully it won't happen again." And after several emails of the same ilk from lower step Budget customer service, I finally heard from Budget's regional manager who was incredibly apologetic and compassionate. He saw my plight. "It's not like you have a whole lot of options at SGU. The airport is 10+ miles from the town, there are few rental options in the town, limited taxi and mass transit. There's not even a restaurant at this airport. Just press-button fast food in machines. It's a bleak situation." The Budget manager acknowledged that they have some training issues to attend to at this location.
    He told me they're required to always have extra vehicles available at this location. Even if it's just one or two of similar class. He also told me that they should have contacted Budget location in St George and brought me a car. What may have happened, and I am totally speculating, is that someone came in and really wanted that SUV I had reserved and the untrained agent behind the desk, upsold it to them. The Budget Regional Director said that this is forbidden. In any case, I don't want to have to fly into las vegas instead of SGU just to assure I have a car. I hate LV airport so that is not an option for me no matter how short you might consider the drive. My work takes me to remote regions of southern Utah and I don't want to add to the drive. So I just wanted some guarantee that the next time this won't happen again, and he not only gave me that verbally (along with his direct number and others in Budget corporate), but he did in fact send me a check to cover most of my expense in having to hire someone else to make the drive and take the time to get me, and return me in time for my flight. All I wanted was an apology and some assurance this would not happen again. And though there is never any guarantees in life, I will feel a lot better about renting via Costco and Budget in the future. I also now know what to do should I ever get stranded at SGU again (I have numbers for taxis and outfitters who can transport people to the backcountry from St George instead of having to come all the way from Kanab and Escalante!)
    Now for those of you who suggested making multiple bookings, let me dissuade you. I was told that was a bad idea. Costco employs a computer program that systematically looks for and eliminates double and triple bookings, saving the highest priced one booked and deleting the others. Budget and the other car companies also have a system that looks for double bookings and deletes them. So don't count on that to work. Also, for those who suggested that Costco has no interest in this game, you'd be wrong. I heard outrage and pending retribution from my contact at Costco who promised me I would be hearing from someone at Budget within a week (mind you we were well into month three at this point! but still!) and I did. I am happy and relieved, and really glad Budget stepped up. They've been my go to car rental (I like their car offerings) for many many years, and I will continue to rent from them. Probably directly now.
     
    #19
  20. Neil

    Neil Moderator
    Staff Member Advocate

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2014
    Messages:
    9,212
    Likes Received:
    9,686
    Glad that our contacts helped you and that you pursued it on both ends. I am also glad that someone at Costco responded because if you book through them, they are your travel agency and they need to stand up for you as a customer. Thanks for letting us know and also kudos to being so persistent.
     
    #20
    jsn55 likes this.

Share This Page