July 16, 2002

 

Budget Rental Car
Customer Relations

P.O. Box 111580

Carroll, TX 75011

 

Dear Sir or Madam:

 

I want to inform you of my dissatisfaction with your website, your staff at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), and your company’s handling of credit card purchases.

 

On May 24, 2002, I went to your website to find a vehicle to rent. After making the appropriate selections and following the online instructions, I thought I had made a reservation. On the last screen viewed, I received a message that stated: “Thank you, Mark Reynolds, for choosing Budget Rent A Car. We have confirmed your rental reservation. Have a safe and enjoyable trip.” I have enclosed a copy of the printout. At that point, it seemed apparent to me that I had made and confirmed a reservation, especially since the words “We have confirmed your rental reservation” appeared at the top of the screen. The estimated cost was $103.14.

 

Much to my dismay, when I arrived at DCA on May 25, 2002, the Budget Rent A Car representative at the counter informed me that I had not made a reservation. I gave her my printout, which said, “We have confirmed your rental reservation.” She said, “If you would have paid more attention, you would have known that you needed to complete another step.” She pointed out that the printout did not have a confirmation number printed on it. It was bad enough that I didn’t have a reservation, now I was being treated in a rude and condescending manner.

 

I asked her if she had any cars available.  She informed me that no rental car agency had any cars, and that I was out of luck. I specifically asked, “Is there anything you can do to help me.” She said “No.” After consulting with friends through several long distance telephone calls, I decided to try to get a vehicle at Dulles. I went back to the Budget Rent A Car counter and asked the representative if she thought I might find a vehicle at Dulles. She said that she was sure I could. I asked her to please call to confirm availability, which she reluctantly did. I had to pay $25 each way to take a shuttle from DCA to Dulles. At no time did your representative provide suggestions or initiate efforts to help me.

 

A better option would have been for your representative to refer me to a closer Budget Rent A Car location, rather than allowing me to go all the way to Dulles (27 miles). After reviewing your website for other locations, there appear to be nine within 10 miles!

 

I arrived at Dulles and was able to get a vehicle. But because I didn’t have a reservation, it cost me a lot more. When I returned the vehicle, I received a printout that said I would be charged $239.51 – more than double the original estimate. Plus, I had to pay for transportation to and from Dulles airport. I have enclosed a copy of that printout, along with my rental agreement for the vehicle at Dulles.

 

To add insult to injury, your company over-charged my credit card by nearly $300! On June 9, 2002, I checked my charges on my credit card. I was very distressed to see that your company had charged me a total of $537.41. On June 10, 2002, I called your customer service department and talked with David Carter. He was extremely helpful and courteous (the only positive experience I’ve had during this fiasco). Mr. Carter explained that the computer showed I had returned the vehicle on June 2, 2002, instead of May 27, 2002. I immediately faxed him my receipt, showing that I did indeed return the car on May 27. The case number assigned to me was 869-393.

 

Three days later on June 13, 2002, having not received a return call, I had to call customer service to check on the progress of my case. At that point, your representive indicated that she had not received my fax. So, I had to fax my receipt again, thus incurring additional long distance charges. She said I should check back on Monday.

 

On Monday, June 17, 2002, I called for the third time. And, once again, the fax might have been received, but had not been entered into the computer system. Your representative suggested I should call back on Tuesday afternoon. I called back on Tuesday, June 18, 2002. At this point, Chuck said that the fax still wasn’t showing up, and that I should fax it again (for the third time). At least Chuck gave me the toll-free number to fax my receipt.

 

On Monday, June 24, 2002, I called for the fifth time. This time, Steve informed me that the receipt given to me when I returned my vehicle on May 27, 2002, was for a car rented by Linda Maddox. Now it really appears that your computer system is messed up. I had to send more proof that I wasn’t in DC when the vehicle was returned that your computer showed I had. Thankfully, I saved my boarding passes and had a travel claim, showing the days I was in Washington, DC.

 

On Tuesday, June 25, 2002, I faxed the following items, which I have included: 1) travel itinerary, 2) boarding passes – 2 pages, 3) State of Oklahoma travel claim, 4) hotel receipt, 5) shuttle receipt, 6) copy of rental agreement, and 7) vehicle return receipt. By now, I think I have finally figured out what happened.

 

1.      I was assigned vehicle #516419 on 5/25/02 at 15:39, but was given the keys to vehicle # 504231, a yellow Ford Escape. I returned that vehicle on 5/27/02 at 13:55.

 

2.      Linda Maddox was assigned vehicle #504231 on 5/25/02 at 18:28, but was given the keys to vehicle #516419, which I assume was a Ford Escape. Apparently, she returned that vehicle on 6/1/2002.

 

On Thursday, June 27, 2002, I called for the sixth time, just to see if my fax had been received, which it had on June 26. At that point, your representative told me that someone would be getting in contact with me. I gave her my fax number and my email address.

 

On Tuesday, July 2, 2002, I called for the seventh time to check on the progress of my case. Still no progress. On Monday, July 8, 2002, I called for the eighth time. Still no progress.

 

On Thursday, July 11, 2002, I received an email from Chantel Daniels (enclosed). She said that they would credit my account $159, which was still not correct. Later that day, Ms. Daniels emailed me again, stating that my credit card would be credited $350.49.

 

 

To improve your company’s performance, I suggest the following:

 

  1. Review your online reservation system. I would think when most people see “We have confirmed your rental reservation,” they think they have a confirmed rental reservation.

 

  1. Train your personnel with an emphasis on customer service. I don’t believe it would have been that difficult for the representative at DCA to provide me with some suggestions to resolve my situation. She could definitely have been friendlier and more respectful.

 

  1. Ensure credit card charges are accurate. I was fortunate that I looked online to check my charges and caught Budget Rent A Car’s mistake.

 

 

Budget’s 2000 annual report noted the following advantages to using your company:

 

 

 

I have found neither to be true. Unless a satisfactory response is made to my complaint, I will never again rent from Budget. Nor will I recommend your company to friends or business associates. However, if you wish to retain me as a customer, I would welcome your proposal as to compensation for my time, inconvenience, and expenses related to your company’s poor performance.

 

I look forward to your reply and will allow two weeks for a response before referring my complaint to the appropriate consumer agency. If you need to call me, my daytime telephone number is (405) XXX-XXXX.

 

Thank you for your assistance and cooperation in this matter.

Sincerely,

 

 

Mark A. Reynolds

 

Enclosures (9 pages)

 

Cc: Sandy Miller, Chairman and CEO
Mark R. Sotir, President and COO

 

 

 


FOLLOW-UP: They finally got it right, it took a while.

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Daniels, Chantel [mailto:CDaniels@budgetgroup.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2002 1:34 PM
To: Reynolds, Mark
Subject: Case 877586

July 11, 2002

Reference #877586

Dear Mr. Reynolds :

Thank you for contacting Budget Customer Relations regarding your rental at our Dulles Airport location. We appreciate the opportunity to respond  to your inquiry.

Thank you, for sending in the information we needed in order to assist you in correcting your bill. We received the information, and see that your flight itinerary has you leaving on the 31st at 1454. Therefore a  credit in the amount of $159.95 has been issued to your credit card. We do apologize for the billing error. Thank you again for giving us the time to get  this corrected for you.

We appreciate your bringing this matter to our attention for explanation. Thank you for using Budget Rent a Car. It is our most sincere desire  that you will continue to choose Budget to serve your future vehicle rental needs.

Sincerely,

Chantel Daniels
Telephone Coordinator

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Reynolds, Mark [mailto:MReynolds@odmhsas.org]
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2002 1:40 PM
To: 'Daniels, Chantel'
Subject: RE: Case 877586

Chantel,

That is still not correct!

I returned the car on on 5/27/02 at 13:55. I only had the car for two days, just like I had agreed to on my rental agreement.

Please call me at 405-xxx-xxxx or 405-xxx-xxxx.

Mark Reynolds

-----Original Message-----
From: Daniels, Chantel [mailto:CDaniels@budgetgroup.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2002 2:26 PM
To: Reynolds, Mark
Subject: RE: Case 877586

Ok Mr. Reynolds,

A credit in the amount of $350.49 has now been issued, and your total rental cost was $186.92. Again thank you for allowing the error to be corrected.

Have a nice day!