Budget Review

Think Twice

Budget may be cheap, but it garners consistently poor reviews for customer service, including messed-up reservations and minimal help when problems (like breakdowns) arise. The hassle isn't worth saving a few bucks.

Despite its name, Budget Rent A Car seems to be something less than a budget rental car company. Budget reviews on StarReviews.com gripe about advertised low rates that sky rocket into steep end costs due to surprise charges for forced upgrades and insurance customers insisted they had declined. One consumer writes in a review on My3Cents.com that the company initially quoted about $500 less than what she eventually forked over for a four-day rental in Vancouver to cover unexplained charges like airport fees and unrequested upgrades and insurance. Similar complaints about deceptive sales tactics, as well as poor customer service and non-responsive managers, are aired in reviews on Epinions. Several reviews also report poorly maintained cars, and one customer reports being charged thousands of dollars in damage when a tire blew out shortly after the car was picked up. On the other hand, some customers are report satisfactory experiences with this cheap rental car company, noting in reviews that service is friendly and helpful and upgrades are offered at no extra charge.

The Budget website is straightforward, and several Budget reviews say making a reservation is quick and easy. There's a drop-down menu for special deals such as monthly contracts, group rentals (think weddings or reunions, or any event where you need five or more vehicles), and prepaid arrangements that offer discounts and allow changes to the reservation before pick up.

But these come-ons may not compensate for the weak links in Budget's operation. If you want a cheap rental car without hassles, you might steer clear of Budget.

Maralyn Edid

Maralyn is a veteran reporter, writer, researcher, and editor. From her early years at Crain's Chicago Business and the Detroit bureau of Business Week, then on to a long-term stint at Cornell University's ILR School and now at Cheapism.com, Maralyn has been -- and remains -- committed to getting ...

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