Budget

Help! Budget waited 10 months to send me the wrong bill

Laurie Goldstein-Warren rented a car from Budget last year. She traveled to a small town in New Mexico to teach a five-day watercolor workshop.

During that time, she drove it all of one-quarter mile from the hotel to the workshop building.

You can probably guess what happened next, can’t you? Ten months later — ten months! — she received a bill from Budget, claiming she’d damaged her rental.
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After Germanwings, is budget air travel an endangered species?

Budget airlines have a reputation for pushing for the lowest pilot pay and the most arduous working conditions to keep a cap on costs.

Of course consumers want cheap airfare, and sometimes they do get what they pay for. For example, flights that used to have three qualified pilots — a captain, first officer, and flight engineer — went down to two.
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Did Budget send me the wrong damage claim?

Haraldmuc/Shutterstock
Haraldmuc/Shutterstock
Budget wants Guilhem Ibos to pay $3,000 for damage to his rental car. But wait! Is that Ibos’ rental car in the photo? No, it isn’t.

Question: I recently rented a car from Budget in Nashville and returned it to New Orleans. It was in perfect shape when I brought it back.

A few weeks ago, I received a damage claim from the company. They asked me to pay more than $3,000 for repairs.

I’m not responsible for the damage. How do I know? Well, I can tell you that I returned the rental undamaged. But there are two things about Budget’s claim that don’t make sense, either.

First, I returned the car at the Budget Rent-a-Car agency in New Orleans, specifically on Canal Street. Canal Street is in the middle of town, surrounded by buildings. But the landscape in the pictures on my damage claim is completely different. There are no buildings at all. They must have moved the car before taking pictures of it. Who’s to say it wasn’t damaged then?
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Did she wait too long to file a damage claim?

fast carQuestion: I recently rented a car from Budget in Ontario, Calif. When I returned the vehicle, a representative claimed that I scraped the bottom of the front bumper on the passenger side of the car.

I did not cause this damage and told him I wanted to dispute the claim. He gave me a form to complete and told me not to do anything — including notifying my insurance company — until I heard back from Budget.

I received a letter from Budget in February, stating that I would be held responsible for the damage. I immediately notified my credit card insurance company, through which my rental was covered.

To make a long story short, my credit card company is denying the claim because it was filed on the 46th day after the incident, even though I filed the claim the same day that I was notified I was being held responsible.
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“What should I have done in this situation?”

Patryk/Shutterstock
Patryk/Shutterstock
The car rental insurance scam is a fairly well-known “gotcha” for international renters, and it’s a trap Doreen Murphy believes she walked right into when she rented a car from Budget in Northern Ireland recently.

Murphy wants my help in sorting out a surprise upcharge from Budget, but I’m not sure if I can — or should — try to unravel this for her.

Northern Ireland has its own pecular car rental insurance requirements, and apparently only one brand of MasterCard coverage meets its strict criteria. In other words, if you’re not renting with a MasterCard, you have to buy extra insurance.
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