Stranded for 4 hours with 8 kids and want a refund!

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Oct 10, 2019
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After multiple attempts to get this resolved with customer service here is the letter I am getting ready to submit to the first contact on the Budget contact list, is this ok?? Is there anything I can change to make this better, and does this sound like a reasonable request: is email or certified mail better??

Thank you for taking the time to review our claim. I know that Avis/Budget strives to provide their customers with safe vehicles and quality customer service!
-On 09/29/2019 we picked up two vehicles from MCO, Orlando Airport Budget counter: 12 Passenger Chevy ($1013.05 total rental cost) and a Ford Flex SUV ($513.83 total rental cost).
-There were 17 members of my family on vacation, 8 children ages 10, 10, 8, 5, 5, 3, 2 and 2.
-We drove both vehicles multiple times throughout the 29th, 30th, 1st and 2nd in unknown danger as the tire on the 12 passenger van was not properly affixed to the vehicle.
-At 9:50 am on 10/02/2019 we were driving in the middle of three lanes when the rear driver side lug nuts, hubcap and tire flew off the van into oncoming traffic.
-We immediately called 911 and the Budget roadside assistance number as the construction zone where we were had a very minimal emergency lane and three lanes of very congested traffic (verified by the police report/Officer Reynolds).
-30 minutes later we received a text message that it would be 2.5 hours before a replacement vehicle would be brought to us. No attempts were made to get us to safety. Officer Reynolds (police officer on scene) attempted to call Budget and then attempted to get local transportation to remove us from the area and was unable to do so.
-We sat on this construction ramp with 8 children for 4 hours and 5 minutes.
-We then had to transport all children, car seats and personal belongings from the first van to the second, again in a very congested construction zone with minimal emergency lanes.
-When dropping both vehicles off on 10/04/2019 at the MCO Orlando airport Budget desk we were greeted with hostility from the manager working that morning as we requested a refund for being given a vehicle that was not fit to drive and for putting our entire family in danger. The manager (Roland? Roain??) responded “since you got our insurance you won’t be charged for the tire or the tow...”
I am asking for the full amount of $1,526 that we paid for both vehicles and an apology as we went with Budget (and not the MUCH cheaper options available) because we trusted your company and knew that you would stand behind your vehicles.
***If you are unable to grant this request I am respectfully requesting:
-DETAILED service records on the van we received on 09/29/2019 including all tire alignments/replacements/rotations over the last 12 months
-DETAILED documentation from your roadside assistance service that lists every correspondence they received from us on the date of 10/02/2019 AND how this matter was escalated, as well as
-ALL documentation from the towing company used that day to provide us a new van and to tow the unfit van from interstate 4 East.
so that we can have this information as we will have to proceed to small claims court.
Thank you again for your time and your effort to resolve our case. We have always used Budget for family travel and we would love to continue to do that in the future.
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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These are my thoughts on the details to send:

I am writing to you about our recent experience with Budget​
  • On 09/29/2019 we rented a 12 Passenger Chevy Van and a Ford Flex SUV from MCO, Orlando Airport
  • At 9:50 am on 10/02/2019 the rear driver side lug nuts, hubcap and tire separated from the Chevy Van
  • We immediately called 911 and Budget roadside assistance while stuck in a very congested construction zone with minimal emergency lanes
  • 30 minutes later we received a text message that it would be another 2.5 hours before a replacement vehicle would be brought to us
  • We ended up waiting four (4) hours on a construction ramp with 8 children for the new vehicle
  • Upon the return of both vehicles off on 10/04/2019 we requested a refund for being given a vehicle that was not fit to drive
  • The manager responded only that “since you got our insurance you won’t be charged for the tire or the tow”
  • Given the circumstances, I consider it a reasonable request for a refund of the $1,000 we paid for the van rental
Thank you again for your time and consideration​

When writing an appeal to companies, best practice here in the forum is to be polite, professional and as brief as possible without attacks or threats. I always propose that you let the facts speak for themselves and lead them to the proper conclusion. Terms like "hostility" and "court" should not be included as they can hurt your case.

I also think a request for the entire rental cost for both vehicles is not reasonable.
 
Oct 10, 2019
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These are my thoughts on the details to send:

I am writing to you about our recent experience with Budget​
  • On 09/29/2019 we rented a 12 Passenger Chevy Van and a Ford Flex SUV from MCO, Orlando Airport
  • At 9:50 am on 10/02/2019 the rear driver side lug nuts, hubcap and tire separated from the Chevy Van
  • We immediately called 911 and Budget roadside assistance while stuck in a very congested construction zone with minimal emergency lanes
  • 30 minutes later we received a text message that it would be another 2.5 hours before a replacement vehicle would be brought to us
  • We ended up waiting four (4) hours on a construction ramp with 8 children for the new vehicle
  • Upon the return of both vehicles off on 10/04/2019 we requested a refund for being given a vehicle that was not fit to drive
  • The manager responded only that “since you got our insurance you won’t be charged for the tire or the tow”
  • Given the circumstances, I consider it a reasonable request for a refund of the $1,000 we paid for the van rental
Thank you again for your time and consideration​

When writing an appeal to companies, best practice here in the forum is to be polite, professional and as brief as possible without attacks or threats. I always propose that you let the facts speak for themselves and lead them to the proper conclusion. Terms like "hostility" and "court" should not be included as they can hurt your case.

I also think a request for the entire rental cost for both vehicles is not reasonable.
Ok! Thank you for your help!
 
May 1, 2018
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I agree with @VoR61 - asking for a refund for the other unaffected and unrelated vehicle is unreasonable. Blatantly unreasonable requests frequently get ignored.

Also, I would refrain from asking for the detailed service records. Rental companies do not give out that type of information unless subpoenaed in a court case and asking for it will only make them think you are gathering records to sue them. They will not help you if they think you're going to sue.
 
Apr 3, 2016
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You can ask for a refund on the van, but stay friendly. You are really asking for a goodwill gesture. The vehicle was in your possession several days before it happened, so there is no proof that it was given to you in bad condition (the rental company could say there was opportunity for someone to do it). And just curious, where was the other vehicle? Why did you not use that to ferry the children to a nearby safer spot(even if it took multiple trips)?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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That must have been a very frightening experience and am glad that everyone is safe.

I think as others have pointed out it may not be a good tactic to request refunds for both rentals.

I actually had a similar situation when driving a rental car -- except I hit construction debris that had fallen in the road.

As others have mentioned, it may be hard to prove that the rental car company gave you a car that was unsafe, especially as there had been several days of driving before the problem and you do not mention any problems with the car before the incident.

A car rental company is not going to hand you information so that you can sue them in small claims court.

Even though there was a risk, the only actual loss is a loss of a few hours. Do you think you could accept a different resolution than the one you first proposed?