Customers of Budget Rent a Car have accused the rental car company of bilking them of hundreds of dollars for minor repairs, which were then allegedly made in house.
In some cases, customers were billed for minor dents that were never mentioned upon return of the rental vehicles to the company's Vancouver, B.C. airport location and later billed to the customer's credit cards. The Better Business Bureau had 70 recent complaints about Budget Rent a Car outlets in that area.
"Upon return of rental vehicles, some consumers allege Budget employees immediately perform vehicle inspections and note damage to vehicles that is either minor or pre-existing," said a BBB report completed in August, according to CBC News, which first broke the story. "Consumers are then charged excessively for repairs performed by a repair shop at Budget's discretion."
That repair shop has often been Inland Transportation, a company owned by the same businessman who owns Budget Rent a Car, the news organization reported.
The repairs, CBC News said, often involved windshield repairs and cracks. An investigation conducted by the news organization revealed that mobile glass repair vans often appeared at the company's Vancouver facility.
When the consumer advocacy reporter at CBC News sought comment from Budget Rent A Car's office, they were told, "you are going to have to leave the premises. I am not talking to you," by a company spokesperson.
Budget is not the only rental-car company in the news lately. Last month, AOL Autos' own Sharon Silke Carty decided to borrow from Rent A Wreck over a long weekend in New Jersey. Rent A Wreck promised clean, low-cost rentals of cars that are typically a little older than the typical rental-car fleet.
That's not what she found.
She was given a filthy, moldy, dilapidated Chevy Cobalt with a broken radio that provided a harrowing experience. Here's her story.
In any case, consumer advocates recommend that customers take pictures and video-tape their rental cars before they drive off the lot so they have evidence, should a scurrilous claim later appear.