On December 10, 20008, I rented a vehicle from Avis Budget Rent A Car, to be returned on December 13, 2008. When asked by the representative, Cerissa, as to what time I would be returning the car on the 13th, I told her that my flight left at 6:00 that morning so I would be returning the vehicle an hour before the flight. She told me that since no one would be at the counter that early in the morning, I was to pull a parking ticket, leave the vehicle in short term parking, put the parking ticket on the dash, and leave the keys in the vehicle, which I did. In fact, I turned the car in at about 4:57 that morning.
On or about December 17, 2008, I received a call from Budget's Loss Prevention asking me if I wanted to continue to leave the contract opened on the car, to which I responded, "What for?". The answer I got was that there was no record of me having turned the car in at the Budget counter in the airport in Lafayette, Louisiana. I told the representative that I did return the car based upon the instructions I had gotten from the agent. She said there was no record of me having returned the car. I asked her that since no one had bothered to check on the vehicle, what were the current charges; they had gotten up to $1,800.00. I spoke to a manager in Loss PRevention and was told by her that they would stop the charges based upon the information that I gave to them.
The next day, I called the airport in Lafayette, Louisiana because Loss Prevention couldn't give me a status on the disposition of the vehicle that still had an open contract on it. The agent who set up the rental for me, as told to me by Kelly, that Cerissa was not in and she would give her a message to call me. Since I was rather anxious about the whereabouts of the vehicle, I asked Kelly about it and she had no information. I asked her if she would check on this for me because, by this time, the car had been sitting in their short term parking lot for 6 days. Not only did Kelly not check on the vehicle, but I had to call back a couple more times. After about my third call to inquire about the vehicle, she got defensive towards me and told me that it was going to cost Budget money to get the keys out of the vehicle because I had locked it. Well..... it's a good thing that I did considering the fact that the lot at that airport is easily accessible and since they had already dropped the ball on checking to see if the vehicle had been turned in on the 13th anyway, why not just leave it opened with the keys in it so someone could take it. Right? I asked Kelly once again to ask Cerissa to call me because I was very concerned about the charges I had accrued on the vehicle. She told me that Cerissa would call me back in a couple of days.
Not once between December 19th to the 21st) did Cerissa call me back and to add insult to injury, Budget was not helpful at all. Everytime I would call the customer service area, I would have to re-hahs the story without there having been anything positive come out of it. On my January credit card bill, I got the final tally from Budget - a whopping $2,199.88. Not only did they not stop charging me for the vehicle as of the 18th, but they charged me continously through the 23rd of December. After I received my bill, I had to put the charge into dispute because I was NOT paying for something that I not only didn't own, but didn't have access to either. Once again, after receiving my credit card statement with that huge amount on it, I called Budget's customer service department and got the run-a-round; I was told by Loss PRevention that I could speak to either one of the two manager's in customer service and when I did, I was told that one of them no longer worked there and the other one was on vacation.
After giving my story again to the customer service rep, he went ahead and connected me with the Budget counter in Lafayette, Louisiana. Cerissa, who was the agent who booked the rental for me, was not only unprofessional but she also did the following: she denied that she told me to return the vehicle the way that I did, said she didn't return my phone calls of over a month prior because she was on vacation (which Kelly, by the way didn't tell me), and that she would never tell a customer to do what I did. I told her that she certainly knew how to represent her company in a bad light and she was typical of the type of person who would not accept responsibility for her actions and thanked her for her lack of customer care.
I sent an email to Budget's "Customer Care" via their website and I can tell you this; not only do they not care, but after discovering this site and seeing how they've treated customers in the past, it appears that they victimize the very people they need in order for their business to thrive.
San Antonio, Texas