So the bitching I was going to do about the trip to Florida will now be much milder and less bitchy because the company that was responsible for me being annoyed has apologized and refunded the fee that caused me to be in such a snippy mood when I got home.
On Monday, I was quite prepared to say that I would never rent another car from Budget Rent a Car again in my life.
However, now… Yeah – I probably will. Why? Because they are the cheapest, that’s why. And – since they did send me a very nice note and promise to credit my account for the ridiculous fee they tacked on to my final bill, I am feeling much better about them as an organization.
I do not have a problem with companies screwing up. Everyone does that… it comes of being human. But a nice apology and a refund will go a VERY LONG WAY with me… because then I feel like hey – next time I do business with this company, at least I know that if something goes wrong… they will try to make it right.
So – Good Job Budget Rent A Car of Gainesville , FL! (eventually).
Oh… you want to know what happened?
Well… We landed in Gainesville (only an hour and a half late – thanks, FAA, for the ridiculously unnecessary weather delay!)
We went to the Budget Rent A Car counter. Said we had a reservation. Got our keys and paperwork from the very nice girl working the counter. Went outside, hopped in our Chevrolet Aveo (Hey – if I’m paying for my own travel – it’s economy all the way, baby!)
Out from the airport we went. It’s only ten miles from the airport to where we were staying, so I figured… 15 minutes and there we’d be.
Hmmmm…. not so much, though. We did not get to the hotel for another 2 1/2 hours.
Why is that, you ask?
Well. About 7 miles into our 10 mile drive. I asked the SB.. “does this car smell funny? Or is that just Florida?”
He said… “what, that sulphery, burny smell?”
“Florida smells like that” (which, is a little bit true, because Gainesville IS in a swamp).
However, it was soon apparant that the smell, was, in fact coming from the car. The engine, in fact. Which very soon stopped moving the car in a forwardal motion and made it quite clear that it was not going to be going to the hotel.
I want to be clear that I do not blame Budget Rent A Car for this breakdown. I totally blame Chevrolet for this. The car had 1400 miles on it. Brand New. Still – the Aveo is a piece of crap that Chevrolet should not be foisting off on the consumer market. Part of the problem with our breakdown was that the car was so underpowered, I really had a hard time figuring it out when the engine was dying… because I kinda thought it was just having a hard time on the slope we were on.
Anyway – so there we were in a parking lot with a car that wouldn’t go.
I called the Budget place back. The nice girl who works there was very helpful and apologetic. She arranged to have a tow truck bring us another car.
I was fine with that… cars break down sometimes. They handled it well. And it wasn’t their fault that the tow truck driver said he’d be there in ten minutes and then took another hour because he stopped to pick up another car. They don’t own the tow truck company - nothing to be done about that.
Anyway… eventually we got our new car and were off.
At this point, I heard a lot of people say that we should have demanded a refund on the rental… but I didn’t think that was necessary. After all – we got a new car, and they did their best getting us back on the road and all. I used the service – I don’t mind paying.
Fast forward through the party to the next day (because nothing really eventful happened there).
So we head back to the airport… drop off the car… get on the plane… arrive home.
It’s then that I pulled out the car paperwork and looked at the final charge and notice that it’s $14 higher than it should be (which, at the prices budget charges for rental, was, like DOUBLE the bill.)
I examine the bill and there’s a charge on it… under 75 mile charge.
So I am being charged extra because I didn’t drive ENOUGH MILES?!
I was kinda ticked.
So I fumed about that for a while then decided to just let it go.
Then Monday came and I was still mad… so I wrote to the Budget people.
I explained the whole trip – and how even though I didn’t blame them for the car breaking down… it was still kind of annoying, and then at the end of all that… when I didn’t even bitch and try to get a discount on the car… I ended up with some ridiculous fee added on to top off the whole thing! Come On!
Anyway… today I got an answer back from the budget people… and an apology… and an explanation that the fee was added on by the computer because usually people who drive so little don’t fill the tank (which I had, by the way)… and they refunded it, and they were very sorry, and all of that.
So I am mollified. And I will continue to do business with Budget. Because at least I know this… if their cars DO happen to break down… I will not be stranded forever on the side of the road. And if they charge me something that should not be charged… they will take it back off without trying to argue with me about it.
Sometimes a willingness to make it better is all you can ask for.