Being Overcharged for a Rental Car & How to Get it Fixed
Last weekend I was in Salt Lake City hiking up mountains and riding roller coasters with my friends. It was a great weekend and one I helped to make cheaper for everyone by using some of my points. One of the areas, I didn’t use points was for our car rental.
I was however able to score us a decent deal by using Costco Travel to book a two day rental through Budget. Since I didn’t want to be the only one driving, I love that Costco includes an extra driver for free with Budget rentals. $64 all-in for an airport rental is definitely not the best deal ever, but it was good enough.
Renting the Car
We arrived at the airport around midnight, so the desk agent looked bored. I was able to confirm that the extra driver was free and he added my friend’s information and tried to send us on our way. For some reason the numbers on the Budget contract didn’t show the final price, so I confirmed it with him. His final words to me as we left the desk were $64. He had even upgraded us to a Cadillac XTS. Perfect!
Unfortunately, when we went to return the car, I was handed a receipt for $109.14. The agent had charged us $17.99 per day plus taxes and fees for an extra driver. This was far from a mistake in my opinion, since I confirmed the final price with him. My best guess is that he received some sort of commission for upping the contract price and was hoping that I wouldn’t notice the price at the end.
How to Get This Resolved
Yes I was upset, but I have learned that it can do far more anger to let things like this eat me up inside. Instead, I decided to follow through and let things be resolved. Here is the process to follow when trying to get a car rental overcharge corrected:
Step 1 – Talk to the Manager
After receiving the increased receipt, I went inside to speak to the manager, but he was gone for the night. The desk agent was nice and confirmed my rate should have been $64. She said she would have the manager take care of it the next day and email me the new receipt.
Step 2 – Reach out to Corporate
Two days passed and I still hadn’t heard from Budget, so I decided to Tweet their social media team. I have found that tweeting is often much more effective than filling out a complaint form. Within an hour, the social media team had escalated this and it took about a day for me to receive my revised receipt. If it hadn’t been resolved by this point, there were more steps I could have taken.
Step 3 – Contact Booking Agent
I wouldn’t always do this if I booked through a company with poor customer service, but in this case I booked through Costco who would have taken care of it. I had a confirmed price from my email, so I had no doubt that they would have fixed it.
Step 4 – Dispute the Credit Card Charge
If nothing else would have worked, then I would have not hesitated to dispute the charge. In my situation, I had a confirmed price which also stated that an extra driver was free. Had I submitted a claim, Budget would not have been able to show that I authorized the additional charge. I believe it would have been overturned.
Avoid a Surprise
One other common issue at car rental agencies is people being rightfully charged fees they didn’t learn or know about. Make sure to understand the company’s policies so you don’t end up paying more than you expected. If you don’t have something in writing saying that a fee is waived, then don’t expect it to be. Most of the complaints I see about car rental companies relate back to people not understanding fees & policies.
I am glad I was able to resolve my situation without any stress at all. Don’t get me wrong, I was upset that this guy felt the need to do this, but it was fixed easy enough and this really is the first overcharge I have had in many many years so I can’t complain. In the end, following these steps should ensure you get your money back if you have been overcharged for a car rental.