Update by user Mar 25, 2017
UPDATE TO BUDGET/AVIS USVI CAR RENTAL: After 2 weeks of dealing with the Budget/Avis Dispute Center they stopped communicating and said they were standing behind their Franchisee. Here are the details: First their franchisee said I had paid with a Debit Card and that is why they charged me the additional insurance of $24 per day (It is required if you pay with a Debit Card).
Unfortunately that was a lie as I don't own a Debit Card and so I was required to send them paperwork from my bank to show my card was a major Visa CC. Then their story changed and they said that they were mistaken and that I had wanted the additional coverage and that is why I agreed to it and was required to pay for it. I provided them with my email of confirmation from the Cyril E King Budget location showing they had rented me my car without the additional coverage. I also provided them a copy of my rental agreement (They also had copies of all of these documents) that showed my initials next to declined on the additional coverage which was my initial attempt to deny the additional coverage.
The Rental Agreement also showed my initials next to accept and I provided the explanation that I initially declined the coverage and was told I could not have a car without taking the additional coverage and it was only after 1 1/2 hrs of delay that I finally initialed the accept so I could get a car. I offered notarized affidavits from the others who were traveling with me and even had one of the other travelers talk to the Dispute Center. This all fell on deaf ears and they stuck with the fact that there was nothing wrong with fraud and coercion by the Franchisee, but that the only thing they cared about was that the renter initialed the rental agreement next to the accept box. This after I explained (with witnesses and documentation) that I had not wanted the coverage, had not initially purchased it, had declined it at the USVI location and had been forced into accepting it after being left 4000 miles away from home with no car and being an hour and half late in getting to my resort.
I had no resolution from Budget/Avis, so I went to my Credit Card Bank and disputed the additional coverage. I did not dispute the full charge, only the $239.90 additional. Unfortunately my bank told me (after I provided all the documentation) that even though they see a lot of these complaints from Budget/Avis customers that they cannot allow me to dispute the amount as I had initialed accept and so that made the charge legitimate. My complaint to the USVI Attorney General and the Chamber of Commerce for St.
Thomas have both gone unanswered as it appears they are aware of this nature of doing business in St. Thomas and could care less that this type of activity is going on.
BOTTOM LINE: Unless you are a rich person who has money to throw away or a rich lawyer who can fight your own case against the franchisee, you are out the money as nobody is there to defend you and it appears that Fraud and Coercion is the normal modus operandi of the Budget/Avis company as I have heard from people who have had the same thing happen to them at other locations around the world ! I will never rent from Budget/Avis again.
Update by user Feb 24, 2017
I have heard from many other BUDGET/AVIS customers who were forced to buy the optional insurance coverage or else the rental wouldn't give them their car. Appears that this type of activity is normal and the BUDGET/AVIS Dispute Center managers could care less.
I have place this information across the web and across the world at all travel sites that I can find and have filed a complaint with the Attorney General of the USVI and provided the information to the Chamber of Commerce for St. Thomas.
This company is out to destroy everyone's vacations upon arriving at St. Thomas, USVI.
Original review posted by user Feb 23, 2017
CAR RENTER BEWARE: Just returned from 10 days in St. Thomas on Feb 4, 2017.
Rented my car online through the Budget Airport Location prior to going. The quoted price with confirmation and taking my Visa CC was $497 without extra insurance coverage that is ONLY required if you pay with a Debit Card. When my party arrived at the airport I watched the customer in front of me argue with the attendant that he didn't want the extra insurance, but they made him buy it ($23.95 per day) or they wouldn't give him the car that he had reserved. When he left I stepped forward and ran into the same thing.
I marked the insurance as declined on the contract and they said I couldn't decline it as it was required. To make a long story short they held me hostage for 1 1/2 hrs before I finally broke down and marked accept on the extra insurance as they wouldn't give me my car without it. A lady in line behind me checked the other rentals at the airport and was told that there were no cars left. WHAT CHOICE DID I HAVE ????
I got home from vacation and filed a dispute with BUDGET/AVIS head office for International and at first the Budget office in St. Thomas said I had to take the additional coverage because I paid with a Debit card. Wrong, I had to send info from my bank to prove that I had paid with a regular Visa. When I proved they lied, they changed their story to I had accepted the insurance as shown by them as it had my initials on the rental agreement.
Of course I provided my copy of my confirmation that showed there was no additional insurance on it when I got my confirmation and I pointed out that the copy of the rental agreement that they had (which they also sent to me) that had my initials on the decline and it wasn't until they had refused to give me my car and held me at the airport for 1 1/2 hrs that I initialed the accept. They said I wanted the insurance so I accepted it and the cost. I said if I had wanted it why didn't I buy it when I booked online and why would I also mark the rental agreement as declined !! BOTTOM LINE after 2 weeks of wrangling with BUDGET/AVIS International Customer Service and proving that their Franchisee at the Charlotte-Amalie Airport location had lied and refused to rent the car to me against the conditions of the rental agreement and in violation of my confirmed rental and even after I informed them that it appeared they were doing it to every customer, I was told to take a hike.
They weren't going to enforce the rental agreement or the conditions of the franchisee rules and they didn't value customers enough to stop the illegal activity and return my $240. DO NOT RENT FROM BUDGET/AVIS at ST THOMAS. Also there are (We found out too late) rental companies off site from the airport that will bring a car to you. So don't give BUDGET/AVIS your money, as I would not recommend renting from BUDGET/AVIS anywhere in the world now that I know their rental agreements and company policies mean nothing to them and customer support is just to say, "Have a nice day - Glad we were able to ruin your vacation and take your money !!!" I have maintained full documentation of all transactions and I have their emails which substantiate their statements and lies, so don't be fooled into believing that I am just a disgruntled renter that is lying.
That is as far from the truth as it can be. It isn't the money as much as it is the principle of how they operate their rental company that has me warning others.
You can imagine how it affects your attitude and enjoyment of your vacation in St. Thomas when you fly in and are immediately confronted with deceit and overcharging and then delayed from getting to your resort as well.
Product or Service Mentioned: Budget Rent A Car Car Rental.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Monetary Loss: $240.
Preferred solution: Price reduction.
Budget Rent A Car Cons: Refused to release car without additional insurance coverage.