Edmonton, Alberta
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On April 29, 2008 we returned to Canada from a wonderful three week holiday in Israel. Our holiday was only marred by Budget s surreal response when our rental car broke down 25 minutes outside Jerusalem. What follows is a story of inconceivably bad customer service which left us stranded on the road for 6 hours, ruined our plans for our last day of our trip and left us frustrated and angry.

My wife, my youngest son and I had stopped at the Almog Junction for a cup of coffee shortly after 2pm on our way back from the Dead Sea. When we got back in the car it would not start. There had been no prior indication that anything was wrong with the car.

Sometime before 3 pm we placed a call to the Ben Gurion Airport Budget office where we had picked up the car and asked for assistance. We were transferred to the Jerusalem Office where Yael, who claimed to be the supervisor told us that we would have to follow procedure and wait (quote) - up to two hours- for a technician to inspect the car and determine what had to be done. I requested a replacement car so we could continue our trip but Yael, quoting procedure, told us that nothing would be done until the technician arrived and made a determination. When I asked if we could leave the car and deliver the keys to the Jerusalem office I was told that it would be (quote) -my decision- for which [I ]would be fully responsible if anything happened to the car-. This warning was delivered in a threatening tone.

Half an hour later I called to ask if they had an ETA for the technician and were told that the technician was on another call and could not be reached. An hour later, at about 4 pm I called again to ask about the status of our call and insist on a replacement car, and was told that my calls were making things worse for us and to stop calling.

An hour and a half later we were told that although they had no information on when the technician would turn up, the -up to two hours- period had not yet expired and therefore we could not complain. When asked what would happen after the two hours were up we were told that only the technician could make a determination. We were also told that the office would close at 6 pm and we would then have to call the emergency number. Fortunately my wife and son were able to get a ride to Jerusalem on a tourist bus shortly after 5 pm. (Thank you again Ezra and Oda for your help)

Well, 6 pm arrived (three hours since we had placed the first call) and when we called the emergency number they had no record of our previous calls and had to go through the remote troubleshooting procedure again before they would record our trouble call. Again we were refused any other options other than to wait for the technician who would decide what had to be done. Obviously according to Budget this was a technical decision to be made by a technician, not a customer service decision.

Four hours later (and after several other calls to Budget from friends and locals who took pity on us – by then I was exhausted , and feeling impotent in the face of overwhelming stupidity) we still had no word on the technician. The technician finally arrived at 7:20 pm , and without saying a word opened the hood , put his hand deep under the radiator and started the car ( raising our suspicion that it was a known problem with the unit) , then spent about half an hour with it until he pronounced it fixed. I asked if I could trust the car to get us to the airport the next day for our return trip and was told that I should try starting the car an hour before we had to leave for the Airport just in case. I asked to test the car before he left: the car failed to start after the second try. At that point, the technician made the decision to give us a replacement car, after more than 5 hours of being stranded on the road.

By the time we arrived at the Budget Jerusalem office -across from the King David Hotel ( 8:30 pm) I had decided I did not want to have anything to do with Budget any longer. I was asked to fill the gas tank before I left the car (15 liters) and was given a full rental bill, including this last day. There were no explanations or apologies, not even an offer of a ride back to my hotel. Before I left I was given a printout of some form. I asked- What is this? And was told it was a document indicating (quote)-that it was not your fault-. Drained of energy and emotion I walked to the corner and hailed a cab to our hotel,

Our plans for the afternoon and our farewell dinner with family and friends had been ruined. I arranged for a taxi to take us to the Airport the next morning and started packing.

We have not heard a word from Budget.

Product or Service Mentioned: Budget Rent A Car Car Rental.

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Anonymous
#196559

I rented a car from ben gurion airport, there were several scratches on it and I made sure they were all noted - despite this on the car's return they noted a 'new' scratch - this was disputed and we left without signing a form acknowledging new damage - yet despite this we have still been charged to full excess damage amount without any notification so 3 things:

1. Where was the communication to say that there would be a charge (they said they were going to check the original form next day)

2. Why did budget suddenly decide to fix this scratch after ignoring all the others.

3. When challenged and told that the credit card charge would be disputed/reversed did they then stop the call with 'then we will talk no further and only talk to your credit card company' and this was there customer relations team!

I will update you if I get any further with this nonsense

Anonymous
#99217

We were also charged more than $100 for an "assessor" and "handling fee". We did not cause the accident.

Somebody hit the rental car on a parking lot. My husband was sitting in the car, so he got the guilty party's insurance number. Our credit card insurance did not pay for those fees.

In the end, Budget collected from the third party's insurance company. They refuse to pay us back for $100+ in fees even though they collected from the third party's insurance.

Anonymous
#76641

Budget has defrauded a few of us in Dublin Ireland too. I rented a VW Golf in April 2009, it had a defective clutch (?), it stalled 3 times in 10 minutes, I returned the vehicle immediately, with a total of 5 km.

Requested a replacement, Budget would not give me one, they blamed me for causing the damage(!!), they still charged me 50.00 Euro for a day(!), than SEVEN weeks later they charge my credit card for 1,300.00Euro for replacing the clutch, 160 E for towing, 88 E for loss of use(?) while they rented the *** car to some other people !!!

An another lady in May got scammed too for the same amount after 9 km !!! What a scam!!

Anonymous
#67952

In the landscape of the outrageous Israeli rental car business, Budget may not be unique in rudeness and bad service, but it sure feels like a scam operation. To be clear; they do provide rude and unprofessional service. But the real lesson I have learned is you never know how much you will wind up paying them, and they will not respond to your queries about it.

In my case, after my return from Israel I got a bill for something that was explicitly excluded from the rental agreement. I couldn't get a response from their customer service, and I gave up after a while.

I rent cars in Israel about twice a year, and it usually is a nightmare and a disappointment, no matter which company you chose. But Budget manages to stick out even in this rough competition as a particularly bad choice.

Anonymous
#67507

They have not become any better since then - the terrible service level, rude staff and credit card trifling as a usual service package.

Anonymous
#23582

Strangely, I rented a car the day after you did from the same Budget location. I returned it about 10 days later and the agent filled out an accident report because of a small grease smudge on the back bumper.

I strongly objected to this, and even wiped off most of the smudge with my finger. He would not accept my return of the car unless I agreed to all the forms. My flight was leaving soon, so I had to comply, although I did write that I dispute the contention. A few weeks later, my credit card bill included a $539 unnamed charge from Budget.

After many calls and emails, it turned out to be a charge for removing the dirt spot -- it included over $100 each for an "assessor" and "handling fee", etc. Budget Car Rental in Israel runs a scam.