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Old 11-19-2012, 05:05 PM   #1
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CBC: Ex-employees reveal ripoffs at Budget Rent a Car

IIRC there are some former Budget employees here on RS that have made similar claims about the company,

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/britis...tinsiders.html

Quote:
Three former Budget Rent a Car employees have contacted Go Public to allege the Vancouver-area operation systematically and intentionally rips off customers, by grossly overcharging for minor repairs that sometimes aren’t even done.

“They did it on purpose — charging the customer like way too much,” said a former lot attendant, who worked at Budget’s Vancouver airport location for a year, checking cars for damage. He agreed to speak to CBC News only if he was not identified.

"The system is run like that ... the small charges, they make them big charges. Especially the windshield. They can make more money from the windshield," he said.

"All of the inspectors have to look at the windshield first."

He said staff members were told to inspect vehicles from top to bottom, even after customers were gone, and report any damage to managers no matter how minuscule.

"I remember one time there was a senior couple. The other [employee] found out there was a tire cut. But from our standards, they should not charge them, honestly," he said.

"The other [employee] asked for the manager to come out and take a look. And then the manager charged them, just charged them."

Some repairs not done
“If there was a scratch on the car, we charged their credit card immediately … and that scratch would never even be fixed,” said another former employee.

She worked at the Budget counter at the Abbotsford airport, and also spoke on condition she would not be named.
“For the three months that I was there, I saw only one car go to the repair shop, and it was rear-ended.”

She said several renters would be charged for rock chip damage on the same vehicle, but no repairs would be done until later when the vehicle needed a new windshield.

"Once the windshield has three rock chips in it, it would get replaced, and then at that point that customer would get charged for a whole windshield," she said.

She also claimed she was trained to push people to buy Budget’s insurance coverage — using a memorized script — even when they were covered by their credit card or other insurance.

“We were there to sell insurance. We were there to convince customers that were renting cars that they had no insurance.”

She said many customers who bought insurance were later charged the $300 deductible.

“Every time there was a scratch, I would always get a manager, because I didn't want to be the person getting screamed at [by the customer] for the fact it wasn't their responsibility,” she said.

“The manager would decide how much to charge [the customer account].”

She also claimed three or four times a week people were billed for damage they didn't cause.

“If [earlier renters] didn't notice it and we didn't notice it, then we would just charge the next person," she said.

Upset customers
“I saw customers that cried. They really cried. They were shocked,” said the lot attendant.

He claims some people were made to pay for damage caused by Budget employees after vehicles were checked in.

“Sometimes it’s the employees that make the damage, but everyone doesn’t want to be responsible for that. The manager will make a decision ‘Hey, call the customer — he’s your damage.’

"There were a lot of [customer] complaints when I was there,” said an ex-manager, who worked at Budget’s repair facility at the Vancouver airport several years ago. Go Public agreed not to name him, because he fears repercussions.

He estimated 25 customers a day were overcharged for repairs.

“Every car that came from Budget that needed repair all had inflated costs on them, frivolous charges on them. Every repair that went through the system — the customer got overbilled.”

Budget's repair facility is owned by Inland Transportation, a company owned by wealthy Vancouver businessman Syd Belzberg. He also owns Budget Rent a Car of B.C., which runs the car rental outlets in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

Profits shared
“The way [Belzberg] got around it is he would write a cheque from Budget to Inland Transportation [for inflated repair costs], as if it was an outside firm, and he wasn’t making profit.”

In reality, he said, Budget and Inland Transportation are the same Belzberg operation.

"He was there every day," said the former manager. "Everything that was going on, he knew about."
The ex-manager said he purchased windshields in bulk, for less than $100 each. Inland would then bill Budget approximately $800 for each installation and that cost would be passed on to customers.

Go Public heard from several recent renters, whose accounts were billed in excess of $1,000 for a new windshield.

The former manager also claimed customers were billed for windshield replacements, when in reality only a chip was repaired, at nominal cost.

"Different customers would be billed … on a windshield before it got replaced," he said.

"We repair the chip. The customer gets billed for a new [windshield]. It doesn’t get replaced. Another customer takes the car, chips the windshield again. He gets billed for a new one again. And it could have happened on numerous occasions — especially in ski season."

Manager promises action
Belzberg didn’t return calls, but general manager for Budget Rent a Car of B.C. Greg Harrison told Go Public he is looking into all of the ex-employees' claims.

"I wasn’t aware of these allegations, but we take them very seriously and will look into each one of them," said Harrison. "It’s our commitment to offer a high level of service with everything we do, so we take it seriously. We’ll look into it."

He said sometimes windshield chips are repaired, but "to the best of my knowledge" those customers had not been charged for a new windshield.

"All our windshield repairs are determined, whether we repair or replace, by an independent company, Speedy Auto Glass, which comes on site and does all our glass work for us."

When asked how Budget can charge 10 times what it costs to do windshield repairs, Harrison said the repair facility is "accredited" by B.C.'s public insurance provider.

"We offer the rates that are based on ICBC standards for our shop which is an accredited ICBC shop and that’s how we continue to offer the high standards we set for ourselves in the rental industry," he said.

However, Go Public discovered the repair facility is not accredited by ICBC, a contradiction Harrison couldn’t explain.

"To the best of my knowledge, we’re an accredited shop. You’re giving me information I have no knowledge of prior to this moment," Harrison said. He later sent an email saying he was misinformed by another manager.

Under investigation
As a result of our stories on Budget, Harrison confirmed the corporate head office in the U.S. has put Belzberg's operation under investigation.

"We’ve been in contact with them and we’re providing them information as need be," said Harrison. "We are contacting customers, anyone who contacts us we are responding to them.

"If in a customer’s mind they feel we have done something wrong, we want to make it right."

On Monday afternoon, Harrison emailed CBC News to say that an internal investigation had turned up nothing to support the allegations.

"We have reviewed our systems and records and have found no evidence of this activity. Out of the utmost caution and concern, we are in the process of engaging an independent third party to review relevant files to investigate these claims, and to make appropriate recommendations if required."

In some U.S. states, courts have ruled it's illegal for rental car companies to charge more for repairs than what they cost.

Several years ago, Hertz was made to pay almost $7 million in fines, after New York's attorney general went after the company for overcharging customers $13 million for repairs.

There is no specific consumer legislation in B.C. prohibiting the practice, though. The car rental industry is largely unregulated in Canada.
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:16 PM   #2
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There's a reason why I keep one of my credit cards with a very low credit limit, and this is it. If I rent a car/hotel room and something happens that's obviously my fault, I'll ask them to charge it to another card. But if they decide to pull something fishy and try to overcharge me without telling me... good luck.
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
The car rental industry is largely unregulated in Canada


Oh btw, body shops do this as well. Pm me, and I'll tell you one that has done it to me (tried)
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:22 PM   #4
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Oh btw, body shops do this as well. Pm me, and I'll tell you one that has done it to me (tried)
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:24 PM   #5
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That's why cash is gold.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:27 PM   #6
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Haha US car rental companies are so much more chill.

When we were in vegas we rented a 2011 Accord, curbed the plastic rim cover thing really badly, when it came time to return the car, we asked the lot attendent guy how much would we be charged for the damaged rim he was just like and said have a nice trip home.

They also give you a nice sheet of paper indicating all damages on the car beforehand.
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:30 PM   #7
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lol who would pay for extra insurance if they have it on their credit card... my buddy did $5k worth of damage to his rental car and his credit card company paid the bill..
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:20 PM   #8
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Damn! That's nuts!
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:24 PM   #9
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Doesnt surprise me at all
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knight604 View Post
That's why cash is gold.
yeah I turned people with your kind of thinking away all summer long while I was renting cars lol.

It's definitely blown out of proportion in that article. A lot of the people they interviewed were former workers who worked a long time ago. A lot of stuff has changed in the car-rental world and it is a lot more standardized now
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:29 PM   #11
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I was actually billed for not paying a toll in Toronto last summer by Hertz but the thing was I never used a highway with a toll. When I called Hertz and demanded they send me proof the CSR refused and said "you didn't pay at the toll so you have to pay" so I decided to call again and speak to the manager who listened to me and said "we don't have to prove anything but I'll credit you anyways".

And I learned the hard way about not buying extra insurance coverage and assuming your credit card will cover damages. My brother slightly scratched the rim on a rental in Vegas a couple years back, I got dinged for $500 and the credit card company refused to cover it. It really is buyer beware with rental companies.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:35 PM   #12
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In case anyone's got time to kill, or wants to become better informed about car-rental.

Spoiler!
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:45 PM   #13
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I don't think it's the level of scrutiny of Budget's policies that are under fire, it's the fact that they are charging multiple customers for the same problem, and only fixing it when it's necessary, if even at all.

Another major thing with this incident is conflict of interest, as the "independant" repair shop and estimator is actually owned by the same person who runs Budget in BC. So Budget would replace OEM windshield for $200, and charge customer $800. That's fraud in its most essential form.

I'm not negating anything you said, and they are all valid, but those aren't the reasons why Budget is under fire.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:51 PM   #14
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:00 AM   #15
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Copying from CBC article:

"If there was a scratch on the car, we charged their credit card immediately … and that scratch would never even be fixed,” said another former employee."

“For the three months that I was there, I saw only one car go to the repair shop, and it was rear-ended.”

"She said several renters would be charged for rock chip damage on the same vehicle, but no repairs would be done until later when the vehicle needed a new windshield. "

"She also claimed three or four times a week people were billed for damage they didn't cause."

“Sometimes it’s the employees that make the damage, but everyone doesn’t want to be responsible for that. The manager will make a decision ‘Hey, call the customer — he’s your damage.’”

“Every car that came from Budget that needed repair all had inflated costs on them, frivolous charges on them. Every repair that went through the system — the customer got overbilled.”

"Budget's repair facility is owned by Inland Transportation, a company owned by wealthy Vancouver businessman Syd Belzberg. He also owns Budget Rent a Car of B.C., which runs the car rental outlets in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. "

and on and on. Your reiteration of Budget policies are in no way in-line with what these ex-employees are saying is happening at Budget. I get it that they may be biased and whatnot, but they don't seem to be unfounded. Unless you're the guy that owns Budget or he's your uncle or something, not really sure why you're so adamant on defending them.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:00 AM   #16
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This is not an official statement and I'm not responsible for the details mentioned below.


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I don't think it's the level of scrutiny of Budget's policies that are under fire, it's the fact that they are charging multiple customers for the same problem, and only fixing it when it's necessary, if even at all.
Spoiler!



Quote:
Another major thing with this incident is conflict of interest, as the "independant" repair shop and estimator is actually owned by the same person who runs Budget in BC. So Budget would replace OEM windshield for $200, and charge customer $800. That's fraud in its most essential form.
Spoiler!

Last edited by H.Specter; 11-20-2012 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:06 AM   #17
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I've had the chance to talk to a company owner and meet several people with years of knowledge towards rental car companies. I can honestly say it's a very sketchy buisness with many little tricks and side deals
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:07 AM   #18
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Spoiler!





Spoiler!
Did you even read the article.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:08 AM   #19
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^ Just telling you what I saw. I don't defend the company just trying to clear up some of the misconceptions by telling you what I personally dealt with. I ended up being good friends with 2 of the managers and I can honestly vouch for them and say they wouldn't wrong someone intentionally.


You don't have to 'matter of factly' quote the fucking news story. It's not even a news story, its an interest piece. It is a sensationalized excerpt of interviews with ex-employees -- you don't think there's any reason for bias? If you want to simply gobble up the news stories you are force fed, by all means do so. I'm trying to just put the other side out there in case anyone wants to know. I've recommended friends off Revscene rent from Budget as well as family members -- none of them got screwed over and none of them had anything to report in terms of inflated charges.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:15 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Copying from CBC article:

"If there was a scratch on the car, we charged their credit card immediately … and that scratch would never even be fixed,” said another former employee."

“For the three months that I was there, I saw only one car go to the repair shop, and it was rear-ended.”

"She said several renters would be charged for rock chip damage on the same vehicle, but no repairs would be done until later when the vehicle needed a new windshield. "

"She also claimed three or four times a week people were billed for damage they didn't cause."

“Sometimes it’s the employees that make the damage, but everyone doesn’t want to be responsible for that. The manager will make a decision ‘Hey, call the customer — he’s your damage.’”

“Every car that came from Budget that needed repair all had inflated costs on them, frivolous charges on them. Every repair that went through the system — the customer got overbilled.”

"Budget's repair facility is owned by Inland Transportation, a company owned by wealthy Vancouver businessman Syd Belzberg. He also owns Budget Rent a Car of B.C., which runs the car rental outlets in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. "

and on and on. Your reiteration of Budget policies are in no way in-line with what these ex-employees are saying is happening at Budget. I get it that they may be biased and whatnot, but they don't seem to be unfounded. Unless you're the guy that owns Budget or he's your uncle or something, not really sure why you're so adamant on defending them.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:24 AM   #21
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Dhillon, just wondering, which rental agency did you work for?

I've rented with Enterprise a couple of times and its been generally decent except for that one time they tried to put us in a Grand Marquis...
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:20 AM   #22
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rofl CBC on a roll eh?

going around pissing off businesses wit that 'haters gon hate' nosey ass little prick lmao

first it was DPS then it was Ebisu now its Budget

not that i'm complaining or anything but i just think they're being lil fags ya nomsaiyan'
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:28 AM   #23
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I had a friend who worked at budget a year ago, most of the stuff he told me exactly matched exactly as he claimed.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:46 AM   #24
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A number of years ago, the company I worked for rented me a car. As I was driving it around during the day, the car started smelling like burnt oil really bad. I pulled over, popped the hood and found the motor had no fucking oil cap, oil was everywhere.

I drove it straight back to the place, they gave me a new car, but not without charging me the exhorbitant amount of money for the little bit of gas I used. In retrospect, I should have just driven until the motor ran out of oil and seized up.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:05 AM   #25
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I used to work at Budget's main office in their accounting department. How the owner ran the business was definitely interesting.... In terms of vehicle maintenance, it was poorly managed. The owner had one guy running around 10 different locations trying to get all the vehicles proper servicing. In turn, a lot of vehicles were missed, and more often than not the same vehicles would get serviced twice or even thrice. I remember seeing the invoices on my desk of the same vehicle getting an oil change at 8000k, then a week later at 8100k.
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