Budgets Bills For Hypotheticals

Companies are getting so good at billing that they are now capable of billing for imaginary expenses that are only concrete and justified in alternate dimensions.

Michael W. writes us his frustration about Budget Rent-A-Car and their habit of pre-charging for the hypothetically that he might not refill the car with gas before he brings it backs. So they just redact the transaction when he does so, right? Except the responsibility is Michael’s to prove that he filled up the car when he returned it. He doesn’t want to accept that.

It’s ten bucks, so it is a tad hard for me to muster any real level of outrage, especially when it seems you could easily just drain the tank and get thirty bucks of gas for free. For me, what’s a little odd here is not in being pre-charged for the gas, but that you have to prove you bought the gasoline that’s topping up the tank.

But that’s the point: most people won’t. Budget can sit behind technicalities to bill every customer an extra ten bucks for not fulfilling all the requirements of their involuntary onus. Michael’s mail, after the jump.

Budget car has decided that I need to be pre-charged a fee because I may not fill up their car, so now they are charging me almost $10 for the right to return it. If I forget to tell them, or don’t prove to them that I filled up the car (hey, that F on the gas gauge may be a clue), then they just keep the money. That’s right, the onus is on me to tell them that I filled up the car, and show the gas reciept.

I find this atrocious. On top of the inflated per-gallon gas charges and the poor quality car (why do so many of these companies buy cars that no one else will? My rental Pontiac had a broken interior light, broken 12v adapter, and a “low coolant” warning all with only 20k miles on it), I now have to pre-pay a $9.50 fee just in case? And show a receipt instead of the very gauge we both use to tell if the car has fuel?

Less people are renting cars given high fuel costs. You’d think they would want to be nicer to to their customers, right? I guess they are well named… I’m taking my rental money elsewhere, and advising my international company to do the same with its rental contracts.


Edit Your Comment

  1. aka Cat says:

    especially when it seems you could easily just drain the tank and get thirty bucks of gas for free
    an automatic $9.50 US EZ-Fuel refueling service charge will be applied to all rentals under 75 miles

    Methinks it would be a little difficult to drain the gas tank in just 75 miles. Unless you had a buddy with a syphon and gas can.

    What does it say about rentals over 75 miles? I’m guessing that’s still the standard “we’ll overestimate how many gallons it will take to refill the tank and charge you 150% of the local price for it.”

  2. Anonymously says:

    You might want make a tag for “rental cars” and group this and the Alamo story together. Also, I think you spelled “charges” incorrectly as “carges” in the tags.

  3. Timbojones says:

    “To make it easier for you, an automatic $9.50 US EZ-Fuel refueling service charge will be applied”

    Thank you Budget, for making it easier for all of us!

  4. Major-General says:

    Seventy-five miles? I have never rented a car and put only 75 miles on it. Even the 24 hour local rental went longer than that.

    And don’t get me started on my last trip to Oklahoma. I enjoy an average of 215 miles a day, for 4 weeks.