Budget Slaps Customer With $500 Repair Fee Months Later

When Sean returned a rented truck to Budget Truck Rental nearly a year ago, he went through the standard inspection with an employee, who then signed off on the return. Now the company has sent a $500 bill to collection for damage they refuse to provide evidence of.

Here’s Sean’s story:

In April I rented a truck from Budget Truck Rental. I rented the truck for about a day so I could move from my apartment into my first house. I went to the pickup location and surveyed the truck with the employee and signed off on where all existing damage was on the truck. I unfortunately did not take pictures of the truck before driving it off the lot (live and learn).

The move went smoothly and there appeared to be no issues. I dropped the truck off in the after hours drop off location and thought that was the end of it.

About 3 months later I get a call from the Budget damage claims department stating I had caused over $500 in damages to the truck’s overhead nose radius. Well I didn’t hit anything. I told the agent that even if I had somehow caused the damage that I had purchased their insurance policy and the damage should be covered. I was informed that any damage to the truck overhead or tires is not covered under their insurance they sold me and would not be covering this (basically the policy is useless unless you total the truck, even then I’m not sure if they have more shenanigans).

I told the agent that I did not cause the damage and would not pay anything unless they could prove the damage to me with pictures or something tangible so I would know I’m not getting ripped off. Nothing arrived and I had no further communication with Budget. I tried contacting the representative a few more times to verify if the issue was closed and was unable to get a hold of them. I considered the matter to be closed after several months of no communications.

Just recently I received a call from a collection agent demanding the money or they were gong to report this issue to the credit bureaus. So next step for me is small claims court to try and address this.

Sean adds that he’s learned a few lessons from this, the first one being that “small claims court sometimes can’t be avoided.” His other lessons are ones we should all take in:

  • Car rental insurance is basically worthless. It’s not the only useless insurance, either. Here are 10 types of insurance policies you don’t need.
  • When you drop off a rental grab and employee and make sure that nothing is out of sorts.
  • Take lots of pictures.

“10 insurance policies you don’t need” [Consumer Reports]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.