Lame Budget practice

I rented a car from Budget earlier this week. I probably won’t do so again. They have a new practice, presented as a time-saving feature. If you drive less than 75 miles, they add $9.00 to your bill as a flat rate for gas consumption.

If you filled up yourself, present the bill and they’ll deduct the amount.

I didn’t pay that close attention upon renting when they asked me in their script-like manner if I planned to drive more than 75 miles. I mean, who the hell knows? I didn’t realize until checking the paperwork later that it wasn’t an optional program. I guess I could have used the odometer in the car to track my mileage to see what was going to happen, and then do some estimating math to see if the price of gas available locally at the car’s typical MPG would be more or less than $9.00. But I didn’t. I filled up the car myself, and remembered to have the receipt handy.

When I pull in to the return and am unloading the car, the usual parking-lot-Borg comes over with all their electronic gear, and when I ask about the charge, they tell me I have to go inside. So they ring me up, effectively charge me the amount including the $9 and then I have to take my bags back inside and wait for the one employee working inside to look over my receipts (one for gas, one for their service) and issue me a new version of the latter.

This is not a time- or money-saving feature for me. It probably makes money for them based on some estimated cut-off level, etc.

It’s not optional; I’m forced to alter a fairly traditional way of managing things to suit them. I’m not doing it. I’ll go somewhere else. It’s pretty much a commodity business anyway.


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