Earlier this month, my sister and I traveled to Denver, Colorado for a mini family reunion. Because we were planning on doing a tour of Denver with one of our taller relatives, I made sure to reserve a Full Size rental car from Budget Car rental (using Travelocity, which I’ve used for years) so that he would be comfortable.
When we arrived at Denver International Airport, we took the Budget Car Rental shuttle to pick up our car. While it did not offend us, it did strike us as odd and perhaps off-putting that the shuttle radio was playing Christian rock music.
Once we got to the Budget Car Rental counter, the “upsell” began.
The representative started by telling us that it was supposed to snow that weekend in Denver and we should really consider getting an All Wheel Drive SUV (instead of the full-sized sedan we reserved). He explained he could do it for “only about $20 more a day.” (It did not actually snow that weekend).
We declined that, and he said he had to go back and talk to his colleagues. He came back a few minutes later to announce that, “good news, now we can have the SUV for the same price as the car we had reserved.” You know where this story is headed, right?
So, I asked “You don’t have the car we reserved, do you?”
And he admitted that they did not. So, you can imagine how I felt that Budget Car Rental was trying to make more money off of the fact that they did not have the car ready that I had reserved. Not only are you wasting my time, but you’re also trying to profit off this?
Because we wanted to get going (and this was wasting our time), we took a quick look at the SUV he was pushing us to take. However, it was clear to us it would not have been as comfortable as the full-sized sedan we had originally reserved.
So, we returned back to the rental counter, and explained to him that this wouldn’t work for us and that we wanted the car we had reserved.
Unfortunately, on that particular day, it appeared only one computer could be used to determine which cars were available (I don’t know if that was a problem just that day, or if it’s like that every day you rent a car from Budget in Denver).
So, after about 30 minutes of extra back and forth with the representative, they were able to track down the car we had originally reserved.
Once we left the Budget Car Rental location, we discovered that the car was low on washer fluid (which is dangerous in Colorado during the winter) and that the windshield was fairly pitted (possibly because the car had almost 40,000 miles on it).
We returned the car to Budget early. Isn’t it funny how rental car companies charge you an arm and a leg if you return it even an hour late, but they don’t give you money back if you turn it in a few hours early?
I contacted both Travelocity and Budget Car Rental to share my experience with them, and I was less than impressed with their responses. Travelocity offered a $25 credit, whereas Budget Car Rental offered me a $10 credit- but I’d have to log-in to their system, create an account, give them my email, etc. Hardly worth $10, right? And I’m guessing they were counting on that.
Have you had an experience of a rental car company trying to upsell you a more expensive car after they made a mistake and didn’t have the car you reserved?
I’d love to hear about it- you can contact me by leaving a comment.