Here’s my experience with Budget Truck Rental. While this was not not my 1st experience – this is one that has completely caused me to lose faith in this company. I can only hope that by sharing our experience, you will take the time to do your research before reserving with Budget. If you are a military family moving on PCS orders, you definitely will want to find a reputable company that isn’t going to charge you for extra time when their faulty equipment goes down – We personally prefer Uhaul. As for Kris, she wishes that she had chosen a better company.
It is our hope that you will read our story and then read the reviews. This isn’t a one-time bad experience. As evidenced here, this company has a bad reputation and customer service is not high on their list of priorities!
We are an Army family, making our very last military move as my husband just finished his enlistment. We needed to move our household goods from Fort Hood, TX, to Lakeland, FL, where he will be in an Army Reserve unit. Because I rented a Budget truck to move my belongings previously, I decided to use the company again. After this agonizing experience, that is a mistake I will never make again.
On June 21st I made a reservation online for a 16 foot truck with a hand dolly and a car dolly for 8am June 24th. I didn’t get an e-mail for confirmation about this, although their website assured me that I would. On June 22nd I called – unfortunately when I called the shop had already closed but the woman there wrote down my information.
On June 23rd I called again to confirm that my reservation did go through. The woman who answered confirmed that my reservation did go through and I was all set. She said I needed to bring my car insurance, DL, and a credit card.
On June 24th my husband and I showed up at about 8:10. Another man was getting his truck so we had to wait. When we got our truck and signed all necessary papers it was 8:40. So our return time for our truck would be 8:40am on June 30th.
We inspected the truck and were on our way.
We took the truck home and spent the 24th and 25th loading it up with our things. The evening of the 25th the truck with my Mini Cooper on the tow dolly went to our hotel. On the 26th we left Copperas Cove, Texas, towards Lakeland, Florida.
The first issue we noticed with this truck was when we had to fill up with gas. The down pipe was bent in an odd way/too small in diameter. When the nozzle was inserted and the handle pressed – the gas would back fill quick and the pump would shut off. We had to have the nozzle almost out the pipe to not shut off.
This truck also had issues with even the smallest of hills. This truck just couldn’t handle it. Tackling a baby hill doing 55 mph we’d slow down to 30 and then baaaarely make it up. Semis would pass us. Yikes. Other then that we had no issues until……. Jacksonville, Florida.
While in Jacksonville on a highway going towards Orange Park, the truck went limp. The engine light came on and the truck could not grab a gear. We placed the truck into Neutral and then back into Drive to see if there were any changes. Of course not. The highway we were on was not only under construction, but it had absolutely no shoulder. We turned on our hazards and limped it until there was a safe, flat place for us to stop. There were some triangle road-side things in the truck we put out behind the truck. I called my mother (Jen) who was 10 minutes away. I then called roadside assistance for Budget.
The woman who answered (after 20 minutes) was having issues with her computer but was able to slowly get all my information and pinpoint where we were to get a mechanic to us. I told her that I believe the transmission had went out on the truck and described all the symptoms. (I had been through this before in a van a few years previous. I knew it was the transmission.) After she got all the information she needed she told me she would let her dispatch center know and then a text message would let me know an ETA on the mechanics arrival.
After about 5 minutes I got a text message saying 59 minutes for a mechanic. The mechanic arrived at about 50-55 minutes after the text. Let me add that this is Florida – 99 degrees, 100% humidity and we are in a dead truck on the side of a busy highway. Roadside put absolutely NO urgency in our call – just another broken down truck. From reading their Facebook, this seems to be a common problem. He hooked a computer up to the inside of the truck and within 10 minutes confirmed what I knew: internal transmission failure. He stated there was nothing he could do on the side of the road that this was a in a shop repair. He said he’d call dispatch to let them know and that he was sorry. Then he drove off.
While we are sitting here melting in the sun, I called Budget Customer Service and asked if my rental would be extended since I may not be able to drop off the truck on the date it was due, as it was broken down. I was told that it was up to the place I got my truck from and that there’s a chance I would have to pay for another day and they may, or may not, refund that amount. So your truck breaks down and I have to pay? Note to self: If you need to move in the future, call Uhaul.
Dispatch called me about 5 minutes later to let me know that they were going to call a wrecker to pick the truck up. I got another text message about 5 minutes later stating another 59 minutes for the wrecker. About 45 minutes later I got a call from the tow truck guy himself telling me that he was in Georgia and it would be another hour before he arrived. Georgia. Hour. Omg. We were melting and thank God our parents lived so close and could come sit with the AC on in their SUV so we didn’t melt!
About 15 minutes before he arrived we took my car off the dolly and I left to run to my parents house. The idea was I would take a quick shower come back and then my husband would go take a quick shower. However about 15 minutes later the wrecker had showed up. Close to 2 hours. We should’ve paid attention to the time. But we were disgusting from being outside in 94 degree heat. We were sweaty messes that smelled just awful.
We asked the wrecker driver, Chris, to tow the truck to my parents house. He loaded it on the flat bed and off we went. Half way to my mothers house, she noticed in the rear view mirror that the wrecker had pulled off of the road. She pulled off, backed up and my husband got out to inquire as to what the problem was. Chris, the wrecker driver, stated Roadside contacted his dispatch and stated he wasn’t authorized to leave the truck at a residence; he could only go to a hotel. Mind you, we are almost at my parents house, and a hotel is way past that, but those were Roadside’s instructions. So, my mother gets on her phone and looks for a hotel close by that we can park this truck at. Not a single hotel would allow that, unless we paid for a room. Unfortunately, the only hotel close that had a room wasn’t anywhere you could pay me to stay at alas that is what we had to go with. So we just paid for a hotel and took the truck there.
I phoned Roadside and asked, “Are you going to pay for this room since this was YOUR idea” and was told, “We might reimburse you.” $55 gone since we had no choice. We didn’t even stay at the hotel. It wasn’t a good hotel but it was the closest thing that had vacancies. We even bought locks to lock the dolly to the truck just in case. Everything was all said and done for around 8:30 pm. The truck broke down at 3:30 pm.
NEXT DAY June 28th. – The story doesn’t get any better. Hope you have plenty of popcorn!
I get a call from dispatch at 9:21 am asking if there is enough room in the hotel parking lot for a 2nd truck to park beside the broken truck so the movers can transfer my goods there. I stated no – there was barely room for that truck as is. So they decided to pick my truck up with a wrecker and take it somewhere.
Here’s where things get real shady. Lets start by saying it is hot outside, nearly 100 with 100% humidity. Dispatch had called a repair / Budget Rental shop, A and J Auto Repair, and told the owner, “someone will be coming by to pick up a truck and if she doesn’t pick it up by noon, obviously she doesn’t need it anymore so just go ahead and close.” What kind of customer service is that? For one, it’s not like we just needed a truck. The piece of garbage we paid for broke down. Second, why wasn’t he told that the broken down one would be left with him? They neglected to tell him that; and he was not happy about it. He kept saying, “I will find out who sent that email, but you can’t blame Roadside Assistance.” On the contrary; Roadside is who blatantly lied to this man and neglected to tell him that a useless Budget truck was being towed to his lot.
Things got more complicated by me being unable to be there. I had to take my husband to the airport to fly back to Texas. He had to finish up some things at Fort Hood. We were supposed to already have been down in Orlando where the airport was 5 minutes away – not 2 hours. So my mother was watching over the truck in my place. I let dispatch know this so that everything would be okay.
So my truck was picked up at the hotel by the wrecker; the same individual from the previous day, Chris, from the same company MD Towing, which has been one of the few positives of this nightmare!
And then taken to A and J Auto Repair, where Roadside assured us we would A-leave the broken truck, B-get a new truck, C-have movers offload our household goods from the broken truck to the new truck.
The tow truck driver, Chris, and my mother arrived at 11:50 am. The older man behind the counter was confused, at best. He said “I close at noon and, not to be rude, but I was told that you needed a Budget truck. No one said a broken down truck was coming. That’s not what we do here. But because I am human, I won’t just lock the doors. Lets call Roadside Assistance and see what is going on.”
My mother, the repair man, and Chris all phoned Roadside – and all were not getting anyone to answer. The man at A and J even had a second phone, so there were 4 calls to Roadside and not a single one was being answered. The tow truck driver, Chris, was mad at this point as he was told, “You cannot leave that truck here. I don’t know who told you that, but it’s not being left here.”
So he called his dispatcher who also started calling Roadside; again – no answer. NOTE: Budget Roadside Assistance claims that they are 24/7, but they answer the phone when it’s convenient for them. So they continued to sit in this building, which has no AC, no air flow, sweating buckets, SOMEONE trying to determine what is going on because no one seems to know.
My mother kept asking the older man at A and J, “Can you just give me the truck keys for the good truck and we’ll go transfer the personal goods at another location?” He rudely told her that the only person he was authorized to give the keys to was to the movers that Roadside had contracted.
Two hours later, two men arrived to transfer our belongings from the broken truck to the new truck. My mother went to a gas station for cold bottles of water while Chris, the tow truck driver, offloaded the broken Budget truck. When my mother returned, not ten minutes later, she realized the broken truck was back on the flat bed tow truck and Chris was rather upset. He called her over and said, “The old man says we cannot do this here. Why he waited until after I offloaded is beyond me, but I am over this. We will take this truck to my tow yard and the movers can transfer there.”
Chris’ tow yard was 40 miles away. My mother followed behind him and they drove to MD Towing. Once they arrived, Chris offloaded the broken Budget truck. However, the new truck was not there and they weren’t sure who to contact. Yet another call to Roadside went unanswered (go figure) so they could do nothing but wait. Half an hour later, the two movers arrived and they, too, were perplexed as to why the new truck was not there. They were also a little upset at the older man at A and J Auto Repair. According to one of the movers, “When you left, he really went off. I guess he was trying to put on a front for you because he said this effing truck wasn’t his issue and we were wasting his _____ time and that piece of _____ had to be off his lot NOW. He gave us the keys, said we weren’t his problem and told us to get the hell off of his property.”
So they sat there, in the heat and humidity, in a towing company parking lot – waiting for a Budget truck that isn’t a piece of garbage. Nearly an hour later, another tow truck arrived with the new Budget truck. I am so glad Budget thinks everyone has so much free time to just sit around and wait, as that is all we have done since their truck broke down on the side of the highway!
Fortunately, unlike the man at A and J, the movers and Chris were very friendly and sympathetic to our plight and were quick to get the trucks moved. They were able to back the new to the old and walk everything across.
I had to call Budget’s reservation line while at the airport in Orlando and beg the woman to help me. I told her that multiple people were trying to call Roadside as well as the customer service line and was getting no where. Unfortunately Chris had already made a decision on what to do and contacted dispatch about it. So when she called me back to tell me the trucks were going to his tow yard – it wasn’t because of a decision on their part. It was because of Chris. Had Chris not made that decision I shudder to think what they would’ve come up with since they already sent my truck to a place that was closing and didn’t want the transfer to happen there.
The new truck I was given was better in the aspect that I could properly fill it with gas without having the nozzle almost completely out but it wasn’t any better with hills. The inside of this truck was filthy too. It had an ashtray FULL of cigarette ashes, debris all over the floor, and the front window had someones feet prints on it. Yet I was required to clean this.
I called the customer service line today July 3rd to tell my story and see what they would do about it. The man I spoke with told me the best he could do was offer me $195 back for the truck issues and $55 back for the hotel. When I told him this was absurd my pets could’ve died he then went on to say that my contract states that I cannot have pets in the truck and I need to take this or he’s hanging up. When I said I would speak to a lawyer he said he would be disconnecting the call then.
I ended up taking the $250 since it’s better than nothing at this point but I’m still highly upset. Since my contract was taken from me I cannot verify what it states. Their CS rep assured me I was in the wrong for having animals in my truck. However, this is what their website states:
Budget Truck does not allow animals to be transported in the rear of the truck for safety reasons. You can keep animals in the front cab of the truck, however, as always please use common sense and do not leave animals locked in a truck as it can overheat. Also, note that having animals in the front cab of a truck reduced room for passengers and can be a distraction. Always follow all state and local laws for driving.
So another lie has been told by Budget. This time it was told to me. I paid $906.60 for this truck and the dolly and have had the WORSE experience ever. I understand that you cannot predict when something like a transmission will go out. However what happened afterwards is what I have issue with.
I strongly urge you to look into the mass complaints against Budget before you make the decision to rent from them. I did not because I had used them in the past. I wish I had looked at how many complaints there were. I’m sure if they could have negative stars – they would.