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Budget car rental - get contract in English before you leave US

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This is a long post because I've listed my email to Budget and their surprising response. I have used Budget for many years in the US and my dealings have been ethical and fair in the US. My international rental did not go anything like my domestic rentals. To avoid extra charges get a copy of the rental agreement in English BEFORE you leave the US.

Here is the story --I rented a car in Paris from Budget. I gave Budget a document from MasterCard that shows I had insurance coverage. In addition to giving Budget the document I told the clerk in Paris I did not need the insurance. (as a side note Master Card and Visa provide car insurance for certain countries if you rent with their card --check with them to understand the types of coverage.)

The clerk gave me the contract to sign but the contract was in French. They clearly knew I was from the US and they deal with US travelers every day. I asked for a copy in English and they said they did not have one. I find this surprising but had no choice so I signed the contract in order to get the car. I figured since I am a long term member of Budget I can trust the contract. I was wrong. Once I got home and reviewed my MasterCard charges I realized they had charged me more than the agreed reservation price. They charged me for the insurance I had told them I did not need.

Below is the final email correspondence with Budget and my response directly below their email. It is important to note that we had a couple emails back and forth discussing the issue. In these emails I was very respectful and diplomatic because I have found it to be more successful in life if you use diplomacy when dealing with issues. Once it became clear that they were not going to do anything my final email was very direct and not diplomatic but still on point.

Budget Case: 8187222
Reservation: 12989508US0
Rental Agreement: E203769381

Thank you for contacting the E-mail Customer Service team.

I am very sorry for any troubles encountered with your rental cost. When renting internationally the documents are not required to be presented in English I apologize for any misunderstanding. We can only base any decisions made on the signed contract. In reviewing the rental contract, it does clearly note the acceptance of the coverage, and the price to be charged with your signature of acceptance. Based on this information, we will be unable to provide any credits for the rental contract.

Kind Regards,

Jennifer Kirby
Customer Service Representative

....and this was my final response to the above email from Budget...

Wow. Budget's response has disappointed me beyond belief. It shows the lack of ethics and a clear disregard for doing what is right. Without even trying to hide your unethical behavior of what had occurred you are openly stating......"yes we know we presented a contract in a language you were unable to read, but too bad because you signed the contract. Further, yes we do know that you presented proof that you did not need the insurance coverage because you already had it. At Budget we try to take people's money by selling them insurance that they clearly do not need and in fact have shown proof they already have it. Although you showed proof that you had the insurance and verbally told the Budget representative at the time you rented the vehicle, none of that matters because we "got you" once you signed the agreement --which of course you are unable to read due to it being in another language."

Clearly my long history of spending thousand dollars on Budget rentals did not come into play on this decision nor did the sense of doing the right thing.

My recommendation is to get a copy of the rental agreement BEFORE you leave the US therefore you can get it in English. Requesting it at the rental desk in Paris is too late.

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