Car rental/Budget vs National or Alamo

Old Mar 8th, 2007, 04:32 AM
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Car rental/Budget vs National or Alamo

Help, We are taking our second trip to CR next month over Easter week and the following week. Last year we rented a car from Tri Color for the day/night with no problems.(picking up and returning at SJO) This year, we will be renting an SUV at SJO and returning the vehichle in Quepos,with a flight back to SJO. Many of the car rental agency's don't have offices in Quepos,so I'm stuck with the few I've named. I've booked with Budget but, I'm concerned about the reliability of them even having a vehicle for me when we arrive- from the recent posts I've read. Has anyone rented from any of these agency's recently? Comments/suggestions please. Thanks
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 10:28 AM
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Defintely do not choose from Budget. Their inventory is low. Even I had reservations, I had to wait at the airport and then parking lot for over one hour. Every car returned will be hastily washed and released to next person in the line. My situation was even worse. They did not give me the car I reserved and instead a smaller one. When I saw they assigned my type of car to next customer, I confronted them. They said it's the last one and etc. I asked upgrade instead of downgrade, they wouldn't and threatened cancelling my reservation. In the end, tI had to take the smaller car and left(I didn't want to ruin my vacation).

Stay away from Budget at SJO.

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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 10:58 AM
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Thanks for your imput. You have confirmed my fears of not getting the vehicle requested, or possibly not one at all. I believe that I will try National or Alamo even though they are more expensive, I hope they will be more reliable unless I hear otherwise.

Does anyone know if I could have a car picked up in MA, if the rental agency does not have an office there?
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 06:21 PM
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hx88, it seems that you and I have very different experiences with the same things. We rented from Budget in January at SJO, they had the best rate and didn't charge extra for us to drop the car off in Tambor. We did not have any problems when we picked up the car. We had reserved a Terios and were automatically UPgraded to a Rav 4 without even asking and we got our car right away. Our only problem we had was the person at the rental office in Tambor didn't show up until 8:20 when the office was suppose to open at 8 am and we had a flight to catch. It all worked out in the end, so it wasn't any big deal.
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Old Mar 9th, 2007, 08:05 AM
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I just had a bad experience with Tricolor Car Rental near the main airport (SJO) in Costa Rica. We rented a SUV and the next day after a morning of driving to Poas Volcano, the brakes started to fail! I've been driving for over thirty years, and I don't believe I've ever had this happen before--believe me, it was scary. The first time I pressed them to the floor and the vehicle kept on moving was the worst, but I found that the brakes sometimes worked, although as I kept using them they became more and more worthless.

It took most of the day, but I managed to make it back to Tricolor (after putting my wife, baby, and grandparents on a bus back to my house), and told the Tricolor representative what happened. They said they would explain the situation to their boss, Claus Schutz, and that I should call him the next day.

I tried to get through to him the next day but the line was busy, and I tried again the following day, and finally spoke to him.

His manner was smug, and he didn't even apologize for the vehicle. On the contrary, he said the brakes overheated because I don't know how to drive in Costa Rica (by the way, I've been living here for 5 years, and have been driven in all kinds of terrain over the many years I've had a license), and that he was charging me a day rate of $80 for the one day I had the car.

This was $15 higher than the daily rate he'd orginally rented me the car for! (We had planned to have it for a week.) I also had given him a receipt for $40 of gas I'd put in the car--I'd rented it half full and returned it full--and he wouldn't refund my gas money!

In conclusion: no apology, no refund, no discount, no gas reimbursement. Just a smug attitude that seemed to suggest: we've already charged your credit card and you have no recourse. And it's true: this isn't worth spending hours on the phone with American Express about.


By the way, avoid Economy Car Rental in Costa Rica also. My friend had a similar bad experience with them when he agreed to extra insurance but then realized a few days later that he didn't need it because his credit card already covered it. He went back there to remove the insurance, and they did so, but they wound up charging him for it anyway. Six months later, after countless calls, AMEX disputes, etc., he still hasn't gotten his full refund, which should have been substantial because he rented the car for a month.

I don't know if there are ANY good car rental companies in Costa Rica, but I can speak from personal experience that Tricolor and Economy are to be avoided.
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Old Mar 9th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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How about National or Alamo? Anyone?

The only problem we had with Tri Color was when we left the lot the tank was completely EMPTY. I'm surprised we could make it to the gas station down the street.
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 08:31 AM
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i am a franch expat i am around since 1990.i used to be guide and no i am in project with mini cruise with yacht in the Guanacaste.even i am not a guide anymore,i know all tips.and i can recommened you a nice locel cia rent-a-car with very good fees 10 at 20%cheaper.and most important no surprise about the price,no special hiding price for pick-up ect etc..
so just take contact with me at my mail
[email protected]
best regards.
Old Mar 11th, 2007, 08:41 PM
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Have rented from both Budget and Alamo in SJO. No problems with either.

One time our Budget SUV had faulty air conditioning and Budget delivered a brand new car to us in Tamarindo.
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