Andrew leads our Operational Team and is our expert when it comes to all the ins and outs of car hire excess insurance.
A CBC News investigation revealed complaints of significant overcharging for minor damage to rental cars by Budget Rent a Car in British Columbia. The most common complaint was being charged up to $1000 to have a car's windscreen replaced after minor chips were identified by Budget.
The CBC News program Go Public discovered that Budget Rent a Car of B.C. Ltd which runs the 80 Budget locations in the province is owned by Syd Belzberg. Mr Belzberg also owns Inland Transportation a vehicle repair company. Greg Harrison, general manager at Budget's head office in Richmond confirmed in a statement that:
"To ensure thorough, efficient repairs and minimal downtime for our fleet, many of our repairs and other mechanical work are done by Inland Transportation, a sister company which is certified and accredited by ICBC”
That means Budget in B.C. control every aspect of the repairs and can charge whatever they like, even their "independent” damage appraiser was found to be a Budget employee.
A local major vehicle glass repair company Glass Doctor, said that Budget would not be paying more than $300 for original equipment manufactured quality windscreen replacements. In many cases a stone chip could be repaired for $50 or less restoring the integrity of the screen.
The statement also confirmed that Budget will charge a customer for any damage it finds that was not noted by the customer.
To protect yourself from these abuses, it is worth taking the time to inspect your hire car thoroughly and take photo's both on collection and drop off. Even then, the car hire company is in a very strong position and with a pre-authorisation on your credit card they don't have to ask in order to take your money. At least if you've bought car hire excess insurance through MoneyMaxim's comparison site you won't lose out.
Hopefully insurance companies will challenge Budget and others with dubious practices. In the meantime, many customers who have had bad experiences will simply never rent from Budget again.