Bold deception - Budget Agent

Reply

Old May 15, 17, 2:18 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Programs: SWA CP, HH Diamond
Posts: 25
Bold deception - Budget Agent

Some context - I have rented over 20 times this year, nearly every time with National or Hertz. I always decline all coverage, gas, etc. Sorry for the long read in advance.

Rented with Budget for the first time this past weekend. Had a friendly conversation with the agent, rented intermediate but received a Dodge Journey- fine, sounds good. Then it got a little weird.

Agent: Okay, and we'll make sure to add the prepaid gas here.
BKCO: No thank you, I'm all set and will fill it up before returning
Agent: Sir, unfortunately the company has mandated this service now
BKCO: What? I have never heard of that in any other rental company
Agent: I know it's annoying but you can bring your receipt and get it reimbursed. It's a new policy here at Budget that corporate has told me I must apply.
BKCO: Really? So I have no other option but to prepay the fuel to rent?
Agent: No, sorry

At that point I needed to leave and honestly did not know if it was a crazy new policy that Budget had put in place, having never rented with them before. Perhaps a little naivety on my part.

I return the car and speak to a manager - he says "No, this was not mandatory at all. Maybe some retraining required". I was refunded but peeved at the fact that an agent could be so brazen in their deceit.

Does anyone know the details around quotas, commission, etc when up-selling these services? Would love to get some insight from behind the counter.
bkco88 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 15, 17, 4:13 pm
  #2  
Moderator, Alaska Airlines & FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: SGF
Programs: AS, AA, UA, AGR (ex-75K, GLD, 1K, and S+), Choice Diamond, HZ PC, Costco Exec, NPS Passport
Posts: 22,879
Originally Posted by bkco88 View Post
Some context - I have rented over 20 times this year, nearly every time with National or Hertz. I always decline all coverage, gas, etc. Sorry for the long read in advance.

Rented with Budget for the first time this past weekend. Had a friendly conversation with the agent, rented intermediate but received a Dodge Journey- fine, sounds good. Then it got a little weird.

Agent: Okay, and we'll make sure to add the prepaid gas here.
BKCO: No thank you, I'm all set and will fill it up before returning
Agent: Sir, unfortunately the company has mandated this service now
BKCO: What? I have never heard of that in any other rental company
Agent: I know it's annoying but you can bring your receipt and get it reimbursed. It's a new policy here at Budget that corporate has told me I must apply.
BKCO: Really? So I have no other option but to prepay the fuel to rent?
Agent: No, sorry

At that point I needed to leave and honestly did not know if it was a crazy new policy that Budget had put in place, having never rented with them before. Perhaps a little naivety on my part.

I return the car and speak to a manager - he says "No, this was not mandatory at all. Maybe some retraining required". I was refunded but peeved at the fact that an agent could be so brazen in their deceit.

Does anyone know the details around quotas, commission, etc when up-selling these services? Would love to get some insight from behind the counter.
What location?

Franchises manage their own employees and commission targets. At corporate locations, policies are centralized, but enforcement of policies is largely dependent on local management.

I can't speak to specifics in either case (not knowing each individual franchise's policies or being specifically familiar with Budget's corporate policy), but in the industry in general, incremental sales revenue for each agent is totaled up and then divided by the number of rental days to arrive at an "average incremental revenue per day" figure (commonly called in the industry a sales "yield"). Often, companies/locations will have a tiered commission system, so the higher the yield, the higher the commission payout. A figure at a company I'm familiar with paid their top agents a 15% commission if their sales yield exceeded $20, and there were several agents in that tier, a couple of whom managed to take home about $120K/year or so.

There isn't usually a minimum quota per se, just that yield figure, and so if the agent's yield drops below a tier threshold, they stand to lose quite a bit of money. Also, agents with poor yields can be reassigned to other non-sales positions or even let go.

Note that Enterprise does not pay their employees a commission, but they do brainwash them into loving the company so much and wrapping their entire identity up in the company and then believing that the key to their future success and promotion is to sell well that they can almost be more pushy and underhanded than the other companies that pay commission...

Last edited by jackal; May 16, 17 at 11:02 am
jackal is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 15, 17, 6:32 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Programs: SWA CP, HH Diamond
Posts: 25
This was at ALB, standard airport location. I picked up at 6AM. The thought crossed my mind that this could have been a local rule, but the manager was clear and the offending agent seemed knowledgeable and relatively senior.

Thanks for the insight around the compensation structure - makes sense and I understand they have a business to run, front line agents are undeniably the best way to capture ancillary revenue. Seems like this was just someone who thought they could pull a fast one (and did, successfully). Maybe she's one of those pulling 6 figures - incredible. Thanks again
bkco88 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 15, 17, 9:46 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: South Park, Metropolis
Programs: AA LT PLT 3MM, Hilton/Marriott/SPG/Club Carlson GLD, IHG PLT
Posts: 4,073
This is one reason why I signed up to rental car programs of various companies. It helps in minimizing dealing with front line agents, just prepay the reservation when you make it, go to the kiosk upon check in and get all the pertinent docs, or pick up the prepared rental envelope if no kiosk, or broken.
arollins is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 16, 17, 5:14 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Falls Gulch VA
Posts: 206
Originally Posted by bkco88 View Post

Agent: Okay, and we'll make sure to add the prepaid gas here.
BKCO: No thank you, I'm all set and will fill it up before returning
Agent: I know it's annoying but you can bring your receipt and get it reimbursed. It's a new policy here at Budget that corporate has told me I must apply.
Remember the good old days when car rentals, at least from the major companies, included gas. If you bought gas, you handed over the receipts when you returned the car and the cost of the gas you bought was deducted from your rental. You didn't know, then, how much they were charging you for a gallon of gas, but when a full tank of gas was only $5 or so, the convenience of not having to fill the tank before returning was worth it. Of course back in those days, there was no "unlimited" mileage, so you paid for gas by the mile. I like how they're doing it today - buy your own gas and drive as much as you want.

I've rented from Thrifty in some locations where they want to see a receipt for a gas purchase if the car was driven less than 50 miles. I suppose it's defense against people who don't drive far enough to move the gas gauge off Full, so they don't replace the gas they used. There was a story going around that Hertz, as part of the return process, was interrogating the car's computer to see when gas was last put in the tank.

For what it's worth, only once was I ever asked to show a gas receipt, and when I showed it, the agent said "Good, you read the instructions."

Last edited by Mike Rivers; May 16, 17 at 10:50 am
Mike Rivers is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 16, 17, 6:46 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: South Park, Metropolis
Programs: AA LT PLT 3MM, Hilton/Marriott/SPG/Club Carlson GLD, IHG PLT
Posts: 4,073
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers View Post
I've rented from Thrifty in some locations where they want to see a receipt for a gas purchase if the car was driven less than 50 miles. I suppose it's defense against people who don't drive far enough to move the gas gauge off Full, so they don't replace the gas they used. There was a story going around that Hertz, as part of the return process, was interrogating the car's computer to see when gas was last put in the tank.

For what it's worth, only once was I ever asked to show a gas receipt, and when I showed it, the agent said "Good, you read the instructions."
I seem to recall that providing gas receipts for less than 50 miles travel is becoming the norm for most car rental companies. I had the same issue with Avis and Hertz in the past. First time I was exposed for that I was charged a re-fuel fee of $25 or so, can't remember the exact $ amount. When I asked, they mentioned that I need to provide proof of refueling, since I only drove the car less than 20 miles. Luckily I did have the receipt with me, but had to stand in line for 20 minutes to get the credit applied to the receipt.
arollins is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 16, 17, 6:51 am
  #7  
Company Representative - Autoslash
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 3,544
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers View Post
I've rented from Thrifty in some locations where they want to see a receipt for a gas purchase if the car was driven less than 50 miles. I suppose it's defense against people who don't drive far enough to move the gas gauge off Full, so they don't replace the gas they used. There was a story going around that Hertz, as part of the return process, was interrogating the car's computer to see when gas was last put in the tank.
It's not just Thrifty. Most of the major companies have policies similar to this these days, and the threshold is typically 75 miles. Example from Hertz:

b. For rentals other than Replacement Rentals, if You drive the Car 75 miles or less and return it with less than a full tank of fuel, You will receive credit for the amount previously charged for the purchase of fuel from Hertz and will be charged for the fuel used at the per-mile rate shown on the Rental Record, but only if this will reduce the amount You pay for fuel.
And Avis here:

EZFuelTM and Fuel Service Charge
If you don't choose the Fuel Service Option and you bring the car back less than full, you'll pay a fuel service charge. If you drive 75 miles or more, depending on whether you bought fuel during your rental, this charge will be a per-mile or per-gallon rate and will be stated on your rental agreement.
AutoSlash is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 16, 17, 10:34 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: JFK LGA PBI BOI
Posts: 524
I have Fastbreak with Budget but at JFK they 9 times out of 10 do not print the contract out. You have to wait on the Fastbreak line and the next agent usually takes you (no separate agent for Fastbreak).
It's a 50/50 chance they will try to upsell me on insurance or tank of gas when waiting for the impact printer to print the contract even though all the options are set on the Fastbreak account to decline.
Brighton Line is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 16, 17, 11:12 am
  #9  
Moderator, Alaska Airlines & FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: SGF
Programs: AS, AA, UA, AGR (ex-75K, GLD, 1K, and S+), Choice Diamond, HZ PC, Costco Exec, NPS Passport
Posts: 22,879
Originally Posted by bkco88 View Post
This was at ALB, standard airport location. I picked up at 6AM. The thought crossed my mind that this could have been a local rule, but the manager was clear and the offending agent seemed knowledgeable and relatively senior.
Hmm. ALB could be either one. Generally medium airports and up are corporate, and only smaller airports and local offices are franchised, but it varies--SAN is actually a (large) franchise for Budget. Back when I had SABRE access, I could do a query and see, but I don't think there's a way to see it elsewhere. Not that it ultimately matters; was just curious. In general, I find it more likely to encounter this type of behavior at franchises, but corporate-run stores certainly aren't immune.

Originally Posted by bkco88 View Post
Thanks for the insight around the compensation structure - makes sense and I understand they have a business to run, front line agents are undeniably the best way to capture ancillary revenue. Seems like this was just someone who thought they could pull a fast one (and did, successfully). Maybe she's one of those pulling 6 figures - incredible. Thanks again
In my experience, the ones who consistently pull six figures are actually the kinds of people who are such naturally gifted relationship-builders that they establish a solid rapport with customers and end up making the customer want to buy the extra products. They're able to sell the benefits of the extra products so well that the customer feels like it's a good deal. The ones who lie/cheat/steal/con people into buying things often don't do as well. That's because the truly gifted salespeople can convince someone to willingly spend $100/more a day on an SUV or van, plus the $50/day for all the coverages plus a tank of gas (yes, I've seen that happen), whereas the people who try to sneak things into the contract are only ever going to be able to add small stuff like roadside assistance for $5/day or at most LDW for $20/day, and then it'll often get taken off on a later customer complaint anyway.
jackal is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 16, 17, 11:56 am
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Programs: SWA CP, HH Diamond
Posts: 25
All good input - thanks.

@arollins -
This is one reason why I signed up to rental car programs of various companies. It helps in minimizing dealing with front line agents, just prepay the reservation when you make it, go to the kiosk upon check in and get all the pertinent docs, or pick up the prepared rental envelope if no kiosk, or broken.
Thanks, that is a good point - frankly I was unfamiliar with Budget's program but will join for next time.

@Mike Rivers-
Remember the good old days when car rentals, at least from the major companies, included gas. If you bought gas, you handed over the receipts when you returned the car and the cost of the gas you bought was deducted from your rental. You didn't know, then, how much they were charging you for a gallon of gas, but when a full tank of gas was only $5 or so, the convenience of not having to fill the tank before returning was worth it. Of course back in those days, there was no "unlimited" mileage, so you paid for gas by the mile. I like how they're doing it today - buy your own gas and drive as much as you want.
Interesting, that probably was before my time. The more you know! Also, does not appear that the 75 mile rule was a factor, as I have run into that before - for the most part, that rule makes sense.

@jackal
In general, I find it more likely to encounter this type of behavior at franchises, but corporate-run stores certainly aren't immune.
Agreed, most negative experiences I've had were at franchise locations. However, some of the best customer service has been received at local locations as well. Luck of the draw, but certainly more inconsistent at the smaller locations.

In my experience, the ones who consistently pull six figures are actually the kinds of people who are such naturally gifted relationship-builders that they establish a solid rapport with customers and end up making the customer want to buy the extra products.
As it should be!
bkco88 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old May 16, 17, 7:02 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: New York suburbs
Posts: 3,411
Hmm. ALB could be either one. Generally medium airports and up are corporate, and only smaller airports and local offices are franchised, but it varies--SAN is actually a (large) franchise for Budget.

Budget's website used to disclose. I recall checking once, and ALB said corporate.
Auto Enthusiast is offline  
Reply With Quote

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread