Reno Budget Rent-A-Car Unfair Cleaning Fee ?

 
Old Jan 23, 13, 8:55 am
  #1  
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Angry Reno Budget Rent-A-Car Unfair Cleaning Fee ?

Has anyone else rented from the Reno Budget Rent A Car and received a notice of a cleaning fee much later - after the car was returned ?

This happened to me - I returned the car in early September, and made sure to have it professionally cleaned beforehand as I had heard about capricious charges such as this. When I returned the car, I asked the attendant if the car was in acceptable condition and he agreed it was, and I took pictures of the interior of the car.

A month later I was assessed a $250 cleaning fee ! Along with the $90 I spent having the car professionally cleaned that made an additional $340 charge.

Following up with Budget and my credit card company provided to be an exhaustive and pointless process.

I hate to be the suspicious type, but I found that Budget was hundreds of dollars less than the competition. Could this charge have been part of the plan all along ? I don't know but I do wonder.

Can anyone advise me how I could avoid such charges in the future ?

A friend of mine recommended this site for travelers' issues.

Best Regards,
nationalpost00 is offline  
Old Jan 23, 13, 3:12 pm
  #2  
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Why did the car need to be "professionally cleaned" in the first place?
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Old Jan 23, 13, 7:41 pm
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Does anything apply?

Does this apply to you

Just as renters are assessed a fee for cleaning the car's interior for excessive stains, dirt or soiling attributable to the renterís use, customers will be assessed an additional charge if the car smells of smoke when it is returned
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Old Jan 23, 13, 8:10 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by darben View Post
Does this apply to you

Just as renters are assessed a fee for cleaning the car's interior for excessive stains, dirt or soiling attributable to the renter’s use, customers will be assessed an additional charge if the car smells of smoke when it is returned
As in these advisements on Budget Rent-A-Car's website?
Smoke-Free Fleet Policy

• Budget also has initiated an enhanced inspection process to help ensure a pleasant rental experience for all. Each vehicle will be confirmed “smoke-free” when it is provided to a customer. Upon its return, it will be inspected. If it is determined that the vehicle must be cleaned of tobacco odor and residue, the renter will be assessed a fee of up to $250.

<snip>

• As new vehicles enter the fleet, or existing vehicles are inspected and found to be smoke-free, a sticker will be placed on the rear side window informing the customer that the vehicle is smoke-free, that smoking in the vehicle is prohibited, and that if cleaning of tobacco residue and odors is required, the $250 fee will be assessed.

• This Smoke-Free Fleet policy is in effect for 100% of our fleet, not only those vehicles with window stickers.
That's my suspicion; however, I doubt that the OP will own up to it or that we'll ever again hear from him or her.

Based upon my experience with rental cars, it is impossible to completely eliminate the residual cigarette smoke odors from cars that were smoked in. On several occasions, I had to return and switch cars due to lingering tobacco smell even after the cars were "professionally cleaned" by the rental car companies.
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Old Jan 25, 13, 4:11 am
  #5  
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My experience is only with Avis, but they share a lot of the same policies as they are under the same parent company:

I've complained a few times of the car smelling like smoke or gotten into the smoking debate with employees b/c of nasty cars. I've always been told that Avis only charges a renter if there is physical, visual evidence of smoking in the car upon return. So unless they find cigarette butts or ashes, they can't charge you. Seems absurd to me but that's what they claimed.
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Old Jan 27, 13, 6:14 pm
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Originally Posted by IAHtraveler View Post
My experience is only with Avis, but they share a lot of the same policies as they are under the same parent company:

I've complained a few times of the car smelling like smoke or gotten into the smoking debate with employees b/c of nasty cars. I've always been told that Avis only charges a renter if there is physical, visual evidence of smoking in the car upon return. So unless they find cigarette butts or ashes, they can't charge you. Seems absurd to me but that's what they claimed.
OP's account makes it pretty clear that the issue was smoke smell. OP doesn't specify whether the smoke was from cigarettes, cigars, or other herbal substances. Taking pictures of the interior and getting an employee to agree that the interior was acceptable doesn't really help on the issue. Hiring a cleaning company before returning a rental car, losing an appeal with the charge card company, and the failure of the OP to state the reason for the cleaning charge also indicates that smoke was the culprit. I would venture it is quite unusual to pay $90 for cleaning a rental car before returning it unless there was a substantial issue.
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