Budget

7.1

Overall Score

13 User Reviews

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Budget Rent-a-Car was established in 1958 with a fleet of only ten cars in California. Budget is available in all 50 states and offer some great features such as online check-in, e-toll, and roadside assistance. Budget has a wide variety of cars to choose from. They offer a selection of both economy and luxury cars. Budget also has a low payment feature available to those who pay ahead of time.

The Good

  • Available in all 50 states
  • Competitive pricing
  • Online check-in available

States Available

Budget is easily available is all 50 states. This gives Budget an advantage over its competition, who typically have locations in 23 states or less. It also offers an advantage to the customer, who can find a Budget location much easier, especially when traveling.

Rental Prices

Rental prices for both economy and luxury cars are low in the car rental industry. This makes it affordable for more customers when traveling or those who just need a car temporarily.

Airports Locations

The company has rental counters at most major airports throughout North America. Anywhere your plane lands, there is a Budget counter available. This is very convenient for travelers looking to rent a car right from the airport. They also have locations outside of the airports so locals can rent cars without having to go through the airport office.

Online Check-In

Budget does not offer online check-in, but they do offer something called FastBreak that makes checking in faster than standing in line. FastBreak does this by keeping your information-including your signature, digitized when you make your online reservation, making it easy for you to cut right through the counter line during the pickup process.

The Bad

  • No instant return options
  • Roadside fees
  • No on-site fuel discount

Instant Return

With Budget, all cars have to be returned in person. You cannot return the car without waiting in line and leaving the keys in the car. This is standard for car rental companies but with Budget's size and length of time in business, instant return is an option they could offer if they wanted to.

On-Site Fuel Discount

Budget does not offer an on-site fuel discount, but their four easy fuel service options include options that minimize the amount you pay if they use the pump on-site. With Budget, you will never pay more than $13.99 for the fuel service charge if you return the car less than fuel if you select their EZ Fuel service. Budget is an environmentally conscious rental agency. About half of its fleet has a fuel efficiency rating of 28 miles per gallon or better on highway. This means that renters are not only doing a little good for the environment, but are also saving themselves a little cash in gas expenses.

Roadside Assistance

Budget offers a roadside assistance service that covers the following:

  • Key Replacement
  • Lockout Service
  • Jump-Start
  • Flat Tire Assistance or Tire Replacement
  • Fuel Delivery

The problem is that there is no flat daily rate available for this service. Budget says the daily service charge is subject to change. Most rental car companies offer a flat additional price for this, such as $5 per day. With Budget, you won't know the price until the last minute which is unpredictable-and maybe unaffordable.

The Bottom Line

Budget is one of the most popular rental companies in the industry with locations in all 50 states and major airports. If convenience is a factor, this is a viable option for you, (if you're an AARP or Fastbreak rewards member, they offer many benefits and savings, too). As far as the cheapest option, Budget is lower priced than other car rental companies in the industry. Their additional features are also slightly higher than you might find with other rentals. If you do choose to rent with Budget, proceed with caution, you may find yourself paying for additional features, even if you didn't want them. Make sure to ask clear questions and state your preferences.

User Reviews

1.6

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  • 6

    November 13th, 2017 Orem, UT DETAILS

    Value for your money
    Quality of product or service
    Customer Service
    Company trustworthiness

    Their prices are great but I do not like their customer service at our closest location in Orem, Utah. They are very slow with long wait times and always seemed frazzled when you are picking up or dropping off. At the airports though, my husband and I have not had a problem.

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  • 8

    November 3rd, 2017 American Fork, UT DETAILS

    Value for your money
    Quality of product or service
    Customer Service
    Company trustworthiness

    Rented twice in a month in different states. Great prices. In and out fast. Close to airport.

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  • 0

    October 15th, 2017

    Prepaid online only to get there for a week rental on Sunday afternoon and they said we couldn’t rent. Refund in 7-10 business days because they have to go through corporate to refund cancellation fee of $150. I didn’t cancel.

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  • 3

    June 12th, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

    Every time we travel and rent from Budget we have problems with them. They have hidden fees and and once in a while we encounter rude employees. Their cars are always in good conditions though.

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  • 5

    June 11th, 2017 Orem, UT

    I thought I was getting a certain car and when i got there i was given a different vehicle i was very disappointed !next time i will read the small print

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  • 7

    June 2nd, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

    I always appreciate when I get upgraded and get a better rental than the one I booked. That happens with Budget. I think prices are fair and employees have been pleasant to work with.

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  • 9

    June 2nd, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

    I've used budget a great deal and for long periods of time for work. I always received great customer service, got the car I wanted, and was in and out quickly. Returning the car was always a breeze as well. I would definitely recommend using Budget for car rentals.

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  • 3

    May 31st, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

    Their services are not the best. I rented a car from them in Hawaii and they charged me for the damages on the car that were there before I rented it.

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  • 0

    April 6th, 2017 Seattle, WA

    STAY AWAY AT ALL COSTS!!! I rented a car for about 5 days from Budget in October of 2015, picking it up from Maine and dropping it off in Vermont. Everything went fine with the rental, the car seemed pretty beat up when we got it but took pictures of it and went on our way, used it, and dropped it off. Now a year and a half later I get a letter in the mail from a law firm trying to collect $1600 from me that they say I owe to Budget for damage to the car. Being that no damage occurred to the car while I had it, I thought it was a scam but calling Budget it sounds like they really are trying to blame me for something with that car, a year and a half later. I tried to call the law firm and they were weirdly hostile, almost yelling. I contacted Budget's customer service department and they simply say "you're responsible" ...but nobody will say for what! Nobody will show me any pictures of anything, nobody is interested in looking at the pictures I took of the car when I got it, nothing! Upon Googling what to do about it, there are huge forums about Budget-Avis doing this to many customers, trying to scam them out of money (check out forum.elliott.org/forums/avis-budget.58). I had no idea this was a thing! Even if other companies cost a little more, it's worth it to avoid these headaches. I've opened cases with the BBB and FTC, we'll see how those go... I really don't want to have to hire a lawyer for this.

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  • 0

    November 20th, 2016

    We rented a car in Grand Cayman for 10 days. To begin our rental car odyssey we spent a full hour at the counter because a.) the computer network they were on was either down or not functioning properly, and b.) the young man that was helping us didn't seem to have a good grasp of how to do his job. While we were there a number of people came in and left because they could not get service. Our base rental cost was $9.00 a day. Not bad we thought. Then add a driver, insurance, and a non-working GPS and the bill for our stay was up to over $600.00! Ok, give us our car and we'll be on our way. Get out to the car with our luggage and of course it's a right hand steer. I had specified that we wanted the steering wheel on the left. Go back into the office and let them know it wasn't what I asked for. I get another car, a Kio Rio that looks like it got into a fight with a very big cat. (all scratched up). After recording all of the dings and scratches we're on our way. Two days into our use of the car the GPS we rented would not work. Turns out the power outlets in the car had no power! I called Budget as soon as we discovered the problem. They wanted me to drive back to the office (1 hour each way on MY gas dime) so they could check it out. After no little discussion I got them to agree to check it out when I turned it in and then take it off my bill if they found it to be inoperable. When we checked in the girl said since we didn't bring it back mid-week that she would have to charge us for the whole time. {:( After another lengthy discussion I got them to agree to take it off the bill. Last thing: the gas needle was just a sliver off of full. She said they would have to charge us for refueling at 1/8th of a tank empty which was 2 gallons. Do you know what they charge for 2 gallons of gas if they have to put it in? $16.50/gallon!! (that's $32.00 for the math challenged like myself) I jumped in the car drove to the corner and put in 3/4 of a gallon (all it would take) for a whopping $3.00. All I can say is the obvious: I will never rent from Budget again. And I would not recommend that any of you do either.

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  • 0

    October 20th, 2016 Winchester, VA

    Reserved a car in September to be picked up at Mccarren Airport in October, to be returned one week later. Standing in line was interesting, as we had numerous discussions with fellow passengers as to whether there was an incentive program in effect gauging the number of options they can add to each rental. Upon arrival the clerk wasn't interested in our confirmation number, just the drivers license and credit card. He began asking questions already answered and declined at the time of reservation. He then disappeared behind the counter for 22 minutes and returned to say they did not have a car in the class we reserved, even though we had a confirmation. The clerk said "you are in Las Vegas and guaranteed anything". He was willing to "downgrade" us to a lower class and "give" us 10% off. When we again questioned why we did not have a car, he said we could go around the corner and wait until a car in our class was returned (at 7PM). The clerk was disrespectful, condescending, crude, rude, arrogant and in no way professional. We were in town for a wedding, needed a car as we were transporting guests to and from venues, so,we didn't have a choice. We ended up with a car that had numerous scrapes and scratches,as well as a severely bent left front wheel cover. Knowing Budget's penchant for trying to pass off all damages to the customer, we inspected the car. This was made somewhat difficult as it was light when we arrived, but dark when finally given the car. This was a miserable, miserable experience. Their practices border on the unethical and dishonest. Budget is at the top of our list of companies "Not To Do Business With".

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  • 1

    September 28th, 2016 Houston, TX

    I reserved for pickup at Dulles (Washington) and changed it just before flying out of Houston IAH to Reagan. I phoned and was told by customer service that the added cost of this change would only be about $19 so I agreed. My actual billing,however, jumped from $223.78 (six days) to $462.79. After phoning to correct this the woman on the phone told me she was powerless to do anything and would/could not connect me to a supervisor or to management. ---- ALSO, upon returning the car to the rental location at Reagan, the woman handling it was not only the rudest and unhelpful person I have ever met at a car rental, but indeed the rudest and unhelpful clerk I can remember ever having had the misfortune of interacting with. I am only giving a one instead of a zero because the car itself was great. The humans -- not. (No, I will never ever rent from Budget again).

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  • 0

    August 28th, 2016

    Every year we fly down to Florida and rent a car. This year we got a great rate through Budget and assumed that a large well known company would have good service. We were wrong. This is the worst experience we have ever had in renting a car. They try and upset you on everything. We had purchased insurance through our own carrier - they tried to tell you you needed to purchase theirs. They charged our credit card an extra $30.00 for converting the funds from US to CAD. Our credit card would have done the conversion free of charge. After returning the car, we have received 2 subsequent bills for tolls and a surpass. When we called, they immediately reversed the charges knowing that what they did was wrong. I will never use Budget again. It may look cheaper online but at the end of the day it will end up costing you more.

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