Budget Car Rental Reviews Are Underwhelming

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What do you need to know before you rent from Budget Rent A Car? We’ve got all the details.

Budget Rent A Car‘s company name suggests savings, but Budget car rental reviews tell a different story. Like its sister company Thrifty Car Rental, Budget Rent A Car has a score of 1/5 for customer service.  One of the lowest rated car rental companies on Viewpoints, Budget car rental reviews mention unhelpful salespeople and poor vehicle quality.

Budget Rent A Car

Reviewers report renting dirty or broken down cars, including one reviewer who found roaches a Budget car rental.

About Budget Rent A Car

Started up in 1958, Budget Rent A Car is one of many car rental companies owned  by Hertz. Budget Rent A Car offers the usual range of cars for rent as well as hybrids, moving vans and moving trucks. Its website is full of free discount programs which reviewers say are honored at the rental counter…sometimes.

Budget Rent A Car issues at the counter

Some reviewers report problems with difficult salespeople at locations around the country and across the globe.

“I reserved my car almost a month in advance and requested a full size vehicle. When we got to the desk, they said they didn’t have anything in full size available but we could get an SUV for only $9 more per day. After waiting there for almost 40 minutes, they finally brought a full size car up to us. I was disappointed that we had to wait since I missed an important meeting, but that didn’t seem to matter to them at all.” - opal4s, Reviewer since 2008

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“I had made a reservation to go from NC to VT and reserved a car in Burlington, VT with a coupon for a free upgrade.  Budget Car Rentals said they would honor it.  Not only did Budget not honor the upgrade coupon, i found the car to not be the tidiest or the cleanest when i picked it up.” - racechaser, Reviewer since 2008

“Last week I was in Vegas and reserved a car with Budget. I reached their counter at McCarran airport to pickup a car. The lady at the front desk hardly greeted or smiled during the conversation. I felt I was talking to a robot. She was just focused on reading out policies and selling additions, without even ever asking/listening to my requirements.” - VikramB, Reviewer since 2010

Budget Rent A Car issues on the road

While some reviewers had good experiences at the rental counter, once they hit the road they faced customer service problems.

“Do not listen to what the counter person says. Mine said if I took the fuel option I would only pay the difference in what the car needed to be full. I brought it back full, they still charged me the full $40 option price. The fine print was right. Take the time and hold up everyone else in line and read every word.” - lisaallen, Reviewer since 2011

“The price confirmed with Priceline wasn’t honored. After adding extra $16.00 per day, I received the car. While I was driving I realized the breaks [weren't] working properly and I had to exchange the car. I drove back to exchange the car and I received a car with a real bad smell. They didn’t offer anything else. The car wasn’t full of gas and they marked it full. I only noticed it when I was on the road.” – nfogel72, Reviewer since 2013

“On one trip, the car I was provided with had a flat tire the next morning. When I returned to the rental counter, I was informed that there were no other cars available and that I should just drive the car I was provided with (even though I had a long trip ahead of me that day). Another trip, the vehicle was infested with roaches. The employee told us that due to the weather in Hawaii, this was common and unpreventable.” - sweetjasmyn, Reviewer since 2011

Budget car rental isn’t all bad

 Budget Rent A Car website budget rent a car reviews

Budget Rent A Car has many perks and discounts available online.

Some reviewers did have a positive experience with Budget Rent A Car car rentals.

“My bottom line with Budget Car Rental is that it’s a good place to rent from with low prices and decent service. My experiences haven’t been perfect every time, but they have been better than my experiences with other car rental companies and I will likely rent from Budget again in the future.” - Bryan-Carey, Reviewer since 2007

“Every time I rent from Budget, I never have a problem.  They offered the best weekly price for a mid size SUV…around $200.00 before taxes.  If the car I reserved isn’t available, they have always been very agreeable to upgrade me quite often for no extra charge.” - ford57bird, Reviewer since 2007

When renting a car, it’s important to remember that individual locations can pull a rental car company’s score way down. Before you rent a car from Budget Rent A Car, see what reviewers have to say about locations near you. You may be pleasantly surprised or very underwhelmed.

Editor’s note: Car rental companies tend to have low ratings, compared to other products and services. The highest rated on Viewpoints is Enterprise Rent-a-Car at 54/100.  

Amber Rambharose Amber Rambharose (50 Posts)

Amber Rambharose is a former writing intern at Viewpoints. She graduated from Hollins University with a B.A. in English Literature and is continuing her studies at the University of Cincinnati.


  • Inconvenient but ok

    The Budget website said would take prepaid visa cards. So I reserved and paid in advance for the car. When I got to the counter at Midway Chicago, they would not accept the same car for a hold. So I had to call the Budget # and cancel my reservations. They took $50 for the inconvenience to them. We reserved on the phone the same days and car again using my wife’s debit visa. We got a bigger car then what was reserved and it was not clean. Every employee we met face to face was courteous and pleasant.

    • Jennifer A. Freeman

      @inconvenient but ok — Sounds like you had quite a time with Budget. We’d love it if you could share a review on Viewpoints to help other learn from your experiences. If you haven’t already, you can write a review here: https://www.viewpoints.com/reviews/new?product_id=23502

  • Sand Scam

    With only 2 hours to catch our flight in Maui, Budget tried to charge me $150 for sand in the car. The manager reduced it to $75. It was Thanksgiving day; the carwash was closed. The vacuum at the nearest gas station was out of order. We went to K-Mart and bought lint rollers and cleaned up “the sand.” We rushed back to Budget to return the car. We caught our flight with no minutes to spare! This is a Sand Scam!