Last February, I went to Orlando for a single night to visit MeshNetworks. I got in to the Orlando airport at 11:15 p.m. I figured I’d pick up the rental car and be to the hotel by 12:30 or 1 a.m. at the latest. After claiming my luggage, I went to the budget counter, where there were 22 people in line ahead of me, but there were only 2 attendants working. It took more than an hour to get to the front of the line. At first I thought maybe I was unlucky, but by the time we got to the front of the line it was at least 12:30 a.m., and there were still more than 20 people in line behind us. This was more than bad luck — Budget was grossly understaffed. None of the other rental companies had lines, and the one next to Budget had 4 agents working!
The woman at the Budget counter was extremely kind and apologetic. She waived my Under 25 driver fee, gave me a discount, and promised me a free tank of gas. She wrote “EMPTY” in large letters next to the area where it tells how much gas the car has when you check it out. She told me to just bring it back with however much gas was left and we wouldn’t be charged.
When I returned the car the next day, we were in a hurry to catch our flight. Only after we had gotten through security did I realize that I had been charged for gas; it wasn’t cheap, either. When I got home, I wrote Budget a letter. I explained what an inconvenience the wait had been, and I also requested a refund for the gas.
I received a letter back from Budget calling me a liar. While the customer service representative didn’t use the word liar, she told me that they never give out free gasoline. As I recall, she also said that the reason that none of the other companies had long lines was that they were all out of cars. (First of all, I think this was a lie. Second of all, I reserved a car. It’s not my fault if other people show up without a reservation. Third, I talked to many of the people in line, and I know that most of them had reservations — so Budget should have known how many people to expect.) She indicated that my discount was plenty of compensation for my wasted time (it wasn’t).