Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday, phew

So my week has been very messy. Rugs, annoying exes and their even more annoying (is it even possible?) partners. Still battling my sinusitis, there is work going on in our street (someone is building a swimming pool. SO MANY TRUCKS, SO MUCH NOISE). Plus the Grand Prix has started with its helicopters and fly overs. PLUS I can't write, am in a holding pattern. Have pottered with some short stuff, but really, it's no go.

Today I plan to go and hide out at my mother's place and read. It's the only way I can get some peace today. I had written more paragraphs about this but have deleted. It was just one big boring whinge. So I'll keep this short but I did want to mention the Budget Rent a Car scam they tried on me at Perth Airport. I returned the car, but it's a long way where you park it to where you hand over the keys. So they don't go and check it, and sign off on the condition report. This works in their favour. When I picked the car up in Perth, I saw a dent that the guy hadn't put on the outgoing CR. I pointed it out and he circled that area on the form. Two nights after I'm back in Melbourne I get an intimidating and rude text message about me filling out an accident report immediately otherwise I'd be charged for the full amount of repairs.

WHAT THE FUCK? WHAT ACCIDENT?

So I email the address in the text:



Dear Sir/Madam,

There was no incident or accident while the car was in my possession. You give no details as to what the damage purportedly is. I have all my paperwork including the ‘quality control document’ given to me at the time of pick up. It details two areas of pre-existing damage.

Please advice more fully what this issue is about.

Thank you.

Best regards,
Melba.

This is the reply:



Ms Melba


PLEASE READ THE BELOW CAREFULLY.

We refer to your query & empathise if you were not aware of this new damage however Section 8 of the Terms & Conditions (t&c) states the renter is liable for all new damage. All relevant evidence is attached.

The existing damage you mentioned is on the driver rear door & the drivers rear bumper.

It is not necessary for you to complete the Accident Report Form as being unaware of this occurring, there is nothing you can complete.  Your email is statement enough, thankyou.

Information:
  • Check-out qcd is completed by Budget staff when the vehicle is parked for the booking.
  • Customer receives a copy to check against the vehicle themselves & must advise us promptly if there is any differences.
  • Receiving the check-out qcd shows that vehicle checks are done by Budget & if a check-out is done, then its reasonable to expect that a check-in will be done as well.
  • All customers know if check-in was done with them or if they just returned the keys before leaving.
  • Budget does the check-in asap however exact time depends on many factors.
  • Locations are predominantly for collections & returned vehicles are dealt with after bookings.
  • Staff receive the check-in qcd & compare it with the check-out qcd.
  • If there is new damage, the rental Excess (or lesser estimate) is charged for each & Budget does have desk signs to highlight this for customers.
  • Check-out & check-in may not be done immediately or with the customer at some locations, due to the property owners restrictions* &/or staff availability#.
  • Customers choose their collection & return locations & can change a return to be at an open Budget office if they prefer the check-in is done while they are present.
  • The rental period in t&c ends on the day the vehicle returns to Budget.
  • There is no time stipulated due to */# which may cause a check-in delay.
  • Due date & time on the rental agreement document are only a guide & for Budget overdue vehicle reports.
  • All charges are debited immediately (per 11.1 & 11.5) & auditing & any adjustments (per 11.2) are done as soon as possible & advised to the customer wherever possible.

I hope the above answers your questions however if there is anything else you require, please contact me at any time.

Thankyou for your business, we do appreciate it.

So I check the attached 'evidence' and see that  their copy of the form (I suppose the 'original') doesn't have the circled dent. How can this be? My copy is a carbon copy, so how did they manage that?

On their scanned and attached 'quality control document' they have circled the dent as being to the right of the number plate, not the left. This was inconsistent and I pointed that out. I also googled and very quickly had three links about scams like this one. I replied with three emails over the period of the next day or so.




The first one sent at 10.23pm, Tues 3 March (I'd received their text message that evening):

Dear Ms Simpson


PLEASE READ BELOW CAREFULLY.

I do understand the renter is liable for all new damage, however in this instance there was no new damage. I am aware of previous scams that Budget Rent a Car (and other car rental companies) have enacted, particularly at Perth Airport. The internet gives several indications where this has happened before. Here are three instances found in one minute google search:




This is testimony that your company has done this before.

Another thing is that your documentation does not even match up.

1.       On the copy of the ‘quality control document’ that you have attached to your email, the indication for the dent is to the right hand side of the number plate, but in the photograph, it is to the left. How can this be correct?

My copy of the quality control document shows a circle in the correctly corresponding place to the dent in the photo, which was pre-existing and noted as such.

2.     Your statement that the two pre-existing damages are “on the driver rear door & the drivers rear bumper” is also incorrect, as neither of these spots are marked on the quality control document. How can this be?

All the information above is in my legal favour and shows that your organisation has been derelict in its documentation.

I will not be paying any excess or extra charges (which incidentally, you don’t detail either). If charges are made to my credit card, I will instruct the bank to reverse them. There is no authority for you to make charges, based on the erroneous documentation you call evidence.

Tomorrow I’ll be ringing people at Budget Head Office and elsewhere to complain about this matter while I wait for your response.

Yours sincerely

MELBA.


Dear Ms Simpson



Further to our communications yesterday I wish to advice you that I’ve contacted my credit card to dispute the extra amount of $300 your company has charged to my account, and they will be mounting an investigation in the next week or so.

I will provide them with all my documentation and testimony (including a statutory declaration if necessary) to say that the damage you are trying to charge me for on the car was pre-existing. I will also provide them with your paperwork and highlight for them the instances where your photos and documentation is contradictory and therefore suspect.

I am requesting that you reverse the $300 charge to my credit card, as it is a fraudulent charge especially considering this is something that has happened several times before at Perth aiport.

I will not be contacting you again about this matter, rather will be leaving it to the credit card company’s representative.

Yours sincerely

Melba.
 

  

The second one, sent 11.43pm that night after checking my credit card statement:

Dear Ms Simpson


I’ve just seen that a charge of $717.38 was made to my credit card yesterday (3 April) before I was even contacted by your office this evening, with the text message coming through saying I had until 17 March to provide an accident report.

Can you please explain why these charges were made before even contacting me?

I will be taking this matter further tomorrow with my credit card company, and will request a chargeback. I am extremely unhappy with this level of customer service from your company. Please provide me with your manager’s name, so I can follow up with him/her as well.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely

MELBA.

And then this one,  sent 2.13pm the next day, Wed 5 March:


Dear Ms Simpson

Further to our communications yesterday I wish to advice you that I’ve contacted my credit card to dispute the extra amount of $300 your company has charged to my account, and they will be mounting an investigation in the next week or so.

I will provide them with all my documentation and testimony (including a statutory declaration if necessary) to say that the damage you are trying to charge me for on the car was pre-existing. I will also provide them with your paperwork and highlight for them the instances where your photos and documentation is contradictory and therefore suspect.

I am requesting that you reverse the $300 charge to my credit card, as it is a fraudulent charge especially considering this is something that has happened several times before at Perth aiport.

I will not be contacting you again about this matter, rather will be leaving it to the credit card company’s representative.

Yours sincerely

MELBA.

Then this, from her at 2.29pm that Wed:



Ms Melba,

I have seen the 3 emails you have sent me but I just have not got to replying to any of them yet.

You’re of course within your rights to have your bank investigate for you however we do not charge for pre-existing damage as that would be a waste of everyone’s time.

I will of course double check the matter as you have requested & please note that I am not the one who solely handles damages. There are many steps to the process with hiring & returning a vehicle & many staff involved at different points.

Thankyou

 



Then I got this, from her Wed 5/3, 5.38pm, in red:



MELBA,

Thankyou for giving us an opportunity to review this for you & I’ve answered your 3 emails below, section by section in red as per herewith, for easier reading.

In short, we are happy to refund you & Accounts will get the $300.00 +taxes ($341.55) removed from your rental invoice in the next day or so.

Thankyou



Dear Ms Simpson


PLEASE READ BELOW CAREFULLY.

I do understand the renter is liable for all new damage, however in this instance there was no new damage. I am aware of previous scams that Budget Rent a Car (and other car rental companies) have enacted, particularly at Perth Airport. The internet gives several indications where this has happened before. Here are three instances found in one minute google search:




This is testimony that your company has done this before.

Another thing is that your documentation does not even match up.

1.     On the copy of the ‘quality control document’ that you have attached to your email, the indication for the dent is to the right hand side of the number plate, but in the photograph, it is to the left. How can this be correct?

My copy of the quality control document shows a circle in the correctly corresponding place to the dent in the photo, which was pre-existing and noted as such.

2.     Your statement that the two pre-existing damages are “on the driver rear door & the drivers rear bumper” is also incorrect, as neither of these spots are marked on the quality control document. How can this be?

All the information above is in my legal favour and shows that your organisation has been derelict in its documentation.

I will not be paying any excess or extra charges (which incidentally, you don’t detail either). If charges are made to my credit card, I will instruct the bank to reverse them. There is no authority for you to make charges, based on the erroneous documentation you call evidence.

Tomorrow I’ll be ringing people at Budget Head Office and elsewhere to complain about this matter while I wait for your response.

Yours sincerely

MELBA.

There is new damage on the vehicle & in this instance, the person that has completed the check/in document, has noted it on the incorrect side of the number plate.  Of course that is our error & we are therefore happy to refund you.  I would have done this yesterday except I simply missed that error myself.

With regard to the links, I have not read them. The internet is full of half-stories & many customers just don’t bother to read their Terms & Conditions so when they do get charged for something, quite legitimately, they go online without checking it out properly, or they tell only the part they want everyone to hear.

If there is ever an anomaly with a Budget rental charge – as there is here - we will always err on the customers side as we do value their business & we want to encourage them that if we make a mistake, we will accept that without reservation, once review has taken place & the situation been made clear.  We are a business though & in order to provide the competitive rates we have that inevitably are part of the reason many customers choose us, we must ensure our costs are covered where possible.

I myself saw the 2 pre-existing damages on the door & the rear bumper, on the vehicle & in carbon on the copy of the check-out document that remains with us. Nevertheless, without seeing your actual copy, I cannot really talk further about this point.

I do hope you have allowed us at least 24hrs to reply to you before involving another office. They have nothing to do with WA as a Licensee & it just involves a lot of people in a query that can be handled easily here by one person, which is what has happened today.


Dear Ms Simpson

I’ve just seen that a charge of $717.38 was made to my credit card yesterday (3 April) before I was even contacted by your office this evening, with the text message coming through saying I had until 17 March to provide an accident report.

Can you please explain why these charges were made before even contacting me?

I will be taking this matter further tomorrow with my credit card company, and will request a chargeback. I am extremely unhappy with this level of customer service from your company. Please provide me with your manager’s name, so I can follow up with him/her as well.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely

MELBA.

The $717.38 is the rental & damage charges in full & of course your refund will be the damage Excess only which will be done in the next day or so & you will see this in your statement in about 7days (even if it leaves us tomorrow). If there is any delay, speak to your bank first please as they often hold your funds to earn interest of them.  Thankyou



 Dear Ms Simpson

Further to our communications yesterday I wish to advice you that I’ve contacted my credit card to dispute the extra amount of $300 your company has charged to my account, and they will be mounting an investigation in the next week or so.

I will provide them with all my documentation and testimony (including a statutory declaration if necessary) to say that the damage you are trying to charge me for on the car was pre-existing. I will also provide them with your paperwork and highlight for them the instances where your photos and documentation is contradictory and therefore suspect.

I am requesting that you reverse the $300 charge to my credit card, as it is a fraudulent charge especially considering this is something that has happened several times before at Perth aiport.

I will not be contacting you again about this matter, rather will be leaving it to the credit card company’s representative.

Yours sincerely

MELBA.

There is no need to concern your bank Ms Melba. I have reviewed & I am happy to refund based on our error of marking the damage in the incorrect place. The photos do show the new damage on the day of return & that damage is not on your check-out condition report, but we do accept that we have a responsibility to mark damages correctly & we will therefore wear whatever consequences occur due to our failure with this.
 

 
So don't you love the swipe she takes at the bank? The way she backpedals, saying that no one else needs to be involved now that the money has been refunded? 

Who the fuck lives like this? 

Anyway, do not mess with The Melba, especially not at the moment. I am so close to snapping about a few things. Just saying.

PS And then the next day, they send me this:



Dear Melba May,
According to our records, you recently rented a vehicle with Budget.
As part of our ongoing commitment to customer service, we would greatly value your feedback on your experience. This quick survey should take no longer than 2 minutes of your time.
To complete, please click on the following link:
Budget Customer Feedback
If you have problems accessing our survey please copy and paste the link located at the bottom of this email into your browser.
HOTMAIL USERS: Please copy and paste the URL into a new browser window.
Thanks in advance for your participation.
Budget Customer Service
PLEASE NOTE: You have to paste the entire link. If the link is on more than one line, you have to reform it into one complete line when you paste into your browser.






Hahahaha. 

The money has been returned to my account too. 

So, should I bother taking this further? I want people to know about it so they don't get caught. I also want to expose the FUCKERS to their senior management. But I kind of can't be fagged.

What do you reckon? 

5 comments:

jo_blue said...

Oh Melba, this is so good to know. It would be interesting to find out what kind of response their management would make so if you can be bothered, do.

Sorry to hear you're having a shitty week. I can't stand the grand prix, too much noise for me too. Things should be quieter next week so hang in there. How's your schedule these days? Lets make a date to meet up. Will email you. Hugs.

jo_blue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melba said...

No wonder there aren't many comments, that is a bloody dog's breakfast, I think I got it all out of order. Anyways, money is refunded and those fuckers can get fucked.

Hey Jo, yes, let's make that catch up time...

Alex said...

It's not the orderliness (or otherwise) of the post that kept me from commenting; just my current geography.

If you have the time and effort, I think you should pursue this. People do this sort of stuff because they profit when it works and there's no real cost when it fails. They only stop if the hassle they get from people who catch them out gets to the point where it's no longer worth the effort.

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