John Reviewed on Jan 1, 2019, 7:11 PM
My experience was the worst rental experience I've ever had in a 20-year span of renting cars. The only reason it was a 1-star instead of 0 stars was because the gentleman who checked me back in at IAD on the return was very nice. First, the line was atrocious and the counter was horribly understaffed. Second, the lady who checked me in was clearly disengaged and desperately wanted to get out of there. She was frequently checking her personal phone during our transaction and was very unapologetic that the car I reserved wasn't there, which brings me to the main issue. The car I reserved was not available, nor did they have anything comparable! I reserved a white Dodge Grand Caravan because I was traveling with 5 total people and 5 large suitcases, requiring a van. I know this because that's the car that I drive and it was what was needed in order for my family and I to travel comfortably. After waiting at the counter for a long time while my family had to wait outside in the cold, I heard a gentleman on a walkie talkie say "Would the guy take a Ford Explorer?" I told the lady at the counter that a Ford Explorer would not be suitable because my family could not fit in that, but the lady said "it's comparable to a Dodge Grand Caravan", and there was no room for negotiation. While waiting outside in the cold for the Ford Explorer to be prepared (which took over 30 minutes), another customer approached me and asked me "Were you also given that white Ford Explorer over there?" We compared contracts and, sure enough, we were given the same car. When the other customer and I walked back inside to handle the issue, a different lady at the counter said to me, "You're good, you had that car first." then she told the other man that she would "fix his situation." Within minutes, the OTHER CUSTOMER (again, who was after me in line) was given a top of the line Yukon Denali, a car much bigger and nicer than a Ford Explorer, and he was presented with it right away. Meanwhile, my family and I continued to wait outside in the cold. I finally approached the man cleaning the Explorer and asked if it would be ready soon, to which he replied, "Oh...yes!" Then, my family and I had to smash and squeeze all 5 of us (including my 2-year-old toddler) into the car with the suitcases entirely blocking my visibility out of the rear. Not to mention, my son was crushed by a large suitcase he had to hold on his lap because it did not fit in the small car they issued us. It was just such a terrible experience and a bad way to start off a Christmas vacation with my family. I had rented from Budget several times in the past, but unfortunately after this experience, I will no longer be giving them business. The LEAST they could have done was offered me a discounted rate, or reduced my bill after-the-fact, but they took ZERO accountability, no apologies, and did not do anything to try and make the awful situation even remotely tolerable.