Budget Car Rental - Piarco International Airport - Trinidad and Tobago
I recently booked a rental car from Budget Car Rental as part of package deal from American Airlines. We were scheduled to pick the car up on 5/16/2018 at 10:00 PM however our flight was delayed and didn't land until 2:00 AM on 5/17/2018. By this time the Budget desk at the airport was closed, so we returned later that morning at 11:00 AM. The front desk was unattended for 30 minutes, until the attendant, Chad, returned to assist us. We were given a Nissan Tiida and were on our way. The next day, my wife, mother and myself decided to go to Las Cuevas beach in Trinidad. It is on this trip, my first with the vehicle, that the car breaks went out on us on our decent down the mountain side. By the grace of God, we did not die that day, as I was able to maneuver the car to the roadside safely. We immediately tried to call the Budget desk, but again were unsuccessful for at least 20 minutes. When we eventually did get onto someone, they said they would call us back in 5 minutes to resolve the issue. We waited 15 minutes and then called back. This time the attendant said they had dispatched someone to get us, however, when we tried to post follow up questions, we were told that they were attending to a customer and would have to wait. The attendant then informed us that an upgrade car, a "newer model" Toyota Yaris was sent for us. Two hours later, someone arrived in another Nissan Tiida. The person introduced themselves as Sunil, and after inspecting our vehicle, confirmed that it would be unsafe to drive any further. I informed Sunil that we were told a Toyota Yaris had been offered, however, Sunil informed us that there were issues with that vehicle. I asked Sunil if he could be certain the car he came in had no brake issues, however he said he could not, but it got them there safely, even though he informed us that the replacement car did have issues. Specifically, the front right tire had a flap stuck under it, which was constantly rubbing against the tire. Additionally, we noticed that once the air conditioning was turned on, the car began to shake and rattle. We reluctantly took the replacement car and drove back to the airport. There, we asked Chad to speak to the manager. Chad informed us, after 30 minutes of phone calls, that the manager was inaccessible now and we could return the next morning, where our issues would be addressed. The next morning, 5/19/2018, at 9 AM we arrived at the Budget desk, where, again we had to wait 30 minutes at the unattended desk before being seen. At that time, a different attendant, Jonathan, approached us. We asked Jonathan if he had been informed about our issue, to which he indicated he had no idea what we were talking about. We then relayed the story to him and asked to speak to the manager. Jonathan made a phone call and put Sunil on the line. I asked him if he was the manager, to which he said no, just an office clerk. I asked Sunil if he could get the manager on the line, and he said he would try. We never got to speak to the manager that day. After an hour of back and forth, we asked Jonathan for a refund, to which he declined saying they could not reverse the charges on the card and had no cash on hand. Not only that, but, we would have to wait until Monday, for them to write a letter to the bank requesting a refund. So now, not only did we have a defective replacement vehicle, but we also could not get a refund until days away. Jonathan offered us the same Toyota that we were told had issues with the air conditioning, which at this point we felt we had no choice but to accept, since, the manager wouldn't address us, we couldn't get a refund, and we did not trust the Nissan Tiida that we were given. Given the fact that we were only in the country for 6 days and spent almost 3 of those days trying to address a situation where we almost died, and in the end still did not have our grievances fully addressed, this must be the worst incident of negligence, poor customer service, and blatant disrespect I and my family have ever experienced. The management of Budget Car Rental need to take a serious look at the Piarco, Trinidad franchise, as the current owner "Sue's Auto Rental", is going to get someone killed in one of your vehicles at this rate.