I offer this account in an effort to inform and warn you of our experience renting a moving truck and car carrier and all the things that can and did go wrong in hopes it does not happen to you. Everything mentioned here is factual, but unbelievable customer service of a national company.
We originally reserved a 16' Budget Truck and car hauler to transport a 2002 Mazda Tribute SUV to be picked up October 2nd, 2015 . Wednesday, September 30th, I called Bill at Bill's Truck Service to confirm our reservations. Bill said he was having trouble getting a car hauler. He asked if we could wait a few days because he had to go to Pahrump, NV to pick up the car hauler. We asked how long a delay and he said next week, and we agreed....not much choice.
The next week we called and Bill said that the trailer and truck were not talking to each other and the lights were not working on the trailer. Bill sent the trailer to Tire Mart to have the wiring checked out. I called Bill the next day and he said that the trailer checked out, so it must be the truck. He sent the truck to Tire Mart to have the wiring checked. On Friday, October 9th I called Bill and asked if the truck was ready...he said it was still at Tire Mart. I called Tire Mart and they said it could be Monday as they are waiting for wiring schematics from Budget. I called Bill and told him what they said. He said that we might get at truck out of the dealer in Bullhead City, AZ but needs two people to pick it up. I told him I would drive him up there to get the truck. All was set and I prepared to leave to pick up Bill when the phone rang and Bill said Tire Mart got the truck fixed and as soon as he picked it up and filled it with gas, I could come get the truck and car hauler. We picked up the truck and car hauler approximately 1:30 PM on Friday, October 9th.
We drove the truck home and began loading. It had been hot and we wanted to begin loading early in the morning and late at night to avoid the 100 plus degree temperatures. Again, we had ordered stuff to be delivered to the house in Hot Springs Village so waiting for evening was not an option.
We finished loading the truck and put some clothes, blankets, a pillow and our suit case into the Mazda. The suitcases and pillow were for easy access when we reached our hotels.
I had originally booked hotel rooms in Grants, NM and Elk City, OK and would have been in Arkansas that next evening.
I had to cancel and re-book rooms, the second time I canceled rooms, not knowing when we would be anywhere, we decided to just wing it along the way. So far the Booking Co. and the Motels allowed us to cancel and not charge us. As it turned out, we did not get on the road until Monday, October 12th and stayed in Gallup, NM. As it turned out, the running lights on the trailer were not working so we had to travel in the daytime only and were unable to make up any of the time we had lost. On October 13th we drove to Amarillo, TX. Just outside of Amarillo we blew a tire on the Car Hauler, it was the right front. It was dangerous to pull to the side of the freeway so we found a turn off and checked the problem. The tire had exploded, maybe a bad tire, maybe we hit something. The tires all looked good when we left on this trip. It was not far to a Motel 6 in Amarillo and we decided to carefully go there. The next morning, October 14th we started calling the number on the Budget contract for Customer Service to get the tire changed and get back on the road. After several calls we have a guy come out to change, and replace the tire. I was there when he removed the lug nuts and one was cross threaded when it was put on last. I went back into the motel room to get everything packed and get ready to leave. After about an hour, I went to check on the guy. He said that he was calling Budget because he could not put the lug nut back on and that the stud needed to have the
threads cleaned up and a new lug nut. It was time to check out of the Motel so I went to the office and asked if I could have a late check out....they said yes as they understood my problem. After another 15 minutes I went back out and the tire had been removed from the Car Hauler, it had been mounted earlier but missing one lug nut. I asked what was going on and he said that Budget was sending another truck out to fix the problem. I tipped him $20.00 and he left. About a half hour later a truck arrived and parked beside the Budget Truck. I went out and asked if I could help him. He said he was there to take the Car Hauler. I asked why and he said Budget wants him to pick up the Car Hauler. I asked about the Mazda and he said I had to remove it. I asked if he was going to bring me another Car Hauler and he said no. I told him I would not remove the Mazda until I get an explanation from Budget. I went into the motel room and called. I was told that I was in Breach of Contract because I had cargo in the Mazda and that caused an OVERLOAD condition that caused the blow out. I explained that the “Cargo” was simple clothing. She explained that anything that did not come with the car is considered “Cargo” and that created the Breach of Contract. I asked if a simple coat or jacket in the car would be considered “Cargo” and she replied YES. Initially I was told that I overloaded the trailer and that caused the blow out. After we unloaded the Mazda from the trailer and they took it away, there was a public scale near and so I went to weigh the Mazda to see how much it grossed.....we were 1600 lbs. under the maximum on the trailer.
I told her that we were not informed about “Cargo” and that it is common to see the towed or carried vehicle have clothing in it. If we remove the clothing can we have another Car Carrier? She said no. I asked what am I suppose to do? She said that was up to me. Not that anyone cares but I am 70 plus years old, the lady I am moving is disabled and we have two dogs with us. We have no one to drive the Mazda so we have no choice but to get another car carrier.
We spent the rest of the day calling trying to find someone we could rent a Car Carrier from. No one would rent us a Car Carrier to hook up to a Budget Truck. We finally called U Haul and after several calls were able to locate a Truck and Car Carrier. We explained our situation and when we picked up the U Haul Truck and Car Carrier we loaded the Mazda. The people there gave us some phone numbers to call someone to transfer the contents of the Budget truck to the U Haul Truck. This cost us $300.00 but they were done in a couple of hours and tomorrow I can return the Budget truck and we can continue our trip.
We had appliances ordered and were scheduled for delivery by Home Depot and Lowes on Thursday, October 15th. We called and asked to have them delivered Saturday and they said if they had room on their truck they would deliver on Saturday.
Thursday morning we had to wait for the local Budget dealer to open so we could turn in the truck. A little after 8 AM the Budget Dealer answered the phone and I explained I was dropping off a truck. He said the regular guy was not there but come on down. I got directions and filled the truck up with gas just before I got to the Budget Dealer. After going over the truck and signing the papers, I called a taxi to take me back to the Motel.
By time we left Amarillo we were only able to reach Fort Smith, AR, a mere 4 hours from home but since we left so late, we were forced to stop in Ft. Smith for the night.
Other than being days late, we had no problems with the U Haul Truck or the Car Hauler that had the same CARGO on it that it had with the Budget Car Hauler. The folks at U Haul told us that the Mazda and the clothing were not a problem and most likely we had a bad tire or we hit something that caused the tire to blow out.
We finally reached our destination on Friday, October 16th almost two weeks later than we had originally planned. I carefully packed the Budget Truck to make sure that the furniture was properly secured and padded so nothing would rub on one another. Unfortunately, due to the necessity of changing trucks, the packers who were quick, did not pack the furniture as securely, dropped one chair to the ground and broke it, and when we unloaded there were several pieces of furniture that had scrapes and finish worn off.
Why did I document my experience and what is the moral of this story.....
Never assume anything.....yes it takes time to read every single word in a contract that most of us simply sign and initial where they mark it for us. Buy their insurance.....why....small print says that if anything happens, you are responsible. If the water pump quits and the engine quits, you have to replace the engine.....as with me, if a tire blows or goes flat for any reason, you are liable to pay for the tire, the guy that comes out to change the tire and or tows the vehicle. Anything, I mean anything that goes wrong, if you did not buy their insurance, you have to fork over some serious cash. In my case, not only did they not allow me to remove the clothing from the trailered vehicle and continue, but are now charging me for the guy that came out to change the tire, the cost of the tire, $248.00 for a trailer tire, and for the tow truck that took it away from us, $500.00 plus.
I am not sure if I had bought the insurance, if the tire would have been fixed and we could have continued our trip...probably not in that the so called Breach of Contract made everything null and void...I will never know. What I do know is that in good faith, we signed a contract with the Budget Dealer in Lake Havasu that said Budget will rent me a truck and car trailer to go from Lake Havasu, AZ to Hot Springs Village, AR for X amount of money. Budget took the trailer away from us just a little over half way to Arkansas on a technicality. We paid for the whole trip but was denied about half.....is that fair? Did I get any of my money back.....NO...in fact they caused me to spend double the amount we expected to pay and now want more money! They are turning this over to a Collection Agency I am told. I tried to reason and offer half of what they are asking, but they refused. If the collection agency collects the full $500.00 plus, Budget will still only get half...the amount I offered and they refused.
Everything I have stated is fact......so I suggest that you be very careful when renting anything from Budget......U-Haul does not seem to have such restrictive rules and those in Amarillo, TX were very polite and understanding. Should I ever need to rent a moving truck again....I know it will NOT BE BUDGET.
They are a big corporation, with terrible customer service and they know that they will win over an individual. If you side with them....fine...but if you feel that they have handled this poorly, please forward this to everyone you know. Maybe that will get their attention and make them realize that to stay in business they need to treat their customers better.
Bob Martin, Lake Havasu City, Arizona