By dcb on May 07, 2005
Be very careful with Budget Rent-A-Car (although possibly other rental companies are as bad). Last week I rented a car from Budget's Newport News airport counter for a three day customer visit. I added a day to my trip to visit a client in DC, about 200 miles away. As instructed by my travel agent, I called Budget and left a message letting them know I'd be dropping off the car in DC. I expected there might be a small drop-off fee. What I got, when I checked the car into Reagan International, was a $625.00 drop-off fee! That's a significant percentage of the value of the cheap little compact car I rented.
Turns out that some Rental Car facilities are franchise locations. They own their own cars. And if you drop it somewhere else, they charge $3.00/mile + $25.00. Ouch.
Lesson learned: Don't rent from a franchise location if there is any chance you'll need to alter your travel itinerary in-flight (which is always a possibility, especially \*if\* you rent from a franchise location :-).
Personally, if I were in charge of our Corproate travel policy, I would blacklist franchise rental car locations if an alternate preferred vendor (eg: Avis, Hertz, etc) has a non-franchise counter at that same location.