budget car hire….. ?

Toyota Avensis

Full Size 4 Door e.g. Toyota Avensis or similar

Euro €34.00

Price includes all compulsory Insurances, Government Tax, Unlimited Mileage and 24hr Breakdown cover.
Please take a moment to read the Terms & Conditions of rental before making your booking.

cork airport budget car rental areaI arrived at Cork Airport. 4th June. Collected at 9.30am. Returned the car that evening. No damage. Cork Airport to Bantry and return – only. The car wasn’t checked by a member of staff. I just returned the keys I thought maybe €34.

So how much did the car hire cost? on my statement the ‘estimated’ bill is 143.06 euro [pictured below].

I rang Aoife in Customer Services [very polite]. She explained I was quoted €30 [!], theres a sur-charge of €25 because they have to park the cars in the airport; €10 for fuel [no problemo] and some insurances and tax. etc… She explained they have to give a breakdown on your bill. But that doesn’t add up or does it? anyhow.

budget rental car hire bill


How much can I hire a €30 car for answer [without driving it]. It seems €78.06.

My issue isn’t the money amount [you understand me €34 wont break me financially etc]. But lets put three zeros after this. Get your garden done for €34,000 euro no maybe €143,060; no its actually €78,060. And if I put that on my website…. would there be a ‘hoo-ha’? I thought some airline was ‘done’ for that recently…. maybe.

I have emailed this to budget car hire .

I have emailed this to Fáilte Ireland – the irish tourism board



UPDATE: 23rd June 2008

today I rang the National Consumer Agency. I spoke to Mark [a really nice guy actually] and told him of my situation. He told me to title my email to the NCA as ‘Misleading Pricing Advertising’ here’s what I wrote:

Dear Sirs
further to my conversation with Mark from the National Consumer Agency please find attached link to my weblog which details my experience.
Many thanks in advance
peter donegan
In the meantime I got a reply from Fáilte Ireland, today. Here is their [and my] email. This came with a personal phonecall from [a very lovely lady] Mary Fletcher. Who has asked me to send a copy of my rental agreement to SIMI head man Paul Redmond [email added below]
Dear Mr Donegan
Thank you for your recent e-mail to Fáilte Ireland that was
awaiting my attention on my return to the office last week.
I am sorry to learn of your experiences with Budget Rent-a-Car.
I am today forwarding your communication to the Car Rental Council of Ireland, 5 Upper Pembroke Street, Dublin 2 Tel: (01) 6761690 who will deal with the complaint on your behalf. The Car Rental Council of Ireland has sole responsibility for car rental companies in Ireland.
Yours sincerely
Mary Fletcher
Senior Customer Relations Assistant

From: info[at]doneganlandscaping.com
Sent: 18 June 2008 13:21
To: Info Fáilte Ireland
Subject: budget car hire

Dear Sirs
please can you view this post http://url.ie/ge6 [now at this address http://blog.doneganlandscaping.com/2008/06/18/budget-car-hire/].
Many thanks.
peter donegan
Email to Paul Redmond of SIMI
A Chara Paul,
Thank you for taking the time to look at this matter [ http://url.ie/ge6 ] [ now at this address http://blog.doneganlandscaping.com/2008/06/18/budget-car-hire/] .
I have your postal address further to a phonecall from Mary Fletcher of Fáilte Ireland – a lovely lady I must say.
I am posting on the original rental agreement. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
many thanks
peter donegan
UPDATE: JUNE 24th 2008
Paul Redmond emailed me asking if I could forward details of my complaint in a non weblog format.
I wrote this in reply
Dear Mr Redmond,
I am 32 years old. I manage a company that I started eight years ago with nothing when nobody would believe in me. I still work as hard today. This is not me complaining because I think vegetables are too expensive or because I can get that car cheaper elsewhere. The only reason for the weblog is that nobody would do anything. [Its taken until yesterday to get ‘a’ response].
I understand you have a job to do and I thank you for taking this seriously. I feel that re-writing what I have written would be a pointless exercise because the information contained would not evolve or change in any way. For this reason I have copied the article into email format without pictures.
If you require any further information or siply would like to talk to me please contact my office on 01 8078712. The rental agreement is in the post this morning as requested.
many thanks in advance for your time
peter donegan [………………. the weblog without pictures was attached [http://url.ie/ge6 ] [now at this address http://blog.doneganlandscaping.com/2008/06/18/budget-car-hire/ ]

I have been in contact with Budget concerning your recent complaint and include their response below.


Paul Redmond
Car Rental Council of Ireland


Good afternoon Paul,

I have the reviewed the Mr. Peter Donegan case. His charge for the car was €78.06 and not €143.06 as he states.

He was quoted €30.00 plus the airport surcharge of €25.00. He selected the excess waiver insurance at €13.05 for the day which he accepted and signed for.

He was charged €10.00 for the fuel he used

Rental €30.00

Airport Tax €25.00

Excess Waiver €13.06

Fuel €10.00

Total €78.06

If he opted not to take the excess waiver and returned the car full he would have been charged €55.00.

This would have been the charge as per the quote- the airport surcharge is detailed on the quote page, in the terms and conditions and it is detailed on the email confirmation. Please note that reservations can be cancelled at no extra charge up to 48 hours before pickup of the car.

David O’Malley
Budget Car Rental Ireland

Tel: +353 90 6627711
Email: david.omalley@budget.ie
Address: Athlone Road, Roscommon, Ireland

www.budget.ie …celebrating 50 years of low cost car rental

cc: Car Rental Council of Ireland



I have replied with this email to Paul Redmond

Dear Paul,
is the point not ‘misleading pricing advertising’ ?
– for me it was never the money amount or figuring that out from my receipt
slán go foill
I received this email from John Mernock of National Consumer Agency Thursday 17th July

Dear Mr. Donegan,

I have received your complaint regarding Budget Car Rental and I thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

There are a number of issues that have been raised by various consumers in recent weeks and months, concerning the car rental sector and the possible illegal practices being exercised by a number of companies. Such alleged breaches of consumer legislation relate to unfair commercial practices, unfair terms and misleading price indications.

I can assure you that the National Consumer Agency intends to carry out an extensive investigation in to this sector in the coming months, in order to try and address the issues that are being raised by consumers, such as yours.

We note all the varying complaints that come in to us regarding car rental, which will assist us once we commence our review of the sector.

I hope this response is to your satisfaction and thank you again for bringing the matter to our attention.

Yours Sincerely,

John Mernock (Worksharer- Wednesday to Friday)
Travel & Package Holidays / Car Rental Unit
Commercial Practices Division
National Consumer Agency
4 Harcourt Road, Dublin 2


12th February 2009

nothing until now….. and then this happened yesterday:


43 replies
  1. uberalex
    uberalex says:

    they quoted you 30 euros.
    charged 23 for the day,
    23 for the airport,
    11 for surcharge
    an additional
    75 for fuel

    How did they come to the original 30 euro quote? seems highly misleading to me.

  2. aido
    aido says:

    That is a brand you think you could trust. We had a similiar turn when booking a car online from Cork airport to drive to Dublin. When we arrived via taxi to collect car they started pulling out hidden cost. Needless to say that didnt go down well!! In short they wanted to charge us E100 for returning car to Dublin which was part of our hire agreement.

    I am not anyway surprised about this. Luckily you didnt have passengers!

  3. peter donegan MI Hort
    peter donegan MI Hort says:


    i dont know mate? 30 euro yes. but when you cant [drive] nee sit in the car for less than [actually] 78 euro… then something is ‘not correct’ or slightly vague/ amiss from the information on the website/ phone?

    many thanks mate

    nice to see you have a sense of humour after ‘that journey’. Was that with ‘budget’. It seems to be they’re not the only ones out there.

    slán go foill

  4. James
    James says:

    Something needs to be done about car rental companies
    At least you can get to teh bottom of it as you speak the language and are irish.
    I put a lot of the blame with the car rental companies for the massive drop in tourism to ireland this year.
    Ask any of the inbound travel agents and they’ll tell you that over 905 of the complaints they get are in relation to unexpected charges on their credit cards by car rental companies.
    by the way, Failte Ireland don’t care, they sell advertising to these guys so they will not act.

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I’m not sure I can see justification for your ire here. The quote clearly tells you what’s included and explicitly tells you to read the terms and conditions before booking.

    Did you read the terms and conditions? Do they tell you about the other possible charges that may be incurred?

    I also think your post is a bit disingenuous in that you don’t clarify that €75 of your estimated bill won’t actually be charged to you at all – it being the petrol holding deposit.

    In fact, I believe that the terms and conditions are likely to state that if you don’t bring the car back full, you’ll be charged the full €75 petrol deposit rather than the €10 that you were charged.

  6. Joe Lennon
    Joe Lennon says:

    We hired a car from Avis in Spain, brought it from Barcelona Airport, due to return in Figueres the following day. We were quoted 78 euro total (including under 25 surcharge, taxes and so on). Went to return the car the following day, to discover that the Avis in Figueres was closed (Sunday).

    We decided to drop the car first thing the following morning. When we dropped it in on the Monday, the man with perfect English proceeded to tell us that we should have left the car on the street and put the keys in the letterbox, but because we hadn’t we were charged for an extra day, with the total somehow coming out at 176 euro. When we complained the guy suddenly lost his understanding of the English language, and when we threatened not to pay he arrogantly said that they had our credit card details and that it would be charged regardless.

    Car hire companies are a bunch of cowboys.

  7. peter donegan MI Hort
    peter donegan MI Hort says:

    Hi Anonymous,

    it’s not so much an ire or an opinion. Please read it carefully. I did clarify the €75 petrol. But I cant even look at the car for 30 euro..?

    I think its quite unopinionated myself and almost like a factual diary. However…

    I have a link to the terms and condiions in my post, first paragraph. I did read them.

    I can’t see 30 euro anywhere in my bill. As I said simply, if you got your garden done would you be happy to do business that way…. ?

    many thanks for taking the time.
    A Chara James & Joe,

    you should click comment no. 5. Thanks for taking the time. I do agree it can’t be doing tourism any good. And if people in the FOR campaign like ‘anoymous’ think its fair – well maybe I should stick to cutting grass. Truth is I had to call almost 10 days later to find out how much – after I had been charged… anyhow, sunny days. Lets see what the people say

    Slán go foill

  8. Ann Shea
    Ann Shea says:

    Hi Peter,

    I just saw your virtual visit to Budget headquarters over there. Good for you.

    There is far too much fine print in these agreements, and too many hidden charges, fees, etc. in the service arena, with surprise unhappy endings at the end of the day when the bill’s presented with crazy taxes added on, to boot.

    I had a similar dispute with a UHaul (moving van) rental, which promoted guaranteed reservations they did not honor, and additionally illegally insisted on adding on insurance which was not required. A good back up for the consumer is a credit card that stands behind their cardholders in these battles.

    Keep us posted.


  9. Peter Donegan MI Hort
    Peter Donegan MI Hort says:

    A Chara Ann,

    great to hear from you again! Been a while…

    never thought about a credit card company in that way before… hmmm maybe thats another day! and sorry to hear of your tale of woe! but i do agree, seems a lot of people have been in this prediciment in some way or another.

    many thanks for stopping by.
    slán go foill

  10. James
    James says:

    I just had the SAME problem with Budget Car Rental in Killarney. I booked a two-day rental online and was quoted 61 Euro including taxes and fees. I called the Killarney office to confirm, and was told the only additional cost would be insurance at 19 Euro a day, for a total of 99 Euro.

    Unfortunately, I was in a hurry when I picked up the car. I read over the agreement quickly, and told the rental agent the numbers did not match. They charged me in U.S. dollars, which automatically added to the confusion of seeing the real cost.

    I later discovered the agent had completely ignored my reserved rate and added all of the extra unnecessary insurances to the bill… My two-day rental came out to $226 — a $70 overcharge. I brought this up to the agent when I returned the car, and he said there was nothing he could do about it and to contact Budget directly. He couldn’t get me out of his office fast enough…

    I contacted Budget and received and e-mail saying they would refund the overcharge — but the next day I received another e-mail from the same woman saying the charges were correct and no refund would be issued.

    I’m a journalist who travels extensively — almost 100,000 miles last year — and the overcharge won’t break me either, but I DON’T LIKE GETTING RIPPED OFF.

    In doing some research — and finding this blog — I discovered that this practice — a bait and switch — is common with Budget Car Rentals.

    As a dual citizen of the U.S. and the EU, I can complain on both sides of the Atlantic, and will pursue direct contact with Budget’s Board of Directors. In the meantime, I plan on exposing and highlighting Budget’s business practices via every media possible.

    How STUPID can the Budget Car Rental people be? They give the Irish a bad name…



  11. Peter Donegan MI Hort
    Peter Donegan MI Hort says:

    A Chara James,

    and I thought I had it bad!

    I do agree it does give the irish / or the island of ireland a bad name and if this is happening to you and me can you imagine what ‘tourists’ must feel?

    Good luck with getting in touch with the board of directors and you might keep me posted on any updates you might have.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon
    slán agus beannacht

    [ps. james had posted his comment on my old weblog site where this post still exists – so i had to transfer it across]

  12. Peter Donegan MI Hort
    Peter Donegan MI Hort says:

    A Chara David,

    thanks so much – a much needed revolution me thinks. I thought I was on my own there for a little…

    lets see if it causes something to change…. ??
    [should I cross my fingers and toes?]

    go raibh míle maith agat arís
    slán go foill

  13. Daithi
    Daithi says:

    If you think you have it bad. I dropped a car back to Budget after 2 days hire with no damage and a full tank. Nobody would come out with me to inspect it, even when i insisted. I would have been late for my flight so had to leave after 20 mins of waiting for a member of staff to come with me to inspect the car.

    4 weeks later i got a charge for €246 on my credit card from Budget for a scratch on the car. There was no scratch on the car when i returned it.

    And the worst part is they just took the money and i can do nothing. Reading around it seems im not the only victim of this sharp practice. I believe if these guys dont inspect he car on return then they waive any right to charge for damage, just as the customer should check for damage before they leave the lot on hiring the car.

    Something seriously needs to be done about companies who have the power to add additional to charges someones credit card, long after the transaction is complete.

    Its like letting them leave their hand in your pocket as long as they want.

  14. menton
    menton says:

    Daithi, you are responsible for the car until you have signed the car back over to the car rental company. If you had your return documents signed before you left the car park, you are not responsible for that scratch, if you didn’t, I don’t think there is anything you can do. I wouldn’t even bother getting people to come out and look over the car next time. Just get them to sign the car back without damage and the responsibility is theirs then.

  15. Steph
    Steph says:

    I am going through a nightmare at the moment with Murray’s Europcar…I used Autoeurope-online company to book the car. I came back to the states and discovered a $5000 charge on my credit card. My car BROKE DOWN on Aug 1st, 2008 and I got a replacement. When I rented the car, I used my Mastercard to cover the car insurance…which it does for 31 days. My rental agreement was for 33 days and so I had to renew the contract towards the end of my stay and pay the rental company for two days of their insurance.
    Apparently, when you renew a contract, you are to leave the car at the airport for 24hrs before you can rent it again. I was unaware of this and so I basically was driving around uninsured for 31 days!
    Anyway, I was sent on the damage estimate and when I inspected the estimate, my replacement car was on the invoice. How could this happen? How would the repair dealers know anything about my replacement car? Fraudulent invoices?
    I disputed the charge on my credit card and Mastercard is investigating the issue. Europcar are sending me threats about contacting the US Collection Agency.
    I have talked to so many unhappy people who have rented cars in Ireland and have come home to discover extra charges on their credit cards. This has got to stop!

  16. menton
    menton says:

    Hi Steph,

    I have read your comment with interest. Did the damage happen while you were on the mastercard cover of during the additional days? If the damage occurred while you were being insured by mastercard why have you been charged for the damage instead of the credit card company? Did the car break down or did you incur damage on the vehicle?

  17. menton
    menton says:

    Why were you charged $5,000 when the excess is €2,000 unless you were negligent in some way?

    “Murrays Europcar offer a complete range of covers for our rental customers, to ensure complete “Peace of Mind” while renting a car from us.

    Collision Damage Waiver: – covers against loss / damage to rental vehicle subject to an excess of between €800 – €2000 which can be waived by taking our Excess Waiver.”

  18. Joe Drumgoole
    Joe Drumgoole says:

    had a similar experience with EuropCar. Advertised rate from ArgusCarHire was 148 euro, but with petrol, NI insurance and vat that added another 130 euro or so.

    This is a generic scam perpetrated by all irish car rental companies.

  19. Ronanob
    Ronanob says:

    Fair play for bringing this to everyones attention. Certainly i won’t be using them in the future. I think a policy like the airlines where one cost must cover all obvious rates (parking, fuel surcharges etc) so everyone can compare like with like.

    When someone gets ripped off by a company it affects them far more than the $ amount.

  20. John Bosco Lynch
    John Bosco Lynch says:

    Had the same problem with another car hire company in Cork Airport,hidden costs,but was lucky enough to have copy of agreement with the booking agency,which saved me my €60 but had to wait as car hire company took then €60 out of my account,without my permission.The agency refunded my money as a customer service and also not wanting to lose a customer…No wonder less and less people want to come to Ireland….oh yeah Car hire company IRISH….Booking agency ENGLISH…..Figures 🙂

  21. tommy hannon
    tommy hannon says:

    I rented a car from budget a few years ago to travel from cork to galway and I had a very similar experience. I got charged 25 euro for ‘prime location’ as the ofice was in eyre square in galway, so this charge does not just apply to airports.

    I then had to walk in the rain from eyre square to the 4th floor of the merchants road car park in galway. At a guess 500-600 metres.
    I was seriously p***** off that I had to walk in the rain to the car then when I recieved the invoice I could not believe they charged me for ‘prime location’. I cant remember the details exactly but I was told 30 euro and my bill was close to €100.

    I will never, ever use this company again.

  22. Steph
    Steph says:

    I was the one that posted something last Decmeber…charge of over $5000 on the credit card when I got back to the states. I disputed the charges and MasterCard investigated the matter and I won!!!

    and no Menton…I was not negligent. The car broke down and Murray’s Europcar tried to fool me with fraudulent invoices and threaten me via phone and email. Shame on them.

    I have talked to so many unhappy customers here since the incident. Keep copies of your contract and know what the charges should be in Euros and dollars…if originating from the US…when you sign the receipt and pick up the rental car. They like to add on charges and after coming off the plane, tired, etc., what better time to fool the people!

  23. MaryT
    MaryT says:

    Hi Peter – I had left a comment about my problem with Budget. Although you didn’t post it, I wanted to let you know that it is resolved. ~ Mary

  24. Peter Donegan MI Hort
    Peter Donegan MI Hort says:

    @Mary T

    it may have been the computer holding a first time commenter where it can often be held as spam for no apparent reason. My sincerest apologies for that.

    I am also glad to hear your a happier chappy 🙂

    best wishes

  25. Jason
    Jason says:

    Hi Paul, I understand your problem, same happened to me. It seems like most of the car rental companies do not make it clear what the actual price is. They are all fighting on price and think hiding the real price will get them orders. I have personally used one company who has always quoted me correctly, actually thats not exactly true, once I arrived to collect the car and it was actually cheaper than they quoted by 5 pounds. if its any help i use okreserved dot com The good thing also about them is they are a registered PLC so they have standards they must comply with

  26. Leigh-Anne Hauff
    Leigh-Anne Hauff says:

    We are South African tourists who visited Ireland last month. Your story is almost identical to ours -three years later- we were quoted 198.58 euros via email for 10 days car rental by Budget. The email went on to say that this”included all compulsory insurance, government tax, unlimited mileage and 24 hour breakdown cover”. There was no mention of additional terms and conditions at all on the confirmation email (apart from the standard airport surcharge of 28 euros). We arrived at Dublin airport as tired and disorientated tourists and were promptly charged an additional 268 euros for various obscure taxes (all abbreviated on the invoices). Have tried all the agencies you have – the National Consumer Agency promised to investigate with exactly the same wording that they used with you in 2008 (“we have received numerous complaints with regard to the car rental industry etc”). It seems that this is just lip service as nothing has been done in three years. Budget and the Irish Car Rental Council are condescending and flatly deny any wrongdoing as we signed the form. The Irish Tourist Board has not bothered to reply. They will not even discuss the misleading advertising of their email quote. It is the principle of the matter that really irritates me, not the additional cost.

  27. claudia
    claudia says:

    Hi. Is there any update on this? Had the same problem and complained to them, but according to them I wont be getting my money back.
    I agreed to 30 euro including comprehensive insurance, they charged me 80 euro! I can’t believe a company like Budget Car Hire does this, been fully unaware!
    Is there any update from 2009 to date?

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