Beware of BUDGET/AVIS Rental at Cyril E King Airport
CAR RENTER BEWARE: Just returned from 10 days in St. Thomas on Feb 4, 2017. Rented my car online through the Budget Airport Location prior to going. The quoted price with confirmation and taking my Visa CC was $497 without extra insurance coverage that is ONLY required if you pay with a Debit Card. When my party arrived at the airport I watched the customer in front of me argue with the attendant that he didn't want the extra insurance, but they made him buy it ($23.95 per day) or they wouldn't give him the car that he had reserved. When he left I stepped forward and ran into the same thing. I marked the insurance as declined on the contract and they said I couldn't decline it as it was required. To make a long story short they held me hostage for 1 1/2 hrs before I finally broke down and marked accept on the extra insurance as they wouldn't give me my car without it. A lady in line behind me checked the other rentals at the airport and was told that there were no cars left. WHAT CHOICE DID I HAVE ????
I got home from vacation and filed a dispute with BUDGET/AVIS head office for International and at first the Budget office in St. Thomas said I had to take the additional coverage because I paid with a Debit card. Wrong, I had to send info from my bank to prove that I had paid with a regular Visa. When I proved they lied, they changed their story to I had accepted the insurance as shown by them as it had my initials on the rental agreement. Of course I provided my copy of my confirmation that showed there was no additional insurance on it when I got my confirmation and I pointed out that the copy of the rental agreement that they had (which they also sent to me) that had my initials on the decline and it wasn't until they had refused to give me my car and held me at the airport for 1 1/2 hrs that I initialed the accept. They said I wanted the insurance so I accepted it and the cost. I said if I had wanted it why didn't I buy it when I booked online and why would I also mark the rental agreement as declined !!
BOTTOM LINE after 2 weeks of wrangling with BUDGET/AVIS International Customer Service and proving that their Franchisee at the Charlotte-Amalie Airport location had lied and refused to rent the car to me against the conditions of the rental agreement and in violation of my confirmed rental and even after I informed them that it appeared they were doing it to every customer, I was told to take a hike. They weren't going to enforce the rental agreement or the conditions of the franchisee rules and they didn't value customers enough to stop the illegal activity and return my $240.
DO NOT RENT FROM BUDGET/AVIS at ST THOMAS. Also there are (We found out too late) rental companies off site from the airport that will bring a car to you. So don't give BUDGET/AVIS your money, as I would not recommend renting from BUDGET/AVIS anywhere in the world now that I know their rental agreements and company policies mean nothing to them and customer support is just to say, "Have a nice day - Glad we were able to ruin your vacation and take your money !!!"
I have maintained full documentation of all transactions and I have their emails which substantiate their statements and lies, so don't be fooled into believing that I am just a disgruntled renter that is lying. That is as far from the truth as it can be. It isn't the money as much as it is the principle of how they operate their rental company that has me warning other Worldmark/Wyndham owners and anyone in the world who is contemplating using their service. You can imagine how it affects your attitude and enjoyment of your vacation in St. Thomas when you fly in and are immediately confronted with deceit and overcharging and then delayed from getting to your resort as well.
I could be wrong, but i believe they all charge u the insurance fee due to the piss poor drivers on the island because u could dispute the charges on your credit card once back home.
I have checked with at least two car rental companies on st. Thomas for future visits and found that they charged the additional insurance and quoted it in their quotes to me and upon asking about opting out of the insurance was told NOPE it was required. Look at it this,way, what is an extra 240.00 to get to enjoy paradise. So stop complaining and look back on your vacation fondly
We here at Budget appreciate all comments and concerns regarding your rental. We strive to make sure each customer is treated fairly and is happy with the rental process. We do have certain requirements like all rental companies for each rental. You must be at least 21(one of the only rental agencies to rent to people under 25), have a valid drivers license and a credit card. If you are using a major credit card the coverage is optional but recommended. If you are using a debit card then we do require you purchase the LDW as well as a prepaid for a tank of fuel. This is explained in our website under credit card policy. We offer the largest fleet and widest selection of vehicles in the Virgin Islands. Please visit us at budgetstt.com for more information. I am sorry your rental experience was not as you felt it should be. I invite you to contact me with any more questions or concerns.
I recently went to St. Thomas and used Hertz, I didn't wait for them to offer me the collision insurance, I demanded it and yep, it was better than $20.00 extra per day. But, I learned to drive on St. Thomas and received my first drivers license from the VI motor vehicles. I also had like 4 accidents on St. Thomas in 2 years and that was back in the early 70's. Three were not my fault, one was. I would rather pay the piddly $20.00 a day for the collision insurance where I know when I park up that vehicle, I'm out of there with no issues. The drivers on St. Thomas are bad with little to no respect for the others on the road. So why cheap out and ruin an already expensive vacation by getting into a fender bender and have to fill out a ton of paper work, hoping your own vehicle insurance will pay for the damages. Not me brother, I believe in better safe than sorry.
Also, you have to figure when you would be returning the rental, if they are closed when your flight leaves or when you return the vehicle, they may require the insurance because once you leave, your gone and it would be harder for them to collect for damages.
I can certainly attest that AVIS in St. Thomas is a horrible car rental company. You can read the gory details here:
but the executive summary is that they rent old, dangerous clunkers and offer terrible service. Sure I got my money back (they caved when the credit card company confronted them) but I wasted half a day messing around with them. Try Discount Cars. It's not right at the airport but it's better to take a short taxi (or they might pick you up, I don't know) and get a decent car that deal with a death trap from AVIS.