TROUBLE SHOOTING WAYS: Budget charged me a $ 450 cleaning fee for a vehicle that had dog hair in the back seat. I only rented a car for one day. I drove from the airport to the meeting, then to the hotel and back to the airport the next day. I have never had a pet in the vehicle. You can help?

– Russ DeVries, Midlothian, Virginia

Christopher Elliott, travel problem solver

REPLY: If you haven’t taken your dog with you, you shouldn’t pay the cleaning fee.

Car rental companies try to limit customers who damage their vehicles. I checked the correspondence between you and Budget and this is how it justified the charge.
“Charges for cleaning vehicles that are returned in such poor condition that the vehicle must be dispatched to discuss details will be charged in proportion to the level of cleaning required,” the email said. ‚ÄúThis includes, but is not limited to, returned vehicles with food stains on the seats, dog or pet hair that cannot be removed by vacuuming the car normally, excessive odors, smoke odors and cigarette burns. We learn that the location provided documentation of the condition of the vehicle upon return. “

Budget said they would be happy to remove the fee if you can show the condition of the car before you rent it. This is an important request. You should always take a picture of your car – inside and outside – before you leave the parking lot. If someone forgot to clean the vehicle or has dents or dents on the outside, ask for another car.

Budget then told you about the dog hair, which you vehemently refused. You were on a business trip and you didn’t bring your dog with you.

After all, it’s hard to prove you didn’t have a dog. I see such cases all the time. One of the favorite fees of car rental companies is the cleaning fee charged to non-smokers for “smoking” in the rental vehicle. But pet cleaning fees seem to come second. And it’s not limited to car rentals. A few years ago, a vacation rental company in Sedona, Arizona tried to charge me for dog hair on my vacation rental. However, I don’t have a dog. When I pointed it out, the company dropped the fee.

I would press Budget for more evidence. In your e-mail correspondence, the company insisted that it had evidence. But it cannot show any evidence to prove that you (or your nonexistent dog) broke the rental backseat. I wonder why? If the car rental company wants to charge you an extra $ 450, it should at least have something to show for it.

Here’s another problem with your case: The budget did not notify you of the cleaning fee. Instead, it just charged your credit card. You must have asked the car rental company about a mystery fee of $ 450 on your card. Come on. At least the company may have let you know they were charging you the bill – and may have asked for your side of the story.

A short, polite email to one of the directors at Budget could have provided more evidence. Or it could convince powers that are of your innocence. There was no dog, and therefore no dog hair.
I have contacted Budget on your behalf. He returned $ 450 which was charged to your card.

Christopher Elliott is the lead spokesman for Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Elliott’s latest book is “How to Become the World’s Smartest Traveler” (National Geographic). Contact him at or

(c) 2022 Christopher Elliott
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

#Budget #pays #dog #hair #cleaning #nondog #owners

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