Budget rented me a faulty car – then sent me an extra £811 bill

I rented a car from Budget in Porto and drove 140km. When I returned to the car after a stopover the gear stick would not engage and there was a smell of burning. I called roadside assistance which towed it back to the airport.

Budget arranged for a taxi to take me to the airport so I could pick up a replacement which I then had to drive back to where I was staying, missing out a day of my holiday. I wrote to complain and instead of a reply I received a bill for €934.67 (£811). When my credit card statement arrived I found another €23.55 had been debited. I requested an explanation of these charges but received no response.

GV, London

Budget says that an independent report concluded that you had damaged the clutch. This may or may not be so, but you were not sent this report or even warned that you were being held liable.

Car hire companies are notorious for helping themselves to unexplained sums for unexplained damage and Budget accepts you were not told what you were paying for. It also, audaciously, charged you for refuelling a car you had no chance to top up before it was towed away. “As we are committed to communicating any damage charges clearly to customers, and by way of an apology, a refund for both the damage and refuelling has been applied,” it says

If you need help email Anna Tims at your.problems@observer.co.uk or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number. Submission subject to our terms and conditions

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