Overbilled by $480 for my Expedia car rental

expedia car rental

Elizabeth Welke’s Expedia car rental has a surprise at the end: an extra $480 charge. Why won’t Expedia or her car rental company help her fix it?
Q: I recently rented a car in Tucson, Ariz., through Budget Rent- A-Car. I reserved the vehicle through Expedia.

Expedia sent a contract saying the two-month rental would be $1,054. Budget billed my credit card $1,534. an overcharge of $480.

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I noticed the overcharge when I returned the car. I tried to resolve the problem with an employee and a supervisor, but couldn’t. At that point, I need to catch my plane.

When I returned home I called Expedia. After several rounds with Expedia representatives and with a supervisor, Expedia said it couldn’t resolve the problem. Can you help me recover the $480 Budget charged? — Elizabeth Welke, Stillwater, Minn.

A: Budget should have charged you $1,054, as promised. If it didn’t, then at least it should give you a reason for the overcharge. Did you keep the car an extra day or two? Did you get into a fender bender? Did it quote the wrong price?

Expedia should have explained the $480 discrepancy and fixed it for you quickly. It did not.

Could you have done anything differently to improve your chances? Absolutely. Stay off the phone when you’re trying to resolve a billing problem. The solution to being overbilled for your Expedia car rental comes down to a rock-solid paper trail.

Start by sending a brief, polite email through Expedia’s contact form. If that doesn’t work, escalate your problem to one of the Expedia customer service executives I list on my nonprofit consumer advocacy site.

You could have also reached out to Budget directly. I list Budget’s contacts on my consumer advocacy site, too.

A closer look at your rental paperwork shows the likely culprit for your overbilled Expedia car rental. It appears either Budget or Expedia broke the rental into two monthly rentals, which may have caused the pricing error. It’s unclear why they billed you twice.

But you might have been able to address this problem when you returned the vehicle and a Budget representative gave you a final bill. Your case is an important reminder to give yourself a little extra time when returning a car, just in case something goes wrong.

How this Expedia car rental case resolved itself

You did the right thing by trying to resolve your billing dispute in real time, when you returned the car, instead of waiting for your credit card bill. That increases the chances of a successful resolution. But since you had a flight to catch, the clock ran out, unfortunately.

If your online travel agency had continued to give you the silent treatment, you could have filed a credit card dispute. But that’s something you don’t want to try until all of your other options are exhausted.

I contacted Budget on your behalf. A representative apologized and said the total from Expedia “was not billed correctly.” You’ve received a $480 refund.