Billed an extra day by Budget

Question: I rented a car recently from Budget in Lansing, Mich., and came across something that looks like a scam.

Here’s how it works: An employee tells you to just return the keys and paperwork in the off-hours return box. Then, when they get around to processing it, they say you returned it at a later time, and charge you extra.

Pretty elegant way to earn another day on a rental, no?

It happened to me, and to add insult to injury, I still haven’t gotten the receipt they were supposed to mail to my home address.

I wrote the time I returned the car — just before 4 p.m. — on the paperwork. I turned it in with the keys and now they don’t seem to be able to check what I wrote in the paperwork. Or maybe they lost it. Or maybe they don’t believe me.

I have my gas receipts with time stamp and an email with time stamp that I wrote to my wife after passing through security at Lansing airport to try to stand by on an earlier flight.

What should I do? — Eric Johnson, Boise, ID

Answer: Budget shouldn’t have charged you for an extra day. But is this a scam? I’m not sure I’d go that far.
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