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Budget Plans Online Car Rental Auctions

May 30, 1999

Budget Rent A Car Corp. this week plans to start online auctions of its car rentals. Although some online sites (including Budget's) already let you book cars, Budget claims it will be the first car rental company to offer its own online bidding.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. EST Wednesday (9:01 p.m. PST Tuesday), Budget says you'll be able to sign onto its Web site, http://www.drivebudget.com, select the BidBudget icon and name your price for a car rental by date, location and class of car. You will be asked to indicate first and second choices. The company says it will e-mail you within 24 hours to let you know if your bid was accepted.

Be forewarned: As is typical in online auctions, Budget automatically puts the rental cost on your charge card before notifying you that your bid was accepted, spokeswoman Susan Welty said. You can cancel up to 48 hours before your pickup date without penalty; after that, you're charged a day's rental if you cancel.

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