How do you know…did Budget confirm this with you or are assuming that a previous customer hired with the same contract and conditions as yourself…and returned the car to where you collected it
How do you also know that the vehicle hadn’t already had one relocation back to where you picked it up. It is possible that Budget had moved the car back from another state or location to Lewiston ID. They could have moved it part of the way back to CA knowing that you had a booking that would take it even closer to its base site. Doing such could be part of their logistics plan for vehicle location management…and could be plausible to save them the hassle of a ID vehicle now appearing in CA.
Then the extra relocation fees you paid could have been used to return the vehicle from your drop off location to its base site.
I wouldn’t be jumping to conclusions based on what you think may have happened as there are other reasonable and plausible scenarios. BTW, I don’t work for a hire car company or an advocate for them…and have mentioned elsewhere in this forum recent issues with Europcar.
I also know that some corporate customers may not pay same rates or fees as private hirers as they have special arrangements due to the number and value of the hires they make. The vehicle could also have been rented by a coporate customer with different arrangements to your own.
I wouldn’t be assuming what the car hire companies do unless you have some evidence indicating such. One also has the option to shop around with different hire companies to find one with hire conditions, rates and fees which are more acceptable, if and where they exist.
Edit: it is also possible that Budget relocated a CA plated car from CA especially for your booking…so that the car could be returned to CA. This could have been done for a range of reasons (no cars in ID which could fulfil your booking, local laws about car hire, insurance cover etc). As such Budget had incurred the cost of this relocation and is why you paid the relocation fee.
I am sure there are other scenarios as well, such as that you have assumed. All are equally as plausible.