Driver says car rental tricked him by giving him a 'basic' Audi Q-8 Etron.

@jamescharles/TikTok THINK b/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘I have been scammed’: Driver says car rental tricked him with ‘basic’ Audi Q8 e-tron. They told him it was the latest model

‘The sharpie marker on a 75k car is ridiculous.’


Braden Bjella


When renting a car, it’s unfortunately common to not get the exact vehicle you were looking for.

For example, one internet user called out his car rental company after they gave him a Tesla—a car with which he had a host of issues. Another claimed that the rental car company Hertz gave her a vehicle with a litany of problems, resulting in her having a car breakdown on the side of the road for hours.

However, there’s still value in getting rental cars, even with the potential issues they can present. One way that people utilize rental cars is as “tester” cars—renting the car for several days before purchasing a similar model in order to get a better sense of the reality of owning the car.

That said, even when one does this, issues can present themselves, as recently noted by influencer James Charles (@jamescharles).

How a car rental agency ‘tricked’ this renter

While Charles first garnered attention online via his beauty content, his content has since become more wide-reaching. For example, he’s recently been making a considerable amount of content around cars—last month, he sparked discussion after accusing Tesla vehicles of lying about their range.

Now, he says that he’s looking for a new car, renting several vehicles to determine which one would be best for him. While that may have been the intention, he recently hit a snag in this process when he got scammed.

“For this episode, I rented an Audi Q8 e-tron, which has been a highly requested vehicle from you guys, and I did not get what I paid for. Not even close,” Charles starts. 

“This car, with all of its fun bits and bobs and features when it is fully souped out, retails for $97,000,” he continues.

But as the video progresses, he reveals several problems that show the car no longer meets that price tag, including scrapes that have been fixed with a permanent marker and the fact that the car is, in fact, the base model.

“The listing specifically said that this is the 2024 edition with the most attractive package that the dealership has to offer. That should mean all features, all lights, everything unlocked, the fully souped-up version of this car,” he states. “Guess what? It’s literally the default factory setting, the most basic version that retails for $75,000.”

“So you better bet I’m pissed. Not at Audi, but at the man who we rented this from,” he adds. “We will be reporting, we will be getting our money back. You’re a loser, and now you’re ruining my car review.”

Regardless, Charles proceeds to review the car, deeming it unsatisfactory. While he says he would enjoy the version with all of the added options, the contrast between the top model and the base model was too stark for the price difference.

“Obviously, a $100,000 car is going to have more fun features than a $75,000 car, but $75,000 is still a lot of money,” he notes. “You would think even the base model would have something to offer. If this didn’t drive nicely, I’d be rating this a zero out of ten. This s*** sucks, but it does drive nicely, so I do have to be fair.”

@jamescharles Replying to @ben_mile Audi is going to send me a cease and desist for this video 💀😭 YES we got our money back!!! #review #cars #audi ♬ original sound – James Charles

Commenters share their thoughts

In the comments section, users shared their thoughts on the car Charles ended up reviewing.

“It’s crazy how they used a sharpie to cover the scratches,” said a commenter.

“I’m sorry but yall if I’m paying almost a $100k for a damn car it better have tvs in the seats and everything,” declared another.

“I can’t argue with him on this one. For most ppl 75,000 is a lot of $$ for a car, better be real nice if I’m paying that much,” shared a third.

The Daily Dot reached out to Charles and Audi via press email.

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