Ruined My Christmas
CHESAPEAKE, VIRGINIA -- I went through Travelocity to rent a car from Avis to make a trip to my familys' homes for Christmas 08. Two days before Christmas, we were told by Avis Car Rental that they were going to place a $500.00 hold on our bank account. We asked for options since my son was paying. They told us they could not place the $500.00 hold on his account because he was under 25 years old and could not drive the vehicle.
We tried paying cash, but the teller, Jason (they refused to give me his last name) told us that he would still have to place a $500.00 hold on our bank account. We asked if they'd take checks, but again, he had to place a $500.00 hold on our account, and the rest would be settled when we returned the car.
Not knowing the amount in our bank, and it being close to closing time, we rushed to the closest ATM to confirm our balance. We rushed back and told him that we had barely enough, but had the money to cover $500.00. This left us with a couple hundred dollars for gifts.
We had discussed the fee of a total $922.74 including the insurance, but when I mentioned the AAA membership, they offered us a 10% discount, bringing the total down to $848.16. We asked for an adjustment, at which time, [snip] told us the computer was closed out. Jason assured us that it was, however, in the computer. I wanted to be absolutely certain that the total we were to pay was $848.16. He insisted that the total was was adjusted in the computer, and that this was NOT going to reflect in our bank account...that only the amount of $500.00 would be frozen. So that we weren't charged $922.74, we asked Jason for this in writing, and he wrote $848.16 on the contract and initialed it.
When we checked our bank account, the amount of $500.00 hold--as promised-- was not frozen. Instead, they put a hold of $922.74, the initial cost before the AAA discount.
This eerror cost us an over draw, a overdraft fee from both the companies we paid AND the bank. Since it was during Christmas, we were accepting gifts from people we could no longer give gifts to. If that weren't enough, we had to rely on the same relatives to cover the difference in the bank.
I contacted the car rental immediately, and Jason answered. I reminded him that I was the one who rented a car for $800. After he confirmed his recollection of us, I reminded him that they were supposed to hold $500 on our bank account, which he agreed. I reaffirmed that the hold WAS supposed to be for the amount of $500.00, which he again confirmed. I explained to him that over $900.00 was held in our account, causing us to overdraw and bounce checks.
He said, "Oh wow! That shouldn't have happened!" He paused then said, I have a few customers. Can you hold?" I waited on the line, which eventually hung up. He never called back.
I called my bank, who then told me that the hold was not put on by the bank and that the only ones who could lift the hold was Avis.
My brother and husband went to the Avis at the airport, who was surprised that the hold was over $900.00. Because of the rates and fees of returning the car early, my husband decided to keep the vehicle and discuss this with the branch we leased from upon the return of the SUV.
When we confronted the lady who claimed to be the manager[snip]-she refused to admit fault. I asked for the person who directly dealt with us, but the claimed he was not in. We pointed out that the amount OVER the agreed price was frozen. She insisted that the amount of $922.74 was the estimated price and this was their policy to freeze the entire estimated amount. We tried to explain the $922.74 was the price before they included the AAA discount, and was not the estimated price. She continued to disagree.
I took a photo of her with my cell phone (God bless those things!), she posed with her hands framing her face, Shirly Temple style. This was just one of her ways of showing total arrogance toward her customers. I assured Tim that I was going to upload the picture since she was aware of the photo and indeed posed for it. After going back to check the pics, I discovered I had actually flixed her.
Another worker came out and when we tried to explain the situation, he said, "I know the situation, I heard it from my office". He also refused to admit fault.
Because I no longer trusted them, I insisted that the manager (I think [snip] is his name) confirm the full tank of gas and that there were no damages. When I insisted that he write this down and initial it, he shrugged and laughed, as if the request was unnecessary.
They continue to refuse to admit fault for ruining our Christmas. They continue to lie. They insist that the amount of the entire car rental AND more puts a freeze on our account and that this is policy. They insist that there was an
error of communication and that perhaps Jason made the mistake of giving us the wrong amount to be frozen.
Our claim that they'd frozen more than we'd agreed on was dismissed as:
1. "It's our policy to put a higher hold than the actual cost", pointing to the $922 (which was the cost before the discount)
2. "This was an error with the bank" I explained to her that when I called the bank, they informed me that Avis had been responsible for the hold and only Avis could lift it (Kathie shrugged and smiled)
3. "We apologize for the miscommunication and failing to make sure you knew how much was going to be frozen" (again, lies)
4. "We apologize for the promises Jason made, it was an error on his part" (if it was an error, which it wasn't, Kathie was standing next to him when he made them)
5. "We have no control over what the computer does" (They have total control of the computer)
The only grief I have for Jason is that when I called to correct the error and ask him to lift the hold, he put me on hold and never called back. He did, however, admit via phone that there was an error, that he was surprised the total amount was frozen and that they were supposed to freeze only $500.00.
As for the rest of the staff, they continued to lie, cover their mistakes and deny any error on their part. When I asked for the name of the gentleman who waited on us, Kathie refused to give the information out. There's something to be said for a manager who's too ashamed to give out the names of their own staff. As clients, we have every right to know who we do business with.
If you plan to rent a vehicle, I strongly urge that you look beyond Avis. IF you do insist on renting from Avis, then at LEAST mention this article and others similar to it. They may go out of their way to try to prove us disgruntled ex-clients wrong. Either way, I hope this review is somewhat helpful to others.
I will, however, admit that had it not been for this error, everything would have run smoothly. To my knowledge, they did not overcharge, (unless $340 is more than the standard fees). This excessive freeze, which my brother transferred to his card, prevented us from buying gifts. We had to borrow to cover the excessive amount (which I strongly believe was used to pay for THEIR Christmas gifts).
Because of their dishonest and denial, I will never deal with Avis again, and I strongly urge that if you do deal with them, ask that everything be put in writing. EVERYTHING! If they try to make you feel like your request is "trivial and silly", it's just another sign that they want to rip you off. A good company that respects it's customers will not hesitate to meet your needs of trust and honesty.