CHESAPEAKE, VIRGINIA -- I went through Travelocity to rent a car from Avis to make a trip to my families' 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, ** (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, ** told us the computer was closed out. ** 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 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 ** 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 error 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 ** 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 **-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, Shirley Temple style. This was just one of her ways of showing total arrogance toward her customers.
I assured ** 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 ** 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 ** 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: "It's our policy to put a higher hold than the actual cost", pointing to the $922 (which was the cost before the discount).
"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. (** shrugged and smiled.) "We apologize for the miscommunication and failing to make sure you knew how much was going to be frozen." (Again, lies.) "We apologize for the promises ** made, it was an error on his part." (If it was an error, which it wasn't,
** was standing next to him when he made them.) "We have no control over what the computer does." (They have total control of the computer.) The only grief I have for ** 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, ** 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 its customers will not hesitate to meet your needs of trust and honesty.
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA -- I recently rented a car from Avis in Anchorage. I am a frequent flier and am a 1K on United and a Diamond with Hilton. You can imagine that when I say that I had my worst rental car experience ever in Avis Anchorage - that means something. I met a very unfriendly and unhelpful counter person named James who was the renting agent behind the counter. Don't go to him if you can possibly avoid it.
I was initially helped by an agent called Jessi, who offered me an upgrade to a Toyota Highlander for an extra $15 a day. I pointed out that I had rented a mid-sized SUV that should sit 5 (per the Avis website) but Jessi said that there was nothing should could do about it. She suggested that I check out the vehicle first and come back. After my group loaded the luggage into the vehicle we found the vehicle to be too small. I was also not pleased with the coffee stain near the gear box, the bent license plate, and the 2 scratches that I found on the car.
When I returned, Jessi was gone and James was there. I made my case with him again about the size of the SUV and asked for a better option given that Avis had not delivered on what they had promised. James was very unhelpful and told me that was all that they had and went on to say that the class of vehicle that I rented was a Rav 4 - but that they were out of that. When I asked to be upgraded to the Toyota Highlander that Jessi had offered me, he told me that I would have to pay for it. Given that I had no choice, I agreed to pay for the upgrade. This leads me to my second disappointment.
James goes ahead and processes the upgrade and tells me that I have to pay $500 more for the 10-day rental. When I pointed out that it was more than 3X the initial $15 upgrade which I felt that I should not have had to pay for - he shrugs his shoulders and tells me to take it or leave it. At this point I inform James that he was neither being very helpful nor providing much customer service - to which he responded that "it was not his problem". When I asked him the reason for the 3X increase in price, James said that the contract was already concluded and that the price had changed in the 10 minutes that it took to load my luggage into the vehicle prior to driving off the lot.
My third disappointment is that when I asked to speak to the manager, about the bait-and-switch tactics going on and the poor service that I was receiving, James tells me that the manager is not available. I made the request again and told him that it was important that I get in touch with his manager. He gave me exactly the same response - with a look that challenged me to do something about it. There was never an attempt to get my number or to even reach the station manager at his after-hours telephone number.
Fortunately the card of Bob ** the Anchorage Station Manager was on the counter and I took a copy of it and I told James that I would certainly be in touch. His response to me at that point was that he would talk to the Station Manager first. Please avoid Avis Anchorage at all costs. This is a poorly run operation. You don't want to spoil a business trip or vacation by dealing with the incompetence of some of the members of the customer service team at this location.
NEWARK AIRPOR, NEW JERSEY -- This past weekend my company was scheduled to do some charity work for a local organization in Jersey City and I was tasked to rent 2 passenger vans. Three weeks before the event I made reservations by telephone for 2 passenger vans to be picked up at Avis's Newark Airport location. When my colleague and I arrived the reservations agent was quite polite and helpful and then their Manager, Mr. ** approached us and informed us that there were no passenger vans available at this time.
As you could imagine, we were disappointed and asked what could be done and we were told that they had an expedition that seats 8 people instead of two 15 passenger vans. I told him that was unacceptable and the Manager was not helpful or sympathetic and provoked my anger and irritability with a grin. I asked him what the purpose of making reservations and he said that reservations were based upon availability, which is absolutely ludicrous. Whoever heard of making a reservation and being told that it is based upon availability.. quite the contradiction.
In any event, ** was not helpful and my patience wore thin and I asked the customers behind me what the definition of a reservation was and ** threatened to call the Port Authority Police to remove me from the premises. I asked to see his manager and he asked me to wait outside and I refused. The reservation agent who was helpful found us 2 passenger vans and ** refused to rent these vehicles to us and once again threatened to call the police.
Words were exchanged and we left the premises to National Car Rental where they were sympathetic and very helpful and rented us two 15 passenger vans with no reservations or hassles, especially when they heard it was for a charity event. I asked my associate to return to the Avis Counter and pick up his business card so I can write a letter of complaint.
My colleague was greeted by the District Manager, ** who was helpful as compared to the Manager. He apologized and asked what he could do to help us. He said he had two 15 passenger vans ready for us and ** had the audacity to tell my associate that all we had to do is wait for the vans. My associate told him he was a liar and that he had previously said there were no passenger vans available. He then raised his voice and temper which exhibited why this person should not be allowed to interact with the public let alone manage people.
I placed a call to the District Manager as he requested and he never returned my call as I expected. In the 25 years of my business experience, I have never met anyone this rude and uneducated as to customer service and have lost my respect for Avis because of their poor choice of managers and poor training. Whatever happened to the customer is always right. In any event, this interaction took 3 hours. Would you be charged if you brought a rental car back 3 hours late. The same courtesy should be extended to a customer who waits 3 hours. What is the sense of reservations?
In any event, I will never recommend the rental of any vehicle from Avis... So much for we try harder... because they don't even try at all. On the other hand National Car Rental should be commended at Newark Airport for accommodating our request and being considerate and generous for a charity event. We will definitely work with National again.
MUNICH -- Upon returning the car they noticed a scratch. In our estimate a $20.00 buffing job. We were not aware that we received a scratch (about 2 inches). Upon return to the US we got a $1100.00 overcharge on our credit card, no explanation, no bill. I wish I had taken a picture myself to prove what the reality of the situation was. I have asked our credit card company to sort it out. But in the meantime, be warned about AVIS in Munich. I saw someone else had this experience.
MUNICH, GERMANY -- This is the first & last time we'll rent with Avis. After almost 13 years renting from other companies at the Munich airport nothing like this has ever happened. We checked the car over for damage but did not take photos (you'd better do that now with these scams) and found NO damage. When we returned the car the person checking them in first showed us something on the door that he said was a scratch. I took my fingernail and with some spit I removed it (a little paint from another car door that did NOT break the paint on the rental car) and showed that to him.
He then gave us a receipt to sign that was hundreds of dollars higher than the contract we made with AVIS online before we left the United States and we told him it was wrong and we wouldn't sign it. We then get a bill for over 500 Euros for a new windshield and door paint. He didn't show us any damage to the windshield and since you normally hear the rock that hits, I'll swear that either it wasn't there or, if you can believe the photo they sent, so small to be fixed by the injection method for a few Euros. I don't think it was there, I always notice any windshield damage when I'm driving and we had this car for over 2 weeks. I would have noticed.
Interesting he didn't show that to me like he did the so called "scratch". A bad thing about the Munich Airport is there is no one to talk to about any damage if there was any except to walk all the way back to the contract desk. You leave by way of inserting a card in a reader and the gate opens. I suppose you can write something down on your contract but it would still be your word against theirs. They know you're going home to the States and can't complain in person like a local can.
We're fighting it with our travel insurance company as it's not fair for them to have to pay a scam. It would be nice if there was a Better Business Bureau in Germany but I can't find one. I do have a friend that lives in Munich that used to work for Diamler-Benze and I may ask him to go and try to inspect the car for me. That will probably surprise them as normally tourists don't have any recourse and they know it.
FT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA -- Avis is charging us for a key scratch that was on the car before we took possession of it. Unfortunately, we did not notice the scratch until we arrived at our condo (directly from Avis) and could see the vehicle in sunlight. We mistakenly thought Avis probably already knew of the scratch. When we returned the vehicle, we were told by the inspectors that it was not there before.
We then asked to speak to a manager, and someone disappeared and then returned saying they could not find the manager but, “Don't worry about it, we'll take care of it. It's no problem, go catch your plane.”So we filled out a report and left. Several weeks later we received correspondence that we were being charged. We again wrote a report explaining what happened. Without any regard to any of these attempts to discuss the issue, Avis has now billed us for the damage.
We contacted the claims department and they are unwilling to assist us suggesting we contact the managers at Ft. Lauderdale's facility. We then left messages with those managers and never received a return call. We would place our hand on a bible or swear on our lives this did not happen in our possession if it would help. No one at Avis is willing to listen. Of course (after the fact), they tell us we should have inspected the vehicle before leaving the lot and reported any damage found.
No one suggested this to us before we picked up the vehicle which would've prompted us to look and probably see the scratch before we left. We would like to see video of what occurred while the vehicle was parked in the garage before we picked it up to know if someone keyed it then. Also video of us pulling out of the facility might also show the scratch. No one is responding to this request.
Avis has disappointed us tremendously on this issue and we are glad for this forum which allows us to let others know what type of customer service they provide when they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Well they have lost a customer. We only went to Florida because we had 2 free plane tickets and a place to stay without charge. Our insurance is covering most of this bill but we are still responsible for the $250 deductible. We had hopes that State Farm would back us but they say it is not worth the fight. Well, $250 is the cost of one of those free plane tickets and not a small deal to us.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- If I could give the Las Vegas Avis Rental center 0 stars I would. Their latest "program" charges you $13.99 for 0-75miles driven. We specifically were asked during check in whether we wanted to opt out of the program, so naturally we said yes. The woman was very rude, but made it clear that we had to decide there because it was an opt-in/out program. We refilled the tank to full as usual, and noted upon return that we were charged a $18 fee (after taxes).
We immediately turned around to inquire about the additional charge and were told this was for the $13.99 EZFuel program (or whatever it was called). We made the mistake of paying the $8.05 in gas in cash (we're in Vegas after all, cash dealings is almost the norm), so we did not have a receipt to provide to "waive" the fee. We got the manager out-- a youngish guy-- extremely rude and poor customer service (none at all really). The contract specifically states that yes, a fee will be charged "if rental is returned with less fuel than originally rented". There's also one line after that that says "00-75 miles will be charged $13.99, present receipt to waive".
Based on our questions and experience during check in, we had every reason to believe that this was an opt-in program. Our mistake on not getting a receipt, but it's clear the tank is full. How can anyone justify charging $13.99 for returning a car with a full tank? Apparently, Avis can run this kind of racket. The manager even had the nerve to counter, and I quote, "How do I know you didn't just drive 20miles and didn't refill the tank? You could do that and the meter would still show full."
Excuse me? That's your customer service? Snarky comments? Our odometer readings checking out and back in clearly shows we drove 64 miles. They would gouge you out of $18 of hard-earned money and lose the business of us and all our friends (we're spreading this around to everyone we know) because they can justify charging for a full tank in their fine print, and misleading instructions. The manager by the way, offered no help at all in terms of retrieving a receipt.
They could've called the gas station, refunded us the 8.05 once confirmed, or let us take another car out to retrieve the receipt (gas station was 2 blocks away). But no, nothing. No concession. This is a new program, we've not seen it before mind you. But based on the nature of this program and the misleading directions by Avis's personnel and non-existent customer service, I suggest everyone rent elsewhere. Enterprise, Thrifty are other options we've had no problems with. Give your hard-earned money to honest companies that earn it.
USA, NEW JERSEY -- I'd like to add my "3 Cents" to Avis Agency Operator position. This position is a total misclassification of an independent contractor status that the State and US Dept of Labor is looking hard into. As a few other posts have stated, they sell you on the sizzle but when you look for the steak it isn't there and will not be found. THIS IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS, as they tell you, you are working for them for less than minimum wage - long hours, insurance costs, Workman's comp, employee costs.
These costs all come out of your monthly commission check. I'm all for hard work but when you get taken advantage of, that's when it becomes a problem. Be advised that if you have to sign a contract that has at a minimum of 50 pages in it, there is no protection for you. It is all one sided, in ABG favor. Most independent operators that leave are all small and do not have the time or finances to combat this practice.
The best way to do this is not with a class action lawsuit (it may tied up in the courts for a long time) but through your state dept of labor, Attorney General's office and a your state public representative. A lawsuit that is in CA right now has not gone away, and there is a good reason for this. Hopefully someone that is interested in this will not do it. You're better off working a few part time jobs. Remember if the contract is that big it's for a reason that benefits them not you. Makes you wonder why the other auto rental companies are not doing this IC relationship also?
LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY -- I have rented cars through the years and NEVER had an issue like I did with Avis. I wanted to rent the car for a weekend and because I knew where the AVIS location was in Lexington KY, went with them. Had I known how dishonest and unhelpful they were I never would have used them!! We added a driver who was over the age of 25, same last name as mine. I was NOT told that there would be a fee for this. They charged us 52.00 to have an additional driver for three days without telling me there would be a cost involved.
I have used Hertz and Enterprise in the past and will use them in the future as they DON'T charge for this. I have used Alamo once, but they told me there would be a cost so I didn't add a driver. AVIS is NOT HONEST! The crazy thing is only one person drove all weekend, we didn't need the extra driver and never would have done it had we know there was a cost. I have called four times and gotten nowhere. They won't give back the money and trying to talk to a manager has not happen though I have asked!
DON'T USE AVIS! Any other company will serve you better! I had wrongly assumed that all rental car companies were easy to work with and had good customer service. From now on, I will be loyal to one company as honesty works for me! Never again will AVIS get any of my business and I will tell on my friends to never use them either. After all that's what social media is for, getting the word out about BAD companies.
I would like my 52.00 dollars back. There should not be an additional charge to have a driver for a car. Only one person drove all week and last I check renting a car meant someone was going to drive it. Why should you have to pay an additional 52.00 that you weren't warned about to leave the parking lot!
SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI -- Since the early part of December of 2011 after complaining of poor customer service as it relates to preferred customer status with Avis rent a car, I have had my credit card charged with 250.00 on each of 3 occasions for an alleged smoking violation. The final straw came today when I attempted to refill the vehicle rented 02/23/12 to return it and found my card to be over the limit thereby forcing me to pay cash for the fill-up required upon return. Having been a loyal customer for over 12 years with preferred customer status, I find it appalling to be harassed and persecuted by the manager of the St. Louis Lambert airport location. His name is **.
At no time during the return of any vehicle have I been approached by the employee checking it with the accusation of violation of their smoking policy. The violation has always come after the fact and with prejudice. I have always been a good customer and have accepted vehicles with odors, not cleaned fully and those that have had smoking smells as well. I would think that the appropriate administrative staff would look at the fact that all of a sudden I am being charged after all these years. It is more than stupid to violate a policy that is posted on the windows of the vehicle.
I tried to approach this manager and was insulted by his response to me. He stated that he was no longer going to rent to me as if I was some kind of child and that I was guilty of this alleged violation. He failed to show proof, and even if he did it would be questionable as anyone could have used the cars after I returned them, including his detailing crew. Let it be known that after the first alleged violation and charged I have all but persecuted anyone I have had as a passenger about smoking in the vehicle.
No one has smoked in the vehicles and I am a victim of this manager's prejudice. I resent this approach and would appreciate the funds that have been extracted from my credit card be restored. Until these last transactions I have promoted the excellent customer service that I have received from Avis, but now because of this manager I am considering ending what has been an admirable consumer relationship over the years.