Car hire companies and their unauthorised (if small) charges

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This topic contains 28 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  ASK1945 12 Jan 2018
at 18:05
.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 29 total)

  • TiredOldHack2
    Participant

    Avis, this is you,

    Dear sir/Madam,

    Re: Rental agreement xx Invoice no. xx

    I refer, via the above reference, to the bill I have received from your office in Johannesburg airport. Specifically, I refer to the refuelling charge of 24.49 rand.

    Your hire car was refuelled at the Jo’burg Airport filling station, a few hundred meters away from your office. I have the receipt. One of your staff even hopped into the car to show me where it was.

    Now, this is a trifling amount. Nonetheless, it is a dishonest charge, and I can clearly see how several dozen of such minor charges per day can add up, and since you have taken the trouble to levy it, I am taking the trouble to dispute it. Are you really, really telling me that you took the car to the filling station to squeeze in another litre or so of fuel?

    No.

    You will please credit my American Express card with the sum, or I will take it up with Amex. You will be aware that this will cost you rather more in time and trouble than it will cost me, and you may be liable to a penalty charge from Amex.

    Yours,


    ASK1945
    Participant

    I regularly hire from Avis and generally I don’t have a problem.

    However, a few months ago an aberrant £18 or so charge appeared on my Amex bill and emails to Avis about this did not produce a an invoice or receipt. So, I contacted Amex and asked for a chargeback. Amex repeatedly requested to Avis the reason for the charge, but did not get a response. The chargeback went through.

    A couple of years ago all entry points into Miami airport had a mandatory toll introduced, whilst I was in Florida. I had no idea about this until I returned the hire car to Avis at the airport. There were (new) signs about this, but no toll booths and no tag machine that I could see on the windscreen – in other words I had no idea how to pay the toll. I mentioned that when I returned the car and was told not to worry about it.

    About 6 weeks later a (just under) $21 charge appeared on my Amex. I contacted Avis about this (again no receipt had been sent) as I assumed that I had been fined by the airport for non-payment. I was told “no”, the charge included a fee for their admin. So, how much was the breakdown of charges? 87c for the toll …………….. and $20 for the admin. Needless to say I demanded a credit for the whole amount, and got it.


    alainboy56
    Participant

    Well oi would not call my ‘gripe’ small.
    I have rented AVIS cars for more than 20 years regularly, in fact I am a ‘Preferred Driver’.
    On the last occasion on returning the car to LHR I was charged GBP65 as I had smoked in the car.
    I have been an occasional smoker in their cars, as I say, for over 20 years and nobody has ever raised the subject or mentioned it ever!
    The check-in clerk said it had to be taken out of service for a day for cleaning! What utter ‘hogwash’ and that is assuming that they had sold out of every car on the fleet and really needed that one. Absolute bullsh*t as usual and you have no choice and that will be the last time I rent from AVIS, in fact this Christmas I have already reserved from SIXT. So I have decided I ‘prefer’ to drive and rent from a different car rental company!

    And before any of you anti smoking brigade out there get ‘on your high horse’, what about if I had eaten an Indian curry, or a bag of greasy fish and chips in that car, with the windows closed. Does one not think that this smell would linger in the seat upholstery/fresh air grills etc similarly for some time.
    Equally unacceptable in my mind!
    I did fire off an email to them, asking is that the way they wish to treat a long standing customer like me, but got the usual P.R. bullsh*t response in return.


    Mikeact
    Participant

    No sympathy, Avis make it quite clear, No Smoking.


    SGJNI1961
    Participant

    @tiredoldhack2

    Funny you should mention this as I have just checked two rental accounts from Avis from Cape Town and George last week. Amazingly, the one for Cape Town is correct for a change whereas the one for George charged me for an additional driver in spite of BA GC being recorded in the booking and shown at collection resulting in a charge of about £24. I wasn’t going to bother until I saw the petrol charge of £1.34!!!! I had left the petrol receipt in the car from the garage closest to the airport. Needless to say, no reply to my email so far in spite of the office at George being rather more “hi tech/ paperless”.


    retread
    Participant

    Agree Mikeact…

    ‘I have been an occasional smoker in their cars, as I say, for over 20 years’…… and you have only been charged occasionally.

    NO excuses, no justification, no DYKWIA ‘Preferred Driver’ (as you would say) bullish*t. Bottom line… do the crime, pay the fine.


    ASK1945
    Participant

    ………………..before any of you anti smoking brigade out there get ‘on your high horse’, what about if I had eaten an Indian curry, or a bag of greasy fish and chips in that car, with the windows closed. Does one not think that this smell would linger in the seat upholstery/fresh air grills etc similarly for some time. Equally unacceptable in my mind! I did fire off an email to them, asking is that the way they wish to treat a long standing customer like me, but got the usual P.R. bullsh*t response in return.

    Alainboy56

    My wife is an ex-smoker. She can tell if anybody has smoked in a car, hired or otherwise, maybe days earlier. Twice in the last couple of years we have declined initially offered cars from Avis, because she could smell smoke – even when I could not. We have also handed back so called “non-smoking” hotel rooms, in which she could smell smoke.

    As an ex-smoker, the smell of cigarettes in a confined space makes her physically sick.

    So, you were aware of the rules, but because you were not “caught” on earlier occasions, you flouted them again. No sympathy.


    TiredOldHack2
    Participant

    Interesting. So they tried the same small extra charge on you? Well, Amex has said they’ll raise a chargeback, which means that it’ll actually cost Avis more than the extra charge I paid (an extra driver – that was legit, at least).

    So they’ve added that little extra charge onto two people at least. I wonder if it’s SOP, on the basis that nobody will challenge such a small amount? Unwise, of so.


    ASK1945
    Participant

    Interesting. So they tried the same small extra charge on you? Well, Amex has said they’ll raise a chargeback, which means that it’ll actually cost Avis more than the extra charge I paid (an extra driver – that was legit, at least).
    So they’ve added that little extra charge onto two people at least. I wonder if it’s SOP, on the basis that nobody will challenge such a small amount? Unwise, of so.

    I have been informed by Amex that they require those organisations which are able to bill retrospectively – such as hotels and car hire companies – that they must send an invoice to the customer(s) BEFORE instituting any additional charges, which may actually be legitimate. This is to prevent fraud.

    The beauty of Amex is that they will remove the charge from your monthly bill until the company can show that they have sent a bill and the customer accepts that it is legitimate. So, it doesn’t matter if the bill is too small to bother the customer chasing it up; it’s the billing company’s problem.

    Maybe other credit card companies operate the same way – I don’t know.


    mkcol74
    Participant

    Interesting. So they tried the same small extra charge on you? Well, Amex has said they’ll raise a chargeback, which means that it’ll actually cost Avis more than the extra charge I paid (an extra driver – that was legit, at least). So they’ve added that little extra charge onto two people at least. I wonder if it’s SOP, on the basis that nobody will challenge such a small amount? Unwise, of so.

    I have been informed by Amex that they require those organisations which are able to bill retrospectively – such as hotels and car hire companies – that they must send an invoice to the customer(s) BEFORE instituting any additional charges, which may actually be legitimate. This is to prevent fraud.
    The beauty of Amex is that they will remove the charge from your monthly bill until the company can show that they have sent a bill and the customer accepts that it is legitimate. So, it doesn’t matter if the bill is too small to bother the customer chasing it up; it’s the billing company’s problem.
    Maybe other credit card companies operate the same way – I don’t know.

    Correct @ASK1945 all credit card companies (in the UK, that I know of) operate this way when there’s a dispute – the amount is put into dispute, ringfenced until resolved one way or the other.


    Stowage222
    Participant

    Funnily enough just after reading this thread I checked my email and found the answer from Alamo USA concerning a $17 dispute I had with them at Phoenix Sky Harbor. Fuel and various taxes were added to my account when I returned the car which I failed to notice as it’s quite dark underground where you return. The car was fully fuelled and the taxes had been included in my agreement. Anyway, they have just confirmed that a full refund will be given. Moral of the story is I will check my final bill more thoroughly in future as I rent frequently from them in Arizona.


    SwissExPat
    Participant

    I now routinely take photos of the level of the Fuel Guage in a rental car when I am about to hand it back. Also a photo of the refuleeing receipt.

    This in adddition to the usual photos of the car.

    I then delete these from my phone after a couple of months.


    ASK1945
    Participant

    I now routinely take photos of the level of the Fuel Guage in a rental car when I am about to hand it back. Also a photo of the refuleeing receipt. This in adddition to the usual photos of the car. I then delete these from my phone after a couple of months.

    I never thought of taking photos of the fuel guage; that’s a good idea. I have been taking photos of the car for years. However, they need a date and time stamp (not just the camera’s date/time, which of course could be manipulated). So for proper evidence I email the photos to myself, to give a more robust proof.

    I do a similar thing when using valet parking at airports. I let them watch me taking the photos of the milometer and the car on drop-off.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    On Monday night I fueled my Avis VW Golf before dropping it early the next morning, and made sure it was filled right into the neck, and drove from Rondebosch to the airport – 15km. I’ve just had the final invoice.

    2 litres was added to the invoice. The car burns roughly 6l/100km, so 6/15= 0.4 litres. It’s not worth my while for R27 to bother with this but they do take the piss. Which gives me an idea for next time!


    capetonianm
    Participant

    On Monday night I fueled my Avis VW Golf before dropping it early the next morning, and made sure it was filled right into the neck, and drove from Pinelands to the airport – 10km. I’ve just had the final invoice.

    2 litres was added to the invoice. The car burns roughly 6l/100km, so 6/10= 0.6 litres. It’s not worth my while for R27 to bother with this but they do take the piss. On reflection, I have sent an email.

    I refer to the above invoice. My rental was entirely satisfactory, in fact although I’d booked a guaranteed VW Polo, I was given a Golf which was a pleasant surprise. I also cannot fault the attitude of your staff at the rental station.

    However, there has been a lot of correspondence on various travel forums about extra charges, and in this respect I draw your attention to the charge of R26.84 for 1.98 litres of petrol. The car was refuelled prior to drop off, in Pinelands, 10km from the airport, and I made sure it was filled right up to the neck of the filler.

    It is impossible for the car, which averages 6 lt/100km, to have used 2 litres for a 10km journey driven at less than 100kph, which is 20 lt/100km. The engine was already warm as I had driven from Newlands before refuelling.

    It is hardly worth my while to write this email, but I hope you appreciate that people do check these invoices and do resent these devious charges.

    I do not want a refund.

    EDITED AS I REMEMBERED I REFUELLED IN PINELANDS which is even closer to the airport, previous post is wrong.

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