Car hire company shenanigans… AvisBack to Forum
At the Avis desk in Alicante the renter in front of me was told he had to buy a full tank of petrol at the outset and there was no option. He complained that he had booked the car through Expedia and there was no mention which was dismissed. Having heard that I didn’t query it so paid for a full tank. On my return having left a dreg in the tank the guy at the drop off said you will be charged for fuel and I said “no already paid for a full tank”. With a plane to catch he said leave it with him. Needless to say I was charged a full tank again on my card. The additional part of this story is I had a flat tyre which Avis do not offer repairs for, so halfway through the 6 day rental I exchanged the car for a different one. They then charged another full tank because they said it was two rentals!!. I said the second car was a replacement not a new reservation. There then came a further charge for supposed flat tyre damage which no one commented on when I picked up the replacement car and an accident admin charge. These were eventually refunded by Amex after some aggressive calls to Amex who also dodged and ducked. Avis didn’t want to know and never heard back from them. Avis Reservations in Spain confirmed there are always fuel options. So insist on “I’ll fill it up before I get back”. When I go to Alicante I use Gold Car very good. They charge you for a full tank but credit you with unused petrol..24 Jun 2015
As an agent booking car hires regularly I can say the problems everyone has mentioned above with Avis are recurring very often.
This is especially so in the US where as mentioned, the desk staff act as though they are second hand car salespeople, trying to flog off anything that will add a cost to the rental.
In Europe, the rental desk staff are a little more cunning in how they catch you out. They basically put the rental agreement infront of you in the local language and expect you to sign for it or not get a vehicle. Upon post rental inspection the rental desk has added on all possible extras/insurances at quite a cost. When arguing the case with Avis, their defence is “the driver signed for it”, which I find quite ridiculous.
Another problem is the company either overcharging or charging for a vehicle type that wasn’t used at all.
I’d suggest anyone collecting a car from Avis in a location which isn’t as familiar to them – take a notepad and get the desk staff to sign that you have not signed for any extras, or higher vehicle type. Play them at their own game so that if they do overcharge, you can slap them out of your way with the paperwork.
I also know why a lot of people still book with Avis despite all these problems (myself included). The booking process with Avis is actually very good and straightforward. It just seems to be the rental/post rental experience that is ruining it for us all. I’ve passed on my worries to the company so hopefully they will be able to do something in the future to remedy this.24 Jun 2015
Handbag, Simon sums it up nicely. The other side, and what happened to Mrs. LP is she returned the car two thirds full, and they billed her a full tank. they relented and only charged her half a tank, albeit at 20p a litre more than the forecourt price and a £10 refueling fee!
I’ll relate a nice story on this a little later. I’m busy booking tickets now!24 Jun 2015
I have said many times that the car hire industry is not customer friendly and very inconsistent amongst the band from site to site.
My last hire was Avis in Larnaca, an hour queuing, forget Preffered, a tatty car which had 80k Kim’s on the clock and cigarette burns on the seats. This is the second time I have had a car from Avis here and in the same condition.
They insist on a receipt for fuel, it’s in a poor location and staff surly. I’m unlikely to use Avis here again.24 Jun 2015
I have an idea for a good franchise for a business close to the hire-car locations, operated in conjunction with a local petrol station – offer a ‘We-Buy-Any-Fuel.com” service, whereby any excess fuel is pumped out of the tank just before returning the vehicle to the rental company and then filtered & recycled for use in other vehicles.
The buy-back rate would be set so that a decent profit is built in for the franchsisee and the rental customer doesn’t get ripped-off for unused fuel.
Any takers?24 Jun 2015
Thanks Lugano Pirate. I guess I have never have a problem as I always do full to full. I pay for the fuel and then fill up at the petrol station right by the airport. Petrol is always refunded.24 Jun 2015
never used Avis, and frankly having read this thread never would. I used to use Alamo but don’t think they are around anymore, they were pretty good. I use Europcar or Enterprise, and have had similar problems with both.
In Australia due to a bit of mud on the car they accused me of taking it off road and tried to charge me a $1000 penalty. I was having none of it, took me thirty minutes of rather undignified arguing but I walked out with my pride and 2k intact.24 Jun 2015
Actually not one but two stories.
Renting from one of the majors they gave me a Hybrid and foolishly I fell for the upsell of a tank of fuel. About a mile or two from LCY on the return I ran out of petrol, but the electric motor carried me to the LCY car return point and conked out as I was reversing. My colleague and I pushed the car back into place and the attendant made the report for the front desk. They informed me I’d have to pay a refuel fee and call out and wanted I think £150.
I told them they had sold me a tank, and in his words, “I could bring the car back empty” and that’s what I’d done. Despite his protests about common sense etc I held my ground and after a call or two they cancelled the charge.
Interestingly, they no longer have these hybrids so i wonder if other people did this as well?
My other case concerned a damaged front bumper thanks to a hole in the road in South Africa. I took it to a garage, they repaired the plastic in about 20 minutes and added a bit of paint. Cost, the equivalent of £60 (including the offered surcharge to drop their other work and do mine instead) and a lot less than the £600 Hertz would have charged.24 Jun 2015
Gulp! This is filling me with foreboding. Picked up a car from Avis NAP this afternoon (rather than from FCO, where we had originally booked to/from – but that’s another thread).
Having pre-booked and paid for this through BA Holidays, I was mildly concerned when Avis insisted on taking an Amex card impression when we were not seeking or agreeing to any “extras”. They even recognised the excess insurance policy I had previously bought in the UK. Upon arrival in rural Umbria, I receive a text message from Amex fraud prevention services asking whether we had authorised a payment (just under €100) from Avis NAP… Err, no we had not… I now look forward to a bare-knuckle fight with Avis at FCO in a couple of weeks time.
I recall being told, this was some 20 years ago mind, that car manufacturers sell to car rental firms at almost cost price simply in order to get their volume figures up for market share marketing purposes. The rental operations then flog the vehicles into the second hand market after six months earning a very decent margin. Add in the proliferation of “add on” services and they are generating quite a decent return. BTW, the latest variant on the “up-selling” front is that Avis now offer, at a modest additional €3.50 p.d., a 24/7 emergency fix anything, anytime, anywhere service. So just what is that emergency number that they have been providing all this time supposed to be?24 Jun 2015
Not good Anthony but indicative of the type of people you are dealing with. Spivs and chancers who will do anything to make an extra buck. It started years ago with $7 a day to hire the cheapest, nastiest child seat existing, went through the insurance scam, then extortionate damage repair charges for damage never actually repaired and they now seem to have recycled the full tank/empty tank scam.
These are the lowest people on the travel food chain, really. I would rather have a red hot poker stuck up my backside than deal with Avis,24 Jun 2015
Cheers guys I am picking up my Avis car T5 at LHR tomorrow morning and I have prepaid for the car, good to know what I could expect when i get there! I will have got off a 13 hour flight they will not want to piss me off thats for sure 🙂25 Jun 2015
We have recently started to use Avis alongside Hertz as car rental companies of choice in our travel management tool.
My 1st booking with Avis , 1 day in Atlanta GA, same car, same ‘add on’s’ – as follows;
1 – Book on Avis USA website as a ‘guest’ (no affiliations added to booking) – £31
2 – Book using my Avis Wizard number – £48
3 – Book using our travel management tool which includes group corporate discount & my wizard number – £64
I booked with Hertz instead – £4625 Jun 2015
LuganoP: your paint job has reminded me of a Sri Lankan car hire back in the 70’s.
Was driving quite slowly down a hill when I hit a section with bumps like a series of mexican topes. Result the oil light came on and the sump had been cracked. Stopped in the small village at the bottom of the hill and enquired for a garage – none, but there was someone with welding equipment. Sometime later I was on the back of a motorbike off to buy replacement oil at the next small town then back to fill up, buy curries for my new helpmates and back on the road. Luckily no more problems and no charges on the car return in Columbo.25 Jun 2015
Hello Anthony –
That was the point I made above. Car rental is all to do with residual pricing which can vary from year to year, season to season.
In the case of the UK, some years back (when the auto manufacturers were flooding the market with new cars) the rental firms were keeping them on fleet for only four months.
But about five years ago in the UK, when raising cash was difficult (for the rental firms) they were keeping their vehicles on fleet for one or two years.
However these examples concern only the UK. Market conditions will vary elsewhere and that is why NTarrant (see above) ended up renting ” tatty car with 80,000 kms on the clock” in Larnaca.25 Jun 2015