Car hire company shenanigans… AvisBack to Forum
I just rented a car from Hertz and thanks to the advice here I checked all the equipment was there to discover there was no warning triangle – a legal requirement in Europe. The representative actually said it was a good job I checked otherwise they would have charged me for a new one on returning the car!!!
As a side note, the car was CHF 32 a day – very reasonable. The addition of a second driver was CHF 15 a day – very unreasonable!6 Apr 2016
I have been quite recently as I have been uber busy on one contract and have not travelled much, but I am in the middle of an extended trip to see my kids across Europe and the Middle East and my car rental woes knows no bounds…
Issue 1: Get off long haul from Singapore Terminal 5 go to Avis where I have status and where I have on many occasions rocked up and car is ready and I can get away. Well apparently Avis have lost my details and I had to wait in a queue to give these details.
I was in a rush as I was driving to Gatwick to catch a plane to see my son in Israel and did not need the extra 45 mins for the woman to take my details, only to find they were there all the time!
Issue 2: Arrive into Ben Gurion in TLV and have pre booked a car through Hertz, I arrive at their booth and there are about 30 people before me and there are murders going on whereby Hertz were saying they had no cars and people had to wait for people to bring them back before they could satisfy the back log!
Having to drive distance and having now not slept for many hours I asked loudly whether there was a chance of getting my pre booked car and being told that there was no chance for the 3 hours at least!
Went to Avis where there was no queue and was offered a car immediately but had to pay $800 USD as a deposit which went off my card immediately but as yet has not been reimbursed almost 4 days later, and apparently this is normal with them saying it could take 8 days to reimburse!
Issue 3: Before leaving for Israel I informed Avis at Gatwick that my flight would be arriving 00.10 Monday am and would they please be able to assist with a car (Avis for some reason close at midnight)
The Manager said it would not be an issue they would leave the keys with EuropCar (who do open 24 hours) and I would be able to get away after they had closed! As it happened the flight was delayed 2 hours and then one hour to go through passport control (at 2am) in Gatwick (another story) to get to the hire car place at 3am to find that of course Avis had not done what they said they would and there was no key!
EuropCar were brilliant and sorted me a car quickly so I was able to get back to my hotel and when I arrived back to gatwick later that morning to collect my Avis car there was one Avis operative who was very unhelpful, and when I raised my voice the Manager who had offered to put the key came out and made his apologies and got me away with suitable compensation for my trouble and paying my rental of the night before…
What is it with car hire companies that they just dont seem to be able to get it right ???????11 May 2016
Like all big companies….they really don’t give a toss. Minimum wage staff who will say anything to get rid of you. Keys at Europcar…yes sir. Of course sir.
Isn’t that how airline call centres work though?11 May 2016
Kingston – whilst I can well appreciate your frustration with Avis regarding the (lack of) keys left with the other company, I would always book with a company that is open at the time I wish to collect the vehicle.11 May 2016
Seriously though…if you were in head on competition why would you handle keys for the opposition organisation.
I think most GCSE students would have seen through that one.
Yes sir, the BA counter will be closed but you can collect your boarding pass at the Virgin desk. Classic comedy.11 May 2016
It’s not classic comedy at all SimonS1. This kind of cooperation between competitors happens quite often. It may be a formal arrangement between companies or a local arrangement between local staff. When I was in travel, the other agent in town would help us out and vice versa.
I’m surprised that an airport car hire has restricted hours. Think I would have booked with another provider on that basis.12 May 2016
Are the Avis and Europcar stations at LGW franchises – owned by the same company? Why provide 24 hour coverage with two sets of staff?
That might explain the cooperation, although as Nigel says, cooperation in the travel industry is fare more widespread than realised.
When I was consulting at BA, LH had a checkin problem at one of the US stations where BA also had desks and the BA staff helped them to manually check in their pax to keep the area flowing. Airlines also often draw spares from each other at ‘away’ locations.12 May 2016
It is rather a two edged sword. Being co-operative with a competitor is all well and good, it can work for the customer and the consumer. However even at a local level it can quickly slide to collaboration to keep prices higher and stifle competition. Once that happens, the consumer is losing the advantages of competition and the business (even though Directors may be unaware) liable to fines that can be ginormous. Personally I would not trust a car high company as far as I could throw a spare wheel.12 May 2016
I have a few horror stories, but the one that takes the cake was the last time I was in the UK. It was an Avis car booked through Qantas.com.
The car class I booked through Qantas was “premium” with the example car being a BMW3 series. Imagine my surprise when I was handed the keys to a Skoda Octiva. Now I understand hire car companies have caveats that you may get an equivalent car but no way is a Skoda Octiva equivalent to a BMW 3 series.
When I questioned the car I was given I was told I was booked in F class and the Skoda was a car in that class. I said to the women do you consider a Skoda to be a premium car to which she answered no it, and the whole F class are considered to be standard sized saloons. I showed her my Qantas booking where it said my booking was for a premium car and she said again I was booked in F class and I have an F class car and any issues talk to the manager.
I did just that and the manager said I was given a car from the correct class I was booked in. I asked him too if a Skoda was considered premium and he said no, so I showed him my booking and asked him to explain why my booking said premium but I was booked in a class that isn’t considered premium. His response was this happens all the time, take the car or leave. Having the wife and kid with me, and setting out on a 2 week driving trip of the UK I took it, but gee was I angry.
When I got home I followed it up with both Qantas and Avis and after much finger pointing and saying not my problem, Qantas eventually got Avis UK to admit that the problem was the information THEY provided to the 3rd party booking system Qantas uses was incorrect.
I was fuming because the price I apid was a premium price. Whilst the Skoda was none too shabby out on the road and quite comfortable it certianly was not what I was expecting nor paid for.
I asked Avis for a refund for false and missleading advertsiing as they freely admitted to providing the wrong data, but all the would offer is a free upgrade to a premium car next time I am in the UK, with an expiry of 1 year. Yeah great I don’t travel on holidays and need a car all that often so totally usless.
Now if it had of been Avis Australia I would have taken them to consumer affairs, but being a foreigner just no point to following it up in the UKReally poor attitude from the Avis staff.
So end result next time I am in the UK Avis won’t be getting my business.12 May 2016
I find it amazing that we often pay a large brand, in advance, for a product or “similar” and what is supplied does not come near what is expected.
I recently stayed in a super 5 class+++ hotel and requested a certain room category, in advance with the assistance of both the hotel and the hotels own booking agency.
What was supplied, whilst comfortable, I do not believe was the requested room category or size.
So perhaps the question should be, how can we ensure we are supplied with the product we had thought we had paid for – even if this means avoiding the larger and more well known brands…..??
As a side……a survey for the Friday quiz.. Is a Skoda and BMW equal in status….?12 May 2016
NTarrantm if I had lived in the UK I would have. But in many ways I was over it (took about 4 months to get Avis to admit what the issue was) and reckon it would have been a bit hard to push my case in the UK from afar.13 May 2016
@NTarrant – good luck then. Maybe I am too simple but I wouldn’t be booking an Avis car with some form of ‘pick it up at Europcar’ deal.
Too many variables – key not there, car damaged, car not right class etc.
I gave up on Avis years ago, after an issue in Cape Town with the car aerial. I generally find independents to offer better service and funnily enough usually available at a time to suit the paying customer rather than themselves.13 May 2016