Avis - Reservations and foreign currency
Dec 15, 11, 12:21 pm
I'm a little confused about a reservation I made online for next April, picking up and dropping off in Bangkok. Throughout the booking process, I was seeing Thai baht. When I clicked to book, the screen was showing Thai baht. However, when it gave me the confirmation screen, it had changed to US dollars. So my question is what have I actually reserved?
I emailed Avis and they said I should talk to the local store when I get there about what currency I want to be charged in, but that doesn't really answer my question. Thoughts?
Dec 17, 11, 6:21 pm
Your reservation is definintely in Thai currency. The US dollars is only an estimate at this point.
A totally separate issue is how you will be billed. Even if you are billed in US dollars, it will be based on a conversion rate at that time, not today's conversion rate (which all a confirmation screen today can show0.
Now, as to whether you'll be billed in US dollars or not: If this is the first time you've rented outside the US, they should ask you which way you want it. Once you choose, that's the way your other outside-the-US rentals will be billed. So if you have already done an Avis rental outside the US before, this reservation will be billed the same (whether in local currency or in US dollars).
Avis likes to push US dollars billing because they make money it. It originated in the days when creidt cards charges for foreign currency, but these days they either charge for foreign transacations (ie, a Thai rental office billing in US dollars) or not at all (for 0% forex cards). So for most people today there's zero advantage to being billed in US dollars (unless perhaps you are gettin reimbursed for the car rental by your employer and the employer prefers it that way).
The practice of charging in your home currency, instead of the local currency, is called Dynamic Currency Conversion. With that term, you can search for more discussions on the subject. Here's one thread on it here in the Avis forum:
Dec 20, 11, 3:17 am
Yes, I always make sure to pay in local currency. Never accept a vendor to do the conversion for you.
And I too experience the reservation process where it is in local currency throughout and you get the confirmation in dollars.
Dec 20, 11, 12:24 pm
Thank you both for the replies. I suspected that, regardless of what Avis customer service was telling me, the actual reservation was being made in the local (Thai) currency. I've read about the DCC before and will be sure to insist on being charged in baht. I do wish though that I could print out a reservation confirmation with the actual reservation amount (in Thai baht). I always prefer to carry a printed reservation confirmation with me.
Dec 20, 11, 2:25 pm
You can always cancel and re-do the reservation and print the last screen that shows the total in Baht. Also, if your reservation shows unlimited km, it's useful to have that on paper just in case.
I rented in Chiang Rai earlier this year and had no problems. Excellent Avis service there.
Dec 21, 11, 3:03 pm
I've read about the DCC before and will be sure to insist on being charged in baht.
Carefully read anything you're asked to sign at the counter when you're picking up the car. If you're asked to sign something, it may have something about the currency you'll be charged in buried in the middle of it (that happened to me in Hungary), and you'll want to redline it if it's incorrect.
If you ever (even if accidentally, by signing something you didn't realize had that in it) authorize DCC, it may apply not only to that rental but also to all subsequent rentals, until you go through the hard work of getting it removed from your account again.