Sleezy Avis business practices

Old Sep 18, 14, 7:36 pm
  #1  
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Sleezy Avis business practices

I rented a convertible from Avis for two days (at Orlando airport) at a special pre-reserved web rate of USD 120 all-in for two days. When I arrived at the counter at Orlando airport, an agent by the name of ***** pulled out an ipad and showed me the picture of a Camaro convertible. "Would this be fine?". I said it looks good, "so please sign on the dotted lines on the electronic display". Which I did. When I returned the car I was surprised that the total charges turned out to be more than USD 400!! Upon closer inspection I noticed that ***** had charged me an upgrade charge of USD 105 (!) per day, without saying a word about it!! So I returned to the Avis rental counter where ***** happened to be around. I asked him about the charges, and he said you signed the contract. I told him that he never mentioned a word about an extra charge for the car, on which he replied that I should have read the fine print on the screen. I told him that I expect him to tell me verbally about any upselling charges, to which he repeated his reply that I should have read the fine print. And smiled ...! What a crook.

Just for your background: I am renting rental cars around 60 times per year, and I regularly get allocated larger cars than I booked, without any charges; so the allocation of the Camaro - which i expected free-of-extra-charges since nothing was ever mentioned - did not come as a surprise to me. The webpage of Avis that I used (avis.de) does not even show more than one category of convertibles! The business behavior of ***** is appalling. I am surprised that a firm like Avis is employing crooks like this guy. I called the Avis customer service line, but the agent could not care less (also, "her system was down" so she could not provide me with a complaint number ...).

I always thought Avis was relatively trustworthy amongst rental car firms. Not anymore.

What do you think I should do?
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Old Sep 18, 14, 7:46 pm
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Dispute with your credit card, complain to the better business bureau and call avis back.
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Old Sep 18, 14, 8:28 pm
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You will lose the dispute if Avis has a form (or electronic copy) with your signature / approval of the rate.

I would start with a webform to Avis which focuses on the facts. Cut out 3/4 of what is in the OP as it is not relevant.
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Old Sep 18, 14, 8:45 pm
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What the Avis rep did is very sleazy, and the OP should have read the rental agreement before signing it.
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Old Sep 18, 14, 10:18 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
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What the Avis rep did is very sleazy, and the OP should have read the rental agreement before signing it.

Bottom line.
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Old Sep 18, 14, 10:52 pm
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All this could have been avoided with the simple question..."for the same price?"
The printed contract AVIS gives with the rental also shows the daily charge, so this could have been checked also before leaving. Another way to check is some larger AVIS lots have a upgrade row and an exchange row, which are usually clearly marked. Upcharges for upgrades are calculated at the exit gate, but you still get a slip of paper with the new daily charges from the agent at the gate.

I was upgraded to a Camaro convertible at no charge once at CLE, but I made sure my receipt still showed a $33 daily charge.

I rent over 60 Avis rentals per year and usually don't have issues, except for the MUAA004 AA mileage bonus is ending soon.

- outoftown
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Old Sep 18, 14, 11:00 pm
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Originally Posted by sz2628 View Post
Bottom line.
Originally Posted by outoftown View Post
All this could have been avoided with the simple question..."for the same price?"
You are both correct of course but the agent crook's method has no place in a sensible society.

In my limited experience with rental cars, I am often given the choice to upgrade. The verbiage is always "would you like to upgrade to a ___ for just ___ more per day?" so it's even possible this Orlando agent was not even following company policy.
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Old Sep 18, 14, 11:05 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
You will lose the dispute if Avis has a form (or electronic copy) with your signature / approval of the rate.
I would rebut, "This is not the rate to which I agreed at signing."

A written signature on a printed contract is not, in itself, immune to scrutiny.
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Old Sep 18, 14, 11:12 pm
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Originally Posted by CalFlyer View Post
I rented a convertible from Avis for two days (at Orlando airport) at a special pre-reserved web rate of USD 120 all-in for two days. When I arrived at the counter at Orlando airport, an agent by the name of ***** pulled out an ipad and showed me the picture of a Camaro convertible. "Would this be fine?". I said it looks good, "so please sign on the dotted lines on the electronic display". Which I did. When I returned the car I was surprised that the total charges turned out to be more than USD 400!! Upon closer inspection I noticed that ***** had charged me an upgrade charge of USD 105 (!) per day, without saying a word about it!! So I returned to the Avis rental counter where ***** happened to be around. I asked him about the charges, and he said you signed the contract. I told him that he never mentioned a word about an extra charge for the car, on which he replied that I should have read the fine print on the screen. I told him that I expect him to tell me verbally about any upselling charges, to which he repeated his reply that I should have read the fine print. And smiled ...! What a crook.

Just for your background: I am renting rental cars around 60 times per year, and I regularly get allocated larger cars than I booked, without any charges; so the allocation of the Camaro - which i expected free-of-extra-charges since nothing was ever mentioned - did not come as a surprise to me. The webpage of Avis that I used (avis.de) does not even show more than one category of convertibles! The business behavior of ***** is appalling. I am surprised that a firm like Avis is employing crooks like this guy. I called the Avis customer service line, but the agent could not care less (also, "her system was down" so she could not provide me with a complaint number ...).

I always thought Avis was relatively trustworthy amongst rental car firms. Not anymore.

What do you think I should do?
You rent 60x per year and you don't at least have Avis Preferred status?
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Old Sep 18, 14, 11:39 pm
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Take your business to another rental agency. With 60 rentals per year, I'd go to National and choose the car I wanted for the same price.
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Old Sep 19, 14, 3:27 am
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Sorry, personal attribute, but when I see a post with an overuse of punctuation like *, !, and/or ?, I start giving the other party (Avis, in this case) the benefit of the doubt.

Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
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What the Avis rep did is very sleazy, and the OP should have read the rental agreement before signing it.
Originally Posted by sz2628 View Post
Bottom line.
Ding ding ding!

Originally Posted by Critic View Post
You rent 60x per year and you don't at least have Avis Preferred status?
@:-)
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Old Sep 19, 14, 6:28 am
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Originally Posted by LAXative View Post
Sorry, personal attribute, but when I see a post with an overuse of punctuation like *, !, and/or ?, I start giving the other party (Avis, in this case) the benefit of the doubt.
Maybe you should not be jumping to conclusions so quickly. I wrote my text right after arriving at the lounge, so I was still quite angry. The facts are simple: I put my signatures on the respective dotted lines TRUSTING that my business partner Avis would not pull off a bait-and-switch scheme on me. This is what I am furious about. Nobody reads the fine print on that small electronic screen (at least I have never seen anyone read it).

By the way, my 60 rentals are mostly with Sixt and Hertz - where I never had such a problem.

I submitted a complaint with Avis online, and I will keep you posted on the reply.
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Old Sep 19, 14, 6:39 am
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Originally Posted by CalFlyer View Post
This is what I am furious about. Nobody reads the fine print on that small electronic screen (at least I have never seen anyone read it).
Think again... I never sign something without reading, if not on the screen I make sure to have read the printed contract before driving of the lot.
And never trust car rental companies...

Last edited by RTW1; Sep 19, 14 at 7:12 am
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Old Sep 19, 14, 7:00 am
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Avis marketing VS Avis front-line operations, I've been discovering, are two very different beasts. I assume they are always trying to find a way to nickle-and-dime me once they get my business, so, whenever possible, try to protect myself.

Example 1: I approach any customer goodwill gesture with suspicion now. Verbalizing my AvisFirst status then offering a nicer car, does not mean the nicer car comes complimentary.

Example 2: An agent verbally saying a "few dings on the bumper are no big deal" holds little value when the return agent feels otherwise. It needs to be documented.
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Old Sep 19, 14, 3:07 pm
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Originally Posted by CalFlyer View Post
Maybe you should not be jumping to conclusions so quickly. I wrote my text right after arriving at the lounge, so I was still quite angry. The facts are simple: I put my signatures on the respective dotted lines TRUSTING that my business partner Avis would not pull off a bait-and-switch scheme on me. This is what I am furious about. Nobody reads the fine print on that small electronic screen (at least I have never seen anyone read it).

By the way, my 60 rentals are mostly with Sixt and Hertz - where I never had such a problem.
You say "nobody reads the fine print" like that's actually a valid excuse that would garner sympathy for your position.

And so you would blindly sign on the dotted line with Sixt and Hertz as well?

Good luck with that.
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