WARNING: Watch out for fuel re-charge scam at Avis

Reply

Old Mar 6, 19, 5:17 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Programs: BA Silver, Marriott Plat, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 209
WARNING: Watch out for fuel re-charge scam at Avis

As a tourist from the UK, I hired a car from King Shaka Airport in Durban, South Africa last month, which I returned early morning on the due date.

I had refuelled the vehicle to a full tank in Durban on the previous evening, so it was returned to Avis with a virtually full tank. I paid for the fuel in cash, so do not have a receipt.

The operative in the airport checked the vehicle over, and said all was fine. I asked him if any paper work was required and he said it was not necessary. He even helped me and my pregnant wife to carry my bags to the check in desk.

I was very surprised therefore to be charged a refuelling cost and for a full tank of petrol when they emailed me my final invoice a few days ago.

I called Avis in the UK and got a very non-committal response from them saying they would revert in 10-15 working days. I can guess what their response will be.

Personal learning: take a photo of the final fuel gauge and keep the fuel receipt before dropping the car off.
nollag is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 6, 19, 9:13 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: YYZ (ex-LHR)
Programs: BA Silver, VS Red, OZ Silver
Posts: 439
I don't think this is specific to fuel and more specific to South Africa and Avis's operations there. I've had similar scams attempted with me (non-existent damage and claiming I returned late) so I wouldn't walk away from a South African car now without a piece of paper signing off the rental.

In my situation I ended up doing a chargeback as both Avis UK and SA refused to engage with the issue despite the overwhelming evidence against them.
Loren Pechtel and Franky16 like this.
Skatering is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 6, 19, 9:27 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: SFO/MCI
Programs: DL GM 0.4MM, Hyatt Explorist, HHonors Gold, SPG Plat, Marriott Plat, Avis PC, National EE, Hertz PC
Posts: 1,434
I agree with above. South Africa operations for fuel are different from regular procedures from what I've read and seen. Hertz rental agreement even states that when returning a car with a fuel tank, you will still get hit with a "refueling surcharge" without paying for fuel. I believe Avis is similar as well.
kxc262 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 19, 12:12 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Not here; there!
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold
Posts: 21,150
Originally Posted by nollag View Post
As a tourist from the UK, I hired a car from King Shaka Airport in Durban, South Africa last month, which I returned early morning on the due date.

I had refuelled the vehicle to a full tank in Durban on the previous evening, so it was returned to Avis with a virtually full tank. I paid for the fuel in cash, so do not have a receipt.

The operative in the airport checked the vehicle over, and said all was fine. I asked him if any paper work was required and he said it was not necessary. He even helped me and my pregnant wife to carry my bags to the check in desk.

I was very surprised therefore to be charged a refuelling cost and for a full tank of petrol when they emailed me my final invoice a few days ago.

I called Avis in the UK and got a very non-committal response from them saying they would revert in 10-15 working days. I can guess what their response will be.

Personal learning: take a photo of the final fuel gauge and keep the fuel receipt before dropping the car off.
What does your rental contract say about fuel charges? If it says that you're going to be charged for a full tank of gas when you return the car, it doesn't matter whether you top off the tank, do or don't get a receipt (I don't know about South African gas stations, but I've certainly been able to get a receipt when paying cash at a gas station in the U.S.), or have a photo showing a full fuel tank at return.

If your rental agreement essentially requires you to purchase a tank of gas -- either at pick-up or at return -- there's obviously no point in topping off the tank.
guv1976 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 19, 5:46 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: LHR
Programs: BAEC Silver
Posts: 26
Iíve rented on numerous occasions throughout South Africa, mainly at JNB, CPT and DUR from both Avis and Hertz and never had a problem. Fuel policy has always been ďfull to fullĒ every time. I think pre-purchased fuel is available as an option but I always refuse it anyway. Maybe OP accepted without realising? Fuel stations all have pump attendants (no self-serve over there) and you can always ask for a receipt if they donít bring one automatically regardless whether you pay with cash or card. When returning the vehicles I always make a point of showing the agent the fuel receipt and ask them whether they need a copy. They never do, but it means they know Iíve filled up and can prove it. I follow this approach worldwide anyway, not just in SA.

Side note: Avis at JNB has a key locker for Preffered members with a SA drivers licence. Scans the barcode on the licence, opens the corresponding locker with car key and paperwork inside and voila. Or so thatís what it appears from what Iíve witnessed. Thereís no exit barrier from the parking lot so cars will never have keys inside them. Iíll be back there in a couple of weeks and will try remember to get a photo of the setup.
Macwaz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 8, 19, 1:18 am
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Programs: BA Silver, Marriott Plat, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 209
Avis RA states full to full, and the vehicle was returned with a full tank

My schoolboy error in not getting a fuel receipt. I guess I am too trusting
nollag is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 8, 19, 1:30 am
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Berlin, Germany; Toronto, Canada; and SW Florida, USA
Programs: UA 1K, BA Gold, Hyatt Globalist, and assorted others
Posts: 22,245
Originally Posted by nollag View Post
Personal learning: take a photo of the final fuel gauge and keep the fuel receipt before dropping the car off.
This is SOP these days. And do a quick photograph of all four sides of the car when you return it.
LondonElite is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 8, 19, 1:48 am
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Programs: BA Silver, Marriott Plat, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 209
Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
This is SOP these days. And do a quick photograph of all four sides of the car when you return it.
I did the external photos, but not the fuel gauge.

I would have expected more from a company like Avis than to stiff a customer like this.
nollag is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 8, 19, 1:55 am
  #9  
Ambassador: Emirates
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Economy, mostly :(
Programs: Skywards Gold
Posts: 7,300
I am South African and often rent cars in JNB for a day or two on work trips, I've never been hit with an additional fuel charge or fake damage claims. I also never use Avis or Hertz, because they're ridiculously overpriced and have massive queues, whereas Thrifty/Dollar or First Car Rental are usually more affordable, reliable and reputable. I think some of the anonymity of the global operations and franchise model of Avis/Hertz may cause less customer service and accountability.

I rented a car in JNB two weeks ago and noted the rental agreement specified that they refuel all vehicles, regardless of the fuel gauge, and if they need to refuel more than 3 litres they charge you for it, so perhaps that's what happened. Important to note that if you refuel just to the first click, there may be 1-2 litres of space still in the tank, and driving 10-15km could cause the overall space to be >3L. I generally refuel at the airport. Fuel prices in SA are regulated by law and identical in all locations so there is no risk of an airport surcharge or something like you might find in other countries where airport fuel stations charge more.

You get a receipt for a cash fuel purchase, too, you just need to ask for it.
Auto Enthusiast likes this.
skywardhunter is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 19, 8:29 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Programs: Flying Blue Platinum, SPG Gold, Hilton Gold, Hertz & Avis President's etc.
Posts: 13
It's not specific to SA. I had the same issue with AVIS in San Diego. Fortunately (!), I have been charged for an empty fuel tank and 2 days of extra rental. As It was at the airport and I've taken a plane to go back home (France) it couldn't be me (I could prove it with my boarding pass and passprt stamp). In addition I had pictures of the fuel level (as well fo the miles count) showing that the scam has been done by an AVIS employee.
But I took me a year to get refund as french franchise of AVIS didn't have any informaiton on the progress, I have to fill a complain to get my money back..
Pasdawan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 19, 8:33 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Cape Town
Programs: BAEC/SAA VOYAGER
Posts: 124
As a rule of thumb, I always refuel at the airport of departure, as most cities and airports have a fair distance between them. I donít believe this to be a ďscamĒ
FlyingRhino is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 19, 8:38 am
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Programs: BA Silver, Marriott Plat, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 209
I have spoken with my credit card company, and it looks like I can claim the overcharge back through UK consumer legislation:
https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rig...mer-credit-act

There may be similar laws in other countries to protect consumers from such a scam.
nollag is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 19, 8:38 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Programs: Flying Blue Platinum, SPG Gold, Hilton Gold, Hertz & Avis President's etc.
Posts: 13
Originally Posted by FlyingRhino View Post
As a rule of thumb, I always refuel at the airport of departure, as most cities and airports have a fair distance between them. I donít believe this to be a ďscamĒ
Well I don't know how you call it, but I have been charged $500 for:

Extra 3 days
Late return fee
Refuelling fee

While I was back in Paris
Pasdawan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 19, 8:40 am
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Programs: BA Silver, Marriott Plat, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 209
Originally Posted by Pasdawan View Post
Well I don't know how you call it, but I have been charged $500 for:

Extra 3 days
Late return fee
Refuelling fee

While I was back in Paris
If it looks like a scam, and it smells like a scam ... its probably a scam.
Loren Pechtel likes this.
nollag is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 19, 8:41 am
  #15  
Ambassador: Emirates
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Economy, mostly :(
Programs: Skywards Gold
Posts: 7,300
Originally Posted by Pasdawan View Post
Well I don't know how you call it, but I have been charged $500 for:

Extra 3 days
Late return fee
Refuelling fee

While I was back in Paris
Sure but I think FlyingRhino was responding to the OP
skywardhunter is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread