By: Revanche

Shame on you, Avis

August 2, 2012

Avis likes to bill itself as the car company that is “in the business of treating people like people” but after this last straw I would suggest that, as an absolute value, that means very much the same as “crap.”

PiC recently rented from them on a trip and I am appalled at the cavalier way Avis handled the situation.

He had prebooked the rental: prescheduled the pick-up and drop-off times, and prepaid as well.*

He happened to arrive to the rental agency earlier than expected and asked the logical questions:

1. Can I pick up the car early?
2. Will I have to return it early (because he had prescheduled events and needed it the full time)?
3. Will there be any extra charges if I take it early and do not return it early?

To make it more clear, he added: If there will be any extra charges, I can wait the extra hour.

The girl at the front desk said: Yes, No and No. Most certainly no problems with that.  I would have insisted on getting that noted in writing but I’m a suspicious sort of character.

He came back at the preappointed time only to be held hostage for half again the cost of the rental for the additional time he had the car.  Say again: he had the car a mere hour and some extra, and they charged him half the cost of the weekend.

Abso-screeching-lutely not.

He had a conversation with another CSR at that point and that fine fellow had the nerve to say that yes, indeed, he had been given the wrong information at check-in, BUT it was his responsibility to know better and to follow the contract instead.

Are. You. Kidding?  You ask questions because a live human being should be intelligent enough to know how to handle “unusual circumstances”!  Like when they can or cannot make exceptions for a prepaid contracted customer!

And you, with something-teen years of experience, you can sit there and say that it’s the customer’s fault that he was given bad information when he asked a question that he should reasonably be able to provided an answer. And if your staff are ignorant or incompetent, then you should be taking this as a sign to remedy that problem post-haste, not turning around and pushing blame on the customer.  And to compound the issue by insisting that the customer who was poorly served with bad information, the customer who was perfectly willing not to take the car until it was the scheduled time specifically to avoid incurring that cost, insisting that he is at fault and needs to pay?

No, dear.

1. Dispute charge with credit card company.
2. Scathing blog post.
3. Slightly less scathing letter to Corporate to share the glorious service experience they have provided.
4.  Wait to see whether we black list Avis. Your move, Avis.

*Never again.

11 Responses to “Shame on you, Avis”

  1. Incredibly lame. Wonder how and if they will rectify it.

  2. Noted for the next time I am considering car rentals.

  3. Caitlin says:

    Urgh, that really stinks and I hope you guys get it resolved in your favor.

    A friend of mine had a similar experience recently. He got a quote at the salon for is hair color and cut at $70 total. He ended up having to do color one day and the haircut the next day. He paid for the service in full on the first day with a huge tip. Next day as he was leaving after the haircut, the manager told him he still owed $45. She did acknowledge that she misquoted the price to him before. He ended up paying that additional $45.

    When did it become okay to change pricing after it was quoted and the service was already completed? And when did it become the customer’s fault for these employees’ mistakes? It baffles me…

    • Revanche says:

      That’s also not ok. If you didn’t properly quote the customer and completed service already, that’s your mistake and you can’t make the customer pay up the difference. You are only allowed to let them know that you made that mistake so their expectations are appropriately aligned for the future.

      These people need to learn how to conduct business if they ever want repeat customers. I’ve worked in business for umpteen years and if you don’t want to operate at a loss, then don’t make stupid mistakes and compound it with poor judgment. That starts with not quoting bad prices but if you do, then don’t alienate your customers when *you* make mistakes in the first place.

  4. Shelley says:

    That’s completely ridiculous and that CSR is an idiot. If you don’t get satisfaction on this one, I’ll be very disappointed. I can’t remember ever using a car from Avis, though I’ve rented plenty in the last 16 years. I don’t think they’ve ever been the best deal we could find. I’m guessing that now you think they weren’t the best deal either.

    • Revanche says:

      No, I didn’t think they’ve ever offered the best pricing though perhaps in this case they might have had it with the prepaid option. They sure managed to spike that advantage and trash their own reputation as well though.

  5. One of many reasons I don’t travel anymore, unless I can get there in my own car. Ugh!

    The problem is, this kind of customer disservice has become SOP. Yours is not the first story I’ve heard where the customer was told that it didn’t matter what the CSR said, it was somehow the customer’s responsibility to figure out the answer on his or her own.

    Apparently so many people just roll over, the customer disservice agents and their bosses have learned they can get away with anything they please. And if only a tiny minority complains, they surely can.

  6. I am JUST about to book a car rental with Avis since they offer one-way rentals…this makes me think twice..ruh-roh! I’m sorry you had a bad experience…as if travel isn’t stressful enough sometimes!

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