Avis is charging me thousands with no explanation

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
Oct 3, 2017
20
9
3
29
#24
Alright. Busy weekend; finally had time to write a response. I plan to send this to the first executive contact since my reply to the customer service rep has gone unanswered for two weeks now.

This is what I've got:

------------

Dear XXXXXX,

I’m writing regarding rental number EXXXXX and case #XXXXXXXX.

Long story short:
  • In September 2017, I rented a car through Avis for 2 weeks in Italy
  • After a few days, my first car suffered a flat tire. I returned it promptly.
  • My second car had serious engine problems after driving it twice. It required towing.
  • Upon returning my third car at the airport, I saw fees for 1500+ Euros. I declined liability for those charges.
  • Over $3,000 in charges appeared on my card the next week
  • No itemization/receipt was provided to me
It’s been over a month of back and forth over the phone and via email. I seem to have hit a dead end dealing with customer service, thus I am escalating the case with you.

The current situation is that:
  • A $1,347 pending charge has been dropped against my credit card
  • Of a $1,965 posted charge, $832 has been refunded.
  • I still have a charge for ~$648 more than the $485 I was originally quoted (confirmation #XXXXXXXXXXXX)
  • Avis has not replied back to me in 14 days with any updates
As you can see, both incidents that occurred with the rental cars were due to typical wear and tear and/or poor condition and/or poor maintenance of the vehicles, as they were initially received into my care. I did not cause any damage to them, I was just the unlucky person whom happened to be driving them when they finally failed.

Because of this, I am asking for a full refund of the remaining ~$648 I've been overcharged in order to close this case. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and I look forward to hearing your reply.

Best,

Alessandro
 
Oct 3, 2017
20
9
3
29
#26
Alright, so it's getting interesting now.

I reached out to the bottom two Avis executives on the Elliot list, each a week apart. When I reached out to the second one yesterday morning, I immediately received a response telling me I should receive a followup within a day or two. I did, from the person who had been ignoring me for over three weeks now...

Thank you for your patience during the handling of your billing inquiry.

We have received a response from our Operations Manager. We found that the tire damage was not attributable to any pre-existing damage on the vehicle. Therefore we find the damage charge based upon the repair invoice (143.06 EUR + taxes) and the refueling fee (143.36 EUR + taxes) to be correctly billed.

We did find that you have been billed for one-way fee as well (80.00 EUR plus tax). As you have involved your credit card company with this dispute we are not in the position to issue any refund. We are unable to provide any further assistance pending written confirmation from your bank that their dispute has been closed. We regret any inconvenience this may cause.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to address your concerns.
Alright, so several points here:
  • This is the first time anything has been itemized. Progress!
  • It looks like all the damages they want to charge me for have to do with my flat tire experience, not for the car that had engine troubles
  • Now that I have "involved my credit card company" they don't want to do anything else
Let's start with the tire. How exactly did they determine it was my fault? There was a pinhole leak on the INSIDE wall of the tire, facing the car... How does one even cause that sort of damage to a tire?

As for the refueling, they're charging me 143 Euros because I returned a car with a flat tire without first stopping for gas? While this is probably their most "legitimate" charge, I still think it's crazy. Not only was I grossly inconvenienced and short on time because I had to deal with their flat tire, but I was anxious about driving the car on a spare tire to begin with so I did what I could to return it as fast as possible. When I returned it, there was roughly a half tank of gas. How does that add up to almost 150 euros? It seems punitive in nature when you factor that charge against the poor experience and inconvenience I experienced.

As for needing to involve my credit card company, and for that reason denying any further refunds: I think this is total bullshit. I involved my credit card company because they put over 3 grand on my credit card without talking to me. They never reached out to explain anything, they just charged money and refused to tell me anything when I would contact them. My fiancé and I spent a lot of time trying to contact them with no response or help: what other course of action could we take?

In addition, I did NOT begin the process for a chargeback at this time. I simply asked my credit card company to freeze the charge until one of us received an itemization of the damages. At that point, I would either pay the charge, or contest the damages if I felt they were unfair. As can be seen, since I have already been refunded several hundred Euro, it would have been foolish for me to either (a) pay the charge immediately or (b) allow the charge to accrue interest on my card. Thus, I was forced to freeze the charge pending the receipt of itemized charges against me.

Anyway, that's what I have. I'm not feeling quite as confident due to their response, but will have time later to write something up and reply. Let me know what you guys think about how I should angle my reply...
 
Feb 9, 2016
2,449
2,797
113
#27
As far as the tire goes, now you need to go after their records for that.

Tires have a projected lifespan IF they are maintained properly. Checking tire air pressure, and regular tire maintenance such as rotation, alignment and inspections are included in this situation.

Allowing a tire to run under suggested air pressure will ensure that said tire can be punctured by debris on the road.

So now you need to go after them and ask for the vehicle maintenance records. Let them know that running any vehicle with under inflated tires will cause the tire to become punctured with road debris. let them know that you are willing to entertain damage to the tire if they can show you that the tires on this vehicle were PROPERLY maintained.

You also need to see the original receipt of purchase for the tire, so you can determine how old the tire is. and you need to know the mileage on the vehicle when the tire was placed on the vehicle. Again, tires have a lifespan in mileage. You can pro rate payment for the actual tire based on all of this.

Remain agreeable. you are willing to entertain their claim, you just need information that supports the claim - not simply the justification of "because we can assign the cost to you".

I had a rental car situation once where my tire went flat. I drove it from DEN to keystone and parked it for 4 days, and went skiing. The day we left the tire was dead flat. We put the spare on and rove it to get it plugged so we could make it down the mountain. Tire repair shop said they couldn't repair it because it had been driven too may times low on air pressure. This was evidenced because the sidewalls on the INSIDE of the tire had worn away to exposed metal. This was an indication that multiple renters had experience a low air pressure situation n simply refilled the tire and returned it - and/or the rental company had done the same to us.
 
Feb 9, 2016
2,449
2,797
113
#28
you drove the car and used their gas. I would acquiesce that, while you understand their point, you were more concerned with returning a disabled vehicle promptly. They are charging you a penalty per liter of gas to replace it. Offer them a reasonable amount to replace the gas. Find out the standard per liter cost of gas, add fifty cents per liter, or something, to the per liter charge and offer them that a compromise.
 
Last edited:
Feb 9, 2016
2,449
2,797
113
#29
also, something to disclose

would your tire hold air? once you saw the flat, did you refill it and DRIVE it to Avis?

if it was a slow leak you probably had the same situation that I did, with the tire. Renters had re inflated it and returned it.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,024
12,256
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#30
Alright, so it's getting interesting now.

I reached out to the bottom two Avis executives on the Elliot list, each a week apart. When I reached out to the second one yesterday morning, I immediately received a response telling me I should receive a followup within a day or two. I did, from the person who had been ignoring me for over three weeks now...



Alright, so several points here:
  • This is the first time anything has been itemized. Progress!
  • It looks like all the damages they want to charge me for have to do with my flat tire experience, not for the car that had engine troubles
  • Now that I have "involved my credit card company" they don't want to do anything else
Let's start with the tire. How exactly did they determine it was my fault? There was a pinhole leak on the INSIDE wall of the tire, facing the car... How does one even cause that sort of damage to a tire?

As for the refueling, they're charging me 143 Euros because I returned a car with a flat tire without first stopping for gas? While this is probably their most "legitimate" charge, I still think it's crazy. Not only was I grossly inconvenienced and short on time because I had to deal with their flat tire, but I was anxious about driving the car on a spare tire to begin with so I did what I could to return it as fast as possible. When I returned it, there was roughly a half tank of gas. How does that add up to almost 150 euros? It seems punitive in nature when you factor that charge against the poor experience and inconvenience I experienced.

As for needing to involve my credit card company, and for that reason denying any further refunds: I think this is total bullshit. I involved my credit card company because they put over 3 grand on my credit card without talking to me. They never reached out to explain anything, they just charged money and refused to tell me anything when I would contact them. My fiancé and I spent a lot of time trying to contact them with no response or help: what other course of action could we take?

In addition, I did NOT begin the process for a chargeback at this time. I simply asked my credit card company to freeze the charge until one of us received an itemization of the damages. At that point, I would either pay the charge, or contest the damages if I felt they were unfair. As can be seen, since I have already been refunded several hundred Euro, it would have been foolish for me to either (a) pay the charge immediately or (b) allow the charge to accrue interest on my card. Thus, I was forced to freeze the charge pending the receipt of itemized charges against me.

Anyway, that's what I have. I'm not feeling quite as confident due to their response, but will have time later to write something up and reply. Let me know what you guys think about how I should angle my reply...
I have never heard of freezing a credit card charge waiting for more evidence. That is called a dispute. If they know about this, it would seem that your credit card company has contacted them. And they are correct- once you start a dispute they won't talk to you anymore.
I recommend you call your credit card company and find out where you are in the dispute process. If the cc company filed a dispute- you could be put in a potential situation you might lose.

The only issue you might have now is that if they provide the cc company with the details you ask for, the cc company may close the dispute in the car rentals favor simply for them providing the detailed info. If you didn't file your dispute with the company for unauthorized charge, you could potentially lose the case.

Contact your credit card company and ask them what they did.
 
Oct 3, 2017
20
9
3
29
#31
you drove the car and used their gas. I would acquiesce that, while you understand their point, you were more concerned with returning a disabled vehicle promptly. They are charging you a penalty per liter of gas to replace it. Offer them a reasonable amount to replace the gas. Find out the standard per liter cost of gas, add fifty cents per liter, or something, to the per liter charge and offer them that a compromise.
I'd be totally fine coming up with a compromise on that point. I will work that into my next reply (if it even makes sense to reply).

also, something to disclose

would your tire hold air? once you saw the flat, did you refill it and DRIVE it to Avis?

if it was a slow leak you probably had the same situation that I did, with the tire. Renters had re inflated it and returned it.
I returned to the car from dinner, turned it on, and the car's computer indicated that a tire had gone flat. I exited the car, checked, and verified that the tire was leaking air (I could hear the air escaping from the pinhole). I swapped with a spare tire and returned the car to Avis the next day.

I have never heard of freezing a credit card charge waiting for more evidence. That is called a dispute. If they know about this, it would seem that your credit card company has contacted them. And they are correct- once you start a dispute they won't talk to you anymore.
I recommend you call your credit card company and find out where you are in the dispute process. If the cc company filed a dispute- you could be put in a potential situation you might lose.

The only issue you might have now is that if they provide the cc company with the details you ask for, the cc company may close the dispute in the car rentals favor simply for them providing the detailed info. If you didn't file your dispute with the company for unauthorized charge, you could potentially lose the case.

Contact your credit card company and ask them what they did.
Semantics, I guess. I was told to call Chase and freeze the charge...which I did. I guess it makes sense that this would start a dispute, but I wasn't in much of a position to do anything different about it.

When I called Chase to follow up about a week ago, they said they were still waiting for Avis to reply and that I would receive follow-up by mail once Avis has sent them anything. Avis has until November 8th to provide them documentation supporting the charge. I can try calling back again tomorrow if you think that would help.

Anyway, am I really shit out of luck at this point? No amount of escalation at Avis that can solve the issue so long as Chase receives "good enough" paperwork to backup the charge? Should I even bother replying to them?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,024
12,256
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#32
I'd be totally fine coming up with a compromise on that point. I will work that into my next reply (if it even makes sense to reply).



I returned to the car from dinner, turned it on, and the car's computer indicated that a tire had gone flat. I exited the car, checked, and verified that the tire was leaking air (I could hear the air escaping from the pinhole). I swapped with a spare tire and returned the car to Avis the next day.



Semantics, I guess. I was told to call Chase and freeze the charge...which I did. I guess it makes sense that this would start a dispute, but I wasn't in much of a position to do anything different about it.

When I called Chase to follow up about a week ago, they said they were still waiting for Avis to reply and that I would receive follow-up by mail once Avis has sent them anything. Avis has until November 8th to provide them documentation supporting the charge. I can try calling back again tomorrow if you think that would help.

Anyway, am I really shit out of luck at this point? No amount of escalation at Avis that can solve the issue so long as Chase receives "good enough" paperwork to backup the charge? Should I even bother replying to them?
No you aren't out of luck. Let the dispute process complete and see what happens. Hopefully they find in your favor. But the car rental company will probably no longer correspond with you.

Wait and see what happens with the dispute.
 
Nov 9, 2017
5
4
3
50
#33
No you aren't out of luck. Let the dispute process complete and see what happens. Hopefully they find in your favor. But the car rental company will probably no longer correspond with you.

Wait and see what happens with the dispute.

Be patient! I had an issue with a rental
Car agency that took months to resolve . Don't give up their hope is that you will just accept it and go away. How many miles did the car have when you accepted it?
 
Oct 3, 2017
20
9
3
29
#34
Alright so here's an update for you guys. Chase reached out to me saying that Avis did not provide any of the necessary information, and they requested that I reach out with additional information. So I'm working on that, and honestly, it sounds like I may be able to "win" in this direction.

However, I've been reading more and more about what happens when you charge back rental car companies. Apparently, they just sell the debt to debt collection agencies. And this is where things get foggy for me. I do NOT want this debt going to collections, as I have a great credit score and need to keep it that way as I'm planning to purchase my first home in 1-2 years.

Thus, there's my dilemma. Avis won't talk to me any further unless I drop the claim with Chase. The alternate route (chargeback with Chase) means I could potentially screw up my credit score. I would be willing to compromise with Avis and pay for SOME of the charges entirely out of goodwill and to get this to go away, but again, they said they won't talk to me unless I freeze the dispute with Chase.

So I pretty much have to pick a course of action. The Chase route means I am risking this going to collections, and it could "cost" me much more than the extra ~$700 I'm still being overcharged.

The Avis route, however, means I will have to drop my dispute, and there's no guarantee they will work with me to reduce the final amount.

I guess the only other option I can think of is to escalate this higher in Avis and hope someone breaks the policy of not talking to customers when there is an open credit card dispute? I'm not sure. Any thoughts?

...

Also, just to be crystal clear...I don't think I should owe any of this. I'm just looking for the best way out of this stupid situation. I care less about "principle" and more about what's practically better off for me in the long run.
 
Last edited:
R

Realitoes

Guest
#35
I had the same situation with Hertz a few years ago. I disputed the charge and won with my credit card. Hertz sent me to collections and I ended up paying, rather than having it affect my credit.

There is a third option, you can file a small claims court case. The fees for these are usually not very high, and it may result in Avis dropping the claim rather than dealing with it. Worst case, it will require Avis to prove it's claim, and you'll still have to pay anyway.
 
Sep 19, 2015
1,780
3,038
113
47
#36
I had the same situation with Hertz a few years ago. I disputed the charge and won with my credit card. Hertz sent me to collections and I ended up paying, rather than having it affect my credit.

There is a third option, you can file a small claims court case. The fees for these are usually not very high, and it may result in Avis dropping the claim rather than dealing with it. Worst case, it will require Avis to prove it's claim, and you'll still have to pay anyway.
Given your experience with being handed over to collection, do you think it is better for the OP to try and negotiate with the rental company -- would the OP have a chance to pay less?
 
Oct 3, 2017
20
9
3
29
#37
I had the same situation with Hertz a few years ago. I disputed the charge and won with my credit card. Hertz sent me to collections and I ended up paying, rather than having it affect my credit.

There is a third option, you can file a small claims court case. The fees for these are usually not very high, and it may result in Avis dropping the claim rather than dealing with it. Worst case, it will require Avis to prove it's claim, and you'll still have to pay anyway.
So, if something goes to collections and you pay immediately, it doesn't affect your credit? What's the point of paying the collections company, then?

Part of me doesn't want to risk it...
 
Oct 3, 2017
20
9
3
29
#38
Would sending something like this to the next highest executive contact hurt me more than it helps me?

---


Dear XXX,

I'm writing you to hopefully put an end to the difficulty I've had resolving a billing dispute for my September 2017 rental in Milan, Italy. The case number is XXXXXXX.

I'm sure you can see from the case history that this is a very unfortunate set of circumstances, and that none of these were caused by my negligence or mismanagement of the vehicle, but rather the condition with which the vehicles were rendered into my care.

From my last correspondense with Avis, I understand that on top of my rental fee, I am being charged a:

- 143 Euro fee for a new tire
- 143 Euro fee for refueling
- 80 Euro fee for a one-way delivery fee

To me, this seems very unfair. I had a car with a flat tire and I did my best to return it as quickly as possible without causing further damage to the vehicle. Under no circumstance would it take 143 Euros to fill the tank of that vehicle — I would know since I filled the tank just a day or two prior to returning it. In addition, I was in at the time Venice, and returning the car to Milan on a spare tire is unreasonable...charging me an 80 Euro fee seems more punitive than fair.

For this reason, I ask that Avis reconsider these charges and reduce them to something that more fairly represents the unfortunate situation I was placed in. Tires go flat after extended periods of use, and it seems insensitive to burden me with so many fees because it happened to go flat during my rental window.

If Avis will agree to drop the overall charge to a more reasonable level, I will agree to make payment immediately.

Best,
 
R

Realitoes

Guest
#39
Given your experience with being handed over to collection, do you think it is better for the OP to try and negotiate with the rental company -- would the OP have a chance to pay less?
If they are responding, there is always a chance to negotiate.
 
R

Realitoes

Guest
#40
So, if something goes to collections and you pay immediately, it doesn't affect your credit? What's the point of paying the collections company, then?

Part of me doesn't want to risk it...
The point in paying is to keep it from being reported to your credit report. In my case, I won the dispute, Hertz then sent me a collection letter. I disputed that, Hertz sent me validation (the rental agreement and damage report), at that time my only options were court, pay the bill, or not pay - the later possibly resulting in a ding on my credit report, not to mention the debt being sold and pursued by a string of collection agencies.