Avis is charging me thousands with no explanation

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Oct 3, 2017
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#1
Avis gave me two lemons; one with a leaking tire, and another with serious engine problems. I didn't damage their cars at all, simply used them as any normal rental user would. I'm now being charged thousands of dollars, and they're not communicating to me about anything.

I'm so frustrated, I typed up my entire story on a web page for the world to read: http://avisrentalfraud.com

Please let me know if I have any hope of recovering these thousands of dollars, or if Avis is just going to get away with this fraudulent behavior.
 
Oct 3, 2017
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#3
Here is the short version:

  • We booked a two week car rental with Avis, and picked it up in Milan, Italy on 9/16/2017 for $484.71 (USD)
  • On 9/22 we return to the car after a nice dinner to find the tire was getting pretty flat.
  • After replacing the tire, I noticed it was leaking from a tiny hole on the inner wall of the tire… My guess is that this tire has been leaking for weeks, but Avis kept re-inflating it each time the car was returned to “pass it on” to the next guest. Who knows?
  • I exchanged car #1 for car #2 at a different airport since Milan was too far to drive on a spare tire.
  • I drive my new replacement car from Venice to a small town where my grandmother lives. This is the only time I actually drove car #2, aside from when I picked it up from the airport.
  • We left the car parked in her garage all day.
  • When it was time to leave, I tried turning on the car and it began violently shaking and filled the car with a terrible gasoline smell.
  • I called Avis and they told me to have it towed. I asked TWICE on the phone if I would be charged for the towing. They said no, absolutely not, so I agreed to have the car towed.
  • The car was towed. The tow truck driver confirmed the issue with the car was not just operator error, and that there was indeed a serious engine issue.
  • I got my third car from Verona, and was able to return it to Milan
That's the end of the rental experience and the start of Avis charging me:
  • When I dropped off my car in Milan on 9/29, I was informed my total rental charge would be 1,561.10 Euros.
  • I was a bit shocked, as I had received ZERO NOTICE of any charges by that point.
  • I declined to sign, and had the rental agent mark my receipt as “customer denies damage liability”
  • The day after I returned home, 9/30, I called Avis after noticing a $1,347.32 pending charge on my credit card.
  • I opened a case with Avis, and the representative informed me he couldn't get any information since this was "Avis Europe" but that my dispute would take a few weeks to resolve.
  • I wake up on the morning of October 2nd to a $1,965.12 POSTED charge on my credit card, along with the other $1,347 charge still pending… A TOTAL OF $3,312.44!
  • I call Avis / Avis Europe / Avis Milan and quit after they tell me a dozen times to call different numbers or that they couldn't give me any information.
I don't know what I'm being charged for, and I don't see how any of this is MY liability. This is just an attempt from Avis to charge me as much as possible for the poor condition of their vehicles.

Do I have any case against them, or can they just get away with this?
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#4
First thins first, call your credit card company and find out what your window of opportunity is to open a dispute on that charge. Explain to them that you want to attempt to work things out directly with Avis first, but want to collect your dates so that, if Avis isn't forthcoming in working things out, you can dispute the charge.

Ask your credit card company If you can suspend the charge while you try to work things out. that way you wont have to pay it. If the charge causes you a hardship, then dispute it immediately.

If you get to within a week out of your window to dispute, I would dispute directly with the credit card company.

In the meantime you are going to want to start writing letters with the first being to Avis customer service.

First read this
http://forum.elliott.org/threads/how-to-deal-with-a-car-rental-damage-claim.1514/

then take the first bulleted list above and make that the explanation as to what occurred and then ask for all the items listed on that thread.

Put your letter together and post it here for us to review, if you like. Then email customer service your letter and wait for their reply.

When they reply, report back and let us know what they say and we can help you take it from there.

it's important to create this paper trail for the eventual charge back you may need to perform. your credit card company is going to need to see that you have attempted to resolve this in good faith and that Avis was the stonewall.
 
Oct 3, 2017
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#5
Here is a draft of my letter. Let me know if I should change anything:





Avis Customer Service:

I am writing to lodge a formal complaint and to dispute the charges that have been placed on my credit card as a result of my recent car rental in Milan, Italy.

Here are the details of my rental:
  • I booked a two week car rental with pickup scheduled in Milan, Italy on 9/16/2017 for $484.71 (USD)
  • My rental agreement number is XXXXXXXXXXX
  • My dispute case number is XXXXXXXXX
This is the story:
  • After a few days, my first car suffered a flat tire
    • Upon inspection of the tire, I noticed a small pinhole leak on the inside wall of the tire
    • At best this is wear-and-tear, and was very likely existing prior to when I picked up the car
    • I returned this car to Marco Polo airport in Venice, as it was unsafe to drive back to Milan. I did this at the direction of an Avis customer service representative.
    • When returning the car, I was told I would only be responsible for the cost of a new tire if the damage was caused by something I had done — which they said it appeared not to be
  • My replacement car suffered an issue just 36 hours later
    • I only drove my replacement car twice; once from Marco Polo airport to the city of Mestre, and again from Mestre to Cavazzale. That’s it.
    • The car spent an entire day parked inside my grandmother’s garage in Cavazzale
    • When I was ready to leave my grandmother’s house, I pressed the “On” button for the car and it immediately began shaking violently and making terrible noises. The smell of gasoline began filing the car, so I immediately stopped trying to turn the car on and called Avis.
    • Avis support told me the car needed to be towed. I asked twice on the phone if I would be charged for this, and both times I was told “No, Avis wants to make sure they get their automobile back and do not charge for towing in these circumstances”
  • My third car, thankfully, did not have any issues and was returned to Milan
    • When returning to Milan, I was presented with a bill of 1,561.10 Euros
    • I declined to sign for the bill and stated I denied liability for the damages
    • I asked for an itemization of the damage, and was not given any at that time and was told to dispute the charges once I arrived back home
The next day, after I returned to the United States, I called Avis customer service after noticing a $1,347.32 pending charge on my credit card. The customer service agent informed me that:

  • Avis Corporate was unable to see which vehicles or for what reasons Avis Milano was charging me
  • A dispute had been opened up, with case #XXXXXXXXX
  • I would hear back about my case via email within the next week or two

Unfortunately, it did not end there. Two days later, in addition to the $1,347.32 pending charge on my credit card, a new $1,965.12 charge appeared — this charge, however, had been posted to my account and was appearing on my balance due.

Upset that I had been charged over three thousand dollars, especially after denying liability and opening a case with Avis for investigation, I called customer service to find some sort of resolution.

Nothing. I got nothing. We were told to call half a dozen different numbers, no one would help us, and after exhausting our patience we gave up.

That’s why I’m emailing you now.

No one has itemized any of the damage. I don’t know what I’m being charged for. I don’t understand how any of this is my fault, and why I’m being held liable. I did not crash the cars, I treated them with respect, and I returned them per the direction of Avis customer support.

I would appreciate someone for Avis contacting me with some information on this situation, along with an explanation and a date on which my funds will be returned.

Respectfully,

Alessandro
 
#9
One question came to mind while reading your post. Did you fill the tank just prior to parking the car in the garage? If so, did you use the proper fuel? Gasoline in a diesel car, or vice versa, would cause this kind of problem.

If you didn't refuel, then keep following-up on your letter. Posters to this forum have gotten very good results by following the recommended procedure. Good luck!
 
Likes: jsn55
Feb 9, 2016
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#10
One question came to mind while reading your post. Did you fill the tank just prior to parking the car in the garage? If so, did you use the proper fuel? Gasoline in a diesel car, or vice versa, would cause this kind of problem.

If you didn't refuel, then keep following-up on your letter. Posters to this forum have gotten very good results by following the recommended procedure. Good luck!

that is a good point however, even if you did put in the wrong fuel, the car rental company should be identifying the issues they discovered along with an itemized repair estimate for each line item
 
Oct 3, 2017
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#11
I did not fill the second car at all, as I'd only driven it about an hour or two in total — thus, no need for fuel. It was a hybrid, after all.

Still waiting to hear back from Avis :)
 
Oct 3, 2017
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#13
It could be that whoever had the car prior to your rental put in the wrong fuel.
I guess that's possible...but would the car still run fine for 1-2 hours if the wrong fuel was inside? From what I've Googled, a petrol car (the car was a petrol/electric hybrid) wouldn't run very long at all if someone had put diesel into it. But I could be wrong.

Who knows at this point ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I have to wait for Avis to respond so I actually know what they're charging me for...
 
Oct 3, 2017
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#14
Two updates.

#1 - The ~$1350 hold on my card has been lifted (looks like that was, thankfully, just a temporary charge). However, the ~$1960 charge is still there.

#2 - They replied via email:

Your file referenced above has been forwarded to the ABG Executive Office.

We have received a response from our Claims Office. Based upon the findings of their investigation a credit has been processed. The credit of EUR634.33 has been issued to your Visa account. We apologize for the inconvenience this matter has caused. Please be assured that your experience was not typical. A copy of our report has been sent to the appropriate manager for corrective actions.

Thank you for giving us this opportunity to be of assistance to you. We look forward to serving your future car rental needs.
This is progress. However, there are still two issues:
  • They are refunding me roughly ~$745 of the ~$1960 charge. After subtracting out the original ~$485 rental charge, that means I'm still being over charged by roughly $730.
  • I still haven't had anything itemized to me. No one has explained anything!
While this is progress, I want to keep fighting this. I still don't know what I'm paying for. Here's what I'm planning to send back as a response. Let me know if it sounds good:

Dear XXXX,

Thank you for reaching back out regarding my case. I appreciate Avis's willingness to work with me on the charges that were made, without notice, against my credit card.

Here is an update on the current charges:
- The $1,347 pending charge was dropped from my card
- The $1,965 posted charge is still there
- Subtracting out the ~$745 (EUR635) refund you've notified me about, and the ~$485 of my original rental agreement, I'm still left with a ~$730 charge on my credit card

As noted in my previous email, and as underscored in your willingness to work with me on this case, both incidents that occurred with my rental cars were due to typical wear and tear and/or poor condition of the vehicle. In each case, I followed the guidance of Avis customer service when returning the vehicles, and I'm really struggling to see what the additional ~$730 charge is for — especially when enduring the inconvenience of needing to replace our vehicle twice during our vacation.

I still contest the additional charges, and I have yet to receive any itemization of damages of which I am liable for. What exactly am I being charged for? Please provide a refund and explanation as soon as possible.

Thank you.
I tried to keep it civil. Is there anything I should change about my approach or should I send this off to them?
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#15
Dear XXXX,

Thank you for reaching back out regarding my case. I appreciate Avis's willingness to work with me on the charges that were made, without notice, against my credit card.

Here is an update on the current charges:
- The $1,347 pending charge was dropped from my card
- The $1,965 posted charge is still there
- Subtracting out the ~$745 (EUR635) refund you've notified me about, and the ~$485 of my original rental agreement, I'm still left with a ~$730 charge on my credit card

As noted in my previous email, and as underscored in your willingness to work with me on this case, both incidents that occurred with my rental cars were due to typical wear and tear and/or poor condition of the vehicle. In each case, I followed the guidance of Avis customer service when returning the vehicles, and I'm really struggling to see what the additional ~$730 charge is for — especially when enduring the inconvenience of needing to replace our vehicle twice during our vacation.

I still contest the additional charges, and I have yet to receive any itemization of damages of which I am liable for. What exactly am I being charged for? Please provide a refund and explanation as soon as possible.


Thank you.
Replace the above with this:

As noted in my previous email, I deny I caused damage to either vehicle. Both incidents that occurred with my rental cars were due to typical wear and tear and/or poor condition and/or maintenance neglect of the vehicle as it was received into my care, at the start of my rental period. In each case, I followed the guidance of Avis customer service when returning the vehicles. for this reason I contest the additional charges and ask that you immediately refund my credit card $730 and close this matter completely.

Thank you.

I would work this from the angle of "I didn't damage your issue ridden rust buckets, give me my money back now!"
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,331
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#16
Two updates.

#1 - The ~$1350 hold on my card has been lifted (looks like that was, thankfully, just a temporary charge). However, the ~$1960 charge is still there.

#2 - They replied via email:



This is progress. However, there are still two issues:
  • They are refunding me roughly ~$745 of the ~$1960 charge. After subtracting out the original ~$485 rental charge, that means I'm still being over charged by roughly $730.
  • I still haven't had anything itemized to me. No one has explained anything!
While this is progress, I want to keep fighting this. I still don't know what I'm paying for. Here's what I'm planning to send back as a response. Let me know if it sounds good:



I tried to keep it civil. Is there anything I should change about my approach or should I send this off to them?
Have you used our company contacts to escalate to the corporate offices?
 
Oct 3, 2017
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#17
I would work this from the angle of "I didn't damage your issue ridden rust buckets, give me my money back now!"
Great suggestions. I will send something off to them in a bit that incorporates what you mentioned. Thanks!

Have you used our company contacts to escalate to the corporate offices?
I have not. This is the FIRST reply I've received back from them after opening the case about 9 days ago. Should I start the escalation process already, or should I give this guy a reply?

I'll wait to send my response in case I should add something about escalating the dispute.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#18
Great suggestions. I will send something off to them in a bit that incorporates what you mentioned. Thanks!


I have not. This is the FIRST reply I've received back from them after opening the case about 9 days ago. Should I start the escalation process already, or should I give this guy a reply?

I'll wait to send my response in case I should add something about escalating the dispute.
I wouldn't escalate just yet. There is always time for that and you haven't gotten a flat out rejection. I would reply to the same person. Just be sure in that letter you add "As you can see, these vehicles came to me in a state of disrepair. 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 you to refund my and close this case. thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. I look forward to hearing your reply."
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,331
13,024
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#19
Great suggestions. I will send something off to them in a bit that incorporates what you mentioned. Thanks!


I have not. This is the FIRST reply I've received back from them after opening the case about 9 days ago. Should I start the escalation process already, or should I give this guy a reply?

I'll wait to send my response in case I should add something about escalating the dispute.
Give the guy a chance but tell him if you will go to the Corporate offices if you don't hear from him by the end of the week.
 
Likes: sandrob57
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#20
Here's the reply I sent off:

Dear XXXX,

Thank you for reaching back out regarding my case. I appreciate Avis's willingness to work with me on the charges that were made, without notice, against my credit card.

Here is an update on the current charges:
- The $1,347 pending charge was dropped from my card
- The $1,965 posted charge is still there
- Subtracting out the ~$745 (EUR635) refund you've notified me about and the ~$485 of my original rental agreement, I'm still left with a ~$730 additional charge on my credit card

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 ~$730 I've been charged in order to close this case. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and I look forward to hearing your reply.

Best,
Now we wait!