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car rental issues - beware

atlanta
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231 posts
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car rental issues - beware

You know I watched with interest the person who was upset because he had taken out the insurance and had an at fault accident and the company charged him for it anyway. After a lot of review it was finally changed.

Well we did not have an accident or otherwise cause any damage to our rental cars. However, Avis decided we did and charged us more even - than the amount allowed in the contract for damage. I returned home and checked the credit card bill and the balance was a lot higher than I expected so I called the credit card company and found out there were excessive charges by Avis.

So I called Avis. Here I am using a first tier company and I am still getting a runaround.

First a case is opened. Then they send an email that there is a damage claim and they are requesting the information from Avis New Zealand. They do not give you a phone number to talk to someone so it is all by email..

I have asked for photos and a detailed damage listing and repair report even though I know we did not do anything to cause damage. But it seems to me that they should have to provide proof that we did do damage - shouldn't they? It is frustrating because when you rent a car more than anything else they can claim what they want and you are helpless to fight it. How do you prove the negative -- that there was no damage?

Now we did take out trip insurance that covers the vehicle for up to $25,000 of damage and I hope they will come to my rescue but I am not sure they will. You see they want proof of the damage and a copy of the loss report and a police report and a repair estimate -- all of which I don't have because nothing happened to the vehicle in my possession.

I do hope Avis does the right thing and admits that there was no damage. IF they don't then I hope they provide me with enough detail that the insurance will reimburse me.

But it angers me that even if I am made whole by the insurance company the claims affect the rates for everyone. And that just should not be.

And it just put a real stink on what was a wonderful trip!

21. Re: car rental issues - beware

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Removed on: 01 February 2012, 01:35
atlanta
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231 posts
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22. Re: car rental issues - beware

suec89

Thank you,

Here's the sneaky thing I just realized last week. I have an email from Avis from last August when I was making the reservation I left that told me they would charge my card when I returned the car to Christchurch. That was Jan 8

I looked back at previous rentals and have been charged when I return the car

. In this case they put the charge through in January after I returned but the date of the charge is Dec 13 -- the day we took the rental. That is significant because you only have 60 days to contest a charge with VISA -- from the date of the charge. I did not know that and assumed it would be 60 days from the date of the statement. So had I not been checking these things because I am anal about them and waited until I received the statement -- which was Friday -- and given them a couple of weeks to get back to me on it I would have lost the right to contest it with Visa -- Fortunately I did contest it in time but I did take a couple of weeks to get over there because I was so busy. Had I done that after I received the statement I would have been out of luck.

I really think it is wrong to back date a charge to a prior period -- the statement drops rround the 20th of the month so I had a statement in December around the 20th --the charge was not on that statement.

. It puts consumers at a disadvantage -- especially of you have never had to contest a charge an, like me, know you have 60 days but not know that it starts when they date the charge even though you don't know about the charge for -- if I had waited for the statement it would have been 45 days later -- I would have had less than 2 weeks to contest it. Fortunately I do keep up with my balances and charges online -- although in this case I did have to call to find out the charges because they had problems with the online card for over a week.

Anyway -- Just beware -- that you need to take pictures when you pick up a car and when you return it -- and still check your credit card to ensure what you are charged to preserve your rights.

atlanta
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231 posts
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23. Re: car rental issues - beware

An Update

I received a letter from Avis New Zealand today.

The letter states that there was damage to the left hand front of the vehicle and wants me to complete an accident/loss report.

They go on to say that the damage may have occurred without my knowledge and I am responsible regardless.

Then they say that they charged me $1000 plus tax (1150). "We are able to repaif the damage at discounted rates and should the actual repair costs be less than that charged a credit will be applied to your account" Makes them sound like good reasonable guys.

EXCEPT the estimate of repair on the accident/loss report is only $401. Even with tax they have charged me over double. And then never say when the damage will be taken care of so I would not have any idea when to expect a refund. I am guessing they just hope I forget about it.

AND the little piece of paper they give you when you rent a car called a vehicle condition report had scrapes -- item B in their code -- noted to the left front of the vehicle. So I believe they are trying to get paid for damage that was on the vehicle before I received it.

Again -- we did not have any damage to the vehicle while we had it. They have provided absolutely no proof of damage which we requested.

We still hope Avis does the right thing and reverses this incorrect charge.

Wellington, New...
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for Wellington, Bay of Islands
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24. Re: car rental issues - beware

He said / she said and I know who is going to win in the end.

atlanta
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231 posts
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25. Re: car rental issues - beware

A further update.

We received a partial refund and they kept 460 -- so far. They refunded 690.

They sent photos of the damage. And they sent a repair estimate and the damage report we signed when we rented the car which did not show any scrapes on the left side of the car.

The only problem is that they sent the wrong damage report. Since Avis does not let you take the vehicles from the North to the South Island; there were two different vehicles with two different damage reports. The license registration is clear on both reports.

The scrape they are claiming is very minor and I am sure it was there when we got the vehicle and is still there. However it has told me that the photos taken of a rental car need to be very detailed and no part of the car should be left out. And photos need to be taken both when picked up and returned -- even if you have a damage report showing the damage was there when you picked up the car.

Yes they provided enough for me to make an insurance claim and be made whole -- except it bothers me that they switched the damage form and hoped I would not notice -- and I almost didn't.

beanb41 -- I really don't want you to respond to this. I am more concerned with making sure others realize how far the company will go and to protect themselves. As for me -- I am still not willing to give it up because what they have done is wrong.

Wellington, New...
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for Wellington, Bay of Islands
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26. Re: car rental issues - beware

Sorry Kapmap you cant keep a good kiwi down. Everyone here on TA is entitled to respond to your comments. Your paragraph about the scrape is a very important one and is something we have been recommending for a long time and will continue to do so.

Edited: 10 February 2012, 00:19
Dunedin, New Zealand
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27. Re: car rental issues - beware

What an unpleasant thread this one is. The OP obviously knew that getting the rental car people to sign off on return of the the vehicle was important and equally obviously intended that to happen here but this multinational car rental company decides at a whim to change its hours of operation, which renders that impossible, gives no information at all to the OP as to the damage it is making a whopping and excessive charge for (SOP I know, as I've been there, to charge the excess and then refund). I think Avis ought to have at the very least maintained its office hours - if it had, this whole problem would have never arisen.

So the OP comes here to give some warning and to seek support and is lectured to, haranged even, by someone who, as far as I know, has been given no charter to speak on behalf of the multinational, either by that multinational or tripadvisor. I for one don't think finger pointing and smug "we told you so's" is what this forum is about and I distance myself entirely from the above "good kiwi".

Takapuna, New...
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28. Re: car rental issues - beware

Yes NZBarry, it does make you cringe a bit. The self titled good kiwi does appear to be the self appointed spokesperson on TA for all "reputable companies" that provide a bad customer experience. I suspect that the companies themselves would rather these types of debates didn't occur.

atlanta
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29. Re: car rental issues - beware

Thank you wigwam3 an NZBarry.

We found a very warm welcome from New Zealanders and really enjoyed our time there.

The reason I have kept updating this is because -- with all I have previously heard -- I still did not really understand how far a rental car company will go to get extra money from you. It doesn't happen all the time and had never happened to me before but it does happen and it is difficult to protect yourself from it. Even if we had taken photos I doubt it would have been detailed enough to show this scrape -- but in the future the photos will cover everything.

Even though I sent Avis here a copy of the vehicle condition report we received when we took out the car which clearly shows scrapes on the left front, they took a different vehicle condition report and sent that to Avis here. Avis sent me the paperwork and photos and said the case was closed as the charge was fair. This was late yesterday.

However, the vehicle condition report that was forwarded by Avis NZ to Avis here is the wrong one. The car identified on it was the first car when they claim the damage and the photos sent was on the second car we rented.

The money is a very small part of this issue -- it will not make or break us and we will probably be made whole through insurance -- it is the principal that bothers me. Companies should not be allowed to get away with this.

Auckland, New...
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30. Re: car rental issues - beware

Kapmap, You are welcome to air your issues on TA and should not be criticised for doing so , I would expect you to have a fair hearing especially with Avis who pride themselves on customer service, I would communicate with their CEO who asks for comments and customer feedback on the rear veiw window hanger, I hope you have a good result as New Zealanders are normally very fair people. Best of luck.