A little over a month ago, I posted the problems I was having with unauthorized payments that Avis Rent-a-Car charged to my credit card unknown to me. Since then, it has been frustrating trying to find out what these charges were for and why I had not been notified before arriving to pick up my car.
They still don’t seem able to come up with any explanation and they don’t seem to think that it is a problem that I did not know that I had only paid part of what would be owing. One of them said some of it was the extra insurance I had chosen for tyre & windscreen coverage. They say there is no way to know in advance what the total charges would be – although they obviously did know before I landed at the airport and picked the car up.
I have sent them these confirmations, which they say is a quote and not a confirmation. The one on the left is the first one that I made. You can see that the Windscreen Tyre Damage Waiver is there with an amount that is included in the Estimated Total. The surcharge & taxes are not included. So, from that I still owed $12.73 US. The one on the right is the amended one when I added 3 additional days, reduced the km to 6400 from unlimited and got a new rate, which would be lower. They don’t tell me what the rate is other than in US dollars on one and African Rand in the other, so it is hard to compare.
As I mentioned, I expected I would have to pay extra when I added the 3 additional days, but as you can see the estimated total is 0.00, so I thought the additional days charge may have been about the same as the reduction for lower km and lower rate. I am just going by the paperwork they provided.
It is true that they both say estimated total – but most people would assume that the estimate would be fairly close – but I wouldn’t consider these amounts close at all. $188. is exactly 1/3 of $564.00
I originally paid $433.81 US or $564.91 CAD
Two payments taken without my knowledge or consent were R1139 + R912.86 = R2051.86 or $218.91 CAD
Two refunds given because they realized they had the km wrong were R88.70 + R193.69 = R282.39 or $30.18 CAD
This still leaves R1769.47 or $188.73 unaccounted for. I still do not know what that is for. The original papers do not tell me how the charges were applied, other than the Windscreen Tyre Damage Waiver (although they tell me that was not included in what I paid). It could also be for the extra 3 days, but that seems like a lot extra compared to the rate for 30 days.
I have had correspondence with 3 different people at Avis over the last few weeks. One was obviously a boss, who then assigned my file to someone else. This lady was very condescending and only kept repeating that they had already refunded the amount that I was over-charged. She would not answer my questions about why I was not told in advance that more money was owing, other than to say they do not know exactly how much until the car is returned. The fact that they knew before I picked up the car, to put the first extra charge through and the 2nd charge through before I returned it seems to contradict that though. I have to admit that I did get a bit frustrated and rude to this lady.
The next lady was very nice and seemed willing to look into things and asked me appropriate questions for her to do this. Then, she suddenly just stopped replying, so I have no idea what happened. Our emails were friendly and we each cooperated with each other. I can only assume that she was told to drop it.
One thing I mentioned is that I also booked and paid for the camps in Kruger National Park and my flights with Delta months in advance – and they both managed to charge the full amount without any extra hidden charges.
Although the loss of this money hit me pretty hard when I was not aware and did not budget for it, I have decided that this is not worth any more time or effort. I will never do business with Avis again and I would suggest that everyone use caution if deciding to rent a vehicle from them. I did chat with dozens of people who have had similar problems with Avis (and not only the South African Avis), but unfortunately you don’t hear about them until you make your own complaints. I have also had several suggestions of rental companies to use in South Africa who do not do business this way.
I have tons of pictures and great memories of this trip and I won’t let Avis ruin things.