On Monday 21st September I had the pleasure of attending the Business Traveller Awards 2009. The awards were held at the London Hilton Park Lane and presented by explorer and adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes BT OBE.

The event was attended by 450 of the travel industries leading figures including Willie Walsh and the cabin crew from the now famous Virgin TV advert.

Avis did not have to wait long before we won our award, in fact the first award of the ceremony; Avis maintained the award for Best Car Rental Company in Europe 2009.

Not only was I pleased that we had been recognised as the leading Car Rental Company in Europe, but to hear the adventures of Sir Ranulph Fiennes BT OBE and how he has overcome so many personal issues was a true inspiration.

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17 Responses to “Avis win award for Best Car Rental Company in Europe”

  1. Tracey Turton Says:

    Obviously the experts awarding this award have not read the comments posted on your blog from many unhappy customers. Are Avis simply playing lip service to customer service to win awards?

  2. Adam Says:

    This award is a joke and I personally find it an insult – I contacted Avis on the 16th August about £136 worth of unclear charges on a rental bill from the first and ONLY time I used Avis on my honeymoon, as ‘recommended partner’ of BA, tehn sent a letter recorded delivery onthe 26th August asking for an explanation. It is now the 3rd October and I have still had no response from Avis despite me calling time and again and posting comments here, NO RESPONSE. You’ve happily taken the money from my credit card but not explained what for. I call that theft..

  3. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Adam,

    Sorry to hear of your frustrations.

    If you email your rental agreement number to me at comments@avis.co.uk I will look into this and follow up with our customer services team.

    If you have any other questions please let me know.


  4. Michael Ade-George Says:

    The above comments are fully justified. As an “Avis Preferred” member as well as a BA Exec Club member one would think that meant something but my experience to date as be anything but preferred! After 12 days of rental we recently returned our rental car back to Avis in Taunton, Somerset on the 20th September 2009. At the time of our reservation we were informed that we could either return the car back full with petrol or empty and would be charged for filling it up as it was apparently cheaper than the likes of [Top fuel companies] etc. The car was returned with a full tank so it came as a major surprise to receive an invoice from Avis, as well as credit statement, showing a charge of £53.15 exclu. VAT for refuelling. This is plain and simple THEFT! Considering that over a 12 days period we had refuelled the car with £140.63 worth petrol, (have petrol receipts as proof), and the longest journeys we travelled were to Norton Fitzwarren, Somerset (155 miles), on the 9th Sept. ’09 and back to Farnham Royal, Berkshire (149 miles) on the 11th Sept. ’09 and to Marriott Sprowston Manor Hotel, Norwich from Farnham Royal on the 17th Sept. ’09 and back to Farnham Royal on the 19th Sept. ’09 (round trip of 304 miles). All other journeys during our rental period were very small journeys to the local train station of shopping High Streets in Taunton and Slough/ Windsor and to Heathrow Airport on the 20th Sept. ’09. Also, apparently, it is stated on our invoice from Avis that we drove a total of 7546 miles during those 12 days. Please can someone explain to me how we could have driven that amount of distance over 12 days even though we spent 3 days at weddings 2 days driving to Taunton and back, 2 days driving to Norwich and back and a number of days on the train upto London?!?! Despite putting in a complaint to members of the Avis customer service team, and them both promising to “look into this matter” I find myself still waiting for a response and I also spent 10 – 20 mins on hold twice on the telephone now chasing up on both individuals whom are suppose to be “looking into the matter”. So not only are Avis stealing but also we’re being charged telephone charges for being held on hold just to get an update. To add to things I have used Avis worldwide on over 6 occasions this year alone!

  5. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Micheal,

    Sorry to hear the frustrations this has caused.

    I have passed your comment onto the two agents that you have been dealing with, but if you email your rental agreement number to me at comments@avis.co.uk I will look into this further and follow up with our customer services team.

    If you have any other questions please let me know.


  6. Nigel Cooper Says:

    Glad to see it is not just me who is being fraudulently victimised by Avis. Can I ask, is it standard policiy to blatantly create false charges and steal money from all your customers by debiting their credit card without their consent?

    And yes I too have been ignored by your customer service team, despite quoting your own customer service policy back to them. Next stop for me is TTG and an open letter to [an Avis Chairman], I’m sure he will appreciate being labelled a thief! (he’s your Non Exec Chairman in case you didn’t know)

  7. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Nigel,

    I am sorry for any upset that this has caused.

    If you email me at comments@avis.co.uk with your rentals agreement number and details of your rental I will look into this for you.


  8. Michael Ade-George Says:


    Is it standard Avis policy to post a response on your website apparently apologising for “the frustrations this has caused” or “any upset that this has caused” requesting an email to you as you will look into it but do nothing as its been the case so far?!? I suppose its great public relation to be seen to show concerned and empathy. Actions speak louder than words and 2 weeks later I find myself still waiting for a response – even an acknowledgement from either of your two colleagues would be a refreshing change rather than having to chase up once again. I wonder how many others of “satisfied” customers there are out there and whether it would be worthwhile testing this out by contacting “Watchdog”!

  9. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Michael,

    I apologise that you have not heard back from anyone yet. I have just spoken to our customer service team and they say you have been refunded and that they will send you out letter explaining this.


  10. Ben Shearon Says:


    I too was surprised and disappointed to see that Avis had won an award for customer service. Unless the judges were being ironic, I don’t see how this award is any kind of reflection on reality.

    Avis’ website promises answers from customer service staff within specific time frames, and the code of conduct of the British Rental Vehicle Licensing Association to which they belong specifies a 15 day period during which disputes should be resolved.

    I’ve been communicating with (at?) Avis customer services (now there’s a misnomer) for over two months now. I have been ignored for up to two weeks at a time, my questions have still not been answered, I have been lied to and called a liar, and now I have been passed on to the Customer Care Manager who has not answered my email in the two working days specified on the Avis website (it’s been 10 days so far). For people in similar situations, I recommend setting a deadline you want to receive a answer by and then taking your complaint to the ombudsman (the BRVLA above) as Avis is refusing to deal with it.

    To be fair, I am impressed that this blog is publishing these negative comments and commend the marketing department for their good work. It’s just a shame that your colleagues in customer services are making a mockery of the whole thing.

    Anyway, just some thoughts for people who might be in similar situations to mine.

    All the best

    ben shearon

  11. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Ben,

    I am sorry that you have not heard back from our customer service team.
    If you email me at comments@avis.co.uk with your rental agreement number I will look into this for you and follow this up with our customer service team.


  12. Ben Shearon Says:

    Dear Vicky

    Thanks for the timely response and your kind offer, but don’t worry about it.

    [Customer Service Manager] in customer services (I’m told she is the Customer Care Manager, but she hasn’t had the decency to contact me herself yet) should know the nature of my issues from my three emails and have also been notified by her colleague.

    As I wrote above, if they don’t reply to me in full by November 5th Japan time, I will take that as a refusal by Avis to deal with my complaint, at which point I will take my case to the ombudsman.

    I am not even particularly annoyed anymore, it has turned into such a farce that I am curious to see what they come up with next ;)

    The way I see it Avis has a pretty good marketing department, good and bad operations (Heathrow Airport good, Manchester Airport otherwise), and a customer services department with serious problems.

    The problem for you guys is that the more successful you are with your ad campaigns, the more angry you make the people who are being ignored by your colleagues in customer services. Rubbing salt on the wounds as it were.

    The old days where satisfied customers told three or four people and dissatisfied customers twenty are long gone. Now a dissatisfied customer with a grudge will tell thousands of people, and you can’t beat that kind of viral marketing with funky slogans and trendy blogs.

    I’m a repeat Avis customer and have never had a problem until a breakdown this summer. The breakdown I don’t mind, things go wrong in life, but the way I have been treated since then is mind-boggling.

    I’m kind of hoping this actually goes all the way to court, ’cause I don’t see how I can lose.

    Anyway, thanks for listening and for trying to help.

    All the best

    ben shearon

  13. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Ben,

    Vicki is not in the office today so I’m replying in her absence.

    I completely agree that the internet does give customers the ability to share their experiences with a much wider audience. It’s great for the consumer as it places greater transparency on quality service. It’s great for us because it helps us to identify where we might have got it wrong and do things better next time. We are committed to the delivery of quality service and the feedback of customers like you will help us get there.

    But this may be of little consolation to you right now and I am sorry that you we have fallen short of your expectations of us. However, I do understand that our customer support team has been in touch and a refund has been made.

    I trust that this has been resolved to your satisfaction but please let me know if you have any further thoughts or feedback.


  14. Adam Says:

    I thought I’d update things. I eventually got a letter from Avis but much delayed as Avis had written 4 not 3 for my door number for some reason. The letter explianed nothing and basically reinforced the fact that Avis make unsuspecting customers, tired after flights and the stress of travelling, initial sections of badly printed and unclear rtental agreements so that they can load charges onto the unsuspecting customer’s credit card. Refuelling charges though we were told to get back to the airport with an empty tank?? What a joke. What other car hire company works like that, and why were we not told by the Avis ‘representative’ when we picked up the car that we would be charged for refilling?

    Michael Ade-George – try and fight these charges and you’ll get nowhere but ground down. It’s obvious by the robotic and dishonest responses to customers on this blog (I have never had my issue looked into by Vicki or anyone else) that AVIS doesn’t care but does try harder to make more money from you unscrupulously.

    I am actually a motoring journalist and I shall make sure that in the future I shall make and take every possible opportunity for the rest of my career to publicise what I consider the dishonest practice and methods used by Avis to make money. I hope that in the future the people at the top of the Avis corporation who are making fat profits out of mugs like me will get their just rewards, as what goes around comes around, especially in business.

    And it goes without saying that I shall never, ever step into or near an AVIS establishment for the rest of my life.

  15. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Adam,

    I am sorry to hear that you feel this way.

    I am afraid I have not recieved an email from you with your rental agreement number and details of your rental, so cannot help until I get this. As I mentioned before (feed 3) if you email these details to me at comments@avis.co.uk I will look into this and follow this up with customer services.


  16. Laura Cuello Says:

    I have to admit that I can only agree with angry customers above. Avis Customer Services is apalling, and up until now I had never found an internationally-known company to have such slow standards of customer care. While I would expect this kind of service from Easy-rent-a-car, I was certainly not expecting this lack of care from Avis.

    After a particularly bad rental experience with our local Avis Branch (had requested car delivery, this never happened, had to wait 20 min’ on hold at the expensive number to get someone to answer, papers where not in place as promised, we had to go to another branch to collect them, we missed our ferry connection, etc, etc); I wrote to Avis to complain.

    I received an aplogy and an offer of a 50 Euros compensation voucher upon contacting Avis by email. I have now gotten tired of emailing both the person who signed the letter and Avis customer care and no-one has gotten the decency to reply to my emails, plainly ignoring them for weeks on end.

    Considering our rental was in April and we are now in November, it is plainly more than the established 5-days response!

    I feel the whole Customer Services Dept is just maskerading as Customer services while in fact it is just a no-ends email address that gets you nowhere. And the queues (sometimes over 30 min) to get to speak to someone on the phone who always promises call back that never materialises, have costs me so much already! Why is the customer service number at a much more expensive rate than the reservations number? What does that reflect?


    (BTW, no need for the standard response: ” I am sorry you have not heard back… blah blah”.)

  17. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Laura,

    I am sorry you feel that you have been ignored.

    If you would like me to look into this further and chase this up with customers services please send me an email with your rental agreement number and rental details to comments@avis.co.uk.

    If you have any other questions or feedback please let me know.


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