Imagine my situation. I’ve been stuck on the M25 for more than hour. Traffic is moving at a pace akin to Michael Rasmussen’s current attempt at the Tour de France. I’m going nowhere. We finally pass the accident that happened on the otherside of the motorway and those people who had brought traffic to a near halt finally decide to focus on their driving. Things start to move. Freedom! I finally hit 5th gear but then it strikes. A stone flicks up off the motorway and chips the windscreen of my rental car. It is no fault of my own but I know that I’m going to have to pay the cost of replacing it. Ennuyeux!

Unfortunately this situation can happen but to help you make sure that this doesn’t hit you too hard on your wallet we’ve launched our Windscreen Protection product in the UK. This product essentially removes all liability for damage to your windscreen on your UK rental and costs £1 per day, up to a maximum of £7. It is not available to pre-book but you can ask for it when you collect car. Unfortunately we are yet to find a solution to the M25!

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18 Responses to “Launch of Windscreen Protection in the UK”

  1. Mike Bradfield Says:

    “A stone flicks up off the motorway and chips the windscreen of my rental car. It is no fault of my own but I know that I’m going to have to pay the cost of replacing it.”

    You don’t always have to replace a chipped windscreen. We’ve all heard the Autoglass radio adverts saying how you can repair a chip instead of having a new windscreen.

    Do you always charge customers for a windscreen replacement if they get a stone chip?

  2. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Wow, very observant! No you are absolutely right. We are also a customer of Autoglass and Autoglass treats as the same way as it treats all of their customers. This means that if a chipped windscreen can be repaired without replacing it, it will be repaired and not replaced and the cost charged to the customer will reflect the type of repair made. Whether a windscreen is repaired or replaced largely depends on the size of the chip/crack and likelihood of the chip/crack spreading further across the windscreen.

  3. Paul Bilton Says:

    I am not happy to read about this new service. I rented a Mini One from Avis Heathrow.

    On returning the car 4 days later a small chip some 5mm was found in the windscreen. Frankly I don’t even recall it happening.

    I was told that Avis would write to advise the situation. I returned the car on July 26 2007. I have received no communication from Avis. But my card has been debited with £122.08 on July 30. This is in addition to a £100 deposit they took on starting the rental.

    Is this trying harder? £222.08 for a very small chip says NO.

  4. A regular customer Says:

    A big mistake, Avis!

    One of the scams regularly perpetrated by the rental companies lower down the food chain is to “find” a microscopic windscreen chip and bill the customer for a replacement windscreen (at marked-up price).

    One of the things that distinguished Avis from these cheaper companies was that little things like that rarely turned up on the customer’s bill. The occasional little chip is surely regular wear and tear, isn’t it?

    But now, it seems that this has changed. Worse: Avis, which is rapidly becoming an insurance company rather than a rental company, has invented a new surcharge.

    I think I will go back to the cheaper companies, if Avis wants to start hitting us for insurance against minor wear and tear.

  5. Eibhlin Payne- Head of Customer Support, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Paul, sorry to read this, we will contact you direct for more details

  6. Robert White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi “A regular customer”,

    Firstly, just so I’m clear the same guidelines for repairing damage are exactly the same as before! Our policy in the UK continues to be that if there is a chip on the windscreen of 5mm or less then the customer will NOT be charged for the repair.

    The idea of this product is to protect customers from paying the full cost of repairing or replacing the windscreen if it were to become damaged to the extent that a repair or replacement is required. It costs just £1 a day (up to a maximum of £7) and simply gives our customers the choice of adding a bit of extra protection for a small charge. It is completely optional.

    With respect to charges for minor wear and tear, I can also confirm that we do not charge for as small scratches, dents and stone chips on the main bodywork as well as scuffs on the main wheel and wheel trim and washable stains and marks in the interior. Again this policy continues to stand as before. We accept that minor wear and tear is part of the cost of managing a fleet of cars and we do not expect our customers to pay for this!

    I would be interested to hear any further opinions you might have on this.

    Rob

  7. Paul Bilton Says:

    I have now been contacted by Lucy Corlett (see post above). But never heard from the Avis branch where I rented the car.

    It seems the small stone chip has cost me £222.66. And I can no longer verify if it was 5mm or less. Customers should have photograph such damage with a ruler next to it as “a chip on the windscreen of 5mm or less then the customer will NOT be charged for the repair.”

    Lucy also informs that “Avis Prestige operate as a separate company to Avis UK and don’t offer the
    Windscreen Protection package which you can purchase when renting with Avis normally.”

    I have no idea who or what Avis Prestige is. I simply boarded an Avis bus at Heathrow and asked to go to their car hire depot.

    This new windscreen protection then does NOT apply to more expensive rentals – where replacements will obviously cost more. To quote Xavier Vallee “Ennuyeux!”

  8. Robert White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Paul. Firstly, just to clarify, Avis Prestige is a licensed operator of Avis using the same brand, the same values and, at Heathrow, we operate from the same location. However, our additional products can differ particularly when it comes to damage where the cost of damage for Prestige cars is completely different to the standard fleet we operate.

    With regards to damage, the form we use to fill in any damage information includes a ruler on it so our staff can accurately record the size of the damage caused. We feel very strongly about the accuracy of recording damage so that all charges are fair to our customers. However, if you are in any doubt, then we are more than happy for you to take a photograph with a ruler next to it.

    Rob

  9. Paul Bilton Says:

    OK. So how long was the chip in the windscreen of the Mini I hired?

    With the potential of the cost of a new windscreen being added to my bill (which is something I have have never been charged for in 35 years of renting vehicles) I dount I will be using Avis again in a hurry…

  10. Eibhlin Payne- Head of Customer Support, Avis UK Says:

    I believe that Lucy has sent you the documentation to prove that the windscreen was replaced rather than repaired, so you’ve not been over charged. I guess the underlying issue is that if one of our licensed operations doesn’t offer the same insurance products as the corporate operation, we need to ensure that that is perfectly clear to our customers, so Xave and I wil take that away and have a look at it.

  11. J.A.C. Frary Says:

    To save all the arguments about whether the chip is 5mm or smaller, why not put a protective layer of film on the windscreen similiar to that of race cars? It is perfectly optically clear and it is there to stop stone chips. Might not be good for Autoglass or other window companies but it keeps the car on the road! That is why many many racecars have the film on.

  12. Tim Morrow Says:

    Why do avis use Autoglass for windscreen services? they are the most expensive company in the industry. Other companies would only charge £110.00 for a mini windscreen. Avis should use it’s buying power to get better prices

  13. Rob White - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Tim

    Thanks for your feedback.
    We selected Autoglass after a formal tender process. Autoglass are one of the dew suppliers with the coverage and service quality we need and they are competitively priced versus the others that tendered. We have also brought in RAC Windscreens as a joint supplier to make sure we keep them on their toes! :)

    Rob

  14. Robert Jackson Says:

    I am amazed to find this link as according to Customer services this policy is no longer available.

  15. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Robert, this policy is still available! We’ll put a communication to the Customer Service team to ensure that they are all aware of it. Apologies for any misunderstanding. I’ve spoken to the customer support agent who is dealing with your query to ensure he is aware of this and I hope he is able to find a satisfactory resolution for you.

  16. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    It was a while ago that you posted this comment but thanks for the feedback J.A.C. This was passed this on to one of my colleagues in our fleet. He found this of interest so did a bit of digging around and has now agreed to run a trial with some of our management cars!

  17. Maureen Taylor Says:

    I’ve done a considerable amount of web browsing since returning to the US on Jan. 1, 2008, looking for someone with whom to share my complaint about our Avis rental return at Heathrow airport that same morning. So, before I start, congratulations for having this fantastic forum where your customers’ opinions and experiences do not appear to fall on deaf ears. My comment concerns a small dent on the hood of our rental return and the fact that we have been charged for its repair. I did take a photo of it (no ruler but used a 50p coin for size comparison!). It seems like a lot of money, but the amount is not really what’s relevant here. The principle of this issue is that we were charged at all, especially since I feel pretty confident that Avis will not put this car in the shop to repair the dent. Two comments on this page are relevant. Paul Bilton says, above, “Frankly I don’t even recall it happening.” Neither did I. And your own Rob White wrote in August of last year, “With respect to charges for minor wear and tear, I can also confirm that we do not charge for as small scratches, dents and stone chips on the main bodywork as well as scuffs on the main wheel and wheel trim and washable stains and marks in the interior. Again this policy continues to stand as before. We accept that minor wear and tear is part of the cost of managing a fleet of cars and we do not expect our customers to pay for this!” We, of course, had no knowledge of your policy at the time. It seems, though, that your duty manager that morning was also unaware of its existence. Paul Willett acted as if he knew he had us over a barrel and that I had no choice but to sign and leave. It was, not to put too fine a point on it, an unpleasant experience, not worthy of your company. It’s not only the financial cost, it’s also about the extremely poor treatment of long-term customers. Until that morning, my husband had been a loyal Avis preferred customer since about 1978. Once our flight got underway, he tore up his card.

  18. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Maureen, would you be able to email me your rental agreement number to comments@avis.co.uk and we’ll take a look at this.

    Rob

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