In the customer service department at Avis (and I’m sure throughout the car hire industry), one of the most contentious issues for our customers is damage. It’s a subject that everybody has strong opinions about and it’s not hard to see why. Any car owner will tell you that the price of repairing damage can be expensive.

We want to be transparent about what we do. So, to ensure that you are as informed as possible when hiring with Avis, here’s our process in the UK for deciding whether damage is chargeable.

When you pick up the car any existing damage will be clearly marked on your rental agreement. You will be asked to sign the rental agreement so that both parties agree that the damage noted is a fair reflection of the actual damage on the vehicle. Please ensure you check the car for damage before you leave the rental station. If it’s dark or raining, we also allow you to contact us at the next possible opportunity (usually before midday the next day) to inform us of existing damage.

When you return the car, our agents check it over, either while you’re there with our rapid return devices or at the first possible opportunity. It is a common misconception that car hire companies will try to get away with charging you for every little nick. This is not the case and we do not charge for what we consider to be general ‘wear and tear’. It’s understandable that a car can pick up small scuffs and dents throughout its life and we will not pass the cost of repairing these on to you. Our guidelines for non-chargeable damage are very clear and include:

- Scratches less than 25mm (1inch) not penetrating the surface, or light scratches that can be polished out
- Dents less than 25mm (1inch) diameter without paint cracking or flaking
- Stone chips less than 25mm (1inch) without denting
- Wheel or wheel-trim scuffs without cracking or gouging
- Interior stains or marks that can be cleaned or polished out

If damage is found that is larger than the above, we charge according to a list of prices agreed by the manufacturers and Avis. Even in the case of major damage, we will only charge up to the excess, except in rare cases where the car has been mis-used. You can reduce the excess by taking Premier Cover (or similar product in other countries) which is available at the rental counter.

At Avis, we constantly review our processes to make sure they are fair for both you and us. We’d also welcome your feedback to help us improve even further

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149 Responses to “Our Damage Policy”

  1. Kevin Says:

    I’m glad that Avis is clear regarding minor damage to the car. As a long-term renter (at one point renting continuously for 10 months), it’s great to know that you don’t have to be too paranoid about the little things like getting in and out of the car in a tight carpark while wearing riveted jeans.

    Just out of curiousity, what does Avis do with cars receive significant, but only cosmetic damage? I recently damaged a rental by scraping it against a carpark pillar near the rear wheelwell. The damage is cosmetic in nature but the dent was very deep. I know that cars damaged in that area of the car are hardly repaired to “as new” condition.

    Since I’m on it anyway, I’d like to comment on two recent rentals. The Fiat Grande Punto I recently rented was quite appalling. The electric windows didn’t work and the car itself was a bore to drive. I also had a 4-day old Renault Clio recently and the engine sounded really bad even though it had only covered 420 miles when I rented it (past renter probably hammered the engine). Clio is way better than the Fiat though, even if it has less space.

  2. Trevor Cook Says:

    It is good to get clarity about this situation but I am told that some car hire firms give a bonus to, and encourage, staff to find ‘minor’ faults. I wonder if you are one of those ? If so that is hardly transparent…..

  3. Mark Says:

    Hello Kevin, a regular renter like yourself i too dislike the grande punto. Having had the fortunate/unfortunate pleasure of driving it, i found the gearbox very knotchy, just like it had covered in excess of 100,000. The bravo i drove recently however was a stark contrast to the grande punto. It was a petrol but unsure on the engine size, the 6 speed gearbox was more refined and it was far from a bore to drive. Lets hope we see an influx of these sort of cars becoming Available! Mark

  4. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Kevin, Mark, thank you for your comments about our cars. I will raise them with our Fleet team.

    Kevin, in response to your question about the damage, while it is cosmetic, it will still need to be repaired as, at the end of the rental, it will go back to the manufacturer who will sell it on as a nearly new car. In order to be attractive to this market the car needs to be restored.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.


  5. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Trevor, thank you for your comments. No we don’t give our staff a bonus for finding ‘minor’ faults and it would disappointing if anyone in the industry did do this! That is why it is important to have a good, transparent process where both customer and car hire supplier are clear on what damage, if any, is on the car when before it is rented out and that both parties are clear on what damage the customer will be charged for if there is any additional damage when it is returned.


  6. Dave Sullivan Says:

    I rent vehicles regularly in the UK and overseas. Generally I have been very happy with Avis. However I rented a car from AVIS in Munich last December and I had a minor puncture (very minor – I have photos). Despite assurances from AVIS at the airport that “..there might be a small charge for puncture repair” and that in any event I would be notified by Email if there was a charge – with no warning my credit card was charged with the cost of a new tyre!!! I think if you are going to charge for a new tyre in the event of any puncture you should clearly state this in your contract. I have rented from AVIS twice in the past month – but from now on I will be much more wary.

  7. Pete Says:

    Just got off the phone to my wife.
    She hired a car in Guernsey and has just got a flat tyre.

    She called the Avis office at the airport and was told she would have a 45 minute delay before anyone arrived and we would also have to pay for the repair.
    How do we know the tyre was in good shape when we got it?
    How do we know there was not a slow puncture?

    I sincerely hope we are not charged for a new type!!, and I think its ridiculus this is not included in the basic insurance.


  8. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Dave – your feedback is much appreciated and quite timely as we are currently looking at improving our damage processes. I will pass on this feedback to the relevant project team. In the meantime, if you would like, I can ask our Customer Support team to investigate your particular rental in more detail. If you would like this then please contact me at with your rental agreement number.

    Pete – if an excess is applicable (and for UK rentals it will), the renter is liable for the cost of replacing the tyre if it is flat or punctured as with other forms of damage. The only damage that customers will not be charged for is listed in the blog post above. The tyre pressure and the tyres themselves are checked before every rental so this will ensure that the tyres were in good condition before the start of the rental. We aim to be clear and transparent about what constitutes chargeable and non-chargeable damage so that customers are fully informed before renting their car. I appreciate any further comments you have on this.


  9. Kevin Digweed Says:

    As a regular client it is useful to know what the damage policy is. Now that I am fully aware of it,I feel a little agreived that I was charged the GBP 100.00 excess when I returned a car at LHR recently. The damage was slight – minor dent and scratch to the front bumper – and had occurred when the car was parked in a supermarket car park. When returning the car I pointed out the damage – which I now understand to have been well within the no charge criteria – to the return agent. There was no indication that he was aware of the policy and I was invited to fill out tha appropriate paperwork and charged the excess. As I was in a hurry to catch a flight, I didn’t have the time or inclination to argue or discuss the issue.

  10. Stephen Spiers - Customer Service, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Kevin,

    I’m sorry to hear about your experience at Heathrow. If you would like me to look into this matter further, please send your rental agreement details to


  11. mike Says:

    I`m still not clear on this damage thing , do you not pay an insurance with the rental fee, and if the car is damaged you may just have to pay the excess,,,well what would that be ..? say someone bashed the wing
    cheers mike

  12. mike Says:

    i would like to think a big company Avis would be transparent on a bumped car ,for example , it was not your fault , the car got damaged say a bumped wing ,,,what do you have to pay if anything ,,,,and does your insurance cover an common situation like this


  13. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Mike, if your rental price includes Vehicle Damage Cover and Vehicle Theft Cover (which it usually will) then this will cover for the cost of repairs (in the case of damage) and the cost of replacement (in the case of theft). However, as you point out an excess will usually apply. This will depend on the country you are renting in and the car category you rent. In the UK the excess starts from £650. You can find out what the excess is when you get a quote on the website – it appears on the bottom left of the screen once you have selected your car category.

    So, for example, if I was to rent a small car in the UK and I damaged the car I would be liable up to the excess amount and no more (in this case £650). However, if the cost of the damage is lower than the excess amount then you pay for the cost of the repairs – not the full excess amount.

    If I was to incur damage that I was not responsible for then I will be charged for the cost of repairs (again the maximum charge being the excess level) but I will be reimbursed this cost if Avis was able to recover the cost of repairs from a responsible 3rd party.

    I hope this all makes sense! Let me know if you have any other questions.


  14. Frank Says:

    Hi Rob,

    I’d just like to say what an excellent idea this blog is and you efforts to be transparent and helpful are laudable.

    With regards to:

    “I will be reimbursed this cost if Avis was able to recover the cost of repairs from a responsible 3rd party.”

    How much effort would Avis put into pursuing this? If a third party were to damage my car I certainly would pursue it as far as possible. However I have the feeling that there is little incentive for the hire company to pursue it if they already have covered the damage from the customer.

  15. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Thank you for the kind feedback Frank.

    In answer to your question… firstly, I must admit that there is financial incentive for us to do this. Customers are only liable for costs up to the excess amount and therefore, from a pure financial perspective, it is in our interest to recover the cost, otherwise we’ll take the hit for any amount above the excess.

    Secondly, we believe that it is good customer service to do this and hopefully, if we provide good service, you’ll come back and use us again. And to be honest there is little difference in the process whether a 3rd party is involved or not so in reality it makes little sense for us not to pursue recovering these costs.

    I hope this allays your concerns but please let me know if you have any other questions.


  16. Enda Says:

    After a recent trip to spain I must express my dismay at avis customer service. I hired a car for a week and was told by avis there was 2 items of damage on the car. Upon inspecting the car I found 7 items of damage and pointed this out to the avis rep who noted it on the rental agreement and signed it. when I returned the car there was no one to inpsect the car as the office hadn’t opened. So I droped the keys off after I had checked in and the office had opened. I just got my credit card bill and €360 has been added without my consent for damage to the car, even though I in no way damaged the car. Under item 7 of the terms and conditions I am to be informed of any additional charges and I have 30 days to query it but this did not happen (and as such are Avis in breach of contract?). Upon contacting customer services I was told that Avis have 30 days to carry out the investigation to find out what the damage was. What I find most annoying is that on the day of return of the car someone was able to assess the damage and instantly apply the charge yet I am being fobbed off with customer service telling me that it will take 30 days to give me this information. If they actually take the 30 days to respond to my query then I won’t be using Avis again

  17. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi Enda,

    I understand your frustration. With regards to our damage policy, we allow other countries 30 days to respond as sometimes the documents are not immediately available. This can be due to the cars being repaired or details being sent to the insurance companies. However, in most instances, the cases are resolved in much less than 30 days.

    I believe that you have queried this matter with the customer services department in your home country, Ireland. I have forwarded your comments onto my Irish colleagues to try to resolve this matter as soon as possible.


  18. Chris Meakin Says:

    Just hired an Astra Twin top 1.6 in Croatia, all I can say is Come on Vauxhall/Opal what is the point! we had 4 people in it and it was as flat as a pancake, no pull at all waste of time, with just 2 it was sort of ok, but still flat, to do a hill start you have to rev it’s trollies off to get it going, as for the roof, wicked, however sort out the supid cheap switch that operates it it is waiting to break, + side wonderfull little toy in the boot, a red button, push it when the roof is down and it lifts the roof out of the boot just enough to get anything out of the boot, great idea, the – side, convertable, sun, so where do you put your shades when not on your face? there is no storage in this car at all apart from glove box and side pockets where they slidearound but still it was great fun and it looks good as well.

  19. A Says:

    We rented an avis car (Nissian Micra) for a weeks holiday in the Algarve. We had indicated, slowed down and started manovering right when a bus clipped the back of the car. We have had to pay £950.00 excess what is the possiblity of having this refunded as the bus went into the back of us it was not in anyway our fault?

  20. Chris Says:

    I do not trust any of these car hire companies, they care nothing of you the customer, just make sounds as if they do at the end of the day they want to make money and because virtually none of out there understand fully the pros and cons of car hire especially in foreign countries they exploit this fact to cash in.
    Every time I read an agreement all I fully understand is I will be charged for everything they scare you to death, it is basically an open invertation to your credit card, especially on tyre and windscreens.
    You don’t have to drive like a fool or irisponsibly to have a puncture or a chip on your screen but the hire firm see it as an invertation to make some cash, I have had a few chipped screens usually under or around the wipers which I point out and get marked, other wise I will be charged when I return for that chip probally as was the last hirer as well and the next.
    All I can say is to try and level the playing field a bit take a look at these policies and cover yourself ready for the “excess” charge. I do feel hiring a car abroad is like russian roulette, you really do have to be on the ball with them, the point of view I take with them now is I know you will try and con me, I have used this point of view for 4 years now, and since taking on the mind set I have not be caught out on the damage charges. Lets face it though at the end of the day you should not have to think like that but unfortunatly with hire cars it seems a way of life!

  21. Enda Says:

    Well I got a response from Avis Spain, and not within the 20 days they promised. They admitted that they overcharged me and would refund a portion as the cost of repair of the windscreen was less than what they charged me (still havn’t seen the refund). Since a)I didn’t damage the windscreen, b)they were in breach of their rental agreement by charging me in the first place without informing me of the extra charge in a statement of account, c)they can’t even abide by their own internal policies of a reply within 20 working days, I have contacted my credit card company to put this matter into dispute and I will let them deal with it.
    When I contacted my card issuer they infromed me that I had only 60 days to challenge the charge. I think Avis are acting in an underhand fashion, they never told me about the charge until I got my credit card statement and then insisted on the 20 working days to investigate. This meant that if I wasn’t on the ball I could easily have gone over the 60 days and then I would have no recourse to get my money. “it takes a long time to get a customer but only seconds to lose one” and you’ve definetely lost my future custom

  22. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi A. Thank you for contacting us.

    If you provide me with the details of your rental (including rental agreement number), I will ensure that someone checks the status of this claim and contacts you directly.


  23. Enda Says:

    The rental agreement number is xxx. I have already passed on all the information to Avis Customer Services in Ireland who have been very helpful.It is Avis in Spain who seem to be dradding their heels. I am quite prepared to let my credit card company pursue this now as Avis failed to honour their customer commitments on 2 occasions and I am not prepared to wait around to see if you fail for a third time.

  24. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi Enda,

    Following on from my comment on 16th September, Avis UK Customer Services has limited access and control over your case as they are looked after by the customer services department in your country of residence.

    However, I will contact customer services in Ireland again with the information you have provided and try to ensure that they resolve this matter as quickly as possible and they contact you with the details.

    I hope this helps,


  25. Enda Says:

    I appreciate your concern but I have already been in contact with Customer Services in Ireland and I am awaiting a response from Spain. My Credit Card company have informed that the dispute process will take approx 30 days so if Avis Spain have not responded in that time I expect my credit card company to recover the extra money charged and under no circumstances allow any payment in relation to damage be made to Avis until they honour the terms and conditions of the Rental agreement that we both entered into and contact me directly.

  26. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Chris, firstly I just thought I’d let you know that I removed the first line of your comment as it advertised a competitor (we’re happy for customers to provide feedback about ourselves – good or bad – but we do not allow users to comment on our competitors – again good or bad!).

    I understand why you feel the way you do. I’ve read coverage in the media which suggests these practices go on and so unsurprisingly this can cause anxiety. However, please let me assure you that we do not use damage as an invitation to a customer’s credit card. A policy like that would lose us customers very quickly and we have policies and procedures in place to prevent this from happening.

    But in your comment you provide very sound advice and that is to absolutely check the condition of the vehicle before you drive off. The best way to avoid dispute is to ensure that any damage is correctly noted on the rental agreement. That way any pre-existing damage cannot be disputed when the car is returned. When you collect the car the rental agent should go through the rental agreement to advise of any pre-existing damage and should also advise to check the condition of the vehicle yourself (please let me know if you’ve experienced an occasion where this is not the case!). You do not, however, need to worry about every minor scratch as we have a policy on damage that is non-chargeable (outlined in the blog post above).


  27. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi Enda,

    I understand your position and will do everything I can to try to help to resolve this matter.



  28. Chris Says:

    Thanks for the reply Rob, I didn’t know Avis offered this type of excess cover for the year at a small sum of £49, perhaps it should be advertised better and in simpler terms as the site is that I go to, most of us drive these hire vehicles very carefully but as you know we are at quite a disadvantage, wrong side of car, wrong side of road, so accidents can easily happen so it is noce to know you are covered, if you try and read your way through the terms and conditions of a hire car you would never hire it, that is of course if you could fully understand it all, this is where the problems always start, as I don’t think any of us fully understand them, they are well written, extremaly ambiguious, it anoys me when the damage scam is tried, we have all had it with agents in Europeian countries, not so good english, lost in translation, lower standards etc in all the countries and differant hire companies I have used Hertz where the only ones to walk around the car with you, and point out damage marked and any unmarked, checked the spare tyre and the hand books with you, and did the same when you came back, the rest including you get a signature, and most important credit card imprint signed of course then chuck a set of keys at you and point in the general direction of the car, when it is returned the keys are handed back thats it no one goes out to check the car until you have left, apart form Croatia this year he did and for the first time ever!!! got a recipt for the return.
    I have used Avis 3 times in 3 differant counties, twice Avis have given me a problems, in Sardinia (Thrifty) the car was disgustingly filthy outside, as in black wheels etc, it was covered in dints and scratches not logged, the guy refused to come look at it, and only three quaters of a tank of fuel which he told me to return with, fine a month after the holiday I get a 15euro chrage on my credit card ?? from Avis no idea why coincided with quater of a tank of fuel was about 15 Euro there, turns out it was airport tax which nobody bothered to tell me about just took it off my card, naughty!!! so that was sorted out then this year we used Avis again, recomended by the AA and well you know what happened there, that has just been sorted out, you should not have to come back from holiday to do battle with the hire company over poor service, hiring a car is not cheap!
    As for the checking of the vehicle I am quite lucky as I work in the motor trade, one of my jobs is checking in new cars of transporters, sos I am kind of use to it, looking for damage, I have come accross a few screen chips hidden behind wipers, they pull the wiper up a bit to cover some of them then try and look suprised when I spot it, also by the time you spot this BEFORE you drive away the recipt sheets will be split so they mark the sheet you have, get him to sign it, he will not want to so you have to be quite stern about it, other wise when the car comes back and they try the chip/dent scam you show them the top copy you have, they say you marked that it is not on our copy!!! so get a signature, they hate it, but you have to be as ruthless as them, as for an open invite to your credit card, well just reading what happens on this blog is enough to see that, the hire company scoops the cash out of your card, then you have to prove you did not damage the car in another country again some prople do damage them and hands up I did it!! others hide it and a quite a few don’t damage them but still get charged, it seems to be a problem with damage assesment, what Avis see as chargable the hirer does not or is told it is not which I have had a one occasion, then 2 month later when they charged me for it I got my money back because of a signature on the top copy, through my credit card company of course.
    On every single hire car I have the tyres, windscreen and undercarage is never coverd you pay in full for damage here, I can understand the undercarage as the car would have obviously been somewhere it should not have to damage this area, also tyre side wall slits, you have hit a rock or a kerb, so it is your fault again, punctures and screen damage is naughty as how would you avoid that, it can’t be driver error to get a puncture, in fact it could be classed as hire company error for letting the tyre ware to much and become thin, same with a screen how would you avoid that flying stone from the wheel of the car in front, that’s if you see it in time, even by driving your car down a rough track to the beach, how would you chip your own screen? I think it is just a way for hire companies to A) keep there insurance cost down – B) make a bob or two out of the hirer. we all know the roads abroad are not always as good as our own, lots of shale on them, small stones from rock faces, and the screen is a big target to hit. So all I am saying is beware and treat every hire company as ruthlesly as they WILL treat you given the right opertunity, and does your Avis insurance that covers the Excess charge we talked about earlier cover just your Avis hire or does it cover the hirer for any other hire car from any company for 12 months from the date it was taken out, does it also cover windscreens, tyres and undercarrage, can you point me the direction of this policy as I have not seen it advertised on here nor on the AA site, and reading about the amount of people on here who have lost a lot of money on excess and windscreen damage charges they don’t know about it either, so it seems you are not selling this extra £49 policy very well, I am waiting for you to lead me to the link for your policy I can’t find it and it may be better than the policy I already have.

  29. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Chris, we currently do not offer an annual product like this and I apologise if this was inferred in my response to you. Our product is only available on a per rental basis.

    I agree that transparency is of the uptmost importance. When a customer collects the hire car, the price that is signed for on rental agreement should reflect the price that was quoted at point of booking (including all taxes and surcharges) unless, of course, any optional extras are added at the rental counter. The rental agreement should also list any pre-existing damage. I agree that it is important to check the car yourself to make sure that you are comfortable that the damage marked on the rental agreement is a fair reflection of the condition of the car. If both parties are in agreement then it eliminates any potential for contention. So when the car is returned it should be clear if any new damage has been incurred. Also, at most of our locations (were the technology is available), you’ll be greeted with by our Rapid Return agent who will check the car and give you the final bill there and then so you won’t get any unexpected charges added in the post. This bill will match the price signed for on the rental agreement unless any additional charges have been incurred i.e. damage, fuel or if the rental has been extended.

    These processes are in place to ensure transparency and so that our customers can be confident in what they are paying for. You mentioned that you’ve experienced some issues in the past with car hire companies. It would be good to know if there is anything we can do to improve on this? For example, do we need to be clearer about what the processes and policies are? Or do you feel the process I mentioned might have broken down.

    Let me know if you have any further thoughts.


  30. Chris Meakin Says:

    Hi Rob
    I didn’t think you did offer this cover as I think I would have found it, thats why I could not understand why it would be in copertition with you, but on reflection I wonder if some people would use this as a get out of Jail for free card, nothing like a bit of personal fianacial loss to make you care more, Thankfully I have never had to use this policy to find out how much they look into the accident/damage or if they just payup anyway. You guys must be doing something right, not just you but all the big hire names as the conditition of your vehicles HAS improved massivly, especially an end of season rental some of them use to be really quite rough.
    As for transparancy in terms and conditions, I don’t think you will get it really as they do have to be quite indepth to cover all possible probelms, a bit more leway on tyres and screens would be nice, as in punctures, which in majority of times with Low profile tyre is a new tyre, customer should not really foot that bill, but sidewall damage yes, as you would not get that from driving as car on the road normally, 4×4 would be differant again as they do go off road, windscreen damage I don’t really know how a driver could be irrisponsable and damage a windscreen apart from carrying something they should not, something to long for the car, shut the tail gate breaks the front scrren as it is pushed forwards, but a chip, the car does not even have to be moving to get a chip on the screen from a passing vehicle, so maybe your windscreen side should be looked at, but at the end of the day it is hard for the hire Company, we find it hard here with loan cars, there are a certain few with a very strange mind set, which thinks “well its not my car anyway” so they just abuse it, maybe an excellent way would be to have an Avis club, for example the next time I hire an Avis car I can join this “club” once in this club I get a membership number so the more times you use Avis the more small privilages you pick up you could gain no claims percentage so your base insurance is cheaper but when you lose a screen to me I still don’t pay for the screen as I am a member but I lose all my noclaims discount and go back to standard costs I could also gain perhaps a percentage off my next hire etc which gains slighly each time I use you till it get to a certain level of course That way Avis is actually giving me something for looking after its vehicle, plus you will get repeat custom, when ever I book on line or at one of your agents I give my membership number and your system automatically calculates my discount, also from my membership number you would be able to see what type of vehicle I have been hiring and when you can’t shift That vehicle Group and email is generated and sent to all members who book that group, There was a Renault Megane this year up for £450 for the 2 weeks, Not with you but this vehicle was obviously not being booked very well, I tried this car before yours but missed it, same deal as you payup front for it, so they must have been short on cash for that quater, I start looking at cars the second we have booked our flights in January/February so to generate an email in say April would be superb saying Great deals on Astra TT,s this month only book now, drop in a link for me to go straight to the Avis booking page, put in my Avis membership number and boffe straight to the cheap TT page. Just a Thought!
    Charges I find Confusing, as this time around I feel I have been charges twice for TAX on the Astra, it was hired on line through the AA site on line and on my agreement it says , all taxes and surcharges included, so to me that means the bottom line on the screen is what I pay!, we added an extra driver when we got there, on returning the vehicle the Agent printed out a recipt and pointed out this cost of extra driver, and this cost for airport tax, this will be charged to you card? when I asked about this and told him it was all paied for online bar the extra driver he said no you have to pay tax on this? When I asked UK customer Service I was told it has to show for tax purposes so it does get a little unclear at times.
    I my particular hire case on this occasion there where a number of processes which did not work at all, to the point where this pickup was the worst pickup I have ever had to endure from a hire company and the longest, to the point where my wife is looking a Croatia again next year and I really don’t want to use Avis for it if I can help it, it is going to have to be a very good deal on price for me to be swayed as I said the pickup was awful I really do not want to repeat it again as soon as I get off the plane, especially with a 2 hour drive in front of me to collect a set of keys, even though it has all be sorted out and asurances given it still makes you a bit edgy for the next hire.

  31. David Wray Says:

    Does this policy apply globally or are there different policies in different countries? If the latter is the case is there a way to find out what other countries polices are?

  32. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi David, it should apply across most of our network, particularly in Europe. Rentals in the US do not have an excess so there is no need for concern. If you can let me know where you are planning to rent then I can double check the policy for you.


  33. David Wray Says:

    i am currently in germany with a rental and had an unfortunate incident in a car park that has caused a graze on the rear quarter so have an interest :)

  34. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi David, yes the policy is the same in Germany as in the UK. So, to confirm, our policy on what constitutes non-chargeable damage is as follows:

    - Superficial abrasions which can be polished out without special equipment
    - Scratches less than 25mm which do not penetrate the paint surface
    - Dents less than 25mm with no paint cracking or flaking
    - Stone chips less than 5mm without denting
    - Chip marks to glass which do not penetrate the first layer
    - Wheel or wheel trim scuffs without cracking or gouging

    I hope this helps. Let me know if you need any more info!


  35. Enda Says:

    Well I got a reply from Avis Spain via customer services in Ireland saying that they will refund €108.18.
    Now despite the fact that I didn’t damage the car and I am currently seeking a full refund on the applied charge via my Credit Card company I have two issues.
    1) If I had damaged the car then I am being blatantly overcharged and how many other people who don’t complain are getting riped off by Avis Spain.
    2) Despite a litany of broken commitments by Avis in terms of customer service they haven’t even the decency to offer an apology for their behaviour

  36. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Chris, thank you for all your thoughts! I think the concept of a “members club” is an interesting one. It might require a fair amount of work to set up but I’ll run it by my colleague who works in this area to see what she thinks.

    I understand why windscreens are an area of concern for customers. We do offer Windscreen Protection for just £1 per day in the UK which provides zero excess on damage to the front windscreen. We offer it in other countries as well. Do you think this is something we should look to roll out more extensively?

    I also think your ideas of targeted offers on our e-newsletter is a good one. We are reviewing what we want to communicate via our e-newsletter so your feedback is quite timely!

    Finally, on your recent experience, I know you’ve had some contact with UK customer services before but is there anything you would like me to follow up for you? If so, would you be able to send your rental agreement number to and we’ll take a look for you.


  37. Chris Says:

    Hi Rob
    Yes the “members Club” would be quite a large thing to set up, something that no other hire company does as far as I am aware, and definatly promote return custom I would think, especially if it works like your own car insurance policy, as in every time you return the car in good condition, your ‘no cliams’ discount goes up slighly, so your next hire cost comes down.
    £1 per day windscreen cover I didn’t know about that at all, perhaps it should be highlighted on the booking forms as a tick box in it’s own right like child seats, Sat nav, ski racks etc.
    The damage side is something which will always cause trouble, as what one person sees as superfial damage the other person sees as chargable damage, it is as they say in the eye of the beholder, plus with a large turnover of cars damage can be missed but picked up next time around and the wrong person blamed, it will always be a grey area.
    Thanks for the offer of help but Lisa Edwards has sorted out all the problems very efficiently for me thank you.

  38. david wray Says:

    Hi Rob,

    I just received my Invoice for last weeks rental and, despite the damage only being an admittedly quite large area it was only the top layer of paint that was damaged and could of easily been polished out, i was charged the full €750 excess, to say i’m not impressed would be an understatement surely some justification should be made as to these costs?!?

  39. Enda Says:


    Avis did the same to me even though in the terms and conditions of the rental agreement they were supposed to inform me of the damage charge and give me 30 days to investigate before applying the charge.
    Is this the same on your terms and conditions.
    I am still trying to extract the money charged via my credit card company

  40. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi Enda,

    I understand your frustration and can only apologise for the service you have received on this matter.

    I have forwarded your latest comments to our Customer Services department in Ireland, asking them to review this case and provide further clarification on what was charged, why and if the correct procedure was followed.

    I hope this helps to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.



  41. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi David,

    I’ve just read your correspondance with Rob and have spoken with him on this. I work in the Customer Service team so if you could send me the details of your rental (including rental agreement number) to, I’ll will take a look at this for you.



  42. david wray Says:

    Stephen thanks for taking an interest, i have sent you the invoice along with agreement number. can you let me know if you have got it?

  43. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi David,

    I have received the information you sent – thank you.

    I am contacting the country in question and will respond to you directly as soon as possible.



  44. Bill Says:

    Have just returned a hire vehicle at Munich where 2 small scratches were discovered on the front bumper. In the 2 days I had the car I did not have any form of accident or collison, so was stunned when these were discovered – they were small enough to have been missed by me when taking posession of the vehicle. A charge of €464 was applied to my card the same day, which is way over the top.
    Despite calls to customer service I’m awaiting justification for this. I was told at the Avis desk at munich airport that an investigation would be completed before any charge was made if anything was to be charged. Left my phone number and email address but have heard nothing. Not at all happy and it’s putting me off hiring with Avis again.

  45. Victoria Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Bill,

    I appreciate you taking the time to feedback on your experience with us and I apologise for any inconvenience caused. If you email your rentals details (including rental agreement number) to I will look into this further.


  46. david wray Says:


    I haven’t heard from you or customer support on this matter in the last fortnight, any ideas when i might?

  47. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi David,

    My apologies for the delay but I have now responded to you directly.



  48. Bill Says:

    Customer experience of Avis following discovery of 2 small scratches on bumper

    Extortionate charge of €464 immediately applied to credit card – despite being told at Avis desk nothing would be until after investigation. Phone Number and email left at desk, promised someone would contact me – NEVER DID

    Phone call to Avis customer service – left email and phone number, promised someone would ring me back NEVER DID

    Second call to Avis customer service – COMPLETELY UNHELPFUL told matter was with Germany and would have to wait

    Cross, so raised issue on this blog – see above, emailed the lady who responded as requested EMAIL NOT EVEN ACKNOWLEDGED

    Sent second email. This time answered and given someone’s name who “was dealing” and would get back NEVER DID

    Sent third email yesterday

    Discover on credit card statement today a partial refund but still £263 out of pocket for something I didn’t cause. NEVER HEARD FROM AVIS no BILL OF REPAIR provided – Feeling Ripped Off


    RENTALS BY ME IN 2009 ???

    Gives the phrase Customer Excellence a new definition doesn’t it?

    The secret to good Customer relations is being able to keep people informed. What the customer most wants to know is what’s happening to their issues. The above is valuable feedback if you’re serious about improvement.

  49. Bill Says:

    Update – have now got a corrected invoice that shows I’ve been charged for 2 days collision damage waiver!!!!!

    Why have I therefore been charged for accident repair for 2 tiny scrapes on the bumper here in the first place!!!!

    This makes no sense. Why have you taken money from my credit card for more than a month and put me through all this hassle?

    Please refund me at once!!!

    Do Avis enjoy torturing it’s customers – it sure looks that way from here


  50. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi Bill,

    Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you. Our Customer Service department have been liaising with Avis Germany to investigate this matter.

    I have spoken to the agent who is dealing with this case and someone will be contacting you today on this matter.



  51. Steve Sams Says:

    I hired a opel astra and picked up at Frankfurt Airport Germany and in 2 days only did 80 km. I have been charged £414 for a 3mm stone chip on the windscreen thats 2 inches from the bottom of the screen, i’m convinced it was there before I hired the car, I picked it up in a badly lit multi story at night and the car was wet/dirty, (it had been raining so to be expected) but didnt spot it.
    Are windscreens that expensive in Germany?, this works out at £5 a km without the actual cost of the car hire itself, is this a record !contacted the UK customer services who are following up for me, I can only hope they reconsider.
    Most disappointed with the attitude of the Avis staff in Frankfurt, even my wife thought so and she is german !

  52. Sue Porter Says:

    My husband, who is an Avis Preferred customer, has just driven out of Stansted Airport and got a puncture within an hour. As the car is new I assume that if a repair can be done that is acceptable?

  53. Bill Says:

    Was contacted today – just to let you know, that after this experience, you have lost a regular customer for life.

    I will also share my experience with others in my business community

    That’s literally the last post from me

  54. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi Bill,

    I am glad to hear that you have been contacted but I’m sorry to hear that you feel this matter has not been resolved to your satisfaction. We aim to be as fair as possible on these matters and if you contact me on with the reasons for your dissatisfaction, I will review your case.


  55. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi Steve,

    Can you send me details of your rental agreement to and I will speak to customer services to see how far your case has progressed.


  56. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi Sue,

    In case of damage or puncture, we ask all our customers to call the Avis Assist line. They will send out a specialist company who assess the problem and decide if a repair is possible or a replacement is required. With minor repairs, breakdowns and punctures, we have to ensure that the repairs or replacements provided are of a high standard and meet the criteria of the manufacturer as the car will be rehired by Avis.

    In the case of punctures, although the car is new, a repair may not be feasible as this it is dependent on the cause of the puncture and the damage caused. For example, if the vehicle has been kerbed or driven over a particular object (aware or unawares) and there is sidewall damage, a replacement tyre is necessary as a repair would not be possible or safe.

    I hope this helps,


  57. Steve Sams Says:

    Hi, well its a month now and I still haven’t heard anything from Customer Services. A bit disappointing.
    Steve Sams

  58. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Support Says:

    Hi Steve,

    A letter was sent from our Customer Services Department on Wednesday 7th January regarding your case. You should receive this in the next couple of days.

    Hope this helps,


  59. Brian Davidson Says:

    I hired a car, Peugeot 207 from Avis Rent A Car at Aberdeen Airport on Thursday 30th October. The cost of the hire was prepaid through Airmiles. When I asked about returning the vehicle, I was told to park it in the Avis car park where I was picking it up and, if outside office hours, to return the keys via a letter box at the Avis counter in the airport. No mention was made that I would be liable for damage once it had been returned to Avis property. I was asked if I wanted extra insurance in order to reduce the excess but I declined as I was not intending using the car much, only using it for convenience over the four days of my stay. This can be seen from the low mileage use(average about 60miles a day). I was asked for my credit card as a security measure. My return flight was early on the morning of Monday 3rd November so I returned the car to the Avis car park at Aberdeen Airport on Sunday 2nd November at 6pm. I handed the keys to an Avis representative at the Avis counter inside the Airport. The car had not been involved in any road traffic incident and no damage was done to any part of the car while in my possession. The person with me when I returned the car can vouch for this. I received a letter from Avis on Tuesday 4th November, informing me that they had found additional damage to the car when they inspected it at 10.30am that morning and enclosed an Incident Report Form(large crack to windscreen driver’s side 250mm).I could not have missed or been unaware of such damage. I completed the Incident Report Form stating that no damage had been done to the car and posted it on Wednesday 5th November. I was, therefore, extremely surprised to receive the following day an Invoice for £222.46 which had been debited to my credit card. I object most strongly to this as I was not responsible for any damage to the car and indeed have been shown no evidence that there was any damage to the car. The charge was debited to my credit card before Avis had received my Incident Report Form. Now two months later, following several phone calls to Avis and AI Claims Solutions I have still not received any evidence that any damage was done or that any repairs had to be made. I find this most unsatisfactory and I shall avoid using Avis in the future.


  60. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Support Says:

    Hi Brian,

    I’m sorry to hear about your experience at Aberdeen Airport. Please could you send your rental agreement details to and I will review the case personally.


  61. Angela Davies Says:

    Well done Avis for having a clear Damage Policy. I recently hired a car from (A competitor) at Stanstead Airport. I paid a £100 damage excess deposit but on returning the car 2 days later they said there were 2 chips on the windscreen which I would have to pay for. I was then told that’s £210 – £105 per chip … was I lucky that there were only 2 chips? How much is a windscreen replacement on a Micra? They said they could have charged the maximum of £650 excess….
    Guess who won’t be renting from (A competitor) again.

  62. Stephen Spiers Says:

    Hi Angela,

    Just to let you know that I’ve amended your comment as it mentioned a competitor (we’re happy for customers to provide feedback about Avis – good or bad – but we do not allow users to comment on our competitors – again good or bad!).

    But thanks for the feedback.


  63. James Forrest Says:

    Having read the comnments by Brian Davidson (Case 59 above) I printed the details of a recent problem I experienced also at Aberdeen Airport early in Nov 08.Full details appeared on this blog site on saturday and yesterday but is no longer there today . It was a lengthy critique of an alleged tyre damage and I do not wish to have to repeat it all again.

    Can you confirm please what has happened to the msg and why it has disappeared.

    James Forrest

  64. James Forrest Says:

    This ia a repeat of a msg sent a few minutes ago.

    Having read the comments by Brian Davidson( Case 59 above)I gavw details of a problemI experienced also at Abn Airport early in Nov 08. The full details appeared in this blog for the past few days but is no longer there. What has happened and where has it gone? Are you aware of it?

    James Forrest

  65. Stephen Spiers Says:

    Hi James,

    I have been monitoring the comments inbox and I have not seen your original comment. Therefore, I cannot answer what has happened.

    However, if you would like to post your comment again, I will ensure it is published (as you can see, we do not weed out unfavourable comments) or if you wish, send the details to and I will review the case with our customer service department.


  66. James Forrest Says:

    From James Forrest

    At your request I am trying to reepeat the contents of a msg sent a week ago and which at first appeared on this blog and then disappeared. This relates to a similar experienca as Brian Davidson (Case 59) above .
    I was attending a family funeral in ABDNS early Nov 08 I hired a car from Avis at the airport for 3 days starting on 6th Nov. around 3.45 hrs in the
    PM. It was practically dark and very dull annd wet and whilst I walked round the car everything seemed ok. My wif recoded the mileage on the car b4 we took off. The car was returned on the Saturday evening around 5.30pm gain dark and dismal. We booked the car back ast the reception office and all was ok. Four days later I recd a letter from Avis ABN Airpot to inform me that one of the front tyres had been damaged and would I complete the attached forms giving my version of the incident. This was done immeditaely to the effect that I was convinced there must be some mistake here as this did not happen in my experience nor had I had any such incident likel to cause such damage. A few days later I recd the invoice for the rental and this showed an addiotional debit to my Credit Card of £139.71 for a replacement tyre.
    I raised this with the ABN Airport staff and recd little satisfaction who referrred me to their A1 Claims office in Blackpool. I have also since written at length to Customer Services at Avis Hayes Middlesex and still have had no satifactory explanation as to how this occured. Some of the paperwork given to me at the time of rental has been poorly treated with overwritten registration numbers. The mileag recorded was around 600 Miles in error as I onle drove less than 100miles. No Avis staff have ever been present when I hgave taken delivery or returned a car at Abn and being an Aberdonian I go there quite often. Fortunately the Credit Card Co. have in their posession a complete copy pof all my Corres with Avis and are now to take this up on my behalf. Nevertheless I appears to me that something is seriously amiss at the ABN Airpot depot and is in need of some serious investigation.
    Your unbiased view here would be appreciated.

    James Forrest 2/2/09

  67. Stephen Spiers Says:


    Thank you for reposting your comment and as you can see, it has been published as promised.

    I will investigate this matter directly with the customer services department and contact you back directly.



  68. James Forrest Says:

    to Stephen Spiers From James Forrest.

    Since your msg of 2nd Feb nothing was heard until yesterday when I was in the process of writing AGAIN to ascertain what was happening. At this point I looked at my e-mails and ” Quelle srrprise” I had a msg from your Lisa Edwards to say they had reviewed my complaint and I would receive a full refund . Whilst I am pleased that common sense and sustained effort on my part has now prevailed this incident has not impressed me at all and I am poarticularly saddened by the lack of what you describe as Customer Service. Their is a lot more that can be said here but as I am unlikely to use Avis again- what,s the point.

    James Forrest.

  69. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi James,

    I apologise for the delay in responding. This matter was passed to the Executive Customer Care team who undertook a thorough investigation with the relevant station to ensure the decision was fair.

    I am also sorry that you feel that you are unlikely to use Avis again and can only hope that at some point in the future, you reconsider and give us the opportunity to provide the service you deserve.



  70. Denis Turcot Says:

    I rented a car in Spain (Malaga airport) in June 2008. I suscribed the Super CDW and TP at the counter for the huge amount of almost 900 euros for 3 weeks, the employee assuring me that there was no deductible, because I didn’t want problems (I regret now).
    When I returned the car, the employee sat in the car to note the fuel level, did a quick tour of the car and said OK. It was not a surprise as the car was in the exact same condition it was at the beginning.
    So, it was a big surprise when I received my credit card account in July to see that Avis charged me 394,40 euros more.
    I contacted «» because I rented the car with them (I’m Canadian). Many weeks later they answered that I had to contact Avis Spain and they gave me a name and an email address. They confirmed that with the 2 insurances I contracted, I was fully covered. I sent an email to this person in Spain but never had a reply. So I sent an email to «» in September 2008 and, as I had nothing more than an aknowledgement, another one 23 working days later. At this date, I have no reply.
    So, I contacted my credit card company in January and they answered (today) that I have to make a reclamation to the insurance company Avis is making business with. So, how can I make a reclamation to this company if I dont even know its name (its not written on the contract)? And how can I have its name, address and the procedure to make this reclamation when Avis CLIENT SERVICE never answer my questions? Don’t tell me to call as I’m in Canada and my first language is French…
    During all this saga I learnt one thing: never again with Avis.

  71. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Support Says:

    Hi Denis,

    I apologise for the service that you have received so far.

    Can you forward the details of your rental (including rental agreement number) to me and I will chase this matter with the relevant customer support department.



  72. Stephen Says:

    I too have had problems with the Munich Office of Avis.

    I rented the last Golf they had, which had some scratches on the rear wheel arch. Despite taking photographs at the time and making sure all was well on the return of the car. Avis then took £760 pounds in danages from my account.

    There was no prior warning, just a letter in German three days later.

    As I reserved through avis UK I have raised a complaint through them, I have been told that this will take 14 days for them to check with the Munich office. After two emails I have yet to receive a response from avis UK.

    So the policy described here doesn’t seem to apply at the Munich office.


  73. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Support Says:

    Hi Stephen,

    For all foreign queries, we have to check with the country in question and this may take a couple of weeks. However, we should keep you informed of the progress of the case.

    Can you forward the details of your rental to and I will speak to customer services to get someone to contact you.



  74. Barbara Says:

    My partner hired a car from Avis, and I noticed that the representative did not conduct a ‘walk around’ of the car to highlight any existing damage. On returning the car, my partner was charged £200 for a scratch on the front bumper, which he was adamant was not cause by him and must have been pre-existing damage (he has no recollection of any impact or parking issues). Firstly, it should be a pre-requisite requirement for all Avis representatives to instigate a ‘walk around’ of the car pre-hire and agree the extent of the existing damage with the customer. This was not done and this is a training issue. Secondly, I would like clarification as to how the costing for damage is conducted, as I note from previous comments (Kevin Digweed April 10th 2008) that a minor dent and scratch was costed at £100, and the scratch that my partner was supposedly responsible for was not indented and could be re-sprayed over for considerably less than the £200 charged, in my opinion (I have photo evidence and will get this estimated myself)and therefore would not have any significant affect on the re-sale value. I would like to believe that the fact that my partner did not take out the optional insurance cover with the hire was not a contributing factor in the decision to charge for damage; which he believes was pre-existing.

  75. Rob White- Marketing Manager, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Barbara, thank you for the feedback.

    Would you be able to email me at with your rental agreement and we’ll take a look at your case for you?

    You are understandably concerned about the fairness of our damage policy so I just wanted to provide some clarity on it which I hope may alleviate these concerns. All cars are given a 14-point check for damage prior to being rented to our customers. Any damage that is spotted is recorded on a Vehicle Condition Report (VCR). This damage record is highlighted when the rental agreement is reviewed with the customer before we ask her/him to sign the Vehicle Condition Report (this is the point where Avis and the customer agrees to extent of any existing damage on the car). Even after signing the contract, the customer is free to check the car for damage before driving away and we will happily mark this on the rental agreement if anything new is spotted. We also have a policy on “non-chargeable damage” so our customers do not have to worry about every tiny little scratch. In addition, if it is dark or raining, the customer is welcome to drive the car to their destination and call us the next morning to advise of any additional damage that may have been spotted when visibility is better.

    We welcome any further feedback you have that might help us improve our process and policies in this area. In the meantime, if you are able to send your rental agreement to me, then we will take a look at this for you.


  76. Phil Eccles Says:

    Is there something about Avis at Munich airport? I have a case that’s startingly similar to the one described by Bill above. One small scratch on the front bumper. I did a basic check on the car when I picked it up, but to be honest the scratch was so small I’m not sure that I would have seen it. Now Avis Munich have charged me 503 Euros. That is totally over the top. The Avis attendants called it a small surface scratch and were debating whther to even enter it (my wife is fluent in German).

    On my last two car hires from Munich Avis were happy to rent me cars which:

    1) Had the back wiper mechanism totally ripped off.

    2) Had deep scratches all over the rear right side of the car (the car I’ve been chared for).

    Given this, I’m wondering when they are going to use the 450 GBP they’ve taken out of my account to fix the scratches on the front bumper. I suspect the answer is that these will never be fixed and that the money they have taken is pure profit.

    Just what kind of prices do car repair centres charge in Germany? It sounds to me like you could get a whole new bumper for what I’ve paid. Or is this some kind of opening gambit so that I won’t feel so bad when it’s cut down to a “mere” 200 Euros?!

    Don’t get me wrong, if I prang the car I expect to pay for the damage. However, there were no incidents the entire week that I rented the car and I can’t help but feel that this is blatant profiteering.

    I took three photographs after I dropped the car off which I would be happy to pass on to you. I’m struggling to identify the damage in all 3 of them. What I would like is:

    1) Your before and after photographs identifying the damage (the Avis rep. took a photograph from the same position I did).

    2) Some proof that the money you have taken from my account has actually or will soon go on fixing the damage.

    Not happy, and needless to say will be avoiding Avis in future.

  77. Phil Eccles Says:

    Another thing, I phoned up Avis to complain about the amount I’d been charged. They passed it on to the foreign damages department (fair enough) and said it would take up to 30 days for them to get in touch. Why so long! I would have thought 5 days was much fairer. This is modern, efficent Germany we are talking about, not an undeveloped backwater. The attitude seems to be, we’ve got your money now, the onus is on you to chase us up.

  78. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Phil, would you be able to email your rental agreement to and we’ll take a look at this for you.


  79. Kevin Heath Says:

    On 17 th July 2009 I booked and prepaid online for a car to be collected on Friday 7 th August 2009 at 5.30 from Lincoln Erme Filling Station.UK.
    When I arrived to collect the car there was a handwritten notice on the door saying CLosed.On my confirmation details it stated the office was open until 6pm.
    Iwaited outside the office for a good 5 minutes and when nobody appeared, I rang the number on my booking confirmation form. A lady called Lisa tried to help me by ringing the out of hours office number but failed to get a reply. By this time if approaching 6pm and still no sign of anybody at the car rental office. Lisa apologised and told me to book into a hotel for the night and to come back in the morning to collect the car at 9am. I explained that I already had accommodation booked but I needed the car that evening. She said that nothing could be done and apologised again.I had to cancel my plans for the Friday night and also my plans for Saturday(Brands Hatch Superbike Race)because of the failure of your company to notify me by telephone of the changes to your opening hours. I was also made to feel like a liar by your staff at cutomer services on Friday 14th August. I spoke to annalise who basically said that the guy was at the filling station next door and I should have gone looking for him and also I waited around for 10 mins before phoning anyone for help. The guy at the rental office says he has witnesses to back him up that he was next door but as I explained to your customer service advisor, how was I expected to know where he was!!! Surely he should have been in the office waiting for his client to show up.
    The advisor would not pass me on to a supervisor when I spoke to your office yesterday and offered me a free upgrade on my next car rental and then a £25 voucher saying that its company policy not to give refunds for unsatifactory service!. I would not want to chance your customer services again so the voucher would be of no use to me.
    A simple phone call informing me of the change to opening hours would have helped or an email. Also to be made to feel that I am to blame for all this as well as actually missing a days bike racing is the final straw.
    Sorry Avis but you definitely need to try harder!!

  80. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Kevin, I am very sorry to read about your experience. Would you be able to email your rental agreement number to and we’ll take a look at this for you?


  81. christine Says:

    We recently hired a car from Newcastle Airport to visit friends for a wedding. Upon returning the car we were horrified to be advised we were ‘allegedly’ responsible for a scrape on the underside of the bumper. Upon collection the previous day we were surprised at the low level of service when we requested assistance (being first time hirers) on what to do… we were advised to simply go! We did the scan of the car and everything seemed ok but the position of the scratch is not in an obvious place. Consequently our naiveity is potentially costing us a whopping £260! Avis so-far have been less than helpful and it has certainly ruined our trip. I am hoping Avis will contact us to resolve this as it is simply disgusting to be held to ransom like this. There was also almost a quarter of a tank of fuel missing on collection thus suggesting the car had been used since the last hirer (after all the cars are full upon collection?!?!)

  82. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Christine, would you be able to email your rental agreement number to and I will get the team to take a look at this for you?

    I am sorry that we have fallen short of your expectations at this stage.


  83. christine Says:

    I have emailed comments@avis and sent a detailed breakdown of events to AI Solutions who deal with the claims side… I will be interested to see if we get a response. The previous blogs make interesting reading as it seems this is a common occurrance. Had I come accross this site before hand I would have thought twice about using AVIS.

  84. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Christine,

    I received your email and have followed up with the Customer Support team to investigate.

    I understand why reading this thread might give you second thoughts about us. I can only assure you that, while the number of comments may appear a lot (and issues about damage is always going to be a difficult one no matter who one rents with), the number of actual customers who complain about this issue represents a small % of the total.

    Our intention here is not to put people off us but give customers the opportunity to have their say. And, in your case, pick up on issues where customers feel we haven’t got it right. Getting such direct feedback from our customers is invaluable. It keeps us on our toes and makes sure we are always looking for ways to get better and not be complacent. And we allow it to be posted in a public forum because we are confident we have nothing to hide.

    Incidentally, we have someone dedicated to improving our damage processes and he is very much about fairness and transparency. And I make sure all of these comments are sent to him!

    But I know that is of little comfort to you personally and I will pick this up with the Customer Support team.

    As always, please let me know if you have any further comments or feedback.


  85. Matt Farrow Says:

    I booked an AVIS car for a 10 day trip in Spain. On our return at the end of the holiday the car broke down on us, the clutch linkage had gone. After many phone calls and 6 hours later we finally got a replacement car to finish our journey.
    4 days later once we had returned to the UK, my credit card had been charged with over £770. Having contacted the office where we had hired the car from, I was told I had broken the clutch because of bad driving and was charged with filling up the unservicable car with fuel.
    The level of customer service we received was disgusting and we were made to feel like it was our fault the car had broken down.
    3 weeks after placing a complaint via e-mail and over the phone, I have still not received any correspondance.
    I will certainly not be recommending AVIS to anyone.

  86. Gavin Says:

    Just back from Spain, booked car for 2 weeks through website here in UK.(Supposed to Total at just under £600)
    On returning vehicle my partner was asked if she had any optional charges and she said no but one recieving invoice we have been charged 2 weeks collision waiver and 2 weeks theft protection at a total of £520 making my bill for 2 weeks car hire inflate to £1065.
    We have contacted Avis customer service and got the usual re sending for the documents but the matter of the fact is that My partner seems to have been duped into paying for these charges after the rental period has been completed and having never agreed to then previously or at any time. According to us the cost should have been as stated when booking the vehicle.
    We have informed out Credit card company who will be investigating but an extra charge of £550 on to our credit card at this time has knock on financial compicatioons for us and will no doubt inccur other charges in time as will struggle to pay it off.

    Any help would be most appritaited regarding this matter as I will report to trading standards and the police if this matter is not resolved to mysatisfaction.

  87. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Matt, I’m really sorry that you feel so let down by us so far. Would you be able to email your rental agreement number to and I’ll follow this up for you.


  88. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Gavin, would you be able to email your rental agreement number to and I’ll follow this up for you with the Customer Support team?


  89. Gavin Says:

    Hi Rob
    Our service agreement number is:[RA number]. Thanks

  90. Jeremy Groves Says:

    Dear Avis

    Please be patient with my english: although I have an english name I was brought up and live in Switzerland. Thanks.

    I have a very similar case to the one described by Phil on August 14th at Edinburgh Airport. We had rented a car from there from August 14th until August 20th.
    Upon pickup we did the basic check around the car as told by your representative. I must point out at that at that time it was raining heavily and the car was dripping wet.
    The following day and with bright sunshine we noticed a small dent in the back door on the drivers side. It is obvious, that this dent must have been caused by someone else. I then thought we’ll settle that when we return the car.
    The day we returned the car I pointed out the dent in the back door. Your rep the also found a small crack in the windscreen on the right hand side (not the driver side). This crack looks just like one that you get when a pebble hits your car when driving on the highway. Neither my spouse or myself noticed that tiny crack throughout the whole renting period. Neither did we ever hear a pebble hit the windscreen.
    Your representative told me that Avis now will charge 275£ for the cracked windscreen and 410£ for the dent in the rear door. The grand total came over 780£. Ouch.

    Those amounts almost made me faint. I have often rented cars (sorry, not always Avis) and damages like that were treated as you state in your post as ‘… we consider to be general ‘wear and tear’’. And to be honest I cannot believe that the repairs will cost that much. Should any repairs be done.

    I might add that your representative wasn’t very friendly that day and not helpful at all. Might have been a bad day with many people returning their cars.

    Luckily I took photos of the dent in the door (the photos from the windscreen didn’t turn out well) which in my opinion is less than the inch you describe as “wear and tear”.

    Where can I send those photos to to get a second opinion? Is there anybody who will look into this a bit closer as the Avis rep in Edinburgh did not want to get a second opinion?

    Next time I should pick up a rental car waiting in the rain outside I will have to ask the staff to dry it so I can give it a better look.

  91. Phil Eccles Says:


    It’s been nearly two weeks since I raised my issue with Avis at Munich airport and I haven’t heard back from you, not even an acknowledgement of the email I sent in at your request.

    All Avis documentation refers to the damage I allegedly caused as a “small scratch” on the underside of the front bumper. This must be at the very bottom of the scale. Reading other entries on this blog I have heard of clients in Britain being charged around 200 pounds. So where do Avis Munich get off charging 500 Euros (450 pounds)? I have asked my brother who lives in Germany to get a few quotes. They all come up with figures in the range 50-100 Euros. Even if you take into account “Administration Charges” and the cost of the car being off the road for a day, an extra 400 Euros on top of the highest figure is ridiculous.

    I have another question which you have not yet answered. Given that Avis are happy to rent me vehicles which have much worse damage than that which I allegedly caused, at exactly what point is the car take in for repair? As I’m paying for it, do I not have a right to know when this is going to take place and to see a copy of the Bill of Repair?

    Finally, the key to good customer service is communication. The total lack of it from yourselves so far speaks volumes.

  92. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Gavin, I got the rental agreement number, thank you, and will follow up the Customer Support team.


  93. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    I’m so very, very sorry Phil. Damage queries do take a longer to resolve (as it involves multiple parties) but I did get your email and did ask the Customer Support team to follow up with you and provide an explanation. I am really disappointed that this did not happen and will personally head over to the team now to make sure this does.

    With regards to your questions about when the repairs actually take place, this will depend on the nature of the damage. Generally our policy is that we take the car straight off the road for repair if it is “unsafe”, “un-rentable”(i.e. major damage) or “unsightly” (i.e. is likely to lead to a customer complaint). But, even if the repair is not conducted straight away then it will need to happen at some point before it moves on from life as a rental car. On the second question, I take your point but I am not familiar enough with the damage process to answer this. However, the Customer Support team should be able to answer when they get in touch.

    Finally, I appreciate that you are disappointed that I personally did not acknowledge your email and I can only apologise for that. We do run this blog in addition to our day jobs because we feel passionate about giving our customers the opportunity to engage in an open dialogue and have their say. For this reason, I try to avoid entering into a dialogue “off-line” and instead channel these emails to the right person who, to be honest, should be able to be much more helpful than I could ever be. However, I completely hear what you’re saying, that “the key to good customer service is communication” and we will re-evaluate the process for managing how a dialogue takes place with the customer when the conversation moves off the blog because clearly it isn’t working at the moment.

    Please let me know if there is any more I can do to help and in the meantime I’ll be over in the Customer Support team!


  94. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Jeremy, there is no need to apologise about your English – it is perfect and much better than mine!

    If you could send in your rental agreement number and your photos to, I’ll get someone in our customer support team to take a look.

    For future rentals, if it is raining, we are happy for you to report damage the next morning when it is drier and easier to check. It becomes a more difficult issue if the damage is not reported until a later date because it is impossible for us to verify whether that damage occured before or during the rental.


  95. Jeremy Groves Says:

    Dear Rob

    thanks for your reply and the compliment regarding my english :)

    I mailed the agreement number + photos to the mail address noted by you.

    You wrote “For future rentals, if it is raining, we are happy for you to report damage the next morning when it is drier and easier to check”. Would it be necessary to go to an Avis office or could it be done by phone?

    Thanks, Jeremy

  96. Gavin Says:

    Ok thanks Rob,

    Hope this can be sorted as it’s a total rip off.

    Thanks a million


  97. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    @ Jeremy – it’s always best to double check with the rental office first but over the phone will normally suffice. I got your email by the way and I have followed this up with the Customer Support team to investigate.


  98. Gavin Says:

    Got a letter from your Customer Services yesterday stating that the invoice has the two queried charges on it that we purchased at time of collecting vehicle.
    That was the whole point that we never agreed to take the two extra benefits at any time and said ” no ” to Avis staff but they were printed on to the “Estimated Invoice” which was signed in the belief that the verbal agreement had been upheld on to the written invoice which states is for “information only”. This seems to have been a simple error on behalf of the Avis staff.

    I hope you can do some thing to cut through the red tape and sort this mess out.



  99. Richard Watkins Says:

    You definatley need to improve things as i was recently charged an excess of £180 for a tiny one inch scratch knocked down from £360 as a good will gesture huh! which went straight onto my credit card & left me & my family without money for almost a week, i was DISGUSTED! had the level of charges been clearer from the start i would have thought twice about renting the car, also the guy at the rental station was so uncaring when i told him that putting this charge onto my card would cause us severe problems, he just told me it was company policy, huh! what company policy to leave it’s customers without money for nearly a week, money needed to basically live! yet again DISGUSTING!!!

  100. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:


    I’ve seen your update and I’ll pick this up with the agent you are dealing with to find out what is happening with this.


  101. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Richard,

    I am sorry to hear about your frustrations.

    Would you be able to email your rental agreement number to and I’ll follow this up with our customer support team. Without seeing the rental agreement it’s impossible to comment on this particular case, but I would advise customers to bare in mind that damage is a potential risk of car hire and customers must be prepared to pay damage costs (up to the excess) if the car is damaged in their care. These are the terms of car rental, no matter who you rent with. One way to mitigate this risk is to pay for an excess waiver product which reduces or eliminates the excess.


  102. Denis Turcot Says:

    To all of you who sent a copy of their rental agreement to Did you have an answer? I’m wondering if this blog is just a façade because I posted on this blog on March 5th 2009…post number 70), after months of trying to have an answer from Avis «CLIENT SERVICE», without success, no reply at all, as if there was nobody working in this service. Customer Service replied on the next post and I sent him my Rental Agreement and all the relevant papers. At this date, I have had nothing, not even an acknowledgement, despite the fact that I tried to contact him 2 more times. It’s the worst client service I’ve ever had. NEVER NEVER NEVER AGAIN AVIS!!!

  103. Frederick Says:

    I would suggest that as most people have cameras/phones
    that they take photos of every thing including the staff.
    would only take a few mins.
    Even the underside could be covered.
    You could also use your phone to record conversations use full if in Spain when translation can become interesting. Traffic wardens do it to prove the issue of tickets are correct and the photos can be used in court.

  104. Stephen Says:

    Re Fredrick

    I did take photographs when issued a car with scratches at Munich airport.

    I was still charged €900 by avis, it is now nearly a year on and I have lost all hope of recovering the money.

    The photographes mean nothing. Always check the car with a member of staff, and complete the damage form before using the car.

    The message I am told is that if you don’t take out the insurance then you some depots will assign you a scratched car and then claim against you rather than the previous person who took out insurance.

  105. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Denis, I am very sorry that you have not heard back on your query yet. I am not sure what has happened but this was sent to our Customer Support team in Canada back in March to investigate. I will chase this up for you immediately.

    I should clarify that this blog is managed by the Avis team in the UK so we do not have any jurisdication over the team in Canada. But we will always do what we can to support non-UK residents to get a resolution to their complaint and we do always follow up comments with the relevant country customer service teams. I appreciate that you are frustrated but I can assure you that every single customer who sends in their rental agreement for investigation via our blog is submitted immediately to the relevant team to investigate.


  106. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    @ Frederick, I agree that taking photographs is a good idea particularly as you can prove the date/time they were taken.

    @ Stephen, I am not sure what the status of your claim is because you sent in your information while I was away but I will follow up for you and see if I can get an update.


  107. Denis Turcot Says:

    @Rob White

    First, I want to tell you that I’ve received an email from somebody in Avis UK Customer Service, telling me that my case is now investigated. After 14 months, it’s not too early!!!

    Second, I want to tell you that I first contacted Avis in North America back in August 2008 and they told me they can do nothing for me because Spain depends of Avis Europe which is a DIFFERENT LEGAL ENTITY. That’s why I’ve tried to contact Avis Europe in UK. So sending the file to Canada is no good…

  108. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Denis, thank you for the update. You are correct that Avis Europe and Avis Budget Group (who are based in the US) are legally separate entities. However, our customers should have the confidence of going to the customer service teams located in their home country to resolve any issues they may have, regardless of where the rental takes place. And they shouldn’t have to worry about communicating over different time zones or making expensive overseas phone calls! I am not sure why you were advised differently by the team in Canada, but I will follow up with the senior manager of the team over there and ask her/him to address this.

    Also, I can’t see the communication that our customer service team sent to you but I would suspect that they are following this up with the customer service team in Canada on your behalf.

    I am very sorry for the inconsistencies and confusion that you have experienced to date and we will take your experience to identify how we can do better. If you experience any further delay then let me know and I will follow this up for you.


  109. Gavin Says:

    Hi Vicky,

    Any development yet? I think it’s going to come down to a good will gesture on your behalf to sort this out in the short term. What’s the chance of that?


  110. Phil Eccles Says:

    I’d just like to say that having issued a complaint via this blog and then sent an e-mail to Avis customer service I received a full refund at the start of the month.

    I’m still not happy about the original incident, but must give credit where it is due, Avis customer service came through for me.

    One other thing, I did take photographs of the car (which to my mind showed minimal damage)and can only assume that sending these in via e-mail did help my cause, so I would advise everybody else to do the same if they feel they have a valid grievance.

    Thanks for the help.

  111. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    @Gavin, Vicki was not in the office today but I’ll catch up with her tomorrow to find out what’s going on.

    @Phil, once again apologies the incident occurred in the first place but I am glad the incident was resolved in the end. And I would endorse your recommendation to take photographs.


  112. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Gavin,

    Sorry, I have been away. I will follow this up with cutomer services next week and will get back to you.


  113. Laurar Parkin Says:

    I am absolutely appalled by your Customer Service. Have regularly rented from Avis in the past both in the UK and US, several times a year, as I live abroad, but this last occasion was given a car 2 grades below the one I had paid for, which already had a considerable amount of damage, also not clean. Finally received an invoice including GBP732.75+VAT (which indicentally comes to more than the excess of 800), also charged for the fuel, despite having been told to bring the car back empty, as ‘compensation’ for not getting the car I had booked. Since the car had not been out of my possession, and had suffered no damage while I had it, I assumed that the repairs were for the existing damage. Countless phone calls with the insurers and the offices involved, one with customer services who put the phone down on me, and eventually I was told I was being charged for a small dent (c 1 inch) on the roof. I had seen this, but not picked it up when I picked up the unwashed car, after a night flight with 3 children, and assumed had been ignored at earlier inspections as falling within the realms of minor damage that you would not charge for. I have complained about the charge via your website, and eventually received a copy of the repairs estimate – now 2 months after I returned the car – which mentioned the roof and also the bonnet. The substance of the reply is that the charges will stand, because this was the first time that this dent was picked up. It definitely did not happen while the car was in my possession, and there was certainly no damage to the bonnet, nor was any mentioned to me in any earlier call I had with Avis. The assumption is that because it was picked up after my rental that I must be the person responsible. There has been no acknowledgement thet, just possibly, it may have been missed at a previous inspection. I wouldn’t be so angry about this, if I wasn’t absolutely sure that it was a pre-existing dent, and as for the damamge to the bonnet I can’t even imagine what that is, as I would surely have seen any in the week I had the car. I only drove home from the airport, to visit a relative and then to my parents, and the vehicle was not even left parked on the road at any time. More fool me for being naive enough to take an already damaged car, not what I had asked for, inadvertently missing a small dent when I looked over the car, and not waiting in the rain for it to be inspected when I returned it – obviously, because it was in the same state that I have received it. It seems that there is no room in Avis’ policy to either admit any possible omission on your side, or forgive any oversight of the customer. That, compounded with the truly awful customer service, ensures that I will never use your company again.

  114. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Laura, I apologise for the delays you experienced and I will feed this back to the Customer Services team.
    Reconciling damage to vehicles is one of the hardest parts of the car hire business. In order for any car hire company to limit the associated costs, it’s necessary to implement a system with a clear process that is clearly communicated and consistently applied in every location and for every customer. That’s why when you hire a car you’re asked to sign a document acknowledging the condition of the car. We understand that it’s not always easy, many people are in a hurry or have many distractions when they pick up a car, but it’s the only system that we’ve found to be the most fair to the most people. It’s for this reason that we also encourage everyone to take their time reviewing the condition of the car and even taking pictures if necessary. If the car is damaged before you take it out, we want that to be recorded so that you’re not charged for it on return. Each customer must accept responsibility for what happens to the car while it is in their possession, including the condition of the car when they pick it up. These policies are industry standard.

    The Customer Service team is ultimately the best people to deal with this but I am happy to follow up with them if you have reason to think that the system above has not been applied.


  115. Gavin Says:

    Hi Vicky,
    You replied to me on the 18th Sept advising that you will get back to me “next week” but nothing has happened.
    Is this blog just a marketing vehicle to make Avis look good?
    Can you please “Try Harder” for me?


  116. Laura Parkin Says:

    I posted my experience on this site because I have been very unhappy with the way that my case has been dealt with by Customer Services. I understand your policy, but you must accept that it is possible for you to make mistakes too, and that what one check off marks as new damage may well have been ignored on a previous occasion as being too small to note. This way I have ended up being charged GBP800 for a tiny dent that was on the car when I picked it up. Also, how is the customer to appeal against damage suddenly mentioned by Avis 2 months later – when there certainly was none.

  117. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Gavin, apologies for the delay. I appreciate that it is frustrating but Vicki (who is on holiday at the mo) has been following this up continuously with the Customer Support. I will continue to do in her absence and have asked the team to give you an update. I empathise that the process has been a bit slow – unfortunately that’s a challenge for us as multiple parties are involved when it comes to damage – but we do recognise this and there is a review to look at how this can be improved.

    Hopefully you should hear something shortly but please let me know if there is any further delay.


  118. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Laura, most countries have a policy on non-chargeable damage where damage is considered “general wear and tear”, measured by the size and extent of the damage – so generally this cover any small “nicks” that customers may be weary of not being spotted. Generally damage will be spotted and charges applied when the rental car is returned (especially at airports), so usually this is applied straight away – not you would not normally expect a charge 2 months later retrospectively. I’m aware I’m just stating policy here without seeing the specifics of your case. If you can email to me your rental agreement number to I speak to the customer support team and understand exactly how they came to the outcome they responded to you with.


  119. Gavin Says:

    Hi Rob,
    My dispute is not regarding damage!
    It’s over charging for extras that were not agreed to but put on to the vauge invoice that Avis seem happy to use.



  120. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Sorry Gavin, in my eagerness to respond I made quickly the assumption about your query based on the topic of the blog post the comment was posted on. I will continue to chase this up for you!


  121. Gavin Says:

    OK Rob

    Don’t mean to sound like a [pain] but this is dragging on.
    Any help you could provide would be most helpful. I have not had any feedback re my dispute and this has been going on for weeks.



  122. Suki Says:

    I just hired a Fiat Punto for our trip to Lake District, on the way up to Ullswater, we hit a pot hole and we had a puncture.
    There was a slight crack in the plastic rim too.

    We had to change the tyres ourself, as there was no reception/signal in that area.

    Will we be charged for a new tyre? Or how does it work?

  123. Laura Parkin Says:

    Since forwarding my rental agreement number to you as requested I have heard nothing. I would not have been complaining about the damage charge both via your Customer Services dept or via this website if there were any possibility that the damage happened when the vehicle was in my possession. In over 25 years of driving I have only ever had to make one insurance claim, and I am certain that I should not have been charged GBP800 for a dent which was on the car when I picked it up. Please update.

  124. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Laura, I am very sorry that you have not heard anything back yet. Your email was received and I have followed this up with customer service for explanation. I will chase up.


  125. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Gavin,

    Sorry for the late response, I have been away.

    I have been speaking to our customer service team and they have send out a letter to you.

    If you haven’t received this already you should do soon.


  126. Denis Turcot Says:

    @Rob White

    I just want to tell you that I’ve been reimbursed minus 35 euros plus taxes for admin fees (I don’t know why, but it’s over and it’s ok). It took 14 months, and lot of time, effort, paper, stamps and patience, but I have now the refund. (For the story, read posts 70, 102, 105, 107 and 108).

    Curiously, the person who sent me the email announcing the refund has been accepted is the first person I talked in North America in August 2008, the one who told me to contact Avis Europe in UK and started all this saga. So you seem to be right that «Canada» should have taken care of my case. I’m wondering if «somebody» did not make his job right, sending me in UK for an answer… The mail was very straight forward and no excuse was included…. I’m very disapointed with my global experience with AVIS Customer Service.

  127. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Denis, I am delighted for you that this has finally been resolved although it is disappointing that you had so many issues getting there. There was a clear issue with ownership and and process and our Customer Support team has been engaged in a dialogue with our counterparts in Canada to resolve.

    I know that is little consolation for you now and I apologise that your experience fell well below what was expected of us.

    I wish you well on future travels and if you have any other questions then please do not hesitate to ask.


  128. Sally Says:


    This is the first time I’ve ever used a ‘blog’ but reading the comments it seems that things get actioned this way!.

    I originally contacted your company on the 14th September by phone and Email regarding our experience with our car hire in Spain, I am now fed up of chasing for a response, I still haven’t received anything in writing.

    During our holiday – we called the breakdown service. We had gone to a local fiesta and on the return to our Car we discovered all the lights on the right side of the Car were on, very scary as the switch was off. We managed to get the lights working after switching the ignition on and off a few times. We proceeded to start the car but found there was very little power and the engine seemed to be smoking we thought there might be an electrical fault. This car had never had much power even though it was new. (It was only after we received our replacement which was a smaller engine that we realised how bad it was.) As our journey home was about 20 minutes through empty countryside and we had two children with us, we didn’t want to risk driving and breaking down completely in the middle of nowhere – seems it was the right decision as we would have been stranded. So we rang the breakdown company – we were told someone would call us back within 20 minutes to arrange transport – we never got a call – and couldn’t get back in touch with the breakdown service as their lines were constantly busy. After 2 hours we managed to get a taxi home. The next day we spoke to the breakdown service again who were shocked we’d be left – arrangements were made to replace the car & we got another taxi to go and meet them.

    That would have been the end of the saga….. We’d paid out 60Euros in taxis – but we’d got a replacement and no real harm had been done – we’d managed to find our own way home and got a story to tell our friends.

    However on our return home we received a bill for £700.00, to say I’m shell shocked is an understatement – I work in travel and have always believed that if the car broke down or was in need of repair that would be sorted free of charge! Seems I was wrong.

    I look forward to you comments and hopefully this will be sorted quickly

    Thank you.

  129. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Sally,

    Thanks for sending through your rental number. I will look into this for you and follow up with customer services. If you haven’t heard back by the end of next week please let me know.


  130. Laura Parkin Says:

    Hi, I am still waiting for some update here. I have heard nothing since I forwarded my rental agreement number to you at the end of September. I have now been trying to recover my GBP800 since the end of July, when I received your invoice with the unexpected, and unjust, damage charge.

  131. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Laura,

    I have just checked with customer services and they have assured me that this is being looked into and they will get back to you soon.


  132. Laura Parkin Says:

    And still nothing. I will be returning to the UK in a couple of weeks, not renting a car from Avis, obviously, and presumably will have to start this whole complaints procedure from scratch.

  133. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Laura,

    I have spoken to our customer service team and they have informed me that you have been contacted about your complaint.

    If this is not the case please let me know or if you would like to contact someone from customer services please call 08445446666.


  134. Sally Says:

    It seems only fair to let people know that after lots of chasing I finally got my issue resolved to my satisfaction.

    I know that things go wrong – that was never my issue – it was the fact I could not get an explanation or response.

    I hope that lessons are learnt.

    kind Rgds

  135. Mick.. Says:

    9th Feb
    Yesterday I raised an issue with Avis about the cost of repairs to the hire car that I had last week. I thought I’d track progress on the blog, so other people can see how Avis deal with such matters.

    I returned my Matiz with some small scratches on the rear bumper ( looks like someone misjudged their parking and clipped the corner of the Matiz ). They did take some paint off the bumper and the scratches were a couple of inches long so are bigger than
    “- Scratches less than 25mm which do not penetrate the paint surface” for which Avis wouldn’t charge. As there was no dents, then I would expect the cost of making good to be approximately -
    * Purchase of touch-up pen £10
    * An hours labour £30
    so I was expecting, and was happy to pay, up to £50 for the damage.

    What I received was an invoice for £246 which seems totally out of proportion to the couple of scratches incurred – especially when a weeks hire only cost £143. Apparently this charge was put on by the hiring office as an ‘averaged’ charge, and so the next step is for an engineer to look at our particular case and look at our costs. Avis should be back to us this week or early next week.
    Staff have been helpful and polite, so it’s not all doom and gloom!

  136. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Mick,

    Thanks you for your comment and I apologise for the delayed response.

    With regards to your question about damage costs you are correct that we do not charge for scratches that are less than 25mm which do not penetrate the paint surface, as we understand that all cars with receive these through every day wear and tear. Anything larger than this we needs to be repaired to an agreed standard and method or repair as advised by vehicle manufacturers prior to being returned to the manufacturers. Therefore, I am afraid it is not as easy as purchasing a touch up pen and doing it ourselves. We need to take the cars off fleet and send them off to be fixed/resprayed, thus the repairs costing more than it would for a touch up.

    If you email at with your rental agreement number I will look into this for you and follow up with our customer service team.


  137. color correction Says:

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  138. Derek Revell Says:

    I too returned a car very early in the morning to Schonefeld Airport without any damage, silly me I forgot to take photos, not a thing that first comes to mind when I’m flying back home, but I’m presented with a charge of €850,by post, a week later, with some photos of damage to the right hand side of the wheel arch, a minor scrape, but the photo shows a big patch of ice next to my car, I’m thinking, some one has attempted to park alongside my car a skidded into my car. I’m really annoyed about this, and have suspended hiring for Avis again until this matter is cleared up. If I had damaged the car during the rental, I would have no problem admitting it, as my company pays for the car rental.

  139. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Derek,

    Thank you for your comment and I am sorry to hear of your frustrations with Avis.

    I have passed your comment and case number on to our customer service team who will look into this for you.

    If you have any other questions please email me at or contact our customer service team on 0844 544 6666 or via email at


  140. Derek Revell Says:

    “We try harder”!!!!! Since reporting the incident, Avis have not contacted me, this is not good enough, despite promising to report back to me after their “internal investigation” because of this I have decided to change my car rental partner to “HERTZ” after 15 years of rentals with AVIS, shame on you. BTW I first reported this incident on the 1st March 2011, and chased Avis Customer services up on 2 weekly intervals after hearing nothing after 1 month.

  141. Rodger van Zyl - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hello Derek,

    Please accept my apologies for the service issue you’re experiencing.

    I would like investigate this issue for you and get it resolved as soon as possible. In order for me to do this, please can you send your rental details to the below email address.


    I look forward to receiving your details so I can resolve this issue for you, and restore your faith in Avis.

    Rodger – Marketing

  142. Steve Martin Says:

    I must admit i am more then disappointed with Avis and in particular your customer care. I hired a car from Bremen Airport on the 2nd of April and returned it on the 6th of April. during this time i had a flat tyre. as there was no spare wheel we had to be recovered to a garage. the garage we where recovered to was closing down and moving locations unable to fit a new tyre or repair the current one fitted we had to hire a new car. this resulted in 4 hours lost and a missed business meeting which resulted in me losing a client. second to this when i returned the car to the airport no one was there to check the car and we dropped the keys in the drop box. upon returning home i was amazed to learn i have been charged £270 for damages. the car was not damaged in anyway shape or form (and it doesnt cost £270 for a new tyre not that i had damaged this either). What shocked me even more was the fact that my card had the payment taken from it without any notification to myself. i had to contact Avis myself. i was informed that they could not tell me why the damage charge had been taken and that they would need 30 days to get back to me. this was on the 9th of april SIX WEEKS AGO NOW! despite several calls made by me to Avis customer care and even asking to speak to a manager twice now and being told he would call me back in 48 hours yet that call never came. i feel that your customer service is astonishing, how can no one call me before taking a payment and further to this the reason the payment was taken was not logged on a system so no one when i call up can explain why it was taken? further to this your 30 days turn around is a joke and has left me very frustrated. i constantly travel for business and have been to Norway and Greece since this has happened my business partner is currently in Singapore. we always hire cars. i can safely say since this very poor experience with Avis i will not be using you again. i do not understand how you can treat your customers this way? i certainly wouldn’t treat my customers this way.

  143. Sabrina, Marketing Says:

    Hi Steve-
    Sorry to hear you’ve had such a frustrating experience.

    Could I please ask you to confirm your reservation details with us so we can ask our customer service team to investigate?

    Many thanks

  144. Klaus Kuerner Says:

    Dear Avis,

    I recently hired a car in Germany from Frankfurt Hahn airport. When I picked up the car, the only extra insurance I was offered was collision damage waiver (around 20 euro/day). I was therefore led to believe that I was covered for accidental damage. When I was driving, I heard a stone hit the windscreen, but couldn’t see anything. The next day there was a 20cm crack in the windscreen. I have just been charged 626 euros for a replacement. This came as a great shock as I thought I was covered for this kind of damage, which is absolutely not my fault. Would it be possible to show me where I waivered the insurance for windscreen cover? Secondly, this is a very expensive windscreen for a small car (fiat panda). Up til now I have been very happy with Avis. Is there anything that you can do to help me?

    Klaus Kuerner

  145. Sabrina, Marketing Says:

    Hi Klaus,
    Sorry to hear about this – could you please send your reservation details to and we shall ask our damage team to investigate.

    Many thanks

  146. Tim Boyle Says:

    I rented a Fiat 500 from Avis Fiumicino Airport Rome on 31st August for 3 weeks. During that time one of the front headlamps got broken. When I checked the car in I pointed out the damaged headlamp. Later when I had time to look carefully at the check in slip (in Italian) I realised there was a charge of 599 + 35.62 euros for the damage. From my credit card statement I now see the actual charge was GBP742.76. I queried this with Avis Italy by email and eventually received a response saying they had investigated the problem and were refunding me 260 euros. They also attached the related documentation for the repair. However the repair work was to the door and was dated 27th August – 4 days before I rented the car.
    I cannot get any response at all now from Avis Italy. Can you help?

  147. Claire Says:

    Hello Tim,
    Sorry you’ve had such a difficult time, but yes I can help. Could you give me your booking reference please so we can look it up for you?

  148. Mr S J Carter Says:

    I’d like to inform you if I may of my recent experience of using your company. On a day out the vehicle I’d hired got a puncture on a minor road as we were heading home & the tyre deflated rapidly. On pulling up the car at the next safe place I got out with the intention of jacking up the car & simply putting on the spare. But no! The car had neither jack nor spare. A quick call to the breakdown number to explain the problem followed, only to be told it would cost £201 to pick us up & get us on the road again. I politely declined & rang the Avis office from which I’d hired the car only to be told there was an emergency repair kit instead of a proper tyre & I’d have to use that to get the tyre functional & get home.
    On following the instructions in the kit we wasted another half hour trying to get the tyre operational & despite all the resin being pumped into the tyre, once the compressor was turned off, the tyre immediately defated again. By now it was getting dark, the outside temperature was below zero & I had my elderly mother in the back of the car, so my hand was forced to bite the bullet & ring the breakdown service. While my partner was inflating the tyre I’d gone on a ‘recce’ to pinpoint exactly where we were, to aid the breakdown service but the operator couldn’t even locate the road despite our position being less than 2m from the main A66 road. I know the next segment of complaint isn’t directly an Avis issue, but these people are your agents & I’m sure you can appreciate how it added to the ‘enjoyment’ of the situation. I gave a graphic detail of our position in relation to the A66, the start & finish points of this particular road & even a turn off 50 yards ahead of us, but to no avail. ( Incidentally they never asked how many occupants there were or if there were any vulnerable people in the vehicle)After much consultation they ‘thought’ they knew where we were & would keep in contact. If I hadn’t had a detailed map I shudder to think how long it would have taken to clarify our position. Anyway, about an hour or so later, I got a call from your breakdown agents saying they were sorry they couldn’t attend to us but would be referring us to a local garage in Darlington. When they rang I went through the rigmarole of pinpointing our location to more people clearly incapable of reading a map, as they didn’t want to head out without being certain where we were.
    Eventually, several hours after breaking down, we arrived at Newcastle Airport & credit where credit is due, there was a replacement vehicle waiting for us & I was able to get my mother home, some 5½ ours after breaking down, rather than about 1½ hours had there been a spare wheel in the car.
    But that’s not the end of the Avis fiasco. Yesterday when I returned the second vehicle (which incidentally HAD a spare tyre & jack) I was presented with a bill £40 over what I was expecting to pay. I refused to authorise payment & asked for a breakdown of the charges. To cut a long story short, after phone calls here & there it transpired you’d added VAT on the £201 breakdown charge which you aren’t supposed to do & my bill was reduced accordingly. One wonders how many people may have paid up without questioning that charge. On suggesting to you staff that it might be prudent to inform drivers about the spare wheel situation when hiring, I was met with a look of puzzlement as if this could possibly be an issue. Everyone else I’ve spoken to about this incident has been equally amazed there was no spare tyre. I’m only thankful that I wasn’t in an area with no mobile phone reception or the situation could have been much worse. I’m not the kind of person to get annoyed easily & insisted my partner stayed away when I took the car back as she was still incenced four days after the incident, what she’d have made of trying to get another £40 out of us I don’t know. Incidentally the Avis clerk apologised for ‘it taking so long to sort out’ but not for the ‘mistake’ itself. The deduction hasn’t come off my card yet but I’ll be monitoring that carefully in case another ‘mistake’ crops up.
    As you can imagine I’m very disappointed in Avis whom I’d previously regarded as a brand leader & am highly unlikely to even consider using your services again after our recent experience.
    For the benefit of unsuspecting hirers & Avis themselves, can I strongly recommend that you alert customers if the car has no spare & just an emergency repair kit. One final irony. Literature in the manual of the replacement car said the repair kit ‘should not be used if the tyre is flat or the size of the puncture exceeds 4mm’ Some ‘repair’ kit.
    S Carter

  149. Jordan Says:

    Hello Mr Carter,
    I am really very sorry for your bad experience after breaking down. Thank you for your feedback- we will take this on board. If you would like us to investigate further into your specific case, could you please give us your booking reference?

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