At Avis we have strict service standards and processes in place. In my team, Customer Support, our objective is to respond to every single query that we receive and we aim to resolve the majority of customer queries within five working days. (Some issues will take longer, for instance if we have to investigate something with Avis in another country.) So I was disappointed to read a couple of comments on the blog where customers said they hadn’t received a response to a query they’d sent us, and were understandably dissatisfied with this.

When you email us, you should receive an ‘automatic response’ explaining the time frames in which you can expect a full reply. So if you don’t receive this it’s likely that your email hasn’t reached us for some reason. If you have not had any response within five working days, then we need to know about that.

If you have an outstanding query and have either had no reply at all, or just the automatic response, then I would urge you to contact us at this special email address: comments@avis.co.uk. It will also allow us to start a dialogue with you so we can understand the root cause of the issue – and, of course, prioritise your query so that we can resolve it as quickly as possible. You have my promise that it will receive my full focus.

Please only use this address if you’ve already submitted a query. Under normal circumstances, if you have a question for us then the best place to go is the Help and Contact Us section of our website. You may find the answer to your question in our FAQ section, known on the website as Ask Avis, or you can contact us directly by phone or email.

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35 Responses to “Responding to your customer queries”

  1. Sibongile Wilbraham Says:

    In the past I have sent two e’mails to your site, have received acknowlegement, but no reply, do you deal with your reservations in thye same manner ??

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

    It’s really frustrating not to get an answer from a company when you’ve taken the trouble to give it feedback. But, we don’t do it on purpose, honestly! We have a well resourced team, with staff trained and empowered to handle your questions. Of course sometimes things go wrong, and something slips through a gap in the process or just gets overlooked. We do hold our hands up when things go wrong, and we’ve contacted Sibongile Wilbraham directly to ask for details to help us resolve the matter. And please if anyone else has experienced a similar problem, do contact us at comments@avis.co.uk

    We’ve actually had quite a few contacts since the first posting and we’ve managed to identify the root of a couple of problems we didn’t know we had!

    We’ve realised that the generic email address for our customer care team, customer.service@avis.co.uk, is often mistyped, and so the email doesn’t reach us. Sometimes the sender doesn’t get a Delivery Failure Notice, and so thinks we’ve got the email and are ignoring him :( So on the suggestion of one of the customers affected, we’re setting up various permutations of the email address that will route into the main Customer Service inbox. That should help us in the future :)

    We’ve also found out that our contact management system (the database we put all the queries into) doesn’t always recognise 2nd emails from a previous correspondent and files them away unopened. ! Technology is a wonderful thing, but I guess we can become too reliant on it sometimes, and forget to think for ourselves. So we’re working on a technical solution but in the meantime the team are re-acquainting themselves with opening all their own post and email :)

    So, keep the comments and the feedback coming, I am looking at everything we get and acting on it.

  3. MICHAEL DOYLE Says:

    I recently hired an Avis car for 2.5 weeks from Avis Kuala Lumpur International Airport. In that time I needed 2 replacement cars. The first 2 had problems with their security systems & became immobilised in normal usage. This resulted in the loss of two days of my holiday (phoning & waiting for replacements).

    The cars were old, poorly maintained & dirty.

    I feel Avis should offer financial compensation.

    When I attempted to compain via your website I got system error messages. Come on now!

    Michael Doyle.

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

    Hi Michael,

    I am disappointed that we did not deliver the service you expect from Avis. Would you be able to email me at comments@avis.co.uk with further details and your rental agreement number and we’ll take a look into this for you.

    Stephen

  5. mike fryer Says:

    I recently hired a car from Nice Airport with a uk bought pre-paid voucher & on the rental agreement was a charge of Euros 2.17.I queried this several times but was told it was due to exchange rate movement,however i bought the voucher to cover hire & as no additional services or products were bought this cannot be correct.What do Avis uk say as at this stage i am not keen on hiring again if this sort of thing recurs??I cannot see any reference to this happening in the terms & conditions. Mike.

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

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the comment and we have received your e-mail as well.

    The voucher should cover the cost of the pre-paid car hire and any currency fluctuations should be taken into account.

    I have asked the Customer Care Team Manager to look at your case (including the damage query) and contact you back.

    Stephen

  7. Alastair Majury Says:

    Hi,

    I rented a car in Malta last December and returned home to find I had been charged for items that did not apply to me.
    Out of Hours for a 24Hr site?
    Extra Insurance I did not request.
    A Refuelling charge when I was told at pick up that fuel was included.
    Such surprise/unwarranted charges has never happened to me before when I have rented cars. These charges also almost doubled the cost of the hire!!

    I queried this with Avis Customer Services to get a refund, who admitted that none of these charges were explained to me but that I had accepted them? How can I accept something I was not aware of?!!

    And they simply signed off with have a lovely afternoon!

    This is taking money by deception which is fraud and unless this is rectified soon I will need to take this further.

    Please rectify this for me.

    Thanks,

    Alastair.

  8. Stephen Spiers Says:

    Hi Alastair,

    I’m sorry to hear we did not provide the service you expected from Avis.

    I have your details and will review your case personally. I will contact you directly about this matter.

    Stephen

  9. Paul Hillan Says:

    On arrival at the rental desk in Barcelona I was told that the rate reserved on the budget.co.uk website of £174.54 would not be honoured and I had a choice of paying either €282 or not having car at all, which with a wife, 2 children and 2 large suitcases in tow was clearly not an option. Apparently it was a problem between Budget and I and she wouldn’t not budge. I was Training Manager for Budget EMEA between 1997 and 2003 and this was the exact opposite of what we trained. A rate issue should have been dealt behind the scenes allowing the customer to have a satisfactory rental. On questioning this, I was told that Budget and Avis are 2 entirely diffent companies – something which is clearly a lie. After being made to feel that I was an inconvenience to the general running of the Avis desk, I was directed to a Golf with 41,000 kms on the clock and damage to every panel. On requesting a replacment vehicle, i was told that if I wanted one, I would have to go back to the terminal, queue up again and pay more for different car!!!!

    Everything that could have been badly handled was – it would seem that customer service has been replaced by a desire to fleece the customer by not honouring confirmed rates and providing cars that are well passed by their sell by date. This whole rental experience was something that I would have used a few years ago as an example of how not to conduct a car renatl business!!!

  10. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Paul, I am very sorry about the experience you received with us and while I am not familiar with the Avis/Budget operation in Barcelona I can understand why you would consider this completely unacceptable. If you could email your rental agreement number to comments@avis.co.uk then I’ll get our customer service team to investigate for you. I’ll also raise this with my colleagues at Avis Europe.

    Rob

  11. Michael Haggis Says:

    I have recently submitted a complaint of a similiar nature to that of Mr Alastair Majury in comment 7.

    I too have been charged additional charges which had not been explained to me. And the customer service representative was equally as dismissive.

    How can Avis justify taking this additional money from someone without explaining the the charges whatsoever. As Alistair pointed out, this is fraud and I find it unbelievable that Avis have refused to refund these charges.

  12. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Michael, would you be able to email your rental agreement number to comments@avis.co.uk and I’ll escalate this in the customer service team to investigate? In the meantime, I apologise for any frustration or distress this has caused.

    Rob

  13. Lizzie Armour Says:

    FAO Rob White

    What do I have to do to get a response to my complaint?

    Is it Avis policy to ignore all complaints and hope the customer gives up?

    Please see the whole string of my complanint going back to January.

    Please can you reply to me.

    >—-Original Message—-
    >From: lizzie
    >Date: 28/01/2009 10:21
    >To:
    >Subj: Complaint re
    >
    >Dear Sir or Madam
    >
    >>
    >I am writing to complain about the experience I have had with the above
    >rental. I have spoken to your Customer Services department twice this
    >week with no success.
    >
    >I paid £106.82 for a 3 day rental of a car from Munich Airport in
    >Germany. Included in my rental, amongst other things are ‘All Mandatory
    >Charges’. I was therefore annoyed to be charged an extra €36 for winter
    >tyres at the airport desk. They refused to give me the car unless we
    >paid this charge. The “estimated amount due” is also incorrect, as
    it
    >should have been €36 for the winter tyres we didn’t book, plus the
    >”fuel up front charge” should we have brought the car back with no
    >fuel. However, this amount included an additional €20.26, and I
    have
    >no idea where this came from. As it was nearly 10pm and I had a 90
    >minute drive I had no choice but to pay. The Customer Services
    >department have informed me that winter tyres are compulsory in Germany
    >between October and March. She was unable/unwilling to answer why these
    >tyres are not then included in the ‘All Mandatory Charges’. I feel this
    >is an attempt to offer a lower headline price and then catch customers
    >out at the airport when collecting their car.
    >
    >I booked the car through the section of the http://www.avis.co.uk website
    >which offers a €10 fuel voucher for all rentals in Germany – the
    >voucher is to be collected when collecting the car. The car hire
    desk
    >at Munich knew nothing of this offer.
    >
    >When returning the car I received a receipt to confirm everything
    was
    >in order. When I got home I found I had accidentally brought with me
    >the registration documents for the car as these had been given to me by
    >the car hire desk with all the paperwork. I called Avis on Monday
    >morning to explain what had happened and offered to post the documents
    >back to Germany. The response I got was a disinterested ‘well you’ll be
    >charged for lost documents’. I have spoken to the Customer Service
    >department this morning and although no lost document charge has
    been
    >made there was no offer of a solution to these documents. I feel by
    >being honest and calling Avis about these documents I have created
    >myself more problems. Avis had also not called me to ask if I had taken
    >the documents by mistake.
    >
    >I would like Avis to refund the winter tyre charge of €36 as if
    these
    >are ‘Mandatory Charges’ then they are already included in my payment of
    >£106.82, as well as ensuring that the unexplained €20.26 is not charged
    >to my card. I would also ask for a credit of €10 to be applied to
    my
    >credit card in respect of the fuel voucher that is advertised on
    your
    >website but is unavailable at the collection desk. Please also advise
    >where I can send the car documents and confirm there will be no charge
    >for not leaving these in the car.
    >
    >I hope you will take my complaint seriously and look forward to hearing
    >from you.
    >
    >Regards
    >Elizabeth Armour

  14. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Lizzie, I sent you an email and hopefully cleared this up. I apologise for the confusion but hopefully you are satisfied with the solution!

    Also, your correspondance is quite lengthy so I’ve cut the comment down to include your most recent and earliest correspondance. Hopefully anyone reading your comment will still understand the issues you’ve experienced but I am happy to still publish the comment in it’s entirety if you object.

    Please let me know if you require any further assistance.

    Rob

  15. Stefan Paetow Says:

    Since you ask…

    1. What astounds me about Avis is that to call Customer Services you have to call an 0870 number without a choice of a 01 number (which us who use their mobiles a lot don’t have to pay extra for, and doesn’t cost Avis a penny other than line rental either). On top of that, if you called Reservations, they are unable to transfer you to Customer Services, but the reverse IS possible.

    2. One would have expected that being an Avis Preferred member and updating one’s online profile on Avis.co.uk would update the “offline” profile used by Customer Services and Telephone Reservations, but no, that didn’t happen. Does anyone at Avis understand that such a lack of integration is unacceptable for a world-wide organisation as yourselves?

    Customer Services is unable to really help or answer your queries about that, fobbing you off with the request to “email the Database Team to change the options you request”. Having to get really upset and raise a massive complaint by telephone with a duty manager to get any movement on that kind of thing at all, is NOT the answer, if anything, it puts me off having to rent from Avis again (even though when everything goes well, it goes really well).

    Only recently did I get an email from someone in the European ‘database team’ to say that such integration is now switched on. One can but hope that this means that Customer Services is ALSO able to make changes by telephone instead of the usual “you must email the Database Team” answer.

    3. Something must have changed recently in how your website processes reservations because before March, whenever I took advantage of an offer sent by Avis, I could choose the Pay Now price of an offer, and still have the system tell me that the price would be applicable as Pay On Return on the reservation. This is what I’ve always had and still expect as a Preferred member.

    Yet, lately, the cheap prices now are chargeable on the spot (i.e. Pay Now really means… pay now). When I give a local office a call, give them the applicable AWB number for the offer, hey presto – the Pay Now price on the website is listed as the Bookable (Pay Later/Pay On Return/Pay on rental) price in the local office. What has changed? Why has it changed? Fair enough if this was a bug in your reservation system, but at least tell people that this undocumented “feature” is no longer applicable.

    After all that, all I can say is that my local offices have given me nothing but excellent 5-star service, but the organisation behind them does not really seem to care when changes are made and they get customers upset.

  16. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Stefan, firstly, apologies for the delayed response. You comment on a number of areas which I was not familiar so I had to do a bit of digging before writing a response! I’ll answer each of your points numerically to correspond with the numbering in your comment…

    1. Yes the telephone numbers have been set up in this way. I can understand your frustration and I will feedback this back to the Customer Service team.

    2. You are correct, there was a bug with the website when it launched where online updates to Avis Preferred profiles was not feeding through to our “off-line” system. This was seen as a major issue at the time and I appreciate that this would have been a source of frustration. Thankfully, this is now resolved.

    If an update is being requested by phone then we would request an email as this is required for legal reasons. However, your comments suggest the agent you spoke to was either not clear or unhelpful and I will take this up with our customer service manager. Would you be able to email me your Avis Preferred number to comments@avis.co.uk so we can investigate what happened in this instance.

    3. Again you are correct. There was a bug in the system where Avis Preferred members were only being offered a Pay Later rate. As a short-term fix we managed to ensure that Avis Preferred members were provided a Pre-Pay price under the Pay Later terms until a full fix was put in place (which, as you’ve observed, was implemented recently). I appreciate why you felt this should’ve been communicated to our members given the changes it makes to the payment terms you have grown accustomed to. We have bug fixes happening all the time which we would not normally communicate about but I can see how, for this particular bug, some members would have appreciated the up-front communication. I have fed this back to the team who manage the Avis Preferred programme.

    Once again I appreciate the comprehensive feedback and we clearly need to do better. Any further thoughts or feedback are always welcome.

    Rob

  17. Stefan Paetow Says:

    Rob, thank you for the detailed reply. Some follow-up on some of your answers:

    1. It would be nice to have the choice of non-08 numbers that can be called (as customers), even if the 08 numbers are a staple and are non-geographic and often either are free (0800) or ‘local-call’ (0845) for land-lines. However, mobile phone usage is booming (as I’m sure you’re aware), and 08 numbers cost customers a lot more than many organisations appreciate. Why else is there a protest against the NHS using 08 numbers?

    2. If an email is requested for legal reasons, all fine and good, but I have no guarantee that something that needs to be applied immediately will be processed as such. Do you not record some of your phone calls? If so, perhaps it would be smarter to record phone calls when they pertain to a change in profile particulars. At least on a phone call I know it will be applied then and there. After several issues I had in 2008 with profile changes that were requested and not correctly applied to existing reservations, I am, I’m sure you understand, somewhat particular about things being done then and there, not whenever the next person looks at an email queue, which might be immediately, the next day, or sometime the next week.

    As for my case recently, the issue was resolved by me faxing it and the shift supervisor ensuring that the change was applied immediately. But since the website changes are now propagated through to the offline profile and vice versa, I will have to trust your process.

    That said… insurance options are NOT changeable online (i.e. do I only want the standard insurance, or certain insurance settings for certain regions). This still requires an email, which is open to misinterpretation. One of your competitors (Hertz) allows you to apply things online, but then also requires you to fax it through. That is a more logical method of allowing you to change things. Or is this not possible because of legal issues?

    3. So if this was a bug, why is it possible for me to still get the Pay It Now price as a Pay On Return by calling an Avis branch? If it is possible to book a car that way in a branch, why is it not possible online anymore? As much as I understand Pay Now being very helpful for resource scheduling for branches (i.e. the car is paid for and confirmed, the customer will either show up or forfeit their Pay Now charge under £75), it is illogical to now swing the benefit the other way. Or is that a bug in your reservation system too?

    I appreciate your time on these issues… As I said before, generally the service I have gotten from Avis to date has been excellent by the front-line staff (in the branches), but the backoffice operations seem to let the side down a bit.

  18. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Stefan, again great feedback.

    On your comments about the telephone numbers, I promise to discuss this with the customer service manager and ask them to take a serious look at this.

    With regards to updating your Avis Preferred profile, as a consumer myself, I appreciate the value in knowing a change is being implemented there and then! As you mention online is the best way to do this (although appreciate that insurances can’t be updated). I’m not sure on the practicality of recording phone calls and referring to these as confirmation of the changes requested but again I will certainly raise it as a potential alternative to email or fax.

    Lastly, on your Avis Preferred pre-pay query, you are correct that pre-pay prices do help us to prevent customers not turning up. This is why we’re able to charge a lower price for pre-pay versus pay-on-return. This is our standard pricing policy regardless of whether you are an Avis Preferred member or not. The rental office should not be offering a pre-pay price under the pay-on-return terms even if it is possible in our reservation systems. If we allowed all of our customers to pay a pre-pay price under the pay later conditions (i.e. with less incentive to turn up) then it would make it very difficult for us to stay in business!

    This all great feedback Stefan and any further thoughts you can add would be much appreciated.

    In the meantime, have a great weekend!

    Rob

  19. Sasha Vukobrat Says:

    I am writing in regard to false charges related to the car rental.
    I purchased car rental via [a] broker.
    I made advanced payment in full with my Visa Platinum card that covers insurance, for this reason the extra insurance was rejected. This was communicated to [a] broker and was reflected in the voucher received, it showed the full payment and 0 balance.
    At the time of car pick-up at Munich airport on May 7th 2009 I presented the voucher to AVIS stuff, clearly communicated that I made payment in full with Visa Platinum card that covers insurance, and did not select any optional insurance.
    I was presented with AVIS contract on which there were some options selected that I did not understand and did not agree with since they appeared in conflict with what I communicated in regard to extra insurance and options.
    I asked for explanation and was told by AVIS stuff that those options did not represent any additional insurance and cost, and that they understood that I made payment with Visa Platinum card presented to them, the one that covers insurance.
    Following this clarification I signed the contract so that I could receive keys for the reserved car.
    At the time of car drop-off on May 27th 2009 I was again presented with some document written in German language only that I did not understand, again I clearly communicated that I made payment in full with Visa Platinum card that covers insurance, that I did not select any optional insurance, and I was told that it was understood and that the document does not imply any additional charges.
    Following this clarification I signed the document.
    I did not travel alone and I have the witness that can confirm my testimony.
    Upon return from my trip, I noticed additional charges from AVIS in the amount of $ 1189.01 CAD on my Visa card statement.
    I contacted [a], a few days later I was informed that AVIS claimed that I accepted extra insurance and options, that I signed the contract, and that there is nothing they could do.
    I would like to ask you that false charges in the amount of $ 1189.01 CAD, dated May 26, 2009, are removed.
    The contract number (RA NO.) is [RA number].
    Renting Station code: MUC

  20. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Sasha, I am very sorry to read that you have been left disappointed and frustrated with your experience with us. I will follow this up with our Customer Support team to investigate.

    Rob

  21. Stefan Paetow Says:

    Rob, you will have an email in your comments@avis.co.uk mailbox shortly with my details.

    I am once again amazed (and not in a good way) by your back office operations. I am a Preferred customer for several reasons, one being the easy of use (show up, get keys, say bye-bye and off I go, ditto on return), another being not being hassled about the payment. Yet for some reason there have been at least three instances in the last three months where your system has inexplicably decided to direct invoice me. I only spotted this by accident, called my local branch (Oxford) who confirmed that I had not been the only one it had happened to. Today it has happened again.

    No changes to my profile, no changes to the credit card, no changes to ANYTHING, yet today your system direct invoices me, whereas the last three or four rentals (weeks) it hasn’t.

    Why is that? The lovely lady dealing with direct invoicing has, through the customer service agent, let me know that she will be investigating, but I’ve been told to contact the Database Team to check my profile. Why? If the card details are still the same (and we verified), WHY would your system suddenly on a whim go “we’ll direct invoice this one”???

    The problem is clearly on your end, so please resolve it on your end without requiring me to start getting on the phone (on an 0870 number) to have this rectified. This is costing me time and money, and I’m starting to wonder whether that’s still worth it.

  22. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Stefan, I got your email and I apologise for the issues you’ve experienced with direct invoicing on your Avis Preferred account. It’s hard to comment on the issue at this stage but I’ve been in touch with the Database team. We’ll take a look at this and I’ll get back to you.

    Rob

  23. Sasha Says:

    Rob,

    Were there any updates in regard to the false charges?

    Sasha

  24. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Sasha, I’m very sorry that no one has contacted you to update you on this. I’ll chase up immediately!

    Rob

  25. Sasha Says:

    Rob,

    I have not heard anything yet and the false charges I did not agree to were not reversed.
    Where does the jurisdiction lie within for cases where travelers from other countries are falsely charged for insurance they did not agree to?

    Sasha

  26. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Sasha, I’m so very sorry. I have been chasing this up with the customer support team. I do not know why you are yet to hear anything but I will continue to chase and will endeavour to get an answer by tomorrow.

    Rob

  27. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Sasha, I have spoken to the Customer Support team and our records show that a response was sent to you on the 1st of September. I’m not sure why this did not make it to you but I have asked the team to re-send the email.

    Let me know if it still doesn’t come through.

    Rob

  28. Sasha Says:

    Rob,

    I have not received any e-mail from AVIS. BTW, I am not interested in “answers”. I have received “answers” in the past that state falsely that I agreed to pay for insurance. I have been falsely charged for service I do not select, and I would like to hear if AVIS intends to reverse charges or if not, where the jurisdiction lie within for the cases where travelers from other countries are falsely charged for insurance they did not agree to?

  29. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Sasha,

    Our customer service team is forwarding this on to the US and Canada customer service team for them to look into I am afraid that because the rental agreement was signed and this booking was not made through a UK booking channel or by a UK resident we cannot help out any further through Avis UK as we do not have any authorisation.

    Kind Regards
    Vicki

  30. Sasha Says:

    Vicki,

    Your response is almost identical to all the responses I got so far from AVIS representatives, in Canada, US, and now UK, no one is accountable, no one is authorized, so AVIS is free to continue with this fraud.
    AVIS conduct is appalling.

  31. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Sasha,

    I completely understand your frustrations. We don’t want you to continue to be passed from one person to another so we will continue to follow up with the team in Canada until someone takes complete ownership of it and will email you directly for an answer.

    Vicki

  32. mike penn Says:

    i rented a car from avis in spain and have subsequently lodged a claim for overcharging ,,, however to my dismay my credit card company received a copy of the rental agreement in spanish with forged signatures of myself and my wife ..(we only signed an english agreement) i want to go to the police about this ,,, what do you suggest i should do ???

  33. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for your comment.

    If you send me an email at comments@avis.co.uk with your rental agreement number, rental details and if you can a scanned in copy of the rental agreement that you sign, I will look into this for you.

    If you have any other question please let me know.

    Vicki

  34. MR JEAN PAU GERVAIS BAYOU Says:

    Dear Vicki.I had a car from you as a courtesy car on the 14.10.10 check out date to check in date on the 19.10.10.When i received the car the petrol tank wasn’t fully full.I told the man who gave me the car and he said it was ok.While i droved the car.I used 93miles of petrol.The day i gave the car back i made sure that i put £20.OO of petrol in it.Again i told the man who pick up the car,that i did put petrol in it.And he said that was fine.Please can you resolved this matter asas p.Thanking you. J P G BAYOU

  35. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Mr Jean Pau Gervais Bayou,

    Please can you email me at comments@avis.co.uk with your rental agreement number, details of your rental and the issues you have had and I will then be able to look into your case.

    Thanks
    Vicki

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