Car driving through hillsOne thing I can’t stand is being stranded because my car has broken down. Time is precious and I don’t want to be wasting it sitting on the roadside. It’s especially difficult if you’re miles from anywhere. Of course Avis does take precautions to ensure that the chances of anything going wrong are kept to a minimum. Most of our cars are less than seven months old and all undergo a rigorous check before they go out for hire. Still, it’s inevitable that some cars are going to break down.

For peace of mind Avis routinely provides free 24-hour roadside assistance. If you do need help in the UK a freephone number (0800 200 888) is displayed on the tax disc of your Avis car. It’s the same number you should phone in the event of an accident and goes straight through to the Avis Assist team. When you call, the relevant breakdown organisation is notified and directed to you immediately, and our Avis Assist team will always ensure that you’re safe and well after the event.

I have experienced this first hand – hopefully it won’t happen to you, but it’s good to know that if there is a problem, Avis Assist is on standby.

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29 Responses to “Roadside assistance 24/7”

  1. I. Brown Says:

    As an Avis shareholder I can’t believe that the company is wasting money on a blog.

    Just as Avis jumped on the Avis Direct internet car selling bandwagon in the dot com boom/bust period (and how much did that cost?) they are now jumping onto the blog trend.

    Sorry but this blog is just advertising Avis benefits. You have a website, why do you need a blog?

    The share price is a disgrace- why not focus on delivering value not gimmicks?

  2. Rob White, Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    This is an interesting perspective on the blog. We hope once we explain our rationale you may change your mind. Watch this space for further discussion on this topic next week.

  3. Xavier Vallee- Head of Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Your comments are very passionate! We have created this blog because we feel it provides the perfect platform for Avis to share latest news and inside tips for renting cars. It also opens up opportunities for you and us to interact so we can design a truly customer focused service. I understand your concerns that blogs might be seen as the latest trend but I can assure you that this is not a short-term gimmick. This is a long term commitment to developing relationships with our customers.

    If you are interested in further information about why we’re doing this blog, please read my post called “Help us change the way Avis works” or, more recently, Rob’s “Hello new visitors” post.

  4. Dan Says:

    A blog is a cheap way of publishing regular news and content. Think of it as an extension to the Avis website.

    It’s good to see Avis leading the way as the first car rental company to have one.

  5. Dan Young Says:

    Dear Avis. I rented a car from you the year before last. After a full year of arguments about some excessive charges you applied to my bill, you started to ignore my calls and emails. You really tried hard there! Well done. Please feel free to get in touch to discuss this. Alternatively, ignore this post as you have ignored all my other attempts to speak to you.
    Kind regards,
    Dan Young

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

    Hi Dan Young, I have just read your comment. I will contact you directly and of course I’ll look into it.

    I recently wrote a post acknowledging comments from customers who had not received a response to a query they had previously sent to us. So far we have received a few responses which have allowed us to identify and rectify certain issues. If you are a customer that has received a similar issue then let us know at and I will look into it.

  7. Dan Young Says:

    After only posting my comment this morning, Eibhlin has replied to me, investigated and given me a full refund! Thank you for dealing with this so efficiently and professionally… Dan Young

  8. Karen Vautrou Says:

    I think Avis needs to try a whole lot harder. Last Friday, September 27/07 our rental broke down outside Moncton NB. We immediately called the roadside assistance number provided and were greeted by a voicemail asking us to leave a message. We left our cell number and name along with our problem and location. We called the same number a few times after getting no return call but the answering machine kept picking. We’re still waiting a reply a full week later!!! Thankfully we have our own emergency assistance program. Thanks for nothing AVIS.

  9. Eibhlin Payne Says:

    Hello Karen,

    I’m not familiar with the assistance programme or operation in canada, so will have to ask our counterparts there to look into this for you. If you email your Rental Agreement or Reservation number to me at , I’ll forward the detail to the Canadian operation.

  10. Matthew Smith Says:

    We hired a car from Avis in Cannes in July. The car caught fire and I spent the whole at the roadside in the blistering heat trying to get Avis to send a pick up truck. Our 3 month old daughter had to be treated for heatstroke by a doctor. After approximately 10 phone calls and false promises that it was “on its way” we abandoned the car. Avis refused to provide a replacement car and we had to pay to get a car from a competitor for the rest of the holiday. After several months Avis have still not refunded the cost. So much for ensuring that we’re “safe and well”

    I will never, ever use an Avis hire car again!

  11. Peter Greenough - Head of Customer Support, Avis UK Says:


    Please send the details of your experience to, marked for my attention, and I’ll see what I can do to put things right.

  12. Catie Says:

    hi We are renting one of your cars in Florence in a couple of weeks time and I cannot find any information on your website about breakdown cover (except complaints on this blog!). Is cover included in the price paid or do I need to arrange it separately? We have never rented a car before and seems to be very complicated!

  13. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Catie, yes 24/7 roadside assistance is included as part of our service in Italy. You do not need to arrange this separately.

    The telephone number for this assistance will be provided with the Rental Agreement you sign when collecting your vehicle.

    Does this answer your question?


  14. Catie Says:

    Yes it does. Thankyou very much for your prompt reply. It would have been very useful to have included details of this in the brochure we received though. Glad I have sorted it out now. Thanks again.

  15. David Van der Velde Says:

    Avis Hire Goes Flat in France…

    You wouldn’t think that a flat tyre would be too much of a challenge for the 24/7 Avis Assistance team, especially when they ‘Try Harder.’

    Unfortunately for me and my family on holiday recently in France it was…

    With a family of six to look after including a small baby I thought it was important to go with a reputable international car hire firm and I arranged to hire a 7 seater vehicle from Avis for 10 days at the not inconsiderable cost of 546 Euros.

    We were happy enough though when we arrived at Charles de Gaulle and a helpful assistant quickly provided us with keys and directions to where the car was parked. We didn’t even mind that we were given the baby seat to fit ourselves, or that the first seat we were given was defective and we had to wait for them to give us another.

    The problems really began after driving South for about three hours when I noticed that we had a puncture. By this time it was quite late and we had tired, hungry children in the car so we stopped for the night and called Avis Assistance early next morning.

    I was surprised when after an hour and a half wait; the mechanic arrived only to say that the vehicle could not be fixed and that it would have to be towed to the depot an hour away. A piece was missing which prevented him removing the locking wheel nut.

    The mechanic said that he could take some of the family with him and that we would have to get a taxi for the others. (Fortunately I had another adult with me as I would not have been happy to have the children travelling by themselves).

    On arriving at the depot the staff there showed little interest in sorting out the car and a lot more interest in getting me to sign a document so they could get their recovery fee. No one told me what was going on, other than to say that they were waiting for a call back from Avis in Paris.

    I rang Avis myself and was told that it was not possible to fix the car; that they would arrange a replacement and phone me back. They didn’t.

    All the family including our baby son spent 5 hours hanging around the Avis depot, phoning Avis in Paris and all the time expecting an answer or some help from Avis. It didn’t come.

    By the afternoon, with the children hungry and upset, I contacted Avis again myself and was told that they could not source a replacement vehicle so I should make my own arrangements.

    It would have been nice if they had told me this in the morning instead of waiting until everywhere in France had closed for the weekend.

    I explained to the manager in Paris that I had a family including a small baby there and that we were stranded.

    I was genuinely shocked when he said Avis could do nothing for us. I asked if he would get us a hotel for the night or arrange a train. Eventually he agreed that Avis would pay part of the cost of a taxi to where were staying and that he would arrange for a replacement car after the weekend.

    So – out of pocket for the car hire and out of pocket for the taxi fares we travelled on to the Gite where we were staying.

    On the Monday spent another 3 hours on the phone to Paris and London trying to get someone at Avis to actually do what they had promised and find a replacement car or at least return our calls.

    It was only when I contacted the office of Pascal Bazin, the Group Chief Executive Officer in the UK, that I got any kind of help.

    Pretty much straight away I got a call back from Paris saying that they had a car for me an hour’s drive away. So off I went on another expensive taxi ride leaving the family waiting at the Gite.

    I got to the Avis depot and they did have a car waiting. It had the requisite number of seats, tyres with air in and a full tank of fuel. In fact it would have been perfect were it not for the broken windscreen!

    When I mentioned this to the Avis rep he insisted that the car was roadworthy and pointed out that it was all that was available anyway so I could take it or leave it.

    Unsure of what to do, but knowing I had to get the family back to Paris in a few days; I took the car and headed back to see the family.

    As soon as we got to Paris I returned the car to Avis and turned down the offer of a replacement which would have cost me another taxi ride with who knows what at the end of it, choosing to find our own way back to the airport.

    Apart from the hundreds of Euros we spent on taxis to and from Avis depots and the call costs and time waiting for Avis to fail to return calls, we found the whole experience extremely stressful and disappointing.

    It certainly cast a shadow over what was supposed to be a peaceful family holiday.

    My oldest son is a big fan of Top Gear and wants to write to Jeremy Clarkson as he thinks it’s funny that in the whole of France no one was able to fix our flat tyre.

    For me I will post this blog in the hope that someone will advise me as to who at Avis I should talk to to try and recover some of the additional expenses we incurred and to understand what went wrong.

    Maybe I am being naïve but I still don’t believe that a big company like Avis would want to treat its customers this way.

    David Van der Velde
    August 2008

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

    Hi David,

    I sorry to hear about what sounds like one problem after another.

    Can you send me the details, rental agreement number and all information about your additional expenses to I will contact Avis France and investigate this matter thoroughly for you.



  17. J GREGORY Says:

    We hired a car from Avis in Florida. The staff were Briliant and i chose to upgrade to a convertible. There were no hidden charges etc. which i liked as when doing a similar rental previously with another huge rental company i was charged allsorts that i hadnt been made aware of. It seems they are responding very quickly to peoples complaints on this blog and that has to be a good thing!
    I have booked a new rental and have been told it will be a Chevrolet Uplander or similar but does anybody know what other vehicles avis do in this size of vehicle. The rental is in Florida again.
    Keep up the good work Avis and this is my first Blog experience so hope i did ok.

  18. Chris Cox- Reservations, Avis UK Says:


    Firstly many thanks for the positive feedback which will be passed on to ensure it reaches the correct ears!
    The other models of 7-seaters that we hold in fleet are the Dodge Grand Caravan, Toyota Sienna, Kia Sedona and Chevrolet Venture.
    I hope this helps and again many thanks!


  19. Sean Harkin Says:

    Hi we have Hired a car from CDG Airport, France in early July. As the laws have changed, does Avis supply the Hi-Vis jackets(for each passenger), Spare bulbs and warning triangle.


    Sean Harkin

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

    Hi Sean, you will be supplied with one hi-vis jacket and a warning triangle. I’ve been advised by the team in France that spare bulbs is not currently a mandatory item.

    I hope this helps!


  21. Jules Tonkinson Says:

    this summer our Avis rental van spontaneously caught fire and exploded while my family was driving along a French highway last Friday a mere 3 hours after the rental van was picked up from Charles DeGualle Airport. No one from Avis has done anything to help my family during this time of tragedy. We lost all but the clothes on our backs when the van caught fire and exploded leaving me and the six teenagers and my wife stranded in France for 5 days with no money, food, clothes, medication,ATM cards, credit cards, cell phones etc. We pleaded with members of your organization to assist us and do the right thing for our family, but no one stood up and helped us. I am a disabled person who requires medication which was lost in the blast and no one even cared that I had to go 5 days without my pain medication! Thanks to the US Embassy we arrived back in the United States yesterday afternoon only after they loaned us the monies to get our kids home but we are still out so much in material possessions as well as spirit. Today I have once again spent all day trying to speak with anyone on Avis’s corporate level and your customer service reps have not only been rude and unresponsive to our plight, but one rep even hung up the phone on me when I told her I needed to hold the line until she found someone to help me. Someone from your organization needs to step up and do the right and humane thing . My family needs help as a result of what we lost when your van exploded with all of our things inside of it.

    Jules & Lisa Tonkinson

  22. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Jules,

    I am sorry for any upset this has caused you.

    I have passed this comment on to our customer service team who are looking into this for you and they will then follow up with the team in the US.

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


  23. Courses Melbourne Says:

    Very Helpful Information. thank you.

  24. tim Says:

    Great read thanks.

  25. Sheldon Willis Says:

    Thankyou for publishing this information on your blog, we found this information quickly, easily and above all accurate. Many thanks to a well organised car hire firm.

  26. Nisar Says:

    Hi wanted to know if avis still gives discount to its shareholders in the uk, i have a wedding to go to and was considering renting one of your prestige fleets.


  27. Shakeil Akhtar Says:

    Hi there,

    I recently rented a car from your bolton branch and was very pleased with the service. My only question is before leaving to drop the car off at the branch I had a flat type and used the compresser. I have recieved a form that I need to fill in about the incident. Will I get charged for a flat tyre? (even though it was not my fault?

  28. Alan Pollard Says:

    Looks like in 2010 something has changed (i.e. Avis need to recover more revenue).

    We visited the UK from the States in June and rented from Avis…unfortunately we managed to lock our keys inside the card (probably not unusual given rental cars will likely have unfamiliar locking systems to users).

    So there we were with 2 young children, stranded with a locked car. Called Roadside Assist, and the RAC duly arrived and retrieved the keys…now, 6 months later, I’ve received a bill for $90.

    Needless to say, this does not positively influence my opinion of Avis – I know that their goal is to improve the bottom line, but it doesn’t feel like an incentive to return business.

  29. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Alan,

    Thanks for your comment and I’m sorry to hear that you feel this way about your experience with Avis.

    In the UK we have to charge a call out fee of £66 if the issue is anything other that mechanical or a fault with the car. This is a cost that should have been communicated to you when you called Avis assist. This is a true cost that Avis would have to incur if we did not charge this back to the customer; as all other call outs if mechanical are cover within the warranty of the car or by Avis’ insurance policy.

    If you would like me to look into this further and get someone to contact you directly with more answers then please email me at with your rental agreement and details of your rental.


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