Avis rental officeThe internet is fabulous for people like me who work in customer service. That really struck me a couple of years ago, while I was looking at some travel sites. By chance I found a comment from a customer who’d had a problem – the first one I’d seen at that time. I decided to contact her, and we were able to resolve the issue. She was over the moon, kindly posting to say how we had put it right.

But the point is that she had never phoned or written to us. She’d been unhappy enough to send her views to two websites, but if I hadn’t been looking online I would never have known, and never been able to help.

Now we try to make sure we don’t miss what you’re talking about online. Each month I have a report emailed to me that gathers together comments from websites and blogs – ‘consumer-generated content’, or CGC, as it’s called. The report tells me what you’ve been saying about Avis and car rental, and what’s important to you.

We email out a monthly customer opinion survey too (Stephen told you more about it in his post this week). One of the things I’m most proud of is that many more of you who respond now say you would recommend Avis to friends. In one year, our recommendation score has increased by nearly 30 per cent. Which must mean the changes we’re making really are improving the experience for our customers.

I’m delighted we’ve started this blog, and I hope you’re going to enjoy reading it and discussing car rental issues with us. If you have a problem, I can’t necessarily promise to put it right for you personally (the best route for issues with your rental is to contact Avis Customer Support), but I’ll certainly be paying attention.

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76 Responses to “We’re listening”

  1. Greg Gerrard Says:

    Good work with starting the blog, interesting reading. I’m a Preferred member and rent regularly in the UK and Australia. Most of the time Avis exceeds my expecations with good cars, reasonable prices and efficient service. Sadly, the Australian rental experience is extraordinarily patchy, with some truly indifferent staff at a few locations (HBT, ME1, SYD) who let the side down. It’d be great to see some rewards for frequent renters as exists in the US with the Avis First programme. One more gripe – the recent Preferred upgrade voucher is rather disappointing in only offering a maximum upgrade to group F in the UK – which your website loudly proclaims as worth a princely £2 a day! Finally, I’d love it if the website could show the total rental price inclusive of any coupon discounts.

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

    This is all great feedback. We’ve had a couple of comments posted on here about setting up a programme for frequent renters and is something we will definitely look into. I will also pass on your feedback about showing the coupon discounts and your experiences in Australia to the relevant teams.

  3. Chris Meakin Says:

    Whatch out in Sardinia, Avis thrifty are uniterested in you, I was given my car with damaged marked, agent would not show me damage, even when I returned to inform him about a mark onthe mirror, a flat battery in the keyfob and 3 quater of a tank of fuel, car was externally filthy, thick black dust on wheels etc not seen water for a couple of weeks I would say, mid week battery went flat car would not lock agent said I should lock with the key in the fob? no product knowledge otherwise he would have known that when this battery goes complelety flat car will not start = STRANDED!, after a 20 min conversation he finally changed it, on Return car was washed by me and given in on time, agant took key card but would not come out with me to confirm return condition or fuel, Avis then see fit to charge me £10:80 for what? sent 2 emails with no responce yet, this explains why the agent would not check the car with me, as he would have had to pass it as ok, then there would be no opertunity for the sneak £10 charge by Avis, Avis Experiance in Sardinia = Amateur comparied to other hire companies.

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

    Hi Chris,

    I am concerned to read your comments. We will be in touch with you directly so we can investigate this rental for you.

  5. John Crossley Says:

    As a regular user I would like to air a few points about my experiences with Avis rentals.
    First of all the good stuff – My experience of Avis customer services are first class, prompt answering of phone calls (by Humsans!) and a usually quick and courteous rectification of any concerns.
    My local office in Maidstone also demonstrates strong customer focus, as do most UK airorts – especially at Stansted who I would describe as exceptional.
    Avis preferred when it is recognised is areal plus point.
    Cars are usually reliable.
    The not so good stuff…
    1. The frequency at which you pick up a car with obvious damage which is not recorded can be alarming, more common on the continent perhaps, but in Milan last week I had have 3 or 4 seperate dents and scratches added to the sheet. This is manageable when you are close to an agent but out of hours – at night, in the rain, it can be very difficult. In the past I have signed for damage on return which I know I had not been responsible for because I was not careful enough to qualify the vehicle before driving away.
    2. Cars delivered without full fuel load – this is most significant when used for a short run to the airport. Typically I leave a car at the airport without having time to refill the fuel tank so I pay the premium refuelling charge – fair enough, but for a journey of 34 miles in Fiat Punto last weeks charge was nearly £20. I usally do not bother to question but on this occaision the charge has been refunded.
    3. The confusing group system. On monday I will pick up a group C ford focus 1.4, its fine. Last week I was with colleagues in Italy and France so I booked a group D – I got an opel meriva 1.3 diesel – I cut the business trip itinery in half rather than drive 1200km in it. It is easy to say you should query it at the time but you are often knackered from an early start and long flight, done 2 laps of the car park looking for it and with a long onward journey!
    4. Upgrade vouchers – hmmm each time i have used these i have gone down a couple of classes – typically i booked the high spec intermediate but get ‘upgraded’ to a low spec scenic or zafira.
    5. Overcharging for services which should be provided free under contract are also common – out of hours delivery is something I can’t quite follow at the moment.
    6. minor point but not having out of hours reception at CDG airport T3 is really depressing. Arriving at 10pm at to find that you have to get the train to Avis rental in T1 is somewhat galling – especially as europcar customers were ok in T£.

    Ok I will stop now as I am getting into specifics, but i would be interested in feedback – as I know my experiences are similar to many of my colleagues who like me can rent up to 3 cars a week. many thanks for the opportunity to comment, regards, John

  6. Sarah Bryant Says:

    (Editor: this comment has been shortened as the full comment included an email containing personal information. However, we have tried to ensure that the nature, tone and issues highlighted in the full comment are adequately reflected in the published comment below)

    Over the years we have been very pleased with the service we have received from Avis but alas this May it all went wrong on trying to pick up our rental in Calgary. When we arrived back home from Canada we emailed Avis our concerns. That was on 11 June and although we received the auto acknowledgements we still have not received a reply (29 June) concerning the problems we experienced. The feeling is Avis are “Not trying harder”.

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

    Hi Sarah, I have just read your comment (and query). I’ll look into it and someone will contact you directly.

    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 comments@avis.co.uk and I will look into it.

  8. Sarah Bryant Says:

    Well that is very interesting the comment No.6 above)has been shortened considerably by the moderator. The copy of my email to Avis, which followed the above paragraph, has been removed.

    Also of interest was that today I received a reply email to that email of June 11 from Avis (coincidence??). It offered a miserly £25 refund as compensation for all the hassle. Not impressed.

    Sarah Bryant

  9. Chris Meakin Says:

    Thanks to Lucy, all sorted out the 15 Euro was a kind of Registration charge, Avis it is in the quote I was with Value cars, which it seems is not in the quote, I just wish the chap would told me at the airport of the extra charge either when picking up or dropping off, then I would not have moaned about something I had to pay any way, but hands up to Avis it was sorted out and explained to me very quickly, Thanks Avis!

  10. Chris Meakin Says:

    P.S Avis Experiance in Sardinia = Amateur comparied to other hire companies.#####
    that was a nasty thing to say really! your not and I am sorry!

  11. Sarah Bryant Says:

    I obviously need to go higher than customer service judging by the email I received today in reply to mine of yesterday.

    A terse “I would like to inform you that we resolve queries regarding foreign rentals within 15 working days.”

    No comment on my reaction to the miserly £25 refund on a £500 car rental.

    Not impressed at all. Will have to look up details of Chairman and/or CEO of Avis I guess.

  12. Robert White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:


    Thanks for your feedback and I will pass on your nice comments about Maidstone and Stansted.

    You’ve made a few points here, some a bit easier to answer than others! I have had a go below and numbered the answers to correspond to your questions…

    1. I would always advise our customers to check the vehicle for damage before driving away. However, if you’re collecting your car out of hours or during the night, any damage can be reported to the renting station by midday the next day. They will enter this information on to the vehicle condition report and so that any existing damage is recorded.
    2. We are always looking for new ways to improve the efficiency of delivery and collection. Hopefully, this will translate into less fuel being used en-route for delivery in the long-term!
    3. I understand your frustration with the car groups. The challenge for us is that our customer needs can differ greatly from country to country and our fleet is designed to cater for these differences. However, we try to ensure that, where possible, the logic behind the way cars are categorised are as consistent by country as possible. I think that answers your question although let me know if I have misinterpreted it!
    4. This is an interesting observation. The spec of our cars is greatly determined by what the manufacturers are willing to give us. I’m not sure how often the example you stated occurs but I will certainly feed this back to our fleet and operational teams and I am interested to know from any other readers of blog as to whether they have experienced the same thing.
    5. I’m don’t quite understand this question. Would you be able to clarify?
    6. I will pass this feedback on to our team in France and see whether this is something they are looking in to.

    I think this answers most of your questions but let me know if you would like further clarification on anything!

  13. Robert White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Sarah, to answer your most recent comment – this is an automated response and I’d like to think that we won’t take 15 working days to respond to you on this one! With regards to your comment posted yesteday – we should have put added a note to say that your original comment had been shortened and I apologise. I have now added this note so that other readers of the blog are aware that this is a shortened version of your original comment. The reason we removed the email section of your comment was because it included personal information and I perhaps wrongly assumed that the email was more for our information. We felt that the shortened version adequately reflected the tone of your comment and highlighted the main issue you were trying to raise. However, I am more than happy to include the comment in it’s entirety. Let me know if this is something you would like me to do.

    I can also confirm that you receiving your email response yesterday was no coincidence. One of the great things about this blog is that the comments we receive help us to identify areas for improvement. In April Eibhlin wrote a blog post about how some of the comments helped us to identify issues with our customer query logging system where customers were not getting a response to their emails. It is clear that there is still an issue that needs to be resolved as we did not have your original query on file. I would be interested to know how you got in contact with us as it would help us to identify any other gaps in our systems. It would be great if you could email me at comments@avis.co.uk with any information you are able to give us. If you are able to read Eibhlin’s blog post she has added a comment at the bottom which outlines some of the issues we have been dealing with in the past.

    With regards to your refund, I appreciate that you remain disappointed with our response and I’ll ask one of the Executive customer care team to get in touch to try and resolve the situation to your satisfaction.

  14. Sarah Bryant Says:

    Thank you Robert for your comprehensive reply.

    Yes I have been contacted by Piroska Szalo who has now resolved the situation to my satisfaction.

    Many thanks


  15. Robert Says:

    Hello again Rob,

    thought I would post my first experience at LHR as a President Club member.

    I booked a Medium: Compact car (307) expecting to get upgraded to a Standard Plus (407 etc).
    I arrived at Avis and my name was on the ‘dot matrix’ board and I went straight to the parking bay to pick up the car.
    I was surprised to find a Ford Focus which was the group of car I booked.
    Not only that, but the rental agreement had the wrong rate for the week, and was showing a rate for a Large: Standard car
    So I went into the office.
    Waited a few minutes to be served, and then asked the agent two question:

    1. Do they not upgrade President Members?
    2. Why am I being over charged according to the contract they left me in the car?

    He then checked the computer and said I had booked a B class car (Punto) and they upgraded me to the Focus.
    I told him that was wrong and I didn’t book a B car but two groups up, and I have the confirmation email to prove it.
    So he then checked for me to see what he could give me if he did change the rental to the original one.
    He only had a 1.8 Mondeo available which was a standard group (not standard plus) and he said the focus would be better.
    There were a few 407′s. Lagunas, and Passats around.
    I was tired after a long flight and long day, and just said fine so keep the rate at a B class rate, and change the rental agreement which was incorrect.
    The whole thing took almost half and hour.
    I then took the car and left.
    A few minutes later I noticed the fuel tank was not full at all (the paper work said it was) so I called up and told them, and asked if they need me to come back.
    They were kind enough to say, no it’s ok we will just adjust it on the computer.

    As to the car itself, while the Focus’s are good cars, and fun to drive this particular one is on an 07 plate yet has already done 10,000 miles, and the car seats (front and rear) are very very stained with something that looks like oil or something.

    All in all, I can’t say I was very impressed with my experience as “President” and in a away it was worse this time then my last few rentals that were prior to me getting my “Presidents Club” status.

    As I left, I noticed there were a few 407′s. Laguna’s and Passats around, and perhaps they were pre allocated to other renters, but in that case he could have upgraded me to a higher class, even if you only upgrade President Members to Large Standard plus cars.
    (There are Avis locations abroad where there is no Max upgrade class)

    I am fully aware that the benefits as a President Club member are a privilege rather then a Right, but I received my President statues due to the fidelity and amount of Business I have given, and give Avis worldwide, otherwise I would not have got it.

    Kind Regards,

  16. Robert White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    This makes for disappointing reading and I understand your frustration. We highly value your custom and I will personally raise this with our Executive Customer Care team, and the station manager at Heathrow Airport. One of us will be in touch with you directly so we can reassure that this instance was an isolated incident and that the appropriate action will be taken to ensure this does not happen again.


  17. Robert Says:

    Thank you Rob.

  18. Peter S Says:

    We regularly rent with AVIS for our work and our very happy with the service. What I cannot seem to do though is get them to send me the invoice by e-mail rather than by post so much easier for claiming expenses. Any ideas? Yes I have filled out this option with AVIS prefered.

  19. Robert White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Thank you for your kind words! :)

    The easiest way to set yourself up to receive invoices by email is to create an online account. You can do this on http://www.avis.co.uk by clicking on the “Create an account” link on the top right-hand corner of the website. One of the questions it will ask you when you sign up is whether you would like to receive your invoice by email.

    If you already have an account then simply sign in and with a quick scan down the options on the left-hand side you’ll see a heading called “Communication” (it is the bottom heading under “Personal Information”, “Contact details”, “Sign in details” and “Your bookings”). The second option under “Communication” is “Invoice by email”. Click on the link and simply follow the instructions.

  20. John Crossley Says:

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for response, I have added further feedback below.

    1. You make a valid point, but I often return cars to airports before office hours, which means I am in conflict before having chance to record damage. My main issue though is the frequency of occurance and the fact that the onus is on the customer.

    2. Fair point.

    3. I think we must disagree on this point. Cars sizes in groups should be consistent across all sites – especially in Europe. Why not use a different system to identify MPVs, convertibles etc. I appreciate the attempt to simplify but it leads to the frustration that is expressed in this blog. Since cars are electronically scanned in and out – is it not going to be feasible to hire a specific car identified by it’s registration?

    4. ok. I think others have commented.

    5. My point is that the delivery charges and single journey fees are wavered as part of our wizard contract but they still occaisionally appear on invoices.


    New one: – My next hire car after I wrote my entry was a bit of a disaster. usual complaint about fuel level, usual complaint about group – I ordered a C got a B and was charged for a C. But the big problem with this car was that the rear parcel shelf was missing (not recorded) so we had to carry our laptop cases with us rather than leave them on display in the boot.

    This afternoon I will fly to Milan Malpensa where I have booked a group D – I am expecting something bigger than a group C Focus and an opel Meriva will not be welcome!!

    last point – why not put a feedback card in the car with each rental?

    Thanks again for the opportunity to moan, best regards, John

  21. Peter S Says:

    Thanks for the response Robert, good to see that the board is read.

    I had already done all you suggest regarding setting up my account for invoices by e-mail some time ago, all to no avail they still arrive (eventually) by post.

    I wondered if this may be due to the fact that we reserve cars through a dedicated line (we work for EDS who have this facility). When I give my wizard number they have all the details on line as shown in my account so its not as though I have two accounts. Any ideas??

  22. Robert Says:

    Hi Rob, reading some of the posts here, it seems that Avis offer a delivery service in the UK.
    I was wondering about that as I know other car rental firms do this, and I have often had this service provided with Avis abroad.
    I could not however find any information on avis.co.uk website.
    Can we tell me more about the delivery service, including prices etc?

    Thanks and best regards,

  23. Peter S Says:

    Second question: I’m having problems changing my prefered partner from BA Miles (they dontt do corporate bookings now) to Tesco Clubcard points and in claiming any missing points (website down) any suggestions on how i can rectify this. Many thanks.

  24. Robert White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    John, we’re more than happy for you to moan. If we didn’t have this platform for people to point out what we could be doing better then we would go along thinking we are perfect and then we would never improve!

    I think I misinterpreted your initial point about car categorisation as I am in complete agreement about your suggestion of using a different systems for car categories. This is something we have implemented on our avis.co.uk website as part of an initiative to drive out jargon because like you we felt the old system was a bit baffling. However, I think you are booking on one of our dedicated microsites which is probably still using the old car group terminology. Updating the car categorisation on the microsites is an area for future development.

    Point 5 and your recent rental experience is a definite concern and I have raised this with your account manager who will investigate this and will be in touch.

    Enjoy your time in Milan!


  25. Robert White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hmmm… your e-billing query needs a bit more investigation Peter. I have contacted your account manager who will investigate and contact you directly.

    You can reclaim missing Tesco Clubcard points on the Tesco website – http://www.tesco.com/clubcard/clubcard/partners/?page=avis. However, I should make you aware that corporate rentals do not qualify for Tesco Clubcard points either.

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

    Hi Robert, hope you don’t mind me jumping on the conversation. Rob asked me if could respond to you on this one. Delivery & Collection service varies across Europe depending on the customer base and location. Where it’s available to the leisure renter it tends to be in high density tourist resorts with a small radius.

    In the UK we don’t actually provide a delivery and collection service, other than under contract to some of our corporate clients. This is because it’s very expensive to operate (2 people are required to deliver or collect a car)and there are security considerations in terms of our ability to swipe & verify credit cards remotely. So it’s not a viable proposition for us to offer as a general service. Where we have a contract to operate it for our corporate clients, it’s under strictly controlled conditions and generally in specific locations e.g. from locations close to a customer’s HQ.

  27. Robert Says:

    Thank’s for that Eibhlin!

  28. Nicole Says:


    I was a dedicated hirer of Avis cars until a year ago, when I had a specific incident with Avis. I wrote several letters but they were ultimately dismissed.

    I’ve just stumbled across this blog, where there seems to be an actual effort in increasing customer satisfaction, so decided to try my luck here.

    Essentially, we returned our hired car to an Avis car park after hours, and dropped the keys in the “returns” box.

    That night, several cars were smashed in the carpark, apparently with a crowbar or something similar. (This happened in Manchester.) Our returned car was one of those.

    But since no one had actually inspected our returned car until opening the next morning, we were charged for the damage. Now I can understand if ours had been the only car damaged – but it was OBVIOUS that someone had come into the Avis carpark to damage several vehicles!

    Upon writing letters of protest, we were told that the CCTV cameras looking at the carpark were broken and there was no proof we did it ourselves.

    I think this is just appalling customer service. Is there any chance you could reach someone to reverse the decision (and the charges?)

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

    Hi Nicole

    This is one of those very difficult situations where we have to explain that under our terms and conditions of hire, the renter is liable for the cost of any damage to the vehicle irrespective of how it was caused or whose fault it was while it’s on rent to them. And if a car is returned outside our opening hours , the renter remains responsible for it until it is inspected by a member of Avis staff after opening. So however the damage was caused, whether by you the renter, or vandals, actually wasn’t relevant to whether you were liable to pay for it. Sadly it sounds as if it was your responsibility to pay the cost (up to the excess applicable of course). That said from what you say below it certainly doesn’t sound as if you’ve had this explained to you properly, or had your case handled very well, so if you forward your rental agreement number and any other details to the comments@avis.co.uk, we’ll review it and come back to you again as soon as we can.

  30. lwtommyoq Says:

    Very nice point of view! Respect!

  31. Robert Says:

    Wasn’t sure which thread to post this in, but I guess this is a good as any…
    Not such a happy bunny with Avis right now, as I just went online to book a car for Jan and Feb only to discover that prices have gone up since I checked just 48 hours ago.

    I am not talking about peak season at all, so that would not be the reason.
    The difference is not huge but £20 a week is still £20!

    Come on Avis, stay competitive, keep your prices reasonable, and we will keep our loyalty to you.
    I fail to see why the prices were just increased for no reason.

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

    Thanks for the info Robert.

    Would you be able to email me at comments@avis.co.uk with exact dates, time, car category and location you trying to book. It may be an error or it may be that our cars are selling out!


  33. Peter Terry Says:

    I’ve been a preferred customer for almost 10 years now, and never had a problem with my regular hiring from Avis.

    Something happened last month which has changed my mind somewhat and put a doubt in my mind about my confidence in taking out a rental.

    For the first time I was posted an accident form after an out of hours return. This was for ‘Chip damage to front bumper’. What amazed me was there were already minor chips on pick-up, which we are told we should not worry about unless they break the paintwork.

    What amazed me further was the automatic charge of almost £200 which was imposed on the final rental settlement without me even having a say in the matter.

    On challenging this charge I did get a complete refund, mainly as the car was already re-hired and they could not verify my challenge. But then it was so stressful just having to deal with this.

    My questions are does a ‘chip’ really cost £200 to repair. You must think we are stupid if so. I searched the internet for Avis complaints and came across many examples of unhappy people. $600 for a Windscreen chips was the worst example I found over in the US.

    I suddenly realised that for every rental I have taking I am risking the loss of up to £600 for items outside my control. A ‘chip’ which is a random event for example. The example given in this blog of an out of hours return, and then the car being vandalised on Avis premises, and you being held responsible in inexcusable.

    I ain’t rented since this incident, as I find this a bit discomforting. I realised cheap firm tried to play tricks like this, but Avis is a big company I have always trusted, and would not deal with petty incidents like this with excessive over-charging.

    I’m thinking of raising this issue to BBC Watchdog, as it’s the kind of thing that should be made very clear to people.

    I notice your site does not even have a published ‘scale of charges’ which I was quoted when I made my complaint, but have never seen it on your website for people to see what they will pay for even minor damage outside of your control.

    I’d be surprised if you publish this comment, but I had my eyes opened alot with this incident, and currently have no confidence in risking hiring under these conditions.

  34. Marco Koenig Says:

    I was wondering if Avis Chairman`s Club services would have to call ahead when renting in the UK, which I have not done yet.
    Are there any max. upgrade restrictions in place or is it just like in the US where I can pick any car I like (resonably of course)?
    Also will the be curbside pick-up and/or drop-off avail.?

  35. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Marco,

    Reading your comment I’d say that Chairman’s Club get the same as they do in the US i.e. a car is guaranteed with or without a reservation and that the upgrade is up to the best available car category (excluding the premium car category). Chairman’s Club members also qualify for free delivery and collection up to a 25 mile radius from the rental office.

    Does this give you the answers you need?


  36. Xavier Vallee Says:

    Hello Peter,

    sorry for not answering your question sooner. I wanted to come back to you, whilst Peter and Stephen are working on a thorough answer to clarify our policies.

    First of all, and if you haven’t done so already, I would suggest that you send your rental agreement number to comments@avis.co.uk so we can look into your particular case.

    We process hundreds of thousands of rentals every year and despite our best efforts we sometimes get it wrong. I’d like to say thank you for your loyalty for the last 10 years and express my apologies for that specific rental.

    Peter/Stephen will explain it better than me, but from experience (!) damage costs on modern cars are always higher than what we’d like them to be!

    PS: Please remember that you can take up our premier cover that will reduce the excess to £100, and/or the winscreen protection.

    Feel free to bombard us with questions: we’re really trying hard to be transparent and fair.


  37. Michael Bonte Says:

    Ok this comment is more for your german equivalent but still.
    I picked up a car at MUC on 8 feb and the rental agent sneakily added a prepaid full tank of gas. He never told me about this and I found out at the end of the rental when I handed in the vehicle only half full.
    I saw on my E invoice there was a refueling charge of € 86.
    I called CS and Sarah ( American lady ) put everything right as she halved the charge as I had returned the car half full. Excellent service and a disappointment was turned into a positive experience. It can be so simple.

  38. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Michael, I am thankful that the issue was resolved for you but it is disappointing to read that you had to write to customer support in the first place! I will pass the feedback on to our team in Germany.


  39. Sibylle Humphreys Says:

    After having read some of the comments from unhappy customers and some answers from Avis,I have to say there is only one comfort to be gained here – at least I am not the only one, who after years of renting with Avis has been utterly disappointed with the service received. We’ve had some minor problems in the past (leeking water pump, double charged for fuel, faulty windscreen wipers…), all not very convenient, but this was nothing compared to what happened in January this year. I was charged £325.55 for an alleged damage to a car hired at Berlin Schoenefeld Airport (Germany). The car was returned unchecked, as there is never enough staff at this location to sign off cars on return. The car could have easily got damaged after I had left it at the car park. I only found out about the alleged damage through the charge on my credit card.I immediately contacted Avis, per telephone and in writing disputing the charge.I finally got a letter with “photo-evidence” – the picture showed a tiny (ca. 1cm) scratch on the right wheel arch of the car. Apart from the fact, that I did not cause this scratch, I was not sure whether to be shocked or amused by the fact that the repair of this scratch should cost £325.55. I wrote again, and finally after 1 month,I got a refund of £94.04, which still leaves a charge of £231.54 on my credit card. Avis are stating in their last letter that they’ve adjusted the charge and are referring to the enclosed repair bill – however, the paperwork enclosed was only the repair estimate which was dated 18.01.08. Why did it take until the 14.02.08 to process the credit? And where is the proper repair bill? The estimate is impossible to understand (not because it’s in German, but because it doesn’t make any sense with regards to man hours charged, material used etc.). So much for being “transparent and fair”. I had actually shown the picture of the scratch to a local garage who confirmed that the repair of this kind of scratch would never cost more than £150.00. Everybody else I showed the picture to (colleagues, friends, family..) only shook their heads in disbelieve. My example sounds a lot like the experience Peter Terry had, who left a comment on this page earlier – apart from the fact that he got a full refund unlike me. But like for him has this experience completely changed my attitude towards car hire. I’ve not hired since (which says something, considering that I hired 5 times from Avis in the past 6 months…). I feel Avis is not giving me any choice but not to hire a car ever again – at least not from a company who quite obviously is trying harder – to blame the customer for everything.

  40. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Sibyelle, as you’ve pointed out, clearly these comments show that we still have work to be done our damage processes and it is imperative that we ensure we have a process which, as you quote, is “transparent and fair”. For this reason there is a European wide initiative aimed at improving our performance in this area and it is something we are committed to delivering on. In the meantime I understand that someone from our Executive Customer Support team is looking into this and will be in touch with you shortly, if not already.


  41. Thomas Newman Says:

    I would like to raise the following point on this.

    Having just spoken with Avis customer service for the very first time in relation to a previous hire, I have to say I am disgusted with the manner of the operator. She was completely non co-operative from the start and chose to shout and talk down to me at every opportunity and to then abruptly end the call !!!!!

    I am simply stunned that Avis representatives in a customer facing role could possibly exhibit this ‘we couldn’t care less about your custom or problems’ attitute.

    As an area manager with over 20 rentals per year I will now be moving my company services away from Avis back to your competitors (comparing the market and thought we’d give Avis a try). I certainly will not be recommending Avis to any of my company contacts, infact, quite the opposite.

    Sorry, but there is simply no excuse !

    A very disgruntled customer !


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

    Hi Thomas,

    I’m sorry to hear of your experience. Please could you send your rental agreement details to me at comments@avis.co.uk and I will investigate further.



  43. Russ Carroll Says:

    You may be listening but you’re not replying!

    Despite numerous calls and emails from February 5th thru to today, you still haven’t explained the level of repair work needed to car that I hired, in order to justify taking a £1120 excess from my card.

    Here’s the email that I sent to your Head of Customer Services (Comments@) on March 10th, and I still haven’t received a reply.


    Hi Peter,

    I recently hired a car online via the Avis website (2419-4622-IE-4) for collection from Knock Airport on Friday February 1st and drop off at Knock Airport on Sunday February 3rd.

    I booked this online and took out standard insurance, when I arrived at Knock airport I was asked if I’d like to reduce my excess but I declined as I had already paid and I didn’t want to pay more money. I’ve always considered this practice to be underhanded and I really think the excess reduction option should be better communicated at the time of booking online.

    In any case there was a torrential downpour that weekend in County Mayo
    which lead to lots of flooding. On the evening of Saturday 2nd February I found myself in the dark on a country road and I approached what I thought
    to be a large puddle. I slowed to a halt and with a number of cars behind me, I opted to proceed slowly through the puddle as it would have been
    really difficult to reverse back. The puddle turned out to be far deeper than anticipated and the Avis car stalled in the middle of the puddle and
    water seeped in under the doors, I somehow managed to start the car again and drove out of the puddle. The car was fine for the rest of the 15
    minute journey, but when I went to start it the following day it was completely flat.

    I had a flight to catch so I organised a taxi to the airport and called the Avis hotline number. I then completed a report in person at the Avis
    desk in Knock and gave them the location of the vehicle. I was told that the car would be collected, the damage would be assessed and I would be
    called with an estimate. At which time we’d discuss what I had to pay. I received one call from the Avis desk at Knock the next day to say that the car hadn’t been collected yet, the gentleman said that they would be in touch as soon as they had received a damage report.

    I didn’t hear anything for 2 weeks and then all of a sudden I received an invoice for the excess amount of £1120 (1450 Euros) informing me that this
    had been taken from my card!! I called the Avis desk and spoke with a lady there, she told me that they hadn’t received a damage report yet and that
    it was standard practice to just take the full excess amount and credit afterwards. I view the practice of charging the full excess to someone’s
    card before the level of damage has been ascertained to be morally wrong, it’s an abuse of power in what should be an equitable relationship between
    two parties.

    The lady promised to call back and 2 days later I received a call to say that the engine had been damaged and the final bill would probably be a lot more than my excess. I asked for a breakdown of these costs and was
    told that this would be sent to me ASAP. 2 weeks later I haven’t received a breakdown of the costs and I have no idea exactly what damage has been
    done to the car.

    I’m not disputing that my actions have caused damage to the car, but I’ve found the follow up service provided by Avis to be appalling. You can’t
    just take someone’s money and say to them that the damage is pretty bad so you won’t be getting any of it back, you have to back this up with
    detailed information and evidence.

    Could you please look into this matter and do me the courtesy of a letter or email detailing exactly what damage I caused to the car.

    I travel extensively for work and in my spare time and I’ve frequently booked through Avis before. I’m afraid that based on my this experience thus far I will never book a car from Avis again.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter.


    Russ Carroll

    Please do me the courtesy of replying.



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

    Hi Russ,

    I’m sorry about the service you’ve received so far.

    I am currently investigating this matter with the customer service teams in the UK and Ireland and will respond to you directly.


  45. Shafika Sodawala Says:

    I am preferred AVIS member and have been renting regularly for the past 2 years until a recent company expense crunch. I have NO complaints. I have always received a friendly, helpful service. Would like to extend my gratitude to the Southampton Docks office, who knew my preference of car or rather the ones I didnt like and did their level best to ensure I got a car I was happy with. They were a really pleasant bunch of people. Although I am not currently able to rent, I have no problem in recommending AVIS to friends & family as I have every confidence in them. Well Done !!! :-)

  46. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Thank you for the kind feedback Shafika. I’ll forward on to the team at Southampton.


  47. Shamraz Says:

    I used to be a loyal customer of the competition (name began with an H and ended with a Z) and I left due to change in management at the local office. Other than that the car choices were not to my taste, local customer service was good.
    So I decided its time for a change and joined Avis Preferred as I found the car choice much better and expected the customer support to be just as good considering both companies are on an equal footing – so I thought.
    Here are my experiences/gripes for the first year;
    Invoices took way too long to arrive after the rental ended which meant I was often out of pocket as like many, I need the invoices to claim from my employer. At [one of your competitors] (bad word I know), it was certain that after 24 hours of the car being received, I could log into my online account and download the latest invoice.
    I signed up to AVIS online thinking I could do the same. Somewhere, there was an error in my email address and it took almost 9 months to ‘go through the system’ and correct! Till then I waited for the posted invoices. By the time that was resolved, the time had decreased between rental end and invoice arriving but the competition had set the benchmark for me. I would like AVIS to try harder to give the option of stopping posted invoices to save paper and speed up the emailing of invoices.
    I rang numerous times to resolve the email problem and was sent pillar to post. No luck and I usually gave up the chase. Eventually it was resolved as some customer service rep had an idea of what to do (so multinationals do still employ people with initiative?).
    After the first IT problem was resolved, I rang to find out why I can’t see all of my bookings online; no customer service advisor could give me a definite answer. Till one day, I decided to email in a last ditch attempt and was told why. Only bookings made online can be viewed on line. I usually get the car delivered to the office or home, there is no facility online, best to my knowledge, where I can order a car and specify delivery. I have to ring the local office or national number to arrange delivery. With [one of your competitors] online, I had a time frame where I could retrieve previous invoices whether the booking was done online or off line. This has been my biggest gripe about the AVIS online account service. Why can’t you make ALL bookings (regardless how they were booked) made available online? I often have to refer to previous invoices for accounting purposes. Having them online saves me having files in an already crowded and so called ‘paperless’ office! With the invoices now being emailed, I guess it is the next best thing (note ‘next best thing’) but a crowded inbox is just as bad.
    Upgrade vouchers seem to have evaporated despite the frequency of car hires. Have they been discontinued?

    Overall, the AVIS Preferred web site is cleaner and easier to use. It just lacks features as described above.

    So, would I recommend AVIS to friends who hire on the odd occasion? Yes, as my issues seem to be only related to the more frequent hirer and I’ve never been left high and dry. Plus the local office does remember my preferences.

    If loyalty actually means anything more than a slightly different coloured plastic card then please make things easier for the loyal consumer?

    AVIS, consider yourself on notice.


    PS – The blog is a great feature though! One over the competition and gives AVIS a human face.

  48. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Shamraz, thank you for posting such comprehensive feedback! I will pass your feedback regarding e-invoices and the limitations of viewing past reservations online on to the Development team.

    I will also pass your comments on to Peter Greenough, our Head of Customer Support (he is also heavily involved with the blog), to ensure that our Customer Support team are able to deal with these type of questions more promptly next time going forward.

    You’ve also noted that we could do more for our loyal customers. If you have any further thoughts or ideas on this then I would love to hear from you.

    Thanks again.

  49. Abi Carver Says:

    Last week I rented a car from Nice, France. After returning the car with a full tank of petrol I was horrified to find that a few days later my credit card had been debited with over £100 for fuel. I phoned to advise avis of this and was asked to send the receipt from the petrol station. This was not the only problem with the invoice. I had paid for the car in the UK online yet been charged extra on my invoice. I was also given the same response as many others in the blog, that this would take 15 days to resolve. I was also told a refund could not be made immediately as some of their customers where not honest, I think it is more a case of some of the staff not being honest! Overall not happy with the service received from avis.

  50. Stephen Spiers - Avis UK Customer Services Says:

    Hi Abi,

    I understand that you have spoken to someone in Customer Services this morning and they are resolving the matter for you.

    If I can help any further, please contact me at comments@avis.co.uk.


  51. Xavier Vallee - Head of Marketing Says:


    I’ll make sure we look into your features requests when we plan the next releases of the website. Also, point noted on the lack of responsiveness with your email problem. We’ll look into that as well.



  52. David Reid Says:

    I want to highlight the appalling service from Avis, following a booking in Spain in August. When we arrived at the office, we had to wait for the car to come – whilst waiting, they asked me to sign blank damage forms, as they told me there was no damage on the car whatsoever.

    However, when it came we noticed a number of areas of damage, so got the on site representative in the car park to note these on the form, and he signed and dated this. When we arrived home, the day after we received an invoice from Avis charging us hundreds of pounds for damage!!

    I immediately emailed them to ask why, and advising them that I could provide the form showing that all the damage was already there when we got the car. Since then I have emailed numerous times (the list is now too long to go into all the detail), to various departments – I keep getting promises of a reply (as everyone says it is another department that needs to reply), but nothing ever comes. It is now over a month since I first emailed, yet I am no further forward. I will have to try dealing with my credit card company, as after emailing all these people and departments, I’m not sure what more I can do??!!

  53. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi David, I am sorry for the frustrations and I can only apologise that it has been do difficult getting an answer. Unfortunately queries relating to damage do take time as 3rd parties are involved. However, if you can send me your rental agreement number to comments@avis.co.uk, I can get an update for you.


  54. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi David, I just found out from my colleague that you already sent this information in and it is being looked into. Apologies.


  55. J Malcolmson Says:

    Another example of poor customer service from Avis I am afraid.

    After a number of weeks of renting a car from your Luxembourg office problem free I booked one rental through the Avis BA site. Despite this site clearly stating that there was a free additional driver (also confirmed in my confirmation email) I of course have been charged for this (some €120).

    This is also in addition to the fact that there was no additional driver used on the booking, something your colleagues in your Lux office can confirm.

    On phoning customer services to sort out what I thought would be a minor matter I was a) on hold in excess of 40 mins b) told it was up to me to prove the Avis BA entitles you to a free driver (surely Avis staff should know what entitlements booking thorugh the Avis BA site where entitled to?).

    When I asked how I was supposed to do this I was told to send an email with the proof. I am thankful that I had kept my email confirmation of the booking as I dread to think how I could have done this without it.

    Your representative was nothing short of rude on the phone in these discussions.

    Despite sending the required proof on 27 August 2009 to [the customer service agent] and also forwarding it through your customer service email address I have of course hae heard absolutely nothing back which comes as no great surprise.

    To be honest I am quite gobsmacked as to how badly a customer who is both an Avis preferred member and was renting cars from you weekly has ben treated. I look forward to hearing from you on this.

  56. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi J Malcolmson, I can confirm for you that BA Exec Club members are entitled to free additional driver. I am not sure why this has not been resolved for you but if you could send me your rental agreement number to comments@avis.co.uk and I will seek to this resolved for you. I will also pass on your feedback of the experience you received.


  57. Simon Fynn Says:

    Good morning.
    I have been on hold for 15 minutes trying to get through to Avis UK to discuss why I have been HUGELY overcharged for a recent rental post off-renting the car.

    Having called both the pick-up and drop-off office and being contradicting, and non-conclusive reasons I thought I’d try my luck here.

    My rental agreement number is:[R.A. Number]

    I reserved a car on 15/09/2009 at avis.es to collect the following day. The reservation number is stated on the rental agreement details.

    The car was collected from Malaga Airport as stated on the booking at 1750hours on 16/09/09 and was returned the following day at 12Midday at the Denia branch.

    On the reservation I was quoted for €179.92 including an additional drive charge for a Seat Leon sized car or similar.

    When the car was collected I was charged €181.20 according to the rental agreement for a SMALLER group car – A Seat Ibiza.

    The car was a new shape Ibiza, so under 6 months old, with 40,000kms on the clock and a gearbox I later discovered I couldn’t get into any of the gears apart from first without absolutely forcefully shoving the gearstick into each slot.

    I off-rented the car at Denia with a full tank of diesel.

    I have just discovered that on our credit card bill Avis have charged €394.08!

    This is €212.88 more than we agreed when we collected the car!

    There should be a charge for extra mileage over the 350 included kms, but given that Denia is 600 kms from Malaga Airport, and Avis charges €0.13 per km, that charge should come to €30 odd plus VAT.

    I called the Denia office where we off-rented the car after 1 day as agreed in the rental agreement – The lady I spoke with, who was the lady who I dropped the car off with, told me that in fact I had booked the car for 3 days and that the rental agreement was closed by the branch in Algeciras – Algeciras is about 700kms South West of Denia!

    Can you please explain how this happened and give me some assurance that this overcharge will be returned to the card-holder it has been taken from.

    I can get no sense from the Spanish branches in either English or Spanish – The head office numbers all tell me to speak to the branch where we off-rented the car.

    Thank you.

    Simon Fynn

  58. David Reid Says:

    It is now over five weeks since I first raised this as an issue – I’m not sure exactly how long this query should take, even with “third parties” being involved!!

  59. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi David,

    I will follow this up with our customer service team and I will get back to you.


  60. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Simon,

    I’m sorry to hear about your frustrations.

    I have passed your comment on to our customer service team and they should get back to you soon.


  61. Tracey Turton Says:

    I would help in resolving a dispute that we have with Avis over 3 unjustified charges taken from our Visa card, after we hired a car in August from Rome.

    The first relates to insurance excess charges relating to an accident that wasn’t our fault, and we have a witness and evidence to confirm this, along with the at fault drivers details. Very briefly, the staff at the Rome office flatly refused to take any details despite telling us a few days prior to that that there was no problem and that we should simply fill in a record form when we returned the car. We were then told that an excess charge of £850 Euros would be deducted from our Visa card, and that we could make a note that we disputed this charge but that they would deduct the excess anyway. The attitude of the staff in this office was appalling, and the incident completely ruined our holiday (we have 2 young children who witnessed the discussion in the rentals office and were very upset by the whole thing). Having registered this dispute on 26th August with Avis UK, we are still awaiting any follow up.

    To add insult to injury, on arriving home we received an invoiced/ payment confirmation outlining outrageous extra charges: 64.65 Euros + VAT for 4 hours late return, equivalent to around 3 days hire charges; 57.45 + VAT refuelling charge, despite returning the car with more fuel that when the car was picked up (again, we have documents to show this). This was disputed on 3rd Sept and again we are still awaiting any response.
    In total, we have been billed and extra £795.45 on top of the original rental cost of £247.

    We chose to rent with Avis because your website promises service that you can trust, but we just feel that we have been totally ripped off and treated appallingly by the office staff in Rome who had the worst customer service skill that I have ever experienced.

    Tracey Turton

  62. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Tracey,

    I am sorry to hear about your frustrations.

    If you could email me the details of your rental (including the rental agreement number) to comments@avis.co.uk, i will look into this and follow it up with our customer service team.


  63. Tim Stanworth Says:

    We booked our car through Avis Uk. Collection point Liverpool airport 11-14 Sept 09 £65.37 for 3days. We now have an invoice from Avis.es in Spanish(no reference is made to our original booking ref) for 4days hire. As there was nobody in the car pound we returned the key to the airport desk. Warning make sure your key is timed in. We were timed in 2hrs+ later hopefully Avis as an honourable company will accept our timed depature lounge receipts. I guess this is their way of making extra money.

  64. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Tim,

    I’m sorry to hear of your experience.

    If you could send your rental agreement details to me at comments@avis.co.uk and I will follow this up with our customer service team and will get back to you.


  65. Tim Stanworth Says:

    Vicki I have now been credited with the overpayment. What a pity you did not not offer a gesture of goodwill towards my next car hire. The excess payment was caused through no fault of mine.
    I have had the hassle of claiming it back

  66. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for update. I will pass your feedback on the way it was handled to customer service team.


  67. David Reid Says:

    I’m glad to see that someone has had a matter resolved. For mine, it will be six weeks on Monday since I first raised this as an issue, and still no response! I don’t know how often I’ve had to chase, and I keep getting told that contacting the Avis office in Spain “takes time”. It is extremely unfair that I am out of pocket, as Avis have automatically deducted the cost from my credit card.

    I need to book a car for South Africa in February – I have always booked automatically with Avis in the past (because of the BA miles award) but after the problems with this booking (and the complete lack of responsiveness in sorting the issue) I checked Hertz and they were actually about £50 cheaper for the same class of vehicle, so I think I’ll sacrifice the BA miles.

  68. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi David, I empathise with you and I understand why you are frustrated – I would be if I was in the same position! But I can assure you that the team will get an answer to you as quickly as they can. I know that, until you actually get a full response, that is little consequence to you but unfortunately, because there are multiple parties involved, foreign damage queries can take some time to resolve. We are, however, looking into how we can make this process more efficient – it is without a doubt the biggest issue which has been highlighted on the blog over the summer.


  69. David Reid Says:

    Another week has gone by, and still I don’t know why I have been charged hundreds of pounds for alleged damage! It is absolutely ridiculous that seven weeks have passed since Avis in Spain debited my card and yet no one can explain why this charge was made. As I’ve said before, unless this matter is resolved asap I will contact my credit card company and register this as a dispute.

    I keep getting told that “these things take time” but how long can you actually keep a customer waiting? I don’t think you would be quite as patient if I owed you hundreds of pounds!!!

  70. Simon Fynn Says:

    Well, my card has been refunded with the €212 I was overcharged as per my comment above from 22nd September.

    This amount represents the tank of fuel, 2 days rental and the extra mileage I was incorrectly charged for.

    Nothing though for my being charged MORE on the day for a SMALLER group B car than the quote on my original reservation for a LARGER group C car.

    My involvement in the recovery of this money was lengthy included expensive calls to Avis in Spain, my time and Avis have had over €200 of my money for 2 weeks.

    Despite this no-one has apologised to me and no-one has thought to offer me any kind of goodwill gesture for the inconvenience, upset and expense this has caused me.

    After this experience, what is there to entice me to trust and use Avis again?

    Even some gift vouchers would have been welcomed!

    Just been to Berlin on business for 5 days – I avoided the Avis stand and went straight to [a competitor].

    Knee-jerk you think? Well, This is the second poor experience i have had in 12 months with Avis. The last time was a walk-up rental at Birmingham Airport after a particularly tiring flight back from Italy.
    The car was one-wayed to Peterborough – A price was agreed when I rented the car, but a few days after off-renting it I discovered a huge additional charge from my card.

    I called Avis and apparently the charge was made as I had been given the wrong kind of car (a Golf) which apparently was not supposed to be one-wayed.
    Yet again it was me who had to make 5 long phone calls to get the matter resolved, and I was treated as if it were my fault!

    If you want me back, convince me. Make me look forward to hiring cars again (which I do regularly) rather than making me fear the repercussions.

  71. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi David, I have just been advised by the Customer Support team that this has been resolved. I apologise for the delayed response. Please let me know if you have any further feedback.


  72. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Simon, I am sorry to read about this. We are committed to providing an excellent service so it’s frustrating to read that we have let you down on multiple occasions. I’ll make sure this feedback reaches the right people and I’ll pick this up with the customer support team.


  73. shailja Says:


    I have been wrongly charged over £500 on my credit card. I have tried to fight this at the waterloo branch but the brand manager Angela is forever on leave. they have BEEN OF NO HELP AT ALL AND I AM DISSAPOINTED AND EXTREMELY HARRASSED.

    I have been charged for mistakes made by incompetent fools working there.

    I need the area manager to contact me and claim my money back.

  74. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Shailja.

    I am sorry to hear of your frustrations with Avis.

    If you have any queries with your rental you need to contact our customer service department via email at customer.service@avis.co.uk or phone on 0844 544 6666 and not the station directly.

    If you do not want to pick this up with customer services yourself then you are welcome to email me at comments@avis.co.uk with your rental agreement number and details of your booking. I will look into this for you and will liaise with customer service.

    If you have any other questions please let me know in your email.


  75. Anthony Hedrick Says:

    Need some help… I had a small accident with a dent in the driver side door while in England. I was charged by Avis and extra 421.76 GBP for this incident. Makes sense. My Visa card will reimburse me but I must produce a “Cost Matrix Form” from Avis UK. I have called three times with assurances that it would arrive by email that very day but, with all of the assurances, it never came. Following this, I called Visa and they said they could get one but it would take up to three weeks. I have sent everything that Visa should need but getting this form is becoming a bit like requiring one to sign his or her name on wax paper with a ball point pen. Is there any way I can come up with this? Is there any phone number I can call or download on the internet? Anyone else have problem with this same problem? I suspect many of you.

  76. Jordan Says:

    Hello Anthony,
    Sorry you’ve had troubles getting this form. Could you give me your reference number please?

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