Change your mind when you’re traveling, and the consequences can be costly.
Anand Iyer recently rented a Hyundai from Avis in Westfield, NJ. He’d found the car online through a site called AutoSlash.com, and booked the rental through Travelocity.
Karen Freeman thought that she’d returned her Chrysler 200 Sedan to the Richmond airport with a full tank. She thought wrong.
“An agent noted that the tank was full,” says Freeman, an architect from Atlanta. The gauge also registered that the tank was at capacity, she says.
But a few days later, when she reviewed her credit card bill, she discovered that Avis had charged her an extra $7.43 for 0.8 gallons of gas, or about $9.29 per gallon. She called the company to complain.
“A representative told me that according to a satellite, when I picked up my car, it had 16.9 gallons in it,” she says. “And when I returned it, it had 16.1 gallons. I checked the ticket from pickup and there’s no mention of the fuel quantity other than ‘G8’ — which means full.”
Jenny Tran discovers a mysterious $260 charge on her credit card and discovers she’s been charged for optional car rental insurance she never wanted, or needed. Can she get a refund?
Question: I recently rented a car from Avis in Houston with a friend. A few weeks after we returned the car, I discovered a $260 charge for optional insurance that we never asked for. I need your help getting a refund.
Here are the details. We had pre-paid for the car using Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” service, which covers the entire cost of the rental. When we got to the counter, my friend offered them his debit card — it’s all he was carrying — and an agent said they needed a credit card.
So I gave them my card. Before I handed it over, I asked if it’d be charged. The agent said “no.”
After coming home from the trip, I found out I was charged $260 and wonder where this amount was coming from. We looked at the paperwork from Avis, and that’s when I saw his signature to accept the optional insurance. I asked him if he knew he signed for it and he said “no.”
The car rental insurance scam is a fairly well-known “gotcha” for international renters, and it’s a trap Doreen Murphy believes she walked right into when she rented a car from Budget in Northern Ireland recently.
Murphy wants my help in sorting out a surprise upcharge from Budget, but I’m not sure if I can — or should — try to unravel this for her.
Northern Ireland has its own pecular car rental insurance requirements, and apparently only one brand of MasterCard coverage meets its strict criteria. In other words, if you’re not renting with a MasterCard, you have to buy extra insurance.
When we landed in Raleigh-Durham International Airport, I went to the Avis counter and showed them my reservation. But the agent said my number was “invalid.” He said it had already been used in Chicago in 2007, and that the reservation number couldn’t be used again.
Harry Good recently prepaid for his rental car through a Swiss company called HolidayCars, which makes sense, since Good is an American expatriate who lives in Switzerland.
But what happened next doesn’t make any sense. When he picked up his car from Avis in Phoenix, where he planned to rent it for three months, all seemed well. Then, a few weeks later and without any warning, he found a $6,742 charge, in addition to the $3,711 he’d already paid HolidayCars.