AVIS/CITI CARD - Faulty Car, Taxes on Fees, Endless Dispute

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smd

Mar 14, 2018
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I've been re-reading the above responses on this thread, and the content here has inspired a somewhat philosophical question for me: Is a credit card merely a consumer convenience so that we don't need to walk around with bundles of cash and personal checks? Or, stay with me here, should a credit card company relationship with the consumer take on an element of advocacy? When the consumer pays $95/year, is that simply for the convenience or should it mean that the CC company has taken on the mantle of advocacy? Should the CC company offer its best customers--in my case, platinum card holder--an actual service beyond being the middleman for payments? In any case, Citi has been adjudicating my case (their verbiage, not mine), so it would appear that they're willing to take some responsibility for resolving the problem, which I believe is how it should be. The problem is that at this, the 11th hour, they seem to be abdicating.
Well, remember they have relationships with both sides of the transaction: the payee and the payer. And their responsibilities are legally regulated under the Fair Credit Billing Act. So no, they are not your advocate.

Also, remember they can not decide if you actually owe the money--only whether they will pay it. Even if you win the credit card dispute, Avis can still come after you for the money via the collections process.

It's not clear to me who is "adjudicating the case": Citi's credit card unit or the car rental insurance company/administrator. Since Citi is still insisting that you pay the credit card bill, I suspect it's the latter. In this case, they may simply be investigating which charges they are obligated to pay as opposed to which you legitimately owe. It also occurs to me that since you told them the damages to the car were pre-existing, they may even be investigating whether they should have paid for the car repairs (since they are only obligated to pay for damage that resulted from your collision with the speed bump).
 
Dec 9, 2019
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If you had purchased the car companies insurance, you most likely wouldn’t be dealing with these fees.

This is what Avis’s rental agreement says about damages:

Damage to/Loss of the Car. If you do not accept Loss Damage Waiver, or if the car is lost or damaged as a direct or indirect result of a violation of paragraph 14, or damaged as a result of an act of nature, you are responsible and you will pay us for all loss of or damage to the car regardless of cause, or who, or what caused it. If the car is damaged, you will pay our estimated repair cost, or if, in our sole discretion, we determine to sell the car in its damaged condition, you will pay the difference between the car’s retail fair market value before it was damaged and the sale proceeds, except in Canada or as otherwise required by law. In Canada, you will pay the greater of the car's retail fair market value or its value on our books of account (also known as depreciated book value) before theft or, in the case of damage, the sales proceeds. Depreciated book value may be higher than retail fair market value. Where permitted by law, you authorize us to charge you for the actual cost of repair or replacement of lost or damaged items such as glass, mirrors, tires, and antenna, as part of your rental charges at the time of return. If the car is stolen and not recovered you will pay us the car’s fair market value before it was stolen. As part of our loss, you’ll also pay for loss of use of the car, without regard to our fleet utilization, plus an administrative fee, plus towing and storage charges, if any (“Incidental Loss”). If your responsibility is covered by any insurance, credit card benefit, travel insurance or such other insurance or benefits, you authorize us to contact the benefit provider directly on your behalf and you assign all of your benefits directly to us to recover all consequential and incidental damages, including but not limited to the repairs of the car plus diminished value or the fair market retail value of the car (less salvage value plus costs incurred in the salvage-sale), and all Incidental Loss and administrative fees. If we collect our loss from a third party after we have collected our loss from you, we will refund the difference, if any, between what you paid us and what we collected from the third party. If the law of a jurisdiction covering this rental requires conditions on LDW that are different than the terms of the Rental Agreement, such as if your liability for ordinary negligence is limited by such law, that law prevails. You understand that you are not authorized to repair or have the car repaired without our express prior written consent. If you repair or have the car repaired without our consent, you will pay the estimated cost to restore the car to the condition it was in prior to your rental. If we authorize you to have the car repaired and the cost of repair is our responsibility, we will reimburse you for those repairs only if you give us the repair receipt.
And when you say "the car company's insurance," you mean Avis' rental insurance?
 
Feb 3, 2019
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When the consumer pays $95/year, is that simply for the convenience or should it mean that the CC company has taken on the mantle of advocacy? Should the CC company offer its best customers--in my case, platinum card holder--an actual service beyond being the middleman for payments?
That $95 is paying for a suite of benefits not available to those holding lower-tier cards. The terms and conditions of those benefits are laid out in the account literature. Except as explicitly stated in those T&C, the credit card issuer has no obligation to advocate or even act on behalf of the card holder.

While some issuers may develop the kind of relationship you're envisioning with cardmembers at specific levels, if you're paying $95/year for a platinum card, you may be a very solid customer - but you are nowhere near "best customer" status with Citi.
 
Dec 9, 2019
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What's a Citibank platinum card?
It's a "higher status" card with which they award their "best" customers. I pay $95/annum for the card. When I first got it, I think they conferred gold status, and then at some point, it became platinum. Presumably, the higher status cards come with greater benefits, but I honestly don't know.
 

Neil Maley

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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
It's a "higher status" card with which they award their "best" customers. I pay $95/annum for the card. When I first got it, I think they conferred gold status, and then at some point, it became platinum. Presumably, the higher status cards come with greater benefits, but I honestly don't know.
Can you post a link to the card so we can read what the insurance covers?
 
Dec 9, 2019
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Nov 27, 2019
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It's a "higher status" card with which they award their "best" customers. I pay $95/annum for the card. When I first got it, I think they conferred gold status, and then at some point, it became platinum. Presumably, the higher status cards come with greater benefits, but I honestly don't know.
Oh, so you have the AA card? FYI, the Platinum AA card is the mid-tiered card. The Executive ($450/year) is the higher-tiered card.

In any case, holding either of these doesn't make you one of Citi's "best" customers. Good rule of thumb for dealing with any financial institution: if you reach out to a call center (rather than having the email and phone number of a specific individual who's your relationship manager) when you need something, you aren't one of their best customers.
 

smd

Mar 14, 2018
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Find the Citi Benefits summary below, the car rental information is on pg. 4-5.
The policy does say that it doesn't cover "any additional fees or taxes" (last line on page). It should cover reasonable towing expenses though. Have they explained why they haven't paid the $250?
 
Dec 9, 2019
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Tell them that you have reviewed their written policy and the towing fee should be covered and ask why they are not covering it.
Welp, I heard from the guy at Citi who was overseeing the investigation, and they have officially determined that they don't owe me anything. After 5 months of fighting this indefatigably, I am finally throwing in the towel and paying the $. Thanks to all who tried to help. Peace out.