Today I received a letter from AVIS alleging that your car was damaged during my hire. You requested me to fill in an incidence report and pay NZD $ 1200 for the damage. I assure you there was no damage during my hire and the alleged “long scrape to left front bumper,” if true, occurred after my hire.
The reason is simple—when I returned the car to Queenstown APO facility, your personnel on site (a gentleman) collected the key, walked around the car with me and told me and my wife we were ok to leave. He was soon consumed by a couple more cars subsequently arriving at the facility, and did not bother to give us an inspection confirmation. While we leave, I remember seeing him repeating the same process for at least another red Suzuki and a white corolla. It was office hours so we thought it was this office’s standard procedure. From hindsight I would have insisted on receiving an inspection confirmation. But at that time I just wanted to make it convenient for your busy colleague, since I have always had pleasant experiences with AVIS and never had any problem.
Therefore, there’s no incidence I can report for. Any damage must have occurred after I turned in my car key. What frustrates me the most is that a “long scrape” that costs NZD $1200 to repair should have been noticeable and raised by your colleague to me immediately since it was office hours. Claiming damage after the fact, after almost a month, after we have returned to Taiwan, deprived us a chance to investigate and defend ourselves. I hate to speculate an established company like AVIS, but it seems suspicious that this charge happened the first time I disclaimed the extra insurance. I disclaimed the insurance precisely because I have been a safe driver, and I drove even safer after I disclaimed the insurance (for obvious reason).
What also frustrates me is the fact that no evidence, such as any photo, was provided to me to prove any damage. In essence, AVIS is trying to get NZD $1200 with a piece of paper. I don’t know how much money AVIS has collected from customers who couldn’t defend themselves through this practice. But I doubt such conduct could comply with New Zealand’s consumer law, and it certainly is below industry standard.
A quick search online reveals that AVIS France has also been criticized for trying to claim damage without evidence. Please see the following discussionhttp://www.backpackers.com.tw/forum/showthread.php?t=517329 (in Chinese), from the largest Chinese traveler forum. The title of the discussion is “A super unpleasant rental experience with France AVIS.” In the discussion, an AVIS customer received a letter from AVIS France claiming for damage, without any corroborating evidence. Only after some back and forth negotiations that AVIS France returned the credit to the victim.
Because the damage did not occur during my hire, I request AVIS to refund the erroneous charge on my credit card. If you insist on my liability, stop renting the car until we have a fair opportunity to make inspection on the alleged damage. For your information I’m also informing American Express my dispute of the charge.
Your letter shattered my fond memories of New Zealand and AVIS. It is unfortunate this dispute happened as I have always had great experiences with AVIS. I’ve rent from AVIS for my family trip in France and then the New Zealand trip. Your Avignon office and Taipei sales office were particularly helpful and professional (did not get a chance to talk much with your New Zealand offices). And we have always recommended AVIS to our families and friends planning a travel. It will be my great hope that this misunderstanding can be quickly corrected so I can continue to wholeheartedly recommend AVIS.