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Rental car horror stories are becoming a lot more common these days. This is another one from Avis car rentals. It recently charged a customer over $6,000, claiming she drove the rental car 23,000 miles. In three days. Not factoring in food, restroom, or gas breaks, and driving nonstop, you would have to be traveling at well over 300 mph for three solid days. Without stopping. In a GMC Yukon Denali.

How far did the Avis customer actually drive the rental?

An Avis rental counter
A customer at an Avis counter | Getty

This happened to Giovanna Boniface. She traveled from Toronto to help out her daughter, who was moving to college. Boniface prepaid $1,000 for a Yukon rental. According to North Shore News, on the way, she stopped to see her mother-in-law in Kitchener, Ontario. From there, she drove to the downtown Toronto Pearson Airport. To that point, she had driven 186 miles. 

She checked out her credit card statement at the airport to make sure the rental fee had been paid. “That’s when I notice this charge for $6,137 from Avis,” she told CTV. She tweeted an image of the receipt. The charge was for driving 36,482 miles at 25 cents a kilometer. “I could have driven to and from South Africa and still had several thousand kilometers to spare,” she said. “Of course it’s ridiculous. I don’t even put that many kilometers on my car in a year, let alone three days.”

She tried to explain the crazy bill to Avis. Nothing happened until the media started asking for comments from Avis representatives. Then, Avis got right back to her. An Avis spokesperson told media outlets that the company apologized, and had also issued a refund to Ms. Boniface. 

Did this same thing happen to another Avis rental customer?

Avis rental facility
People waiting at Avis rental facility | Getty

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first crazy Avis overcharge. Recently, it charged Claudia Attwood over $4,000 for keeping her Ford Edge SUV rental for 34 days. She had returned the Edge on the correct day on the contract, then flew to Germany. 

She even called from Germany to make sure the contract had been closed, as she returned the car to an Avis rep by phone. Her receipt showed the time and date she returned it. Avis assured her the contract was closed, so that was the end of it. Except it wasn’t. 

A month later, she got a bill for $4,228. Getting nowhere with Avis, Attwood contacted an advocacy group that was able to get all of the charges dropped. So now, that was finally the end of it. Except it wasn’t.

After review, Avis refused to refund the rental car charges

Avis office abandoned
Avis office at an industrial park | Getty

A day later Avis said, “We have reviewed your case. Unfortunately, we were unable to find any discrepancies in our system regarding the return date. At this time we are unable to make any corrections or issue any further credit to your account.”

The advocacy group got back to Avis and drilled down on the facts. Avis relented and refunded all of the money to Attwood’s credit card. Finally. In the first place, the Avis rental system should not have allowed for an off-hours drop-off. Also, it should have sent her a receipt immediately as she had requested.

For those who do rent cars, take photos of the contract, gas receipts, phone records, and even a photo of the car as returned to the rental lot. Also, take a photo of the odometer when you return it. And make sure you get a receipt for the return asap. 

Update: 6/27/2023


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