Avis Frankfurt Airport / avis frankfurt - rental damages scam!!
**Links to all docs and pictures are at the end of the message**
Had to go to Germany for a business trip. Since AVIS/Budget is a trusted U.S. company name, and my company has a contract with them, I went with them. The guy at the counter was not particularly friendly and, although I had reserved an automatic, he told me they only had one car left and that it was a manual. It was an "upgrade" so I didn't complain. The car was a black Renault Megane. I rented a car from the 4/25/2011 - 5/5/2011. When I did the initial inspection, I couldn't find anything wrong with the car.
I turned the car in on the morning of May 5th, as the contract stated. I thought it seemed extremely strange that the attendant who I turned the car in to walked straight to the back left of the car and pointed to a tiny ding on the wheel well. It was so small I couldn't see it. I actually thought he was messing with me, until he handed me a paper and asked to sign it acknowledging the "dent". I told him I don't see a dent. He pulled me over to where he was and said "You have to look at how the light reflects from this spot". There was a tiny flaw, no bigger than a 10 font letter "o". I mean SO SMALL that you need to get 2 inches from it to see the distortion of the light reflecting. He said he was writing it down, but not to worry about it, wasn't going to get charged for anything. He never gave me a receipt or anything. I will admit that there were a lot of things I could have done to better protect myself in this situation, but I trusted AVIS and their reps... that was a HUGE mistake.
When I got back to the U.S. I saw a charge of over $1700 on my credit card. I called AVIS and they informed me that since it's a franchise in Europe, there was nothing they could do about it but send an email. They couldn't even get me a receipt or tell me what had been charged!! AVIS stated that I should get a call back in 24 hours. 3 days later I called them: "Still investigating". 4 more days: "No new information, still investigating". I finally got a letter in the mail from AVIS that said something about over 1050 EUR of damage and that I didn't have to do anything, as they simply charged my card. Gee, thanks for taking care of that for me AVIS... with NO AUTHORIZATION. he back of the letter had 4 pictures on it. One of which was a huge scratch and dent on a zebra striped background that was NOT what they tried to show me when I returned it. What they showed me was a pin-sized dimple in the paint, what they put on the picture was a scratch that wasn't on the car... I've read on this site another person that got a "photo with a scratch on a zebra striped background". If you are reading this and have the same photo, reply immediately so we can fry these guys for fraud and extortion.
I'm currently in the process of disputing it with AMEX and AVIS, but haven't heard anything in a week or so.
Pic of Scratch: http://legendarywou.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/scratch.jpeg
Letter (Personal info Blacked out) - http://legendarywou.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Letter-Front-anon.jpeg
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