In this article, titled "Help! The Police Seized My Rental Car and Avis Won't Refund Me," a frustrated traveler recounts her distressing experience with Avis when her rental car was impounded by the police after being reported stolen. Despite her pleas for a refund, the company charged her $653 for the rental and even fought against her when she disputed the charge. The article delves into the conflicting accounts from Avis and the police, shedding light on the question of whether Avis knowingly rented out a stolen car. Despite finally receiving a refund, the traveler expresses her outrage at Avis's lackluster customer service and their failure to rectify the situation promptly.
Heading 1: The Incident
Rental car seized by police
In this section, the article discusses the situation where the rental car was seized by the police. The customer had parked the car in a park and when they returned, it was gone. The local police informed the customer that Avis had reported the car as stolen to the New York Police Department.
Avis reporting the car stolen
The article explains that Avis reported the rental car as stolen to the New York Police Department. However, conflicting stories arise later regarding whether or not Avis knew that the car had been reported stolen by the previous renter.
Customer’s inconvenience during the incident
The customer faced considerable inconvenience due to the incident. They had planned to spend the last day of their trip with their mother, whom they hadn't seen in three years due to the pandemic. However, they had to waste precious hours on hold with Avis's customer service department and were only able to spend a few hours with their mom. The customer had to rely on their sisters for transportation and also had to take a $100 Uber ride back to the airport.
Heading 2: Avis’s Response
The article states that Avis did not quickly issue a refund to the customer. The delay in the refund added to the customer's frustration and inconvenience.
Apology from Avis
Avis apologized to the customer for the incident. However, later in the article, conflicting information arises regarding the customer's claim of not receiving a proper apology.
Avis’s claims about not knowing the car was reported stolen
Avis claims that they were not aware that the car had been reported stolen by the previous renter. They state that they have comprehensive safeguards in place to prevent erroneous or premature theft notifications.
Statement from Avis’s VP for customer experience
Beth Gibson, Avis's vice president for customer experience, issued a statement regarding the incident. She expressed regret for the delayed refund and stated that Avis had no prior knowledge of the car being reported stolen.
Heading 3: Police Statement
Partial confirmation from the New York Police Department
The New York Police Department partially confirms Avis's claim. The department acknowledges that a female had reported her car stolen at a different location in Queens but does not provide the full report or confirm if it was the same car rented by the customer.
Details of the stolen car report
The police report states that a 42-year-old female reported her car stolen after parking it in front of 277 Beach 87th Street. The report does not provide further information about the incident or any interaction with Avis.
Heading 4: Conflicting Stories
Contradictory information from the police report and Avis’s statement
There is conflicting information between the police report and Avis's statement. The police report states that Avis confirmed the vehicle was reported stolen, while Avis claims they did not have prior knowledge of the stolen vehicle report.
Lack of information about the timeline of Avis’s knowledge
The article highlights the lack of information regarding the timeline of when Avis learned about the car being reported stolen. Avis has declined to answer questions about the timing of their knowledge.
Heading 5: The Importance of Reporting
The proper procedure of reporting a stolen rental car
The article emphasizes the importance of reporting a stolen rental car. It advises customers to report the incident to the police and then inform the rental car company. It also suggests reporting the car as un-stolen if it is found subsequently.
Responsibility of informing both the police and the rental company
Customers have the responsibility to inform both the police and the rental company when their rental car is stolen. This ensures proper communication and avoids confusion in such incidents.
Heading 6: Lack of Apology
Customer’s claim of not receiving an apology
The article discusses the customer's claim of not receiving a proper apology from Avis. They mention that the customer only received a voicemail from a senior manager of customer advocacy, which did not offer an apology or accept fault on behalf of the company.
Voicemail from Avis’s senior manager of customer advocacy
The customer received a voicemail from Avis's senior manager of customer advocacy. However, the voicemail did not include an apology or an acceptance of fault from the company.
Avis’s claim of sending an email apology
Avis claims that they sent an email apology to the customer. However, the customer states that they never received the email, even after Avis claimed to have resent it with the correct email address.
Heading 7: Customer Service Issues
Avis’s inadequate response to the incident
The article highlights Avis's inadequate response to the incident. The customer service team did not recognize their error and did not make sufficient efforts to provide the customer with a new car or an immediate refund.
Unhelpful options for picking up a new car
Avis provided the customer with unhelpful options for picking up a new car. The customer found these options untenable and did not receive assistance from Avis in resolving the situation promptly.
Delayed refund process
The refund process from Avis was delayed, which added to the customer's frustration. The article emphasizes the importance of providing prompt refunds in such situations.
Heading 8: Avis’s Refund Efforts
Avis’s initial attempt to fight the credit card chargeback
Avis initially attempted to fight the customer's credit card chargeback. However, they later accepted the charge-back and processed the refund.
Decision to accept the charge-back and process the refund
Avis made the decision to accept the charge-back from the customer's credit card issuer and proceeded with the refund. This indicates a change in their stance on the issue.
Heading 9: Inconclusive Investigation
The columnist’s request for additional information from the police
The columnist filed a request for additional information from the New York Police Department's Freedom of Information Law unit. The article mentions that it may take months to obtain this information.
Unclear responsibility for the incident
The investigation did not conclusively determine who was at fault for the incident. It remains unclear whether the fault lies solely with the previous renter or if Avis also bears some responsibility.
Heading 10: Conclusion
Customer’s eventual refund
The customer eventually received a refund from Avis for the rental car. This indicates that Avis acknowledged some level of responsibility for the incident.
No clear resolution or full accountability
The article concludes that there is no clear resolution or full accountability for the incident. The conflicting stories and lack of information create uncertainties about the actions and knowledge of both the police and Avis.