• Report: #757710

Complaint Review: Avis Rent-A-Car (Portland Airport)

  • Submitted: Thu, July 28, 2011
  • Updated: Sat, July 30, 2011

  • Reported By: Unhappy Customer — Stevens Point Wisconsin United States of America
Avis Rent-A-Car (Portland Airport)
7102 Northeast Airport Way Portland, Oregon United States of America

Avis Rent-A-Car (Portland Airport) huge charges for breaking hidden rules Portland, Oregon

*Consumer Comment: Comment

*Consumer Comment: STCKERS

*Consumer Comment: Comments...

*Consumer Comment: Contract also

*Consumer Comment: What their stupid website says someplace neither here nor there

*Consumer Comment: Yup

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I rented a car from Avis as part of a Travelocity package.  I picked up the car at the Portland, OR airport on 6/1/11 and returned it on 6/8/11.  Two weeks later, I received a letter stating that Avis was going to charge my credit card $250 for "excessive soilage" to the rental vehicle.  This struck me as outrageous since the car was fine when I returned it.  The garage attendant had checked and okayed it. 
 
I repeatedly called the telephone number given on the letter, but could not reach anyone; I only got a labyrinth of voice mail boxes.  No one returned the many messages I left.  I then e-mailed the representative whose name appeared on the letter, Shelley Stewart.  On July 4th, she replied: "Vehicle was rented to you as a smoke free car.  The $250.00 is the detail fee to restore the vehicle back to a smoke free car." 
 
I did not know that the vehicle was supposed to be smoke-free, and I do not see how I could have known.  That information was not provided on the Travelocity site.  I read all of the fine print about the Avis rental that is provided on the Travelocity site, and there is no mention of a smoke-free policy.  There was no sign or advertisement announcing a smoke free policy at the Avis kiosk in the Portland airport.  This information was not provided to me by the agents at the counter.  No such statement appears in any of the materials that I signed.  I still have the copy of the contract I signed, and the information does not appear there.  There was no "no smoking" sign, sticker, placard or notice anywhere inside the car.  I know this because I checked carefully.  I have seen other rental cars from other rental companies that do have a no smoking sticker in the window, but the car I rented did not have any such sticker. 
 
It is not reasonable, or legal, to charge a customer for violating a policy without informing the customer that such a policy exists.  In addition, the amount of the fee is outrageously high.  Hotels, by comparison, charge $50-100 for smoking in a non-smoking room. They also carefully inform the customer that it is a non-smoking room and that a penalty applies for violating the policy.
 
On July 5th, I wrote back to Shelley Stewart explaining my views.  I asked that she reverse the charge and that the company begin informing customers of its no-smoking rule.  At the end of the message, I wrote: If you are not able to take action on this matter, please provide me with the name and contact information of someone who has that power.  I have not heard anything further from Ms. Stewart or anyone at Avis.   I sincerely believe that this charge is unfair and unwarranted, perhaps even illegal.  Who knows what other scams for collecting "excessive soilage" fees Avis may be using?

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/28/2011 01:16 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Avis-Rent-A-Car-Portland-Airport/Portland-Oregon-97220/Avis-Rent-A-Car-Portland-Airport-huge-charges-for-breaking-hidden-rules-Portland-Orego-757710. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Comment

AUTHOR: smackdown - (USA)

-" No such statement appears in any of the materials that I signed.  I still have the copy of the contract I signed, and the information does not appear there.  There was no "no smoking" sign, sticker, placard or notice anywhere inside the car.  I know this because I checked carefully.  I have seen other rental cars from other rental companies that do have a no smoking sticker in the window, but the car I rented did not have any such sticker. "


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#2 Consumer Comment

STCKERS

AUTHOR: Bubba Lee - (Canada)

The stickers on all the windows in the doors wern't enough to tell you smoking was not allowed in the vehicle?
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#3 Consumer Comment

Comments...

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

As for smoking I would bet that this "fee" is on the Rental Contract they signed.  Whether or not a person smokes is up to them.  Non-Smoking cars/rooms has been pretty much the standard for years in most areas.   Enough so to where this person seems to be aware that companies do charge for "cleaning"(more on that in a bit).  So wouldn't it be to the their advantage to actually read the entire contract(or ask) if they are allowed to smoke.  Now, if there was nothing in the car, nothing on the contract then yes they have a valid complaint and if they pushed it would probably not have to pay the $250.  But I have a feeling that is not the case.

As for some of their other comments.

Hotels, by comparison, charge $50-100 for smoking in a non-smoking room.
- Actually if you look around I think your estimate is low and you would find that this $250 is probably pretty standard.

They also carefully inform the customer that it is a non-smoking room and that a penalty applies for violating the policy.
- I stay in hotels and rent cars often and can not remember the last time any company even mentioned that I can't smoke let alone "carefully" informed me of that fact.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Contract also

AUTHOR: Ramjet - (U.S.A.)

The no smoking policy is also in the contract that the renter agrees to.  Here is the item copied from the contract.
----------------------------------------------------------
34.
Smoke-Free Fleet
The Avis rental fleet is now 100% smoke free. A sticker has been placed on every vehicle that will remind all renters that every vehicle is not to be smoked in and that renters will be assessed a cleaning fee of up to $250 if the vehicle is returned and it smells of smoke.
---------------------------------------------------------

I expect the poster was not looking for the information but it is clearly there.  Sorry, you have no leg to stand on.  Avis makes it clear.

I do not have anything to to Avis, I just rented a car recently and saw the policy.
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#5 Consumer Comment

What their stupid website says someplace neither here nor there

AUTHOR: voiceofreason - (United States of America)

Avis didn't state it anywhere that THIS customer could have seen it, and that's all that matters. To the OP, tell your card issuer to charge it back as fraudulent and let them fight it out with Avis. And if Avis sends notice to the credit reporting agencies, send each of them a letter challenging it. They sue you in the end? Sue them back for starting a frivolous lawsuit. Fight all their fire with fire. End of story. They can't do crapola to you.
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#6 Consumer Comment

Yup

AUTHOR: Ramjet - (U.S.A.)

It's getting harder and harder to be a smoker.  Cars don't even have ash trays or cigarette lighters any more. 

I cut and pasted this directly from the Avis web site.  All I did was search on 'smoking'.  Looks pretty clear to me.

==================================================
1.Can I specifically reserve a non-smoking car?
As of October 1, 2009, all vehicles in our U.S. fleet are
designated as non-smoking cars. A Cleaning Fee of up to $250 may be
applied to the cost of a rental, should this policy be violated.
See Press Release


(Click a question to view non-smoking FAQs)
Why are you enacting this new policy?
Tobacco smoke leaves a residue on fabrics, fibers and surfaces of
vehicles, which emits odors that many people find unpleasant. This new
policy is designed to ensure we are enhancing the comfort of our
customers, which is a top priority at Avis. When a vehicle must be cleaned of tobacco smoke odor and residue,
all surfaces must be treated and cleaned. This takes considerable time
and requires the vehicle to be removed from the rental fleet until
odor-free. This incurs incremental costs for special cleaning and lost
revenue from the vehicle being unavailable for rental. This new policy
helps us recover some of the costs associated with cleaning tobacco odor
and residue from our vehicles. Along with the new policy, Avis has initiated a new inspection
process. When a vehicle that was smoke-free when provided to a customer
is inspected upon its return, and it is determined that the vehicle
must be cleaned of tobacco odor and residue, the renter will be assessed
a fee of up to $250.
========================================================

I love it!  I sure wouldn't want to rent a car some smoker filled with obnoxious smells.
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