Back on July 30th, 2008, I rented a car from Avis Rent-A-Car from the Newark International Airport location. At the time of rental, I requested an EZ-Pass as I would be travelling down the NJ Garden State Parkway to Atlantic City, NJ with Mom. The first car assigned to me didn't have one, so they switched the vehicle that did and I was on my way ...
I went through a few toll booths and received the "EZ Pass PAID GO!" message, all was well (tolls to Mom's house). The following morning, Mom and I headed down the NJ Garden State Parkway towards Atlantic City. All of a sudden we started receiving "Call Customer Service Center" messages. I immediately called into the Avis Newark Airport location to report the incident and was informed that since I was the renter of the vehicle that I needed to call the phone number on the back of the pass to find out why I am receiving the messages. I didn't agree with that statement because I am not the owner of the pass. After that I decided I will call them but not at the moment because I was driving and NJ has strict laws on cell phone use and driving. So I said I will call later or once I return from A/C (1 night visit).
Once I returned from A/C, I called the Illinois Toll Ways and was informed that the IPASS in the rental vehicle DID NOT belong to Avis and was actually reported STOLEN in 2004. Immediately I tried to call the Avis Customer Service Center but they were closed (only works M-F up until 7pm EST).
The following morning after attempting to reach Customer Service - I received a call from Izzy Perez (Car Department Manager at the local Avis location where I rented the car). He advised that the previous Customer that had the car checked out just called to state that he left his pass behind and wants it mailed back to him. He also mentioned to Izzy that he checked his account and noticed the "charges racking up". Izzy advised me that once I return the car later that day (Sunday August 3rd, 2008) to hand the pass to the check-in agent and ask them to place it on his desk and he will take care of it. Upon check-in the agent called Izzy on his cell phone to gather the information. She then passed the phone to me and I expressed concern that I would now receive a bunch of violations in the mail for all the tolls I went through.
He further advised that the previous customer said he would handle the additional charges directly with EZPass in NJ and see if they would refund his account the tolls charges.
On August 30th, I received 5 violations in the mail, totaling $127.95 in the mail and the notice states that they will automatically charge the credit card on file in 30 days and to enter a dispute on-line if I didn't agree with the fines. I immediately filed the report and was assigned case # VA0012405.
I haven't heard anything and also wanted to follow up in case they wanted any other documentation from me. So I called their e-Toll violations department at 800-482-0159 four times and no one calls me back. I called the local Avis rental center where I rented from and either they don't answer the phone or they say you need to speak to Izzy about this and he will be back on such and such day and time. When I call him back during his shift, no one answers the phone.
Avis has so far refused to talk to me regarding this issue so that we can close it out and put it behind us. I've called their National Customer Service Center and spoke to "Tanya" who only over talks you and doesn't listen to what I am saying. Her comments include "Sir, per your contract with Avis, you agreed to pay any fines associated with car while it was checked out in your name and also agreed to pay the $1.75 charge Avis charges for this "convenience" plus tolls".
I at no point during the conversation stated that I will not pay the per day rate and toll charges. I did say that I will not pay the administrative charges on each violation. I am not guilty!
How is a Avis customer supposed to verify that the pass belongs to Avis and that the account is in good standing? Since Avis has so many cars and transponders, how come they don't color code them Red (The Avis Color) and make it part of the check-in process that the pass be checked for 1) The Avis pass was returned (Red) or 2) The previous Customer left their pass (white) in the car and to pull it out.
I have worked diligently to try to resolve this issue as quickly as possible but Avis is stalling and not wanting to handle it.
In order to protect myself from being charged, I have decided to cancel the Credit Card that was on file during the rental. Therefore, when they try to run the charges in 30 days (not sure if it's automatic or not) but they will receive a declined message. Maybe at that point Avis will want to talk to me?
Where can I go from here on this issue? Who can step in on my behalf to try and solve it?
I am not saying that anyone should avoid using Avis but you may want to consider paying cash for your tolls and removing the pass from the vehicle and hand it to the front counter agent before leaving the lot with the car. I have spent a countless amount of time trying to work through this but still on step 1, 6 days later.
** Avoid using the e-Toll pass that Avis offers their customers as a "convenience", it has been anything but "convenient" and Avis does NOT "Try Harder" or is it that they "Try Harder" to rip you off and avoid speaking to you at all costs? **