Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur

Beware renting cars from AVIS in Cabo. When we arranged the rental at our hotel (Pueblo Bonito Rosa) they only had a Fiat 500 - not something we wanted, but there was no other choice either. We were concerned when the rental agent used the side of his pencil to take an old style imprint of our credit card - turns out later that we should have been more concerned.

After snorkeling at a nearby beach the following day, the Fiat would not start, possibly because the electronic key might have got wet (avoid this type of key if you can). AVIS brought a replacement Fiat and insisted I leave right away, I suspect so that we could not see them simply pull a replacement key out of their pocket since they would likely have a second key in case a one got lost. When we returned the replacement car before leaving Cabo, we asked if there would be any additional charges and we left with the understanding that there would not be any.

However when we received our credit card bill after arriving home, instead of the $282.55 we expected, the car rental charges were $836.32. Our first attempt to find out what happened was to call the AVIS international office customer service, but they were unable to resolve the extra charges and informed us we would have to deal with AVIS in Cabo directly. That was a bit difficult since they never answer their phone so we mostly had to deal with them by email.

After asking several times for a breakdown of the charges they admitted that they had overcharged us $117.26 for an extra day and they removed that charge. Another $115.15 in excess charges was mysteriously removed, but they did not explain why, leaving us still with $603.16 for a bill that should have been $282.55. The only explanation given for the remaining $320.61 in excess charges was that the key was damaged. Online searches indicate these keys should cost about $200.

Then as a final insult, the following month we our credit card statement included fraudulent charges for several thousand dollars in Panama and Costa Rica, places that we have never visited. Since we never used that credit card for anything except the car rental and remembering the credit card imprint taken when we rented the car we strongly suspect that our card was copied by the AVIS employee in Cabo. Thankfully those charges were removed by the credit card company.

Product or Service Mentioned: Avis Car Rental.

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