Dear Sir or Madam,
I submitted this claim a week ago, but unfortunately I have not heard anything back from you. Please review it promptly:
I, with my mother Elmira T., recently made a reservation for her to pick up a vehicle in San Jose, Costa Rica. We chose Avis because I have been a long-term customer with Avis (Wizard #: 2BR16U) and we preferred to deal with an American company while traveling in Costa Rica to avoid any potential problems (I have rented vehicles from Avis many-many-many times in both the States and Asia and did not have any issues). Mrs. T. is a senior person (DOB: 1945) and does not speak a word in Spanish. While making an agreement, all optional types of insurance were declined. Elmira T. is also an authorized user for my credit card.
The quoted amount was $374.90 and it was our understanding mandatory liability insurance had to be added to these charges upon picking up a car (PDW/DAY). Credit card (we have a Platinum Visa Card) covers collision insurance and description of Avis insurance requirements at Costa Rica can be found at: http://www.avis.cr/avis_protections.htm
Unfortunately, when Elmira T. arrived to pick up the vehicle, the clerk at the counter told her in limited English that credit card insurance was not enough and “protection package” had to be bought to rent a car. After a conversation that did not go anywhere beyond this, Mrs. T. had to accept the terms. She was “cornered” in a situation when she was in a Spanish-speaking country without a phone, internet, and language skills; she was dependant on having a vehicle. Mrs. T. did not have other option but to take what she was offered in addition to the agreement that had been made in advance. Only under these conditions she was given a vehicle.
She had to accept unwanted Loss Damage Waiver, Windows & Tires Coverage, as well as Roadside Safety Net protection and Additional Liability. Neither she needed those, nor she wanted these types of coverage. It was clear to Mrs. T. the clerk was simply making her make those purchases and was exploiting a “senior gringo” situation. The clerk’s limited English skills prevented Mrs. T. from having a thoughtful conversation.
Her final bill was $1,091.65. Upon return of the vehicle Mrs. T. tried to have a conversation with the clerk once again and the Manager at the location. This time she was prepared and had all information including the Avis insurance description (mentioned in the link above) handy to show to ease the communication. Surprisingly, this time the clerk was much more fluent in English! Not only he and the Manager at the country did not let Mrs. T. express her position by interrupting her and not letting her finish sentences, but they both with a smile (which could only be interpreted as a mocking smile) suggested Mrs. T. to “hire an attorney and take the subject to court”! They both clearly knew the “lady-gringo” had to leave the country in couple of hours and did not have an opportunity to do anything in this foreign to her country. Mrs. T. had to leave the premises with a final bill of $1,091.65 (copy is in on my desk and can be presented).
But the story did not end here because apparently this “gringo” did not pay enough! Ultimately, the credit card was charged $1,151.95.
Needless to say, the whole experience was
I kindly ask you to investigate the situation and let me know:
1. Is this harsh “up sale” practice a common practice at Avis?
2. Is the customer treatment Mrs. T. (mocking smile, friendly advice to go to a court, pretending limited English skills) received at the counter a company’s policy?
3. Does Avis “protection package” was not mandatory and should have not been presented as mandatory package to purchase?
4. Does Avis believe extra charges should be adjusted based on the above-mentioned facts?
I appreciate your attention to this matter and looking forward to your response.
Product or Service Mentioned: Avis Claim.
Monetary Loss: $600.