First time Avis renter. I usually rent with 2 other companies at the OC airport but it was last minute and no cars were available at location.
But Avis had cars at the OC airport so I went with it. I started my reservation online and could swear that the price I was first shown at the time was almost 20 dollars different a day than what I was now being told at the counter. When I went to pick up at the airport the quote appeared much higher. She told me it was a high rate but that I should have called Avis directly for better rates.
Nothing I could do, I just said fine and then went to collect my car in the parking structure. The office in the parking structure was chaotic, hot, and lines long. I rented for a week with the intention of keeping the car longer but I wanted to try to get a better rate in the following weeks. At the end of the first week, I called Avis and asked to extend my reservation for a couple of more weeks and to try to get a better a rate.
Long story short, a confusing conversation ensued. I've found if you extend your reservation your price stays the same or goes up depending on fluctuation. GREAT!?! Additionally, I had to bring the car BACK to the airport - why I don't know.
I was reserving it for another 2 weeks, so why do I have to bring it back. Person on the phone says its policy. I asked her about AAA discounts and she said only if I closed my reservation and started a new one. HUH??
So confusing...but I actually could get a LESSER rate and apply certain discounts IF I closed the old reservation and started a new one. Apparently she didn't understand from the get go that I was trying to save money and this information finally after 35 minutes was frustrating. So almost an hour later on the phone, I went for the new reservation and saved money and was happy...except I still had to bring the darn car back to the airport and with this, I just don't understand why! Anytime I've rented elsewhere, a phone call, an extension or new reservation, whatever you want to call it, always did the trick and I never had to bring the car back in, stand in line and do a new paper contract ,,,it was already done over the phone complete with CC.
So going back to the airport under the parking garage with all its chaos, I'm there in a line of returning cars, hot, sweaty with a baby in a car seat. BTW, I was trying to keep the SAME car. I had a baby in a car seat and a bunch of things I was going to have to remove from the car if they didn't let me keep the same one. I was trying to make it easier for them and myself.
The office was lined up with people coming in from their flights and I was expected to get in line with all of them. This is utter nonsense!! Fortunately I tend not to follow the herd so as I exited the car, an Avis person was doing something with another customer outside the office and I waited for a pause and told them I couldn't park the car because of the baby in there and that I wanted to just keep the same car. and that I'd already done the transaction over the phone (had given my CC and everything) and he said well, you'll have to go inside...blah blah, paperwork and we are very busy etc.
He was nice, but I said look, I made the reservation on the phone, why do I have to go inside and do it all over again. Meanwhile the back passenger door was open and my grand daughter was sitting in there. I told him wouldn't it make more sense for me to just keep the same car( on the phone they said I could get a different car) ...he then turned to another employee and said can you handle this and she said, yes,.and did I have the key and paperwork from previous, yes I did...she went inside and came back out 5 minutes later and said OK, if you want to keep that car, fine. I never went into the office, she gave me back the keys and I keep the car 2 weeks.
I didn't have to do any paperwork. I was happy in the sense that I felt I dodged a stressful bullet. Almost 2 weeks pass and once again, I called Avis and told them I'd like to keep the car another week and didn't want to take the darn car back to airport until the end of the week when I flew out. And once again they tell me, nope you have to take it back to airport..,,long story short, I made sure I didn't have the baby with me again this time in the event that they might take the car from me and give me another.
When I went there, driving into the lanes for return, like the last time a guy with a device in his hand in the garage asked me if I was returning the car and I said I don't know...because Avis tells me that once I bring car back in, the counter may want the car and give me another. He looks at me blankly as if I had 3 eyes and I said, so... I'd like to keep this one - then he proceeds to parrot back what I'd just said...offering no solutions or answers and not really caring anyway. Does this guy even work for Avis or not?
I'd also encountered this same person the last time as i entered the return lanes...not sure what his deal was. Anyway, I pull my car up and now what...do I get out, and worry that someone is going to come and remove the car while I go inside to tell them I want to keep it or at least get an exchanged one? I see the long line of "preferred" customers who look none too keen for all their so called preferred status which at this point is a joke. Employees working behind desk, running in and out of the office, switching between computers and themselves, and the whole thing is a chaotic mess.
No thank you I think and step back outside office where another customer looking equally irritated is trying to figure something out and then asks me a question. I tell them I can't help them and was hoping someone could also help me. When an employee came walking past I asked if they could help and they said I had to wait in line - then I said, I already had the car but I just wanted to see if I could keep it and that waiting in line for a car I already had was unnecessary and that I had already given my CC over the phone and I am VASTLY unclear as to why I've had to bring this car back now TWICE when they have all my pertinent information and had already paid for the new reservation. She kind of said ok how many miles are on the car and how much gas was left in it...I didn't know the mileage but as for the gas I had prepaid for the gas from the start...but that it was 3 quarters full.
She told me I had to come into the office. Long story short once back behind counter, the clown car like atmosphere ensued. She was multi tasking and somewhere in there was also handling me. I guess I should be impressed except I think this is the least efficient car rental company I've ever seen.
At one point she was showing her annoyance at me asking why I had to bring the car back if I'd already had the car and paid for the reservation and she said every car company does this. I said this was the first time renting with Avis and I had Never had to bring a car back to the airport if I already given my payment info and had the car and was intending to keep it. Long story short...I don't feel like Avis is a good fit for me. I'm not sure if all Avis locations are this chaotic, but as said, I have rented from other companies and airports including this one or other locations and never had this experience with them.
FYi...the reason why I didn't just rent for 4 weeks to begin with, was because of the initial price. It was astronomically high and I wanted to bring the price down and the original Avis person I'd first encountered told me to call them directly to get the price down for the coming weeks. So in the end, if you want to experience a mess of a company, rent from Avis in the middle of summer. If you want to get a better price on your car there, don't "extend" your reservation, 'close it out' and begin a new one...but still be prepared to have bring your stupid rental car back to the place you rented it from because...well there really isn't a good reason actually...as it adds to both employee and customer stress.
At this point, I'm really hoping Avis doesn't throw in any surprises like random fees. I just want to make a clean break but for some reason I think they might do something to further disappoint me that will make my utter disappointment even more complete.
Kudos to the one employee who on some level seemed to see my logic when I went back the first time. But my low score is for the confusion about "extensions vs redoing a new contract when trying to keep a car and a get a lower rate, complete stress surrounding returning a vehicle in a chaotic environment, long lines and waits to get cars etc.