I don’t even know what to make of this, other than feeling bad for the customer…
Avis car goes missing during rental
Tarikh Campbell took to Twitter to share an absolutely bizarre experience he had with an Avis car rental. Essentially his car disappeared from outside of the home where he was staying in Teaneck, New Jersey. Everything pointed to the car being stolen, though in reality it seems like it may have just been Avis repossessing the car, for unknown reasons.
Here’s a summary of what happened, according to Campbell:
- On Friday, August 13, Campbell flew to New Jersey for the weekend to visit family and friends, and rented a 2020 Toyota Camry from Avis at Newark Airport
- On Saturday, August 14, Campbell was planning to meet some friends at around 10:30PM, so he was trying to access his car, when he realized it was no longer where he had parked it; the car was allegedly parked on a quiet, safe, suburban street with free parking, outside his childhood home
- He called the local police, who confirmed there was no impound order on the car, so he then called Avis, thinking that maybe the company could track the car with GPS
- He waited on hold for over an hour on the emergency assistance line, only to be told that Avis couldn’t track the car, and he should file a stolen vehicle report with the police
- A police officer came over to file a police report, and at this point it was 2:30AM, and he had a flight out the next morning at 9AM
- In the morning he took a Lyft to Newark Airport, and told the Avis branch exactly what happened; he was informed that he’d continue to be charged until the car was returned, as he was liable
- When he returned home, he had the idea of checking the EZPASS activity, since he had his transponder in the rental car; the transponder suggested the car exited at Newark Airport at shortly after 10:30PM the night before, around the time that he noticed the car was missing
- At this point he became suspicious — if someone stole the car, why would they drive to the airport, where the car came from?
- At this point Campbell’s aunt, who lives on the same street where the car was stolen, reviewed her home security camera, and saw a red tow truck had towed the car the night before
- Four hours after Campbell had been at the Avis office at Newark Airport, Avis’ app suddenly showed the car as having been returned, and Campbell was still charged for a late return fee
- Long story short, Campbell couldn’t get in touch with anyone at Avis, which is why he took to Twitter; now that the story has gone viral, Avis has refunded his rental and is “investigating”
How on earth did this happen?!
This is such a strange story, yet at the same time is reflective of the overall customer service in the car rental industry. I’m curious what an investigation reveals, though a few things come to mind:
- It seems that Avis had a way of tracking his car, since Campbell didn’t provide the address of where he was staying, and nothing else related to the rental was associated with that address
- The only theory I can come up with is that somehow there was an order for the car to be repossessed; maybe someone rented the car in the past and didn’t return it, and Avis works with a third party for repossessions, and they never got the memo that the car was eventually returned
- I’m sure there are some other possible theories, and I suppose it could be that Avis wasn’t involved, but I can’t think of any logical explanation
- Regardless of the explanation, Avis’ customer service here was absolutely awful, though that’s the story of so much of the car rental industry
Even though Avis has now refunded Campbell, they owe him a lot more than that — a refund of his Lyft, some sort of compensation for the inconvenience and aggravation, and an explanation of what actually happened, and how it will be avoided in the future.
I don’t have high expectations of service from car rental companies, but this Avis incident is on a different level. Someone rented a car from Avis at Newark Airport, and it was towed from outside the house where the customer was staying, for an unknown reason. Avis didn’t even acknowledge that this happened, but rather claimed that he’d keep being charged until the car was returned.
Avis is allegedly now investigating the incident, and I hope the findings are made public, because this is a major screw up.
What do you make of this Avis car rental incident?