A Bolton, Ontario man struggled for nearly two weeks to get answers about a car-rental bill that hit his credit card with over €5,500 ($7,200) of extra charges. It was only after the media became involved that he received a promise of a refund.
Domenic Maggi had been looking forward to his family trip to Italy since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and had arranged a rental car for the multi-week trip through the Avis Budget Group’s European subsidiary, Maggiore. Maggi booked a Fiat Tipo station wagon through a 28-day promotion offered by the company, but always planned to return the car early.
“Early returns are permitted and the rental counter was aware when we picked it up, and they confirmed that the extra insurance we were buying would be prorated upon return,” says Maggi. “Upon return, the car jockey processed the return, printed the receipt, and the system closed the order. At that point I noticed that the amount was wrong. Apparently the system couldn’t handle the early return and defaulted to the book rate instead of the contracted rate.”
That “book” rate resulted in a bill nearly eight times the promised amount, a total of €6,680.65, which was charged to Maggi’s credit card. When he pointed out the error to the rental desk, he was told the issue would require the attention of customer service in Spain, and was copied on an email. But over 10 days later, after multiple emails and phone calls, Maggi still hadn’t heard back from anyone at the company save for some automated replies and “one person from Italy [who] called with promises,” and the charges remained on his credit card.
Frustrated and unsure of who else to “spam” with his complaint, he even reactivated his Twitter account to message the company publicly.
Hey @MaggioreRent , why can’t you refund me the extra EUR5300 you overcharged me by mistake? It’s a simple thing your customer service can fix, yet I am waiting 2 weeks with no reply or acknowledgement! @Avis @BudgetRentalJA @budgetrentalllb
— Stay Humble (@youstayhumble) August 30, 2022
That’s when he spotted Driving’s recent coverage of a European visitor to Canada who was incorrectly charged $8,000 for a three-day rental, and reached out to tell us his tale. In that other instance as well, the renter was only provided answers and a refund once the media reached out for answers.
“I’m massively frustrated, and certainly my wife is not happy about this either,” says Maggi. “It’s a lot of money. With no response from them, it’s a little bit unnerving.”
Driving reached out to Avis Budget Group on August 30, and Maggi was contacted by a member of the brand’s executive office the next day and told the charges would be reversed on his card in the next seven to 10 business days. At the time of writing, Maggi had yet to see the refund hit his account.
When asked for an explanation for the overcharges and lack of communication, Avis Budget’s PR representative asked Driving if it would be possible to “wait a little longer.”