When Giovanna Boniface recently traveled to Toronto to help her daughter move to her new university city, she did what many travellers do and rented a vehicle to get around in while she was there.
Everything went fine with the GMC Yukon Denali she received from the Toronto Pearson Airport Avis location as she drove it into the city and out to Kitchener to visit her mother-in-law, pre-paying $1,000 for the SUV and driving it a a total of around 300 km. But when Boniface returned the vehicle and was preparing to board her flight home to Europe, she noticed something odd on her online credit card invoice. Avis had charged her $8,000 for the three-day rental.
According to the receipt, Avis had run up the total by charging her for driving 36,482 kilometres at a rate of 25 cents per klick. This was very obviously very wrong to Boniface, who told CP24 that she would’ve had to have the pedal down for 72 straight hours at approximately 500 km/h to make the alleged distance, which is just 3,500 km shy of the circumference of the entire Earth.
“The first thing I wanted to do was actually go back through security and just walk to the counter,” Boniface told CP24. “But I wouldn’t have had time to do that because the security lines were really long.”
And when she tried calling, nobody picked up. “It was just ringing and ringing and no one was answering,” she said. “It was really frustrating just trying to get to somebody.”
Finally, after calling another line and being disconnected twice, Boniface was able to speak to some human reps at Avis, but they seemed perplexed by her issue and not immediately willing to reverse the charges. “They didn’t seem to really get what my issue was and I really needed them to remove this $8,000 charge,” she said.
It wasn’t until days later in Paris, after the media had gotten involved, that Avis called her back to say the undue charge would be removed, also allegedly apologizing for the inconvenience.
“Overall, it was not good customer service,” Boniface concluded, putting her finger on one of the major issues plaguing the car rental industry. “The most frustrating thing was not getting through to customer service in any kind of timely way.”