When Mayank Kumar has an accident with his Avis rental car, he does everything in his power to return the vehicle to the company. But nothing seems to work, and now Avis is asking about his car.
Q: I recently rented a vehicle from Avis in Seattle and had an accident while visiting Mount Rainier National Park. A local towing company towed the vehicle. I reported it to Avis and gave them the contact number and address of the towing company.
An Avis rep said they would work with the towing company to get the vehicle back and I had nothing to do. I still followed them almost every day for two weeks to make sure they had the car.
Avis has not yet collected the vehicle and it is still at the towing company’s premises. An Avis rep keeps telling me the case is being processed and the car will be picked up soon.
But now I am facing some other problems. My lease is open and I continue to be billed for the vehicle. I am unsure of Avis’ attempts to recover the vehicle. At the same time, I receive emails from Avis’ loss prevention department asking me to return the vehicle.
I contacted Loss Prevention and a representative told me to disregard the email as their system was unaware of the report I had filed and they would collect the vehicle without that I interfere.
But yesterday I received a registered letter from Avis asking that I return the vehicle. I’m afraid Avis will report the car as stolen. I don’t know how to proceed here. Any help would be appreciated. —Mayank Kumar, Seattle
A: I’m sorry you had an accident with your rental car. Avis should have done what he said – take the car back and mark it as returned. Waiting for days and sending you threatening letters is not a shining example of good customer service.
Here’s the thing: you should always call the rental car company before arranging to have a car towed. The vehicle is owned by the company, and it has procedures for handling an accident.
You say you called Avis roadside assistance after the accident, then put him in touch with a tow truck driver at the scene of the accident. Avis insisted on sending its own tow truck to recover the car.
But the local tow truck driver said it would take hours for the Avis tow truck to arrive and law enforcement wanted the car removed immediately.
The Avis roadside assistance representative eventually allowed him to tow the car, you say. But I think Avis may have misunderstood what happened.
You were right to worry about the return. I would have called the company every day too. And I would have called even more after I started getting emails that the company told me not to worry about. When a company tells you not to worry, you should worry.
I think Avis would have found your damaged car eventually. But enough time to keep his loss prevention department from calling the cops?
I do not know. Other car rental companies have reported their customers to the police, with traumatic results.
I might have used one of the Avis customer service contacts I list on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. At the very least, they could have sent you something in writing that assures you that the return has been processed.
I contacted Avis on your behalf. He closed your rental and marked the car as returned.
Christopher Elliott is the Advocacy Manager for Elliott Advocacy. Email him at email@example.com or get help with any consumer issues by contacting him at http://www.elliott.org/help