Avis charged us twice for our African car hire

Published by The Moneywise Team on 11 October 2011.
Last updated on 10 December 2012

Blurred car with blue sky background

Last year, my fiancée and I booked a five-week car hire with Avis for our holiday in South Africa.

To avoid coming back to additional expenses we pre-paid the full amount of £834.95 on 10 November 2010. However, in January this year Avis debited a further £783.96 from our account.

We immediately contacted the Avis 'customer service' team to ask for a full refund of the second transaction. Having been asked to provide proof of the payments, we produced bank statements and Avis responded by saying there must have been an error in the way we made our booking.

The booking was made directly with Avis so any error could only have come from its side.

Many calls and emails later, Avis finally admitted it had made a mistake. It had somehow 'cancelled' the booking on its pre-pay system so the payment of £834.95 should never have been taken and it confirmed the January payment to be the correct one for the booking.

I expected to have the money refunded immediately. Sadly not.

To date, we have only managed to get £748.75 back. Clearly, that is not a full refund of the £834.95 Avis took in error, and despite my best attempts to explain the very simple maths to the Avis customer service team it simply refuses to accept that it still owes us money, even now some nine months later.

In all this time I have only ever asked for an apology and the full refund and I have not once asked Avis for interest on the outstanding amount or compensation to cover my expenses and time trying to rectify the situation.

Now I don't even care about the apology, I just want the refund.

Moneywise says...

Moneywise is flabbergasted that Avis can admit it's got it wrong yet still somehow manage to flounder with the issue of refunding Kerry in full.

Kerry even wrote to the chief executive and still heard nothing back. Why should he have to do all this chasing for an error that was entirely not his fault?

On contacting Avis, the company got back to Moneywise and "fully put its hands up for making the error". It has promised to refund Kerry in full and has given him £65 in compensation. It is also sending Kerry's fiancée a small gift.

"Customer satisfaction is our number one priority and we have recently implemented an intense training programme for our teams to help us better serve our customers," said an Avis spokesperson.

We're glad to see the problem finally resolved, but we are shocked that it took the best part of a year to resolve such a gross error as charging a customer twice.

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