PENNY WISE BUT POUND FOOLISH: CAR RENTALS IN FOREIGN LANDS, AMERICAN EXPRESS & DON'T RENT FROM AVIS. 
Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 01:11 PM
Posted by Administrator
When I returned our rental Renault Megane to the airport in Brussels the night before we flew out, the Avis employee assigned to check in the car walked immediately to the right, front wheel and announced that there was a small scratch. He, without pause, inputted the damage into a handheld car-check-in device which determined that I owed an additional 119.03 Euros for the damage. I protested that I didn't cause the damage, knew nothing about it, believed it was there before I rented the car (a local car rental agreed with me about this possibility) and that Avis was looking for someone to blame (which I have no real reason to believe...except that I have never been accused of or paid for car rental damage before...and I was VERY careful with this car).

Maybe I did do the damage...a 10mm by 1mm scratch on one spoke of the wheel...but, on the other hand, I was paying them almost $500 for the privilege of driving their car 1,000 miles around metropolitan Europe and, if that was the worst I did I should have received, at least, a small, golden statue in tribute to my driving skills...not a bill.

American Express advertises that they will pay for collision and comprehensive damage....if they are primary (my American car insurance has no interest or obligation in a Belgium damage claim and this lack of interest/obligation makes AmEX primary); if I waived "CDW" (the collision damage "waiver" that lets you pay rental companies $20 a day and then damage their cars with impunity). .

Would I rent from Avis, again? No. I think the claim....legitimate or not.... is petty and low and dirty (and, in my other job, I rent motor scooters so....I'm kind of an industry professional, myself). The counter-person, when I rented, went on and on about the bad things that could happen if I didn't buy CDW. (I'm not saying Avis wanted to prove to me what she had said was true.)

There are a lot of car rental companies out there. I've never had a problem with Enterprise or Hertz. Maybe one of them could have charged me 119.03 Euros for a scratched wheel but, since they didn't, they'll get my next $500 rental instead.
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