NBC CT responds to help Middlebury couple accused of returning rental car late

Mike Eisenbach and his wife love to explore new places, not just for sightseeing, but also to figure out where they might want to retire one day.

But a car rental company really ruined their last trip, which is why they called NBC CT Responds.

The Eisenbachs tell us they took a relaxing trip to Florida, Georgia and South Carolina this summer, but when Eisenbach got home and saw his credit card statement, he was seeing red.

“And I saw a $1,400 Avis bill and a few odd dollars for a charge that I had no idea where it came from,” he said.

Eisenbach filed a consumer complaint with NBC CT Responds when he received a bill for nearly five times what he expected to pay for his rental car and couldn’t go anywhere with it. the company.

“I really got to the point where I didn’t think I was going to get the money back,” Eisenbach said.

The charge was supposed to be around $291.63, not $1,485.12.

When the Eisenbachs dropped off their car in Savannah, Georgia, that’s where their trip unknowingly took a turn.

“When we returned it, an Avis employee came to us and said the system was down, he couldn’t print a receipt and he was going to email us a copy of the receipt. -mail. I trust one person, I just thought, ‘Okay, he told us that.’ We got our bags out of the back of the car and drove to the airport and drove home,” he explained.

That email never arrived, but a month later the big bill arrived for a late return.

Avis said the couple dropped off their car five days late and had the documentation to prove it.

“My jaw dropped, and I said to my wife, ‘This [is] ridiculous,” he said.

So that’s when he says the long back and forth started. Avis wanted copies of their boarding passes and a receipt that their car had returned with a full tank of gas.

“Now it’s a month later, I don’t have access to it, I didn’t keep our boarding pass,” Eisenbach said.

After hours of effort, he and his wife were able to gather all the evidence they could.

Eisenbach also called his credit card company to dispute the charge, and he says that only delayed the process.

“Weeks turned into another month,” he said.

Until he contacted NBC CT Responds.

“So I got to the point where I was so frustrated, I’ll be perfectly honest with you, I went to your website,” Eisenbach said.

NBC CT responds contacted Avis and a day later we received this statement from Avis Budget Group:

“Unfortunately, due to an operational error in the field, Mr. Eisenbach’s rental was not properly closed when he returned the vehicle. We reimbursed Mr. Eisenbach for the overcharge and apologized not only for the error, but also for the time it took to fully resolve it.

Mike finally retrieved the money from his pocket.

“I will continue to thank you so much for what you have done,” Eisenbach said.

His suggestion, “If this happens to anyone and you’re listening, then go to the airport and go to the counter and say you want a piece of paper that says I returned that vehicle that day to prove it .”

A car expert says it’s essential for car renters to get and verify their receipts.

Here are some other tips before getting your rental for this vacation: Also anticipate any extras you might need.

“Toll attendants, prepaid gas, GPS, things like that. It’s very profitable for the car rental company, but it’s not very profitable for the renter, if they plan ahead,” said Lloyd Rae, car rental expert.

Rae was once on the other side of the rental car counter. He owned a business at LAX for 20 years.

We asked him for his top travel tips:

  • Find three of the top-rated rental companies in the area, then compare prices based on your travel dates.
  • See if you can get discounts through AAA or AARP.
  • Most importantly, Rae says, check with your car insurance company and the credit card you use to pay to see if they cover you in a rental car for damages and liability, then take a picture of your font.
  • And take pictures of any issues, like long lines.

“If you take and document that, and then you come back and you’re a few hours late, and your renters say, well, look, I rented here for two hours waiting to rent the vehicle. Maybe you shouldn’t charge me overtime or something. It’s just kind of leveling the playing field a bit,” Rae said.

It also says make sure your driver’s license hasn’t expired.

And, if you get a parking ticket while driving the rental, be sure to pay for it. It says the car rental company will charge you an administrative fee for having to deal with this as well.

We also contacted AAA for advice. The organization recommends booking your rental car well in advance to get a good rate.

Also, it is stated that when you book with plenty of time, you may be offered a prepayment discount option.

AAA also suggests looking to rent at non-airport locations to save money.

And, sit down and familiarize yourself with the vehicle before you leave the lot, just in case you have any questions, so you won’t be distracted later.

Additionally, AAA recommends sharing your flight details with the car rental company, such as your flight number, airline, and ETA. AAA says this protects your rental reservation if your flight is delayed.

If Eisenbach rents a car again, he’ll also take a photo of the gas gauge, mileage, and just to be extra careful, he says he’ll now take a video of the outside of the rental car as well. .

“I don’t think I would be where I am today, and I’m saying that honestly, without your help,” he said.

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