Written on: 25/06/2013
On holiday from Canada to Scotland, I booked online and picked up an Avis car at Glasgow airport.
I had CDW coverage through my credit card so I said I wanted to decline that. They told me I couldn't -- the computer program prohibited it. I said I would go to another company. The guy told me to wait, fiddled around for a while, spoke to someone else, and then told me he could.
I took the car, went to the Orkney Islands in the north of Scotland, and it broke down. I spent a full day getting the runaround in phone calls with "emergency breakdown" (the RAC), Avis Glasgow, Avis Customer Service, Avis Inverness, and Avis Aberdeen, all of whom passed the buck to each other in repeating circles. Most calls involved long phone menus and longer wait times. I had to buy a mobile phone and spend over thirty pounds in call time. One Avis guy told me it was my own fault for going to Orkney!
The next day, after paying personally for a diagnostic check in Orkney which confirmed the car was undriveable, I was offered a solution. The car would be taken by the RAC to Aberdeen and I could accompany it, then drive it (misfiring badly) from the harbor in Aberdeen to the airport and get it exchanged. That was an overnight ferry ride then an awkward drive through Aberdeen morning rush-hour traffic. I exchanged it in Aberdeen. The staff there suggested I was being overcharged for insurance and should query that at drop-off. I had no appetite for side issues at that time and didn't.
After driving away, I found the new car's petrol gauge was not at full. I phoned. They said it was a common fault with Citroen fuel gauges and not to worry, it was indeed full. When I next refueled, the gauge went all the way to full. I didn't have the patience to make an issue of that on top of everything else.
I then had an all-day drive to the northern tip of Scotland and a ferry ride to get back to Orkney, arriving in the late evening. Three full days of holiday gone.
When I dropped the car off in Edinburgh, I complained vehemently. After a runaround from the staff (please submit your receipts and complaint by mail to customer service!) and a long wait, the manager there refunded my out-of-pocket expenses and they wrote off three days of rental charges.