NBC CT Responds Helps Middlebury Couple Accused of Returning Rental Car Late – NBC Connecticut

Mike Eisenbach and his wife love to explore new places, not just to see, but to scope out where they may want to retire one day.

But a rental car company really soured their latest trip, so that’s why they called NBC CT Responds.

The Eisenbachs tell us they had a relaxing trip checking out some of 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 bill from Avis for $1,400 and some odd dollars for a charge that I had no idea of ​​where this came from,” he said.

Eisenbach submitted a consumer complaint to NBC CT Responds when he got a bill for almost five times what he had expected to pay for his rental car and he couldn’t get anywhere with 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 about $291.63, not $1,485.12.

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

“When we returned it, an Avis employee came out to us and told us that the system is down, they cannot print out a receipt and what they were going to do was email us a copy of the receipt. I’m a trusting person, I just felt, ‘Okay, he told us this.’ We got our bags out of the back of the car and went into the airport and we flew home,” he explained.

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

Avis said the couple dropped their car off five days late and they 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 long back and forth began. Avis wanted copies of their boarding passes and a receipt that their car came back with a full tank of gas.

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

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

Eisenbach called his credit card company to dispute the charge, too, and he says that only seemed to hold up the process.

“Weeks turned into another month,” he said.

Until he reached out to NBC CT Responds.

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

NBC CT responds reached out to Avis and one day later, we received this statement from Avis Budget Group:

“Regrettably, due to an on-the-ground operational mistake, Mr. Eisenbach’s rental was not properly closed when he returned the vehicle. We have refunded mr. Eisenbach for the overcharge and apologized not only for the mistake but for the time it took to completely resolve.”

Mike eventually got the money back into his pocket.

“I’m going to continue to thank you guys immensely for what you did,” Eisenbach said.

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

A car expert says it’s key for car renters to get and check their receipts.

Here are some other tips before you get your rental this holiday: Anticipate what added extras you may need, too.

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

Rae used to be on the opposite side of the rental car counter. He owned a company at LAX for 20 years.

We asked him for his best advice for travelers:

  • Find three of the highest rated rental companies in the area and then compare prices for your dates of travel.
  • See if you can get any 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 damage and liability, then take a photo of your policy.
  • And take pictures of any problems–like long lines.

“If you take and document that and then you come back and you’re a couple hours late, and your renters say, well, listen, I rented stood here for two hours waiting to rent the vehicle. Maybe you shouldn’t charge me for the over hours or something like that. It’s just a little level the playing field a little bit,” Rae said.

He also says make sure your driver’s license isn’t expired.

And, if you get a parking ticket while driving the rental, make sure to pay it. He says the car rental company will charge you an administrative charge for having to deal with that, too.

We reached out to AAA for tips, too. The organization recommends booking your rental car well in advance to lock in a good rate.

Plus, it says when you reserve with plenty of time, you may be offered a pre-pay discount option.

AAA also suggests looking to rent from non-airport locations to save cash.

And, get settled and familiar with the vehicle before driving off the lot, just in case you have questions, so you’re not distracted later.

Also, AAA says to make sure to share your flight details with the rental car company, like your flight number, airline and ETA. AAA says this protects your rental reservation if your flight is delayed.

If Eisenbach ever rents a car again, he’ll also take a picture of the gas gauge, the mileage, and just to be extra cautious, he says he’ll now take a video of the rental car’s exterior, too.

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

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