After spending a lovely 2 days in Dubrovnik it was time for Jason and myself to leave, and head north. Our plan was to drive up the coast of Croatia in a rental car as far north as Zadar. We would then travel east to visit the Plitvice Lakes, before heading back north one again to reach our final destination of Rijeka, where we planned to spend a few days with our friend Sid.
Leaving Dubrovnik proved more difficult than anticipated. We had rented our car at the airport, as Jason found a ‘too good to be true’ rate on carrentals.com (it really was too good to be true). We tried to find a bus back to the airport, but in the end settled for a taxi. We arrived at the airport around 10:30am and made our way to the Avis pickup desk. Inside the pickup kiosk we found an aging Croatian rental agent sitting behind a desk looking a bit destitute. Beside him stood his young ridiculously tall helper (probably stood a good 6’6). After Jason gave his details to the rental agent, the agent frowned and told us he had given away our car. Since he had no flight no for us, and we hadn’t arrived when we said we would (we said we would arrive at 10am), he gave our car away.
Working in the car rental industry I know agencies often overbook their vehicles. So already I knew he had just given our car away at a higher rate to someone else. He did say if we waited he would have a smaller car for us. At least we were getting a car, as it appeared the entire airport was sold out.
As I waited in the now glaring heat, Jason finished up the contract. As he was going over the rate with the agent I noticed Jason getting a little upset. I checked in to see what was the problem. It appeared that the rate Avis had was dramatically different than the rate we were quoted.
Jason had booked the reservation at carrentals.com. Initially when we had been looking for a car the best rates I could find were around $60-80 a day. However a few times while searching, Jason had found rates on carrentals.com for roughly $18 a day. I told him to book that rate if he saw it again, as it was an excellent price. So when the rate showed up again, Jason booked it.
Now back to the story. So here we are standing in the blaring heat, with a rental confirmation in hand stating our rental rate of $18 a day, confirmed. The agent looking in his computer sees a rate of 80 Euros per day for our reservation. We argue that we have a confirmed rate, and we show him the confirmation. He looks to his giant of a partner and laughs saying, “Maybe where you are from you can get rental for $18 a day, here in Croatia, not possible.”
It was obvious this guy couldn’t do anything for us. He has the rate in his computer, and that is what he is going by. So I suck it up, and swallow the $5 a minute charge for calling on my cell in Europe and call up Avis. After bouncing around their call tree, I finally get a person on the line. I tell him our details and that the agent isn’t honoring our rate. He looks up the reservation details, and confirms, the rate they have for us is 80 Euros a day, for a total of 332 Euros.
I hang up after realizing I was going nowhere on the phone. Then look down at our confirmation email again. Confirmed rate of $66.94 USD or 332 Croatian Kunas. Then it dawned on me. Obviously somewhere in the connection between CarRentals.com and Avis there was a mistake in currencies. Either Avis sent the wrong currency, or CarRentals.com translated the wrong currency. Regardless the rate that CarRentals.com showed on their website should have been in Euros instead of in Kunas.
Having wasted enough time, and feeling a bit handcuffed we decided to take the car. It was clear this sales agent had no power, and was unwilling to honor our confirmed rate. So we decided we would deal with the issue when we got back to Canada.
As we were leaving the rental kiosk I noticed on the wall a poster from Avis with the last line saying, “we can’t afford to take you for granted….” oh the irony.
As it stands right now Jason has been in contact with Avis. They claim the issue has nothing to do with them, and that responsibility lies 100% with CarRentals.com. However they will not provide any contact details for their partner. CarRentals.com has been completely silent and have not answered any form of contact. Jason has in the meantime canceled the charge on his Visa, however it is very likely that it will be put back, as he accepted the charges at the rental counter (with no other alternative we were basically forced to take the car).
So as it seems Avis really doesn’t try harder, and carrentals.com doesn’t respect their customers. Keep this in mind next time you are booking a car.