We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

AVIS Bologna Airport: Beware! Dreadful Service & Cheating

Oxford, UK
Level Contributor
5 posts
35 reviews
Save Topic
AVIS Bologna Airport: Beware! Dreadful Service & Cheating

Booked and prepaid for a car for 5 days from Avis Bologna Airport via British Airways Executive Club website as an "Avis Preferred" customer.

On arrival was handed keys and car condition report that showed just one scratch on the rear bumper/fender. On inspecting the very dirty car in the very dark basement garage there were 8 more very obvious, prominent dents and scratches on the bodywork and wheels, and the entire reversing light and fitting was missing. Trekked back the 150 meters to the desk with the amended form which was accepted and countersigned without question by the local manager (Syl***). My query as to why the inspection was so inaccurate and the car dirty was ignored with a shrug of the shoulders.

Discovered an hour later in the rain that both windscreen wipers were totally worn out and distorted and juddered continuously despite local attempts to reset them.

On return five days later Syl*** refused to inspect the vehicle and sign it off ("Too busy"), but at my insistence - due to my total distrust of their inspection regime - agreed to do so if I waited 30 minutes. This I did and all was signed off. She then insisted that I had to pay €235 for the rental: she would simply not believe that I had paid in full, nor check my booking on her computer. Eventually I managed to provide the BA receipt and credit card statement and with the worst possible grace she wrote "Paid" on my agreement form and turned her back on me.

Lessons Learnt:

1. Just because it is Avis (the official BA car rental partner), trust them no more than the worst rental company you have ever experienced: your "Preferred" status means nothing.

2. ALWAYS check your car very carefully and have the amended condition form countersigned even if in a hurry.

3. ALWAYS have the condition, fuel etc.signed off on return: do not trust anybody.

4. If out of hours, photograph the bodywork and fuel gauge/mileage cluster.

5. IF I had not checked the car condition on collection and then had just handed the keys in on arrival I would have been charged for old damage and then paid twice for the entire rental - and all this from AVIS!

I now understand that Bologna Airport Avis is a franchise and not directly company-managed. It is clearly not AVIS- supervised either. You will pay more to hire from them but you will get low-grade service and a tatty car. I suggest you try Hertz or Sixt instead

UK
Level Contributor
3,187 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: AVIS Bologna Airport: Beware! Dreadful Service & Cheating

I hope you have told BA about all this so that no one else has to go through what you did. You were lucky that you had the time to sort it out when handing it in!

Oxford, UK
Level Contributor
5 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: AVIS Bologna Airport: Beware! Dreadful Service & Cheating

In the first instance I have complained to Avis in the UK (who have asked for more details, which is - hopefully - encouraging) and shall do so to BA once Avis have had chance to reply in full.

Victoria, Australia
Level Contributor
2,447 posts
283 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: AVIS Bologna Airport: Beware! Dreadful Service & Cheating

We had a similar experience, though not as bad, with Avis in Rome. Found a few dents and scratches not shown on the condition report. Pointed them out and had the report amended. However, we had no more issues and returned the car at Perugia with no problems.

We had used Avis in Italy, Germany and Scotland and only in Italy have we had issues. The 1st time they could not supply us with an auto even though we had booked well in advance from Australia. The 2nd time we got our auto, but the supposed "non smoking" car reaked of cigarette smoke! It always seems to be a bit of a gamble.

Oxford, UK
Level Contributor
5 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: AVIS Bologna Airport: Beware! Dreadful Service & Cheating

I have since discovered that AVIS Bologna is actually operated by "Speedy Rent a Car s.r.l" of Via Marco Polo 91/A, Bologna.

As I mentioned in my first post, they may be licensed by AVIS, but they are clearly not supervised by them (and nor perhaps are any of the other Italian AVIS agencies?)

Buenos Aires...
Level Contributor
2 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: AVIS Bologna Airport: Beware! Dreadful Service & Cheating

I also had an abysmal experience earlier this year with Avis Bologna this year...

This is one of the places where they like to claim that they have "offered a choice of payment in euro" but do no such thing, and bill in the credit card's local currency (in my case dollars) at extortionate rates. I was never offered a choice (even though they lied about it to my credit card company and claimed I had been) and I always use a card that converts currencies at the best possible rate (HSBC Premier). The merchant representing Avis never provided any proof that I signed a contract that showed a choice of payment having been offered, but asserted that I had when obviously I had not.

Avis Customer Care in the US responded graciously to my complaint that this should not have happened, and gave me US$50 worth of rental vouchers, which fortunately I was able to use, and this is roughly equivalent to what their Italian franchisee stole from me. Thanks to the response I had from Customer Care in the US, I continue to have confidence in the Avis brand generally, but will be very careful in Italy if I ever rent from them again.

I noticed in the correspondence between AVIS Bologna in the dispute that they also claimed I had returned the car late - at 20:00 when agreed time was 18:30. The fact is that I returned the car between 17:00 and 17:30, and was comfortably on board a British Airways flight which departed BLQ at 18:55. I remember that when I parked the car there was no one anywhere near Avis' part of the garage to handle returns, and I went into the terminal and returned the keys at the desk. I actually asked that they come inspect the car, since I did not want to be held accountable for additional fuel/damages/mileage/etc. and wanted to leave with a bill in hand. They flat out refused to go see the car and verify anything. They did give me a paper stamped and verifying they had taken the keys from me (but the still proceeded to check the car back into their inventory a full three hours later). This last point didn't make a difference to the billing, but makes me see that they are systematically dishonest, and indeed lied about my return time in the dispute (even though it didn't factor into the dispute, which was about dynamic currency conversion I had not agreed to).

These crooks should lose their franchise - they give AVIS a bad name.

Buenos Aires...
Level Contributor
2 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: AVIS Bologna Airport: Beware! Dreadful Service & Cheating

Like others who have posted here, I am also an AVIS Preferred customer, and book using my British Airways Gold card for discounts and benefits. The experience I had here is worse than any rental agent with which I don't even have a loyalty program relationship...

Oxford, UK
Level Contributor
5 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: AVIS Bologna Airport: Beware! Dreadful Service & Cheating

Perhaps I should update on my own experiences. I e-mailed Avis UK on 3 April with my complaint. I got the following automatic response:

"We always endeavour to respond to customer enquires as soon as possible and the following guidelines are in place so that you know when your hear (sic) back from us:

1. UK rentals - up to 5 working

2. Rentals outside the UK - up to 15 working days"

I then got no further reply at all and had to chase them by e-mail four (yes, FOUR!) times until, on 6 June I eventually was sent an apology and a 35 Euro voucher against a future rental. So much for the 15 days deadline!

Even then they had not credited the Avios earned through the BA Executive Club booking: those eventually were credited on 24th July - a full 4 months after the rental. Hopeless!

Island of Malta...
Level Contributor
12 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: AVIS Bologna Airport: Beware! Dreadful Service & Cheating

After reading what happened to this gentleman in Bologna I simply had to share my experience. On June 6th of this year we hired a car from Avis Bologna airport. I chose Avis thinking they will have good service and customer care. We paid extra insurance to be fully insured with zero responsability. We were charged extra from our credit card and to this day we still do not know why. I wrote to customer care and my complaint was directed to Malta my home residence but still after asking and asking no reply. can anybody tell me who I can write to to get an answer? Sorry Avis but your service is no service!

Oxford, UK
Level Contributor
5 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: AVIS Bologna Airport: Beware! Dreadful Service & Cheating

You could try e-mailing the UK office:

UKCustomerCare@avis.co.uk

They will need:

1. The Avis rental agreement (format: E123456789) or Avis reservation number (format: 12345678AB9)

2. The Avis account number used

3. The date and place of hire and the name the reservation was made for

Hope this helps!

J Wilson

Southam, United...
Level Contributor
1 post
5 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: AVIS Bologna Airport: Beware! Dreadful Service & Cheating

Oh Dear - I have just come across this thread and I am hiring an Avis car through Ba from Bologna Airport today. At least I am forewarned! Thanks.