Avis Car Rental - Buffalo Niagara International Airport - BUF - New York - USA
Verified Renter reviews ®
Missing Property Follow-up
This was a one-way trip from JFK to Buffalo. Nothing wrong with the car; brand new Chevy Suburban. We are a seasoned group of travelers, from the US and Australia, so travel hiccoughs are not unexpected. What was unexpected was the total ambivalence displayed by Buffalo Niagara staff (and Avis Twitter social media staff) when we discovered that we had left a computer bag in the back seat of the car when we dropped it back to the airport. The computer bag contained a notebook computer (with holiday photos) and a Kindle. It was the end of a long day, raining when we pulled in to our hotel. One of our party dropped the car back to the airport. As soon as we unpacked and realized the item was missing, we tried to call. The number listed on the website FOR THE BUFFALO LOCATION was incorrect. Hence, we were continually re-routed via the menu options to Corporate reservations, who continually told us to let the automatic recording play out upon which we would be connected ... which continually proved to be a dead-end recording 'your Avis representative is currently busy'. In addition, the voicemail box on the lost and found extension was full, so we were unable to leave any message.
Why on earth would Avis mis-advertise the telephone number for the physical location? So, off we trooped to the airport the next morning. We were met with total non-interest by the woman we spoke with at the returns counter in the garage. However, the car was still there, so we were thrilled and thought we'd have our property back and be on our way -- but nothing was found in the car. Not only that, the 2 boxed headsets (we didn't use them) in the brand new Chevy had also been removed. So, somewhere between 6 pm and 9:30 am the following morning, the computer bag had disappeared. The woman made a half-hearted attempt to look in the locker in the returns booth to no avail and directed us upstairs to speak with the manager (after we requested it).
Next, we went upstairs to the reservations counter. We were told that the manager was out, so began to explain the situation to one of the other employees. He tried to tell us that we may have lost the computer bag elsewhere, in our hotel room for example! Meanwhile the manager, Kyle returned and we explained the situation again. Kyle said that maybe the item would turn up and that this often happened, perhaps the next day, maybe in a week or two and that when it did, they would be in touch? Really? I asked Kyle if he would speak with the employee who cleaned the car after we returned it and he said that that employee was not at work and wouldn't be returning until the following morning. I told Kyle that I would call back then.
When I called the next morning, I spoke with another employee, Jerry, who informed us that Kyle was out and that there were security cameras in the garage. Kyle then returned my call, left a lengthy voicemail to say that he had spoken with all the managers, left them my phone number, in case the items were handed in. I called back and asked whether he could review the security camera footage and he said that he did not have permission to do that and would have to discuss it with his manager the following day. I had to leave to return to Minneapolis so another member of our party called. When they asked him if he had reviewed the security footage he said he hadn't received permission to do so.
Next ... I tweeted about my experience and got an almost immediate response from the Avis social media team. I provided them the same detail as above but heard nothing until I tweeted a follow-up ... my information had been passed on to another 'team'. Sure enough, an email showed up soon after disclaiming liability (we were responsible for anything left in the car) and assuring me that they had contacted the Buffalo office and that 'if anyone handed in the computer' that they would be in touch ... feeling circular?!
I responded to that email -- suggesting that perhaps we weren't responsible as the car was in their possession at the time and that they had perhaps missed the point of my enquiry which was to request that they facilitate a review of the security camera footage. You would think it would be in Avis' interests to determine whether they have a security issue on their premises, right? This information would also help us to determine whether we can file a claim on our travel insurance -- wish us good luck on that front!
Next, I tried to find a contact on their corporate website to escalate my complaint ... which is somewhat buried but I was pleasantly surprised to see it http://www.avisbudgetgroup.com/contact-us/customer-service/avis-complaint-escalation/ ... I'm now waiting to see if / what I hear back.
Whatever response I receive, I will not be a return customer of Avis at any location given the total lack of empathy / concern displayed during this encounter.