Avis

6.1

Overall Score

3 User Reviews

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Avis was founded by Warren Avis in 1946 at Willow Run Airport in Detroit with an $85,000 investment. Shortly after, Avis opened a location at Miami airport. After years of varying acquisitions and mergers, the car rental company has expanded to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. They have also launched an iPhone app.

The Good

  • Competitive pricing
  • Luxury vehicles
  • Available in all 50 states

Economy Price Range

Avis offers low to average prices for their car rentals. Avis also has a wide variety of vehicles. They have moving vans, which are not always available at other rental companies, as well as pickups, which may be even less common. While these are not available at every Avis location, they typically are, offering renters a wider variety than average.

Avis also uses many environmentally-friendly vehicles in its fleet. Most of its smaller vehicles are SmartWay certified that do minimal harm to the environment. All of their vehicles are 100 percent smoke-free in the U.S. and Canada, so smokers who want to smoke in their rental car will have to try another company.

Luxury Price Range

If you're looking to rent a luxury car, Avis offers low to average prices in the car rental industry. Many popular rental car brands out there do not offer luxury rentals, making Avis more advantageous to luxury car renters. Although there are a few companies that offer lower rates, Avis' daily rates are pretty average for luxury cars in the industry. Avis also has a special series of vehicles called "Signature Series" cars, which provide renters with a more exotic, luxurious experience. In this collection of cars, renters can choose from Mercedes, BMW's, Maserati's, Corvette's, or a variety of other exciting vehicles.

States Available

Avis stands far above the competition with locations in all 50 states. Most companies have locations in an average of 23 states. Knowing there is an Avis in your destination airport or city makes formulating travel plans in advance much easier.

Airports Locations

With rental counters at most major airports throughout the United States and North America, Avis is much more accessible to travelers than its competitors. If you need a car right when you get off the plane, an Avis location most likely will be there once you check out your luggage.

Instant Return

Avis has streamlined the rental return process, so that renters can return their vehicles in as little as one minute, using a kiosk. This reduces stress for busy travelers, and ensures that renters trying to catch a flight won't be caught arriving late because of their rental returns.

Toll Prepay Option

Avis offers a Toll Prepay option called e-Toll, an electronic toll collection program which makes road travel more convenient. Avis e-Toll cannot be reserved in advance, but is already conveniently installed in many cars, so it doesn't need to be ordered through their website. When you're making an online reservation, it allows you to check the box if you want to include this as an add-on service when paying for your reservation online.

The thing to know about e-Toll is that you are automatically enrolled in it if you choose to not pay cash for tolls. This has led to customer issues who were not aware of this and found additional charges to their credit/debit card later on. Under the e-Toll program, once you pass through an electronic toll, you will pay a convenience fee of $3.95 for each day of the entire rental period, including any days on which e-Toll is not used, up to a maximum of $19.75 per rental month.

The Bad

  • Strict cancellation policy
  • Roadside assistance is more expensive
  • No online check-in

Cancellation Policies

Avis charges $25 if you cancel within six hours before the rental period. After six hours, the cancellation fee increases to a no-show fee of $100, but the rest of the rental is refunded. The refund makes this a slightly better policy than some rental companies, which will charge late cancellation fees for as much as 24 hours before the rental period with no refund. However, many companies have less strict cancellation policies and often do not require a cancellation fee.

Roadside Assistance

In case your rental vehicle has problems, Avis offers extended roadside assistance for $7.49 per day. This is slightly higher than the typical rental company who charges an average of $5-6 per day, but a good safety measure to take nonetheless.

On-Site Fuel Discount

Avis offers several Fuel plans but on-site fuel discounts are not advertised. On average, car rental customers are either expected to just bring the car back with a full tank or choose between fueling payment plan options.

Online Check-In

Although Avis' return process is streamlined, their check-in process is not. This would not typically be a negative, since in-person check-in is standard in the car rental industry. However, being a global brand that has been in business for over 70 years, one would think they would have innovated a feature allowing customers to check in from the website instead of the rental counter.

While returning an Avis rental can be very quick, many customers report that they had to stand in very long lines when picking up their vehicle. Some stood in line for a couple of hours at certain locations, and noted that the employees at the counter seemed to lack a sense of urgency. When they arrived at the counter, employees tried to sell them insurance, upgrades, etc., taking even longer. For travelers getting off of a long flight, hurrying to a meeting, or anxious to begin their vacation, this kind of wait is not a desirable.

The Bottom Line

Avis is a big rental company and a recognized brand name with a lot of options, and is available almost anywhere you travel. While Avis has the advantage of offering perks for loyal customers, they do have some issues such as their strict cancellation policies, and some negative customer feedback. If you're a smoker, Avis is not the option for you, since all cars are 100 percent smoke-free. If you're a local resident, Avis is a prime option due to the company's non-airport locations. And if renting environment-friendly cars is important to you, Avis also offers cars that fit that criteria. We recommend considering Avis as an option when searching for a car rental company.

User Reviews

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  • 7

    Sandra Dubas

    June 12th, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

    The cars we rent from them are nice, but their prices are kind of high compared to other rentals. We have enjoyed using them because of their customer service as well.

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  • 5

    Julie Firkins

    June 11th, 2017 Orem, UT

    I rented my car from the airport, when i picked it up it was supposed to be ready to go and it was supposed to be an suv because of the snow storm the suv's were gone and they gave me an upgrade at no additional cost. i wanted the other vehicle that i thought i was renting

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  • 0

    Anne Janks

    September 9th, 2016 Oakland, CA

    We received a letter that we were being charged a $250 cleaning fee because of a "smoke smell" in the rental car returned to Oakland CA airport. The person we returned it to got in the car and mentioned nothing. I called the number on the letter and was told: 1. the appeal process is the phone call I was making -- there is NO WAY to contest the charge; 2. they would not consider any documentation I could provide which would disprove the bogus charge. (Our child is severely asthmatic and can not be exposed to smoke - not even someone with smoke on clinging to their clothes -- and I offered medical proof and proof that our child was on the trip with us.) 3. if I agreed to the charge, they would reduce it by $100, which I felt was designed to pressure me to agree to a phony charge which was at least lower. BTW -- there is a complaint process: http://avisbudgetgroup.com/contact-us/customer-service/avis-complaint-escalation/ I found it by googling, it's not on the website, but why do I know about it, but their customer service supervisors don't?

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