Avis experiment: the call to customer service that goes nowhere

I wish I could build a time machine so I could go back in time and reclaim the past 19 minutes that I just wasted on the phone with Carl at Avis customer service. Carl acknowledged their motto is "We try harder", but he definitely didn't.

Background: I've unsuccessfully tried four times to resolve a problem with Avis. I signed up for "Preferred" status so I could bypass the rental counter, but I've had to go to the rental counter anyway. Now, I'm using my blog to chronicle my attempts to see if Avis will finally resolve the issue or cause me to find a new "Preferred" rental car company.

Today's Update: Calling customer service

I called the Avis customer service line today. Their phone menu set-up should have been an indication of the type of service I was likely to receive. On menu #1 I had to press #5 for "all other inquiries" and on menu #2 I had to press #4 for "all other inquiries". The end result is I'm on the phone for 1 - 2 minutes before I even get dumped into the queue to wait for the next available agent.

After a few minutes, Carl answered the phone. I told him up front about my situation, admitted I was frustrated, and then told him I hoped he was the guy who could finally fix the situation. Carl's response, "Do you know why this is happening?"


Uh, Carl?! That's why I'm calling.

It went downhill from there. Carl made the classic customer service mistake of trying to find an easy way to get me off the phone rather than taking the time to acknowledge the issue and then resolving the problem.

Here are just a few of tactics he used to get me to end the call without him having to solve the problem:

  • He looked up my account and tried to tell me everything was fine and I should be OK the next time I rented.
  • He put me on hold to "check with someone" and then came back to me and again said everything would be OK.
  • He tried to blame me for the problem by saying I had changed my profile (I hadn't).

I finally ended the call with no resolution, no apology, and not much hope for Avis. Does the quest end here? No, simply because that wouldn't be fun and wouldn't make for interesting blogging material. What it does do is raise the stakes. I now require a service ransom before I rent with Avis again. I figure Avis owes me one hassle-free weekend rental on the house to prove they can get it right.