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I have been driving all around the world for over 50 years. 2010 will be red-letter year for us.

Driving in Austria during October on a very, very narrow 2-Way divided lane road (the dividing line is white, unlike in USA where it is 2 double yellow lines) probably both my car as well as the car in the opposite lane came too close to each other and both our rear view mirrors happened to contact and broke.

Our nightmare had just begun. Making phone calls to report Avis Accidents department was a nightmare because of language problems and no one gave any positive answers as to what needs to be done.

Only on the last day were we told when we returned the car in Munich, Germany that documentation would be mailed to us in 30 days. I had to handover the car and keys to the rep without getting even a receipt.

Avis Germany makes you sign off when renting that they have the right to make any credit card charges to your account for a year.

We eventually realized in November 2010 that our credit card was charged US$687.00 in October 2010. My Visa credit card covered that expense after documentation and reimbursed the full amount to me.

In my February 2011 Visa card statement we saw an Avis, Germany charge of US$687.00. It is took Visa USA till June 2011 to get their German bank to reverse the DUPLICATE charges.

In retrospect and hindsight, all this happens because of no European Union boundaries between countries in most of Europe, there are people traveling all around without realizing that driving conditions vary from country to country and may also be driving without licenses or driving knowledge.

Cars are also stolen and driven back to chop shops and disassembled. Avis has the following sign at their Munich counter: "WE DO NOT RENT MERCEDES CARS TO ITALY AS THEY GET STOLEN".

They are either reckless or too fast for those roads and both are recipes for disaster. Driver beware!

Goody Kerawalla

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