Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Avis car change - potential problem - advice on how to handle.

Avis car change - potential problem - advice on how to handle.

Jun 30th, 2013, 10:10 PM
  #21  
Hez
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 506
LOL - "precious convertible". Yes, we like convertibles, that's why I book them a long way in advance.

And I was not attempting to argue with people here - I was asking for advice on how best to approach the agents at the Avis office with my situation. I don't know if perhaps they have these cars available, but elsewhere in Europe that they could get to that location. I don't know if somewhere up the line they can exchange cars with other car rental companies (like airlines can put you on another airlines flight if they really want to). Maybe someone has had luck calling some person at Avis in France that could help me out. Perhaps there is another solution I haven't considered. I am not confident in how to ask these things in French, so I was merely asking for advice.
Hez is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 10:13 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,352
It seems that they've offered you a smaller car. Looking at the two pictures you've provided, I don't see much difference between a convertible and a retractable roof, except that one car seems much smaller than the other I would expect them to honor the SIZE of car.
If not can you just book a larger car that isn't a convertible to fit the bike box?
I understand posters who are urging you to call and not wait, but some of them have missed the point that if the car is smaller your bike box won't fit.I would not rent a car where it had to be the EXACT car or my items wouldn't fit, in Europe OR the States.
newtome is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 10:19 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,649
Unfortunately the situation is likely they will not have your convertible, but until you call, who knows what happened or will happen. I rather doubt they will search Europe for a car they can rush to you; you may have to settle or cancel and book through another agency. Those of us who settle for "crappy non-convertibles" are trying to get it, but it's getting hard. I don't know France, but we know better than to expect specific cars in Italy. And we don't use Avis. Good luck.
socaltraveler is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 10:26 PM
  #24  
Hez
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 506
Thanks newtome - I've always seen renting a convertible as a 'special' class of car - so with the retractable roof car there are struts that remain down the side of the car which impede the view. For the back seat, the windows don't even go down. It's just not the same experience. I guess if one has never been in a convertible the difference might not be so apparent.

We love convertibles, being able to be part of the landscape as we drive is a big part of the enjoyment of our holidays. It's why we book convertibles. And why I am so keen to be able to hopefully be able to get what we booked
Hez is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 10:33 PM
  #25  
Hez
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 506
Yeah, perhaps "crappy" was a bad word - heck, I just bought a Ford Escape that I love. It's just that on holiday we like to have a convertible. We plan a long time in advance so we can afford the convertible. It's a specific class of car. If one had booked a 5 seater with 5 bags so they could fit their family with luggage, being switched to a 5 seater with 1 bag would be a problem.
Hez is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 11:02 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,554
I love convertibles -- my current primary car is a roadster. I get it. But even here in the States - if you book a convertible and all the convertibles are gone when you arrive at the agency . . . you are SOL

No agency will guarantee a specific car - the best they'll do is " . . . or similar" But even w/ the 'or similar' wording the same class of car is not guaranteed. If they have to send you down in class they'll usually give a reduced rate. Or they'll bump you up to a larger/more expensive class and eat the extra $$/€€

More than once I've booked a small car for a specific reason and been bumped up to a large car I didn't want. Once I booked a compact in LA and ended up in a Mustang Convertible (I know that is rubbing salt in the wound - but I didn't want a rag top that trip.) It was take it or leave it.

You have no real leverage here. If there aren't any, there aren't any. Call them and hope for the best. But you'd better have a plan B
janisj is online now  
Jun 30th, 2013, 11:05 PM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,319
Basically, whenever you want a "special" car in France, your best bet is to book it only in the largest cities. The small agencies can never guarantee that they will have a car, because they have to rely on car that are expected to return -- and which sometimes get returned to different cities.

Lyon or Geneva airport (French side) would have been good places to book this kind of car.
kerouac is online now  
Jul 1st, 2013, 07:39 AM
  #28  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,649
Please do come back and let us know how this was resolved.
socaltraveler is offline  
Jul 1st, 2013, 09:44 AM
  #29  
Hez
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 506
kerouac - the problem is that Avis has changed all the convertibles in their fleet from the renault to the citroen.
I was thinking of going in on Thursday so that if there were another car somewhere else they might be able to get it to me, or I might be able to go trade this car, or something like that. Also, we are flying into Geneva so getting a car from Lyon would have been difficult, and the same car at the airport was over $500 more. I've rented convertibles from small Avis offices before without issue so didn't think it would be this time.

janisj - I've rented a lot of convertibles over the years and only once has the car not been available. That was Avis in Sydney, and they gave us an SUV and traded the car out the next day. That sort of solution would be amenable here as we're in Annecy until Monday. But again, that's why I thought going in on Thursday might help.

socaltraveler - will do. We are thinking now that we might be able to squeeze the bike box through the roof opening - but it will be a bit tight if that works. We've also considered that maybe they will keep the box for us as we could fit the bike in by itself most likely. Still a bummer for it not to be a 'real' convertible though.

In any case - I guess I didn't really explain what advice I was asking for very well. If a French person were coming here I would advise them to be nice, smile and be excessively polite. Also appealing to someones good nature, and confidence in their ability to make it happen is usually helpful. I've had mixed response with this approach in France before, and thought perhaps there was some cultural difference that I might be able to learn so as to hopefully get them to be more willing to help me.

I'm sure it will all work out fine.
Hez is offline  
Jul 1st, 2013, 10:53 AM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,913
I think that how to approach the Avis rep depends on the rep. I would try the approach the way you would at home and see how it goes.

I also suggest you call Auto Europe and Kemwel today and see if they can come up wih a solution that works. If so, you can then cancel your Avis reservation.

Good luck!
zoecat is online now  
Jul 1st, 2013, 11:15 AM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
That car you're showing looks like a convertible to me.

If Avis promised you something else - and now says they can;t do it - I think your only recourse is to go elsewhere (they can;t make a car they don't have).

But I think they will tell you this car IS a convertible.

But agree that arguing here won;t help - you need to get on to the rental companies.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 1st, 2013, 12:24 PM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,319
The rental companies in France never promise a specific make and model. It is that "make and model" or "equivalent." Your problem is to at least get "equivalent." Any reason you wouldn't want to get a car directly at Geneva airport?
kerouac is online now  
Jul 8th, 2013, 01:32 PM
  #33  
Hez
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 506
So here's what happened if anyone is curious....

I decided to wait until Friday and just see what happened. When I got to Avis they had a Mercedes A class for me. I asked if that was a convertible and I could see his face drop as he looked at the booking again. Apparently that car class in Annecy is a car with snow tires!! I told him that I would be going to Geneva on Sunday to pick up my nephew so I could change the car over then if that would be helpful. This seemed, along with my Presidential Plus status, to encourage him to fix the problem. He called the head manager for the region and she called Geneva to specifically make sure that could have a Renault Megane (the car that we originally booked) available. So we had the Mercedes for two days, but the Renault was at the airport as promised. Bar a bit of Swiss side/French side confusion, which wasn't too much of an issue - it all worked out fine!!!!

We have seen several of the Citroen's and they are definitely not a convertible!!! The great thing about a convertible is the unimpeded views and the DS3 does not provide that at all.

I don't know if there's a moral to this story except, perhaps, that being positive about being able to find a solution, and willing to compromise a bit seemed to work out fine.
Hez is offline  
Jul 8th, 2013, 09:50 PM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,319
I'm glad it worked out.
kerouac is online now  
Jul 8th, 2013, 10:08 PM
  #35  
Hez
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 506
Thanks kerouac.
Hez is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:06 AM.