Avis navigates a lost GPS back home

By | September 18th, 2016

David Collins left his pricey GPS in his Avis car rental while rushing to drop it off at the Eugene, Ore., airport.

He realized this after he landed with his spouse in Los Angeles on his way home to Newbury Park, Calif.

Most of us would think it is gone forever, and as a robotic flight attendant might say to exiting passengers, buh-bye.

Not to worry. This Avis office knew how to navigate their way to a happy customer.

We’ve all had a Collins moment whether we admit it or not. He did and has my respect as well as appreciation for not depriving us of a good story. Few situations reveal a company’s goodwill as when a customer clearly makes the mistake and is asking for a big favor. And to that end, the Good News Guy recognized Orbitz for a previous favorite save-the-day story.

Apparently, losing big-ticket items is more common than you’d think, where losing an actual laptop reigns supreme according to the hotel consumer portal Oyster.com. Yikes. Check out the eighth most-lost item while traveling? Other than that, let’s not be too hard on ourselves as it has little to do with intelligence.

“My wife and I returned our rental after a beautiful celebration of her special birthday,” Collins says. “In my hurry to return the car and unload our bags, I simply forgot my GPS. For her birthday, I was taking her on her first trip since recovering from a stroke.”

Good for both of them. I can see how pulling off such a wonderful experience could distract him from keeping on top of their possessions.

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Both Avis and Hertz charge $10.00 extra per day to use their GPS, and that can equal the cost of an actual GPS purchase in just a couple of vacations, so it was a good move for Collins to use his own. To better put that in perspective, I just rented an “off-peak” Hertz economy car for under $20 per day in Florida, which would render the cost of a potential add-on GPS more than half of the rental.

Fees. Sigh. Let’s save that topic for the Bad News Guy.

While most modern smartphones now include an effective GPS already, they may still lack some of the more robust features a seasoned auto traveler is looking for. And some people want a simple phone for making — gasp — just phone calls.

“I called the Eugene airport Avis desk and was told that the car cleaner found two GPS’s left in the car on Friday but was locked away until Monday,” Collins went on. “Although my GPS was the same as Avis’s, they identified mine because the Avis one has their ID bar code. A couple of days later they informed me they shipped my GPS via FedEx truck at my doorstep.”

Just like that, and at their expense.

“The Eugene Airport Avis is a small team, and everyone from the people who checked the cars in and found my GPS to the manager were all helpful and professional,” added Collins.

While a single GPS unit may not be a big deal in our relative world of valuable possessions, the consistent pattern of conscientious behavior and unadulterated niceness from more than one Avis rep is.

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And at a time when car rental agencies seem to be ramping up the hard sell of add-on fees and unnecessary insurance along with questionable after-the-fact damage repair charges, this particular office would have none of that.

From the employee who actually cleaned the vehicle, and conscientiously at that, to those who reached out to Collins on their own time and delivered it on their own dime, everyone went the extra mile even though they could have easily ignored it.

Stuff happens. Be polite and own the mistake. Despite all the negativity and complaining around us, there are people out there eagerly waiting to be nice and appreciate your business. Let them. And anything they do outside of what is contracted needs recognition to pay it forward with a thank-you letter as Collins did — instead of only complaining.


  • cscasi

    This shows that sometimes there is great customer service. Hats off to the Eugene Airport, OR Avis unit for going the extra mile for its customer; especially for shipping the GPS unit back to him at its own expense!

  • Kudos to Avis onn this one.

    It’s easier to leave something behind in a car than in any other vehicle, because we’re so used to leaving things in our own trunks and glove compartments. When you rent a car or take a cab, forgetting about this is the most natural reflex in the world.

  • Bill___A

    That was great of them Although most companies do have some sort of method of getting items back, it is often a lot of trouble and expense. Hats off to Avis for doing this the nicest way possible.

  • bpepy

    My husband left his jacket at security at Washington Dulles a few years ago. When we arrived at our destination, I called Dulles (it wasn’t easy to find the number to call) and they put his jacket in lost and found and kept it there for the two weeks we were gone. There it was when we returned!

  • Mel65

    How nice to see this! We left a brand new tablet on board our Princess Cruise. We were seating disembarkation sitting in the lounge and the black cover of the tablet case just melded right in with the seat or table we had set it on. We got on the bus to the airport and realized it about halfway there. Naturally, we immediately called the cruise ship and we called the cruise line too, but even though it had only been maybe 20-25 minutes, we never saw or heard anything of it. And, frankly we’ve didn’t expect to though.

  • Zann77

    That’s why my covers are bright apple green and carnation pink-the only items in those colors that I own. I may forget one somewhere like you did-it happens-but it won’t be because they blend in with the background.

  • James

    I once left a laptop charging brick in a hotel. I was rushing to leave because I got a call telling me my father was dying, and I should fly to say good bye (turns out the same day first class fare was $1000 less than coach…) The hotel found it, but would not ship it to me, only hold for me to pick it up….

    I wonder if they are still holding it, three years later….

  • JohntheKiwi

    This is less about good customer service from Avis (which was still great), and more about how nice people from Oregon, or small town USA, are. I’ve worked in a small rural airport and the level of stress is exponentially lower than a large city airport. And Job satisfaction far higher. They were just doing the right thing, but I wouldn’t expect this from Avis across the board. If he had done the same thing at EWR, ORD or any large airport, he could kiss that GPS goodbye.

  • Dutchess

    Avis sent me back a pair of Rx glasses I left in the trunk of a rental car a while back. They may have their issues with frivolous or erroneous damage claims but they do seem to do well with lost articles!

  • Dutchess

    My partner left his iPad on a SW flight, TWICE and got it back both times.

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