While in Spain, James Genden rents a car from Avis. He declines the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) coverage, but Avis charges him for it anyway. Can Genden get his money back?
Question: I rented a car from Avis in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The rental was prepaid. When picking up the car, I expressly stated that I did not want CDW insurance because it’s provided by the credit card I used for the rental.
Without my knowledge, the Avis agent included the charge for CDW coverage in the agreement. I do not recall whether I was actually shown the contract before signing, or merely asked to sign on a screen.
Because the rental was fully prepaid, I didn’t think I had to scrutinize the charges.
When I returned the car, I wasn’t told I was being charged for this insurance, and I wasn’t given an invoice or receipt with the $168 charge. Later, when I reviewed my credit card bill, I saw the charge. Can you help me obtain a refund from Avis?– James Genden, Evanston, Ill.
Answer: If you declined CDW coverage, it shouldn’t have been inserted into the agreement without your knowledge. And, you certainly shouldn’t have been charged for it. Because your rental was prepaid with a credit card that provided CDW coverage, and because you had explicitly declined the coverage, you had no reason to double check the agreement that you signed.
Or, did you?
Regardless of the expectations and assumptions that we may have when renting a car, it is always a good practice to read and understand what you’re signing, especially in another country. Unauthorized charges for car rental insurance is a frequent complaint our advocates receive. We’ve written about such charges, on our website in the past.
Once you realized that you had been wrongly charged, you emailed Avis and requested a refund. You also sent emails to Avis executives, along with copies of your rental agreement and proof of coverage from your credit card company. You used the executive contact information for Avis that we post under the company contacts section on our website.
You also could have posted the issue with being wrongly charged for insurance to our
help forums. Our help forums are staffed by travel industry experts, and often read by company executives. Our forum advocates may have had other helpful suggestions for you.
Shortly after contacting the Avis executives, you received confirmation that Avis would refund the insurance charge. We’re happy that it worked out and that you obtained your refund.