Soldier Stumbles Into Car Rental Quagmire

PHOTO: An airport sign with direction arrows for rental cars and taxis.Paul Velgos/Getty Images
An airport sign with direction arrows for rental cars and taxis.

Dear ABC News Fixer: Last November, my team and I were on an official assignment to the 101st Air Assault Division at Fort Campbell, Ky. We got off our flight at Nashville International Airport and I went to pick up a rental car from Payless Car Rental.

I asked about insurance, and that’s when I found out they could not cover my rental at the government rate because I didn’t have a reservation. So if anything were to happen to the vehicle, the repairs would come from my own pocket.

I ended up renting with Alamo (we had a reservation pending there) but in the midst of this, the Payless clerk had already swiped my government credit card. He promised me the charge wouldn’t go through, but my card was charged for $382.31, and now no one will help.

I have done everything humanly possible to resolve this. You are my last hope other than going to small claims court. Is there anything you can do for me?

- Sgt. Maj. Chukwuemeka Uchegbu, Fayetteville, N.C.

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Dear Sgt. Maj. Uchegbu: The ABC News Fixer’s first thought in reviewing your case was if an organized guy like you can’t get this fixed, what hope is there for the rest of us?

This should have been a simple thing to correct. If the charge went through, it should have been easily resolved with a credit for the same amount.

But alas, you had unwittingly climbed aboard the Billing Problem Merry-Go-Round.

You tried complaining several times to customer service, but without a confirmation number or rental contract (because you had never actually rented a car!) the company seemed unable to assist.

Team ABC News Fixer was happy to get you out of this mess. We got in touch with Alice Pereira, VP of communications for Avis Budget Group, the parent company of Payless Car Rental, and showed her all your documentation. That was just the ticket. After that, the billing folks quickly located the discrepancy and processed your full refund within just one day.

It helped that you had saved all your billing statements as well as the trail of email correspondence with customer service.

Pereira said they have fixed the billing issue so it won’t happen again and she apologized for the delay and inconvenience.

- The ABC News Fixer

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