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Avis promised me a refund of $1016 -- so where is it?

What happened to Michael Kivel's refund from Avis? The company promised him his money after he had to cancel his car rental reservation. Is the money lost?

I recently reserved a tour, which included a rental car with Avis. But earlier this year, shortly before leaving, I got sick. My doctor said that I should not travel.

I logged on to the Avis website and canceled the reservation for the car rental. I logged on the same website again approximately one week later to confirm the cancellation. The website confirmed that my reservation was indeed canceled.

Two weeks later, I called Avis to check on the status of my refund. A representative said my reservation was never canceled. She promised to cancel it that day and said I should expect my refund in three to five business days.

I also received an email from Avis claiming that a refund of $1,016 had been issued and to allow up to 15 business days for the refund to post. But I have not received the money. Could you please help me?

Michael Kivel, Burnsville, Minn.

I'm sorry to hear about your illness, and I hope you're feeling better now. You did the responsible thing by canceling your trip.

Usually, a car rental reservation is fully refundable. But because you had booked your rental as part of a tour package, it got a little bit complicated. Your Avis rental was booked as part of your tour with Delta Vacations. So while Avis agreed to refund you, it was not a straightforward refund process.

One tip: When you're looking for a refund, always get everything in writing. It looks like you did a lot of calling, and unfortunately, there's no record of a phone conversation unless you record it. (Recording a phone conversation may be illegal in some states.) Eventually, you received something in writing that promised you a refund. If you had chosen to dispute your credit card charge, that email would be useful. A bank might see that as a credit memo and push the refund through.

I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Avis customer service executives on my consumer advocacy site, A brief, polite email to them might have moved this refund along much faster. I also have some tips on how to get a faster refund.

I contacted Avis on your behalf. A representative reached out to you and asked for your last credit card statement, which showed Avis had not yet refunded you. The company finally sent you the $1,016.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at [email protected] or get help by contacting him on his site.

© 2023 Christopher Elliott


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