There are plenty of sketchy fees and surcharges in the world of car rentals. That they are not listed in price quotes until the end of a booking sucks. But none is more egregious than what Avis has in place for its customers.
Go through the process of adding a new Visa or MasterCard to your profile and the company will, by default, leave you with the Dynamic Currency Conversion option enabled. That’s a 3% penalty for providing absolutely zero value-add service at all.
Note: International travelers using a MasterCard or Visa charge card have the opportunity to be billed in their local currency:
I choose to have Avis bill all my future rental charges in the currency of my Avis profile credit card.
I understand that if I am renting at a location at which the currency differs from my credit card issuing currency, Avis will convert my rental charges to my card issuing currency. Immediately after I return my rental car, Avis will use the prevailing conversion rate. Any converted amount will be billed to my credit card. The conversion will be conducted by the Avis location. The international currency selection fee is three percent. If you disagree please unselect checkbox.
There are no details as to specifically what the rate will be calculated from (“the prevailing rate” is plenty vague). Moreover, the conversion is calculated at the return location, not by a centralized operation which further reduces the ability for consumers to track what’s going on.
Even more craptacular is that once the option is set you do not actually know it is there. I left the box checked, logged out and back in to my profile and went to view my stored CC info. Can you tell I’ve chosen to pay an extra 3% by looking at my saved CC information??
Yes, it is an option. But it is set to screw customers by default. And that’s all sorts of shady.
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