Avis and the built-in “screw you” fee


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.

Adding a new credit card to your Avis profile? Watch out for the Dynamic Currency Conversion option which is set on by default. DCC will cost you 3% while providing absolutely no value at all.
Adding a new credit card to your Avis profile? Watch out for the Dynamic Currency Conversion option which is set on by default. DCC will cost you 3% while providing absolutely no value at all.

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.

Read More: The ups and downs of Dynamic Currency Conversion

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??

Once you've selected the DCC option on your stored credit card Avis won't show you it is there nor allow you to change it
Once you’ve selected the DCC option on your stored credit card Avis won’t show you it is there nor allow you to change it

Yes, it is an option. But it is set to screw customers by default. And that’s all sorts of shady.

Thanks to @ThatJohn for pointing this out over the weekend.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

11 Comments

  1. great post Seth. rental car companies are a necessary evil, at least for now, but Avis/Budget is the worst of the 3 major U.S. companies. i’ve had “incidents” while renting from all 3, and while they all can be mean-spirited, Avis is disorganized to a unique and terrifying degree. stay away!

  2. I think Hertz in Dublin Ireland wins the prize for screwing their customers. Even though I had insurance for the rental car with my personal policy as well as with primary coverage from a Chase card and I had proof of insurance, Hertz assess a 25 euro “administrative” charge if you decline their ridiculously overpriced LDW/CDW. They also assess a 5 euro fee for paying with a credit card. To top it all off, they add 20% VAT on top of both fees. When I complained that none of this was disclosed in my reservation prior to rental, they cited a line in the fine print that states the “Total does not include any additional items you may select…” Obviously, I did not “select” admin fees or credit card charges willingly. Hertz blames the local franchisee, Chase Visa won’t charge it back because I “agreed” to the charges by renting the car. Total rip off. At least you can choose the currency with Avis. I had no choice with Hertz – Dublin.

  3. I’m getting so tired of rental car companies. They are becoming almost as bad as Comcast! I have weekly rentals with Budget but will be changing to Avis. I know they are the same company but with Deloitte we can only book Avis or Budget. I have about 20 Budget bucks and every time I go to use one they almost make up their own rules for why they can’t be used. Tired of it!

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