Avis Budget Southern Africa has updated its rental terms and conditions which will come into effect on June 14.
The new terms include changes in authorisation hold amounts and a requirement to present two cards when hiring more expensive vehicles in the Avis Budget fleet.
But agents canvassed by Travel News are frustrated by the new ruling, saying it will put clients off, as many do not own two credit cards.
According to a recent Avis Budget statement, the company now requires the renter to provide two credit cards for the hire of the following vehicle groups:
- Group F – Audi A3 Sedan or similar
- Group G – BMW X3 Sedan or similar
- Group H – Mercedes C Class or similar
- Group I - Toyota Fortuner 4x2 or similar
- Group J - VW Tiguan Allspace or similar
- Group K - Toyota RAV 4 or similar
- Group L - Rav 4 AWD or similar
- Group N – VW T* combi or similar
- Group O – Toyota Avanza or similar
“If a booking is made with a credit card, the card used for the payment and an additional card (Debit card, cheque card or credit card) needs to be presented. One of the two cards used must be a credit card. The primary card will be used to obtain authorisation, while the second card must go through a dip process to ensure that both cards are valid,” said Avis Budget in a statement this week.
The car rental company added that while preferred renters were not exempt from this rule, bookings made on a full bill-back account did not require the renter to present credit cards. President’s Club members, Chairman’s Club members and international renters (inbound customers with an international address and a valid international ID and/or passport) are also exempt from this rule.
“This seems to be an unreasonably off-putting practice as many clients do not have more than one credit card and it is difficult to see how the presentation of two credit cards would make much difference to Avis Budget when handing over a half-a-million rand car,” said ITC Melany Tucker of Mel Tucker Travel.
TAG’s director, Jonathan Gerber, agreed asking how much different the presentation of a second card would make to Avis Budget’s risk mitigation. He commented that the practice would be particularly off-putting to business travellers, who were unlikely to have two corporate credit cards in their names and who would be hesitant to put business expenses through on their personal cards.
While Tourvest Travel Services’ (TTS) ceo Morne Du Preez, also felt that the two card policy had been implemented with little thought to the logistical nightmare that it would create for most clients. Morne added that TTS corporate clients would be exempt from the requirement as their bookings were guaranteed by TTS.
Meanwhile managing director of Marmalade Toast, David van den Heever-Liebenberg, said that the ruling had probably been introduced by Avis Budget due to a significant increase in incidents of damage, theft and credit card fraud and said that Avis’s policy was in line with many of its competitor’s requirements.
“In my opinion a client that is unable to afford the required car hire insurances and deposits cannot afford to hire a car. If the client is involved in an accident they will be liable for this amount anyway and if the car is returned without incident the authorisation amounts on both cards are refundable,” said David.
An April communication from Avis Budget Southern Africa confirmed his view.
“Avis Budget has over the past six to 12 months experienced a significant increase in write-offs, accident damage, third party damage, excess unpaid kms driven as well as a substantial increase in overdue rentals without authorization or payment,” said the car rental company last month, when it advised that it had no choice but to secure upfront guaranteed deposits on bookings.