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Woman Charged $8,000 After Rental Car Company Claims She Drove Nearly the Distance of the Earth's Circumference in Three Days

Avis had charged her for driving 22,668 miles.

A woman who rented a car in Toronto was charged $8,000 after the car-rental company claimed she drove nearly the distance of the Earth's circumference in three days. Spoiler alert: She didn't; it would be pretty much physically impossible. Unfortunately, when the customer called the car renters and her credit card company to report the mistake, she encountered an epic runaround. Read on to see how it all played out. 

Typical Rental-Car Scenario Turns Weird

Client receiving keys of rent vehicle from manager.

CTV News reports that Giovanna Boniface, a resident of Vancouver (which, for those of you who aren't so swift with geography, is on Canada's west coast), rented a car from Avis for three days this month after traveling to Toronto (on the east coast) to help get her daughter get settled at college.

Boniface said she drove the GMC Yukon Denali between the airport, downtown Toronto, and to Kitchener, Ontario, where she visited her mother-in-law. Kitchener is about an hour outside Toronto. (This would be like a resident of Los Angeles flying to New York City and renting a car to get around in the city, then to a nearby upstate commuter town).

Shocking $8,000 Charge

Surprised young woman using a laptop computer sitting at her kitchen holding utility bill and bank statements.

Boniface said she had driven about 186 miles when she turned in the car at the airport and checked into a flight to Europe. While waiting to board, she checked her credit card account online.

"That's when I notice this charge for over $8,000 from Avis," Boniface told CTV News Toronto on Thursday.

Charged For Driving More Than 20,000 Miles

Portrait of young female sitting at table reading documents.

Reviewing her receipt, Boniface saw that Avis had charged her for driving 36,482 kilometers (about 22,668 miles) at a rate of 25 cents per kilometer.

"Boniface said she would have had to drive for 72 hours straight at approximately 500 km/h for this to be possible," CTV reported. 

It would be the equivalent of driving from New York to L.A. eight times.

Frustrating Phone Tag Ensues

The Avis car rental counter at the airport.

At first, the shocked customer wanted to back through security and go to the Avis counter at the airport entrance. But the lines at security were too long, and she didn't want to miss her flight. She tried to call the airport Avis, but no one picked up the phone. Boniface then called Avis through their main phone number, but was disconnected twice before she had to board.

Finally, a Resolution

Male technical support agent trying to explain something to a client while using hands-free headset at call center.

After her flight landed in Paris, Boniface called Visa to dispute the transaction, but the credit company said their hands were tied because the charge was still pending. Days later, after she had reported the epic billing mistake to the media, Boniface got a call from Avis telling her she'd get a refund for the overcharge.

Avis said it has apologized to Boniface for the erroneous billing but didn't explain how the mistake happened.

"Overall, it was not good customer service," said a stressed-out Boniface. "The most frustrating thing was not getting through to customer service in any kind of timely way."

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a seasoned writer and editor with a passion for helping people make life-improving decisions. Read more
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