|The ups and downs of our planned new life to NZ, warts and all!|
Just to elaborate a little more on my perception of NZ. For a holiday, its great. Breathe in the fresh air, have a walk around, maybe camp out. No more than three weeks, its a great destination. Live in NZ? Turn your watch back to the 70s, lower your expectations and you're away. Some people like that, and who am I to say they're wrong. Being in this 'bubble' has its plus side. The recession? Its just a bad word that floats around periodically, but Kiwis couldn't define it for you, they don't understand what it means to them, or the world. Businesses tick along, the government holds us all tightly and protects us from the big bad world. In NZ, there are only two places in the UK, Scotland and London. They don't care for world affairs, history or geography. People don't talk much to each other here anyway, so why the need to extend their knowledge. I didn't come here niave. I never wanted to live in NZ, who wants to relocate to a place similiar to your home anyway? It was Steve that brought us here (he's a Kiwi). Its the same as it was back in 2002 when we backpacked around. Exactly the same. However, I an trying to embrace what NZ has to offer, which I've indentified as 'outdoorsy' activities. I'm utulising our time here so I don't leave empty handed. Its working for us. But every now and then, I get really fed up and crave a different scene. Last week, I had a phone call from the MD of Avis New Zealand in response to my letter. I was amazed that I'd get a response. She was apologetic and has reassured me that they're changing their customer service protocol so that this crap doesn't keep happeneing. It remains to be seen of course. I don't often write these sorts of letters. The frustration of being treated like crap by a major company just got to me on this particular occasion. I appreciated the gesture from Avis. I've always maintained that if you're not happy witha service, you should always stand up for yourself. Even when I'm extremely happy with a service, I always let the manager or whomever know, its refreshing when someone's efforts can be recognised. In NZ, of course I spend most of my time battling it out, because its not in the Kiwis nature to offer feedback. Ask any Kiwi, about any experiences they've had and they'll have a good grumble. Ask them, what did you do about it? Nothing. Always, nothing. Its too much hard work, so everyone continues getting the same treatment. I'm particularly more fed up than usual. I have an exam tomorrow morning, which I just don't feel too well prepared for (my own fault of course) and then I have the court case on Wednesday and I feel so queasy thinking about it. What was I thinking? Small town Pom questioning the decision of a jacked up cop? I'm tired. I've taken on too much recently. In two weeks my parents arrive as well. Thus I shall be judged and commented on. There is so much more I need to do. Anyway, if anyone is interested here is the letter I sent out to Avis....
To Whom It May Concern
Our next experience turned out to be even worse and cemented our belief that Avis simply does not try harder to care, does not try harder to listen and does not try harder to rectify any problems.
Rental agreement number:
We arrived into the Picton Ferry Terminal to collect our prearranged rental car. After being issued the key, we discovered that the car didn’t operate. A staff member confirmed that the cleaners had left the lights on, thus the battery was dead. The staff rushed around to arrange a different car for us, although interestingly most of the cars in the carpark were dirty. Incidentally, our party consisted of our three children (4 months, 2 years and 4 years). Tired and fed up, we were finally presented with a new vehicle. A Toyota Camry.
On our return from our long drive, we had adequately planned our drive back to Picton to be relaxing, stopping off for lunch, etc. Just North of Kaikoura, some rocks had slid down onto the road and because of oncoming traffic, I had no way to avoid them. This resulted in a flat tyre. My husband in his (own car) and myself in the rental pulled over to the side of the road to change the tyre as quickly as possible. If you’re not familiar with the road, it’s extremely fast, rather dangerous to be messing around on the side of the road. On this particular day, it was also extremely hot. Despite our best interests, we couldn’t remove the tyre and conceded that we definitely didn’t have the correct tools for the job. I made a call to the roadside service number provided in the Avis pamphlet. On hold for 30 mins, I felt it was too dangerous to waste time, so I called the office in Picton for help (as this is where the car was supposed to be returned). Their response was, ‘what do you expect me to do about it, we’re in Picton.’ To which I reminded them that this was where I was trying to get the car. They rather begrudgingly agreed to call the AA for me. Deciding that it was too hot and too dangerous for our three young children, who were at that point, extremely unhappy and uncomfortable, I took my husband’s car, while he waited alone for the AA. We knew at this point that we’d missed the ferry back and faced the grim reality of waiting for the 10pm ferry.
On his arrival, the AA man confirmed that we did not have the correct tools, so he used his own.
Arriving at the Picton Terminal, the office was unmanned and I left a voicemail stating that I didn’t expect to see any charges added to our credit card and they were to call me to discuss my complaint. In all the times we’ve rented a car, we’ve never left it without fuel, but on this occasion, we were desperate to get onto an earlier ferry and didn’t have time to refuel. Fortunately, the staff on the ferry took pity on our dishevelled state and allowed us to board.
I never heard from the office in Picton. Instead I called them to query charges on my credit card. That was the only time I learnt of the charge for the damage to the wheel trim. I expressed my unhappiness at the service and the Manager responded by informing me that she would respond to any subsequent complaint letters.
I called the customer service line, a rep informed me that an investigation would be conducted and I should expect a ten day turnaround.
The letter is included with reference to a complaint about the time it took for the AA to arrive. Indeed that is clearly NOT my complaint. I’m staggered by the fact that the correct complaint hasn’t been even been investigated.
This experience has left me in no doubt that Avis has little regard for their customers.
If anyone has bothered to read to this point of my letter I would like to summarise my complaints
- The initial arrival at Picton. The sole role of Avis to provide rental cars, and yet a battery was allowed to get flat because it was left on?!
- The nonchalant attitude I received from Picton when calling for help
- Not providing the correct tools to change the tyre
- Picton not having the courtesy to respond to my voicemail
- Picton not have the courtesy to inform us of a subsequent charge for the wheel trim
- The fact that it takes 10 days for a complaint to receive a response
- The fact that I didn’t complain about the length of time it took the AA to respond – only the call to the Avis roadside assistance, the AA responded in a very timely matter
The letter from Andy Patel is a brief overview of my own conversation with the manager at Picton, although it’s not even as in depth. I can’t see why it took ten days to bang out a brief and barely apologetic acknowledgment. My other complaints had also been noted by the customer service rep, which Mr Patel hasn’t even bothered to review.
We will not be using Avis rentals again for business or pleasure, and frankly doubt we’ll have the courage to try again internationally. It’s extremely frustrating when large, international companies had no regard for their customers. I have never experienced anything quite like Avis before.
|We rented a car with these guys in Italy and it broke down in a tunnel returning from the Amalfi Drive, Italy.
I think we got a refund in the end, be pesistent and don't give up!
|Posted by Cassie 10000|
|Never had a problem with Avis but I did with Hertz.
Oh - noticed that the paragraphs in the letter never got edited out - lol !
|Posted by Lorna at Vicenza|
|It was easier to create wider gaps because it was a copy paste job from Word. Sigh, this subject may start to get boring soon....|
|Posted by Littletoe|
|It's a shame you are feeling so down on NZ. I remember in the beginning you had such high hopes for your new life here. Onwards and upwards as they say! And huge congrats on your 10KG weight loss!|
|Posted by Am Loolah|
|Littletoe, you do make me laugh and I enjoy reading your blog but sometimes the impression you give via your writing, I do wonder if you'd find yourself writing a letter of complaint to God should you ever find yourself living in the Garden of Eden!! Well done on losing the weight. Count your blessings, life won't look half as bad x|
|Posted by TeamEmbo|
|Entry 28 of 229|
|Last Page | Next Page|