As of October 1, 2009, all vehicles in our U.S. fleet are designated as non-smoking cars. A Cleaning Fee of up to $250 may be applied to the cost of a rental, should this policy be violated. See Press Release
Tobacco smoke leaves a residue on fabrics, fibers and surfaces of vehicles, which emits odors that many people find unpleasant. This new policy is designed to ensure we are enhancing the comfort of our customers, which is a top priority at Avis.
When a vehicle must be cleaned of tobacco smoke odor and residue, all surfaces must be treated and cleaned. This takes considerable time and requires the vehicle to be removed from the rental fleet until odor-free. This incurs incremental costs for special cleaning and lost revenue from the vehicle being unavailable for rental. This new policy helps us recover some of the costs associated with cleaning tobacco odor and residue from our vehicles.
Along with the new policy, Avis has initiated a new inspection process. When a vehicle that was smoke-free when provided to a customer is inspected upon its return, and it is determined that the vehicle must be cleaned of tobacco odor and residue, the renter will be assessed a fee of up to $250.
Similar to how we assess cleaning fees for excess dirt and soilage in vehicles, when a vehicle is returned the Return Agent will inspect the vehicle for physical evidence that the car was smoked in (ash/butts in the vehicle/cigarette burns, etc.) and photos will be taken to substantiate the assessment of the cleaning fee.
Our focus is not on being able to prove whether or not someone did or did not smoke in our vehicle. We are committed to providing our customers with vehicles that are 100 percent smoke-free, which means that we are inspecting the vehicles for smoke odor in addition to ash, butts, etc. Even if there is no visible evidence of smoking activity, if a vehicle that was smoke-free when provided is returned with tobacco odor, it will undergo special cleaning and the fee will be assessed.
In most cases, the inspection and customer notification will occur at the time of vehicle return by our Return Agent in the vehicle return area. If the Return Agent finds evidence that the car has been smoked in and/or it smells of smoke, the customer will be informed of this finding, and that they may be assessed a cleaning fee of up to $250. The customer will then be given their receipt as per standard procedure.
Later on, a location manager will inspect the vehicle to validate the findings of the Return Agent to determine if a cleaning fee is to be assessed. If so, the customer is notified in writing that the fee has been charged to the credit card we have on file.
Under certain circumstances, the Return Agent may be unable to notify the customer of the possible assessment of the fee at the time of vehicle return. Examples include:
o The customer leaves the return area before a Return Agent is able to inspect their vehicle.
o A Return Agent is unable or unavailable to inspect the car thoroughly at time of vehicle return; the inspection is then conducted by trained staff at our service island at a later point in time.
o The vehicle is returned after hours when no Return Agent is available to inspect the vehicle.
When the vehicle can only be inspected after the customer has left our facility, and is found to require smoke-related cleaning, the customer is notified via mail that the fee has been charged to their credit card.
By October 1, 2009, 100 percent of the vehicles in the Avis fleet will be 100 percent smoke-free. As new vehicles enter the fleet, or existing vehicles are inspected and found to be smoke-free, a sticker is placed on the rear side window informing the customer that the vehicle is smoke-free, that smoking in the vehicle is prohibited, and that if cleaning of tobacco residue and odors is required, the $250 fee will be assessed.
Starting October 2009, the fleet will be 100 percent smoke-free, and the policy will be in effect for 100% of our fleet, not just those that have stickers. The stickers are primarily to help notify customers as we transition to a 100 percent smoke-free fleet.
To avoid paying the fee, customers should refrain from smoking in or near the vehicle at all times.
Rental vehicles should be thoroughly inspected by the customer prior to leaving the rental location. Customers should check the car for body or interior damage, soil or dirt, and to ensure that it is smoke-free.
If at the time of vehicle check-out the vehicle is not to the customer's satisfaction, we recommend that the customer go into the rental counter and speak with an agent before leaving our facility. The customer will be provided with another vehicle, if one is available, and no fees of any kind will be assessed.
Avis offers convenient one-way rentals at attractive rates. Pick up a car at one location and return it to another. Car type and availability vary by participating locations, and a drop-off charge may apply on certain rates.
Taking a car across a state border is generally not a problem. However, it's always best to inquire about any restrictions or fees that may apply if dropping the car at a different location. Inquire either at the location or simply contact us.
With advance arrangement and consent from Avis, certain cars may be rented from the United States and driven into Canada by U.S. residents. A Canadian non-resident insurance card may be required and is available at the Avis rental location. Please call 800-230-4898 for more information.
Driving U.S.-owned cars into Mexico is always prohibited.