On February 7, 2020 we published an article that signals shocking price increases in the car rental industry. It is based on complaints from our readers. One of them sent us specific information. He needs a rental car in the USA and checks prices at Avis, where he has the Preferred status. When he compares the price with a rent he had a few months ago, he observes a shocking price increase. Avis has multiplied its prices.
Did our article have some effect?
As evidence he sends us the bill for the rental agreement he had several months ago. We compare it with the price Avis offers now for a new rent. It appears to be more than 4 times the price he paid a couple of months ago.
In our initial article of we not only signal Avis’ exorbitant price hikes, but also an irrational price structure. Avis appears to charge more for an economy car than for a full size. However, 1 day after publication of our article Avis adjust their website.
Somewhat lower prices…
We observe 2 important changes. First, the price structure is now more rational. An economy car (Ford Fiesta) is no longer more expensive than a full size (Ford Taurus). So the price structure that existed until a short while ago has been reinstated.
Second, the prices are somewhat lower. A Ford Fiesta costs no longer €732 per week, but €507 ($553). Thus, it is somewhat lower than a couple of days ago. But it is still 3 times higher than a few months ago.
… but still sky high
It seems unlikely that this relatively minor price adjustment will bring former customers back to Avis. The price is still more than double the price you can get at smaller rental car companies. Small wonder the reader who alerted us about Avis’ huge price hikes let us know he is not impressed. He is not going to pay €507 ($553) for an economy car. Rather, he will stick to the economy car he reserved for €254 ($279) per week at another rental car company. for an economy car. Rather, he will stick to the economy car he reserved for €254 ($279) per week at another rental car company.
Hertz doesn’t offer an economy car in the location where the reader needs a car. Therefore, we compare Avis’ current price with National’s price for a 1 week economy rental in the same location. It appears that National still charges €712 ($780) per week. So it seems that Avis has left the price cartel, whereas National did not.
But tomorrow it may be different. When National will observe Avis’ price change they may follow and may lower their prices as well.
This time we don’t ask Avis for comments. Despite 2 reminders Avis didn’t respond to a request for comment on our initial article. Therefore, we take it for granted it would be a waste of time to send them a new request for comment.
See the initial article: Avis rips you off
Tags: rental cars, Avis, extreme price hikes, price cartel