Budget and Avis to ban smoking in rental cars starting in October

September 17, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Avis and Budget will be the first major rental-car companies to ban smoking in their entire North American fleets.  As of October 1, all cars in both rental companies’ fleets will join the transit trend spreading from planes, trains and buses to non-smoking. Domestic airlines, buses, and Amtrak have had severe restrictions or bans on smoking since the early 1990s.

“The No. 1 request we get is for a smoke-free car,” says John Barrows, spokesman of the Avis Budget Group, the parent company. He says via (USA Today) that a common customer complaint is a car that smells of smoke, adding, “We’re addressing both concerns.”

Avis and Budget say that cars that have been smoked in require additional cleaning and are out of service longer, costing the companies more money.  Barrows says they expect some smokers to be upset with the new rules and to take their business elsewhere, but that they think overall the new plan will attract more customers than it will lose. Each car will undergo an inspection upon return and a cleaning fee of up to $250, will be administered on customers who smoke in a car.


Comments

3 Responses to “Budget and Avis to ban smoking in rental cars starting in October”

  1. Kathy on September 18th, 2009 12:47 pm

    My recent experience with AVIS (& previous experience with Budget) suggests this is just another way for them to extort more money from their customers. I’m not a smoker and, to be perfectly honest, don’t like the smell of smoke, but if you read their proposal, it looks like their employees can access the new $250 charge if they “suspect” that someone has smoked in the car. I’m uncomfortable with the – smoke smell lingers long after the smoker has departed, so who’s to say that it isn’t from previous smoking when it was “allowed”? Both of these companies have added additional fees onto rentals when I dropped the car off – fees that were NOT told to me at the time of the rental. And I’m not talking about one-way dropoff charges, necessary taxes or even gasoline costs, because I expect to pay those. No, they charge for things like “concession recovery,” “energy recovery” and “customer facility” fees that they cannot even explain!

  2. Kathy on September 18th, 2009 12:49 pm

    My recent experience with AVIS (& previous experience with Budget) suggests this is just another way for them to extort more money from their customers. I’m not a smoker and, to be perfectly honest, don’t like the smell of smoke, but if you read their proposal, it looks like their employees can access the new $250 charge if they “suspect” that someone has smoked in the car. I’m uncomfortable with that – smoke smell lingers long after the smoker has departed, so who’s to say that it isn’t from previous smoking when it was “allowed”? Both of these companies have added additional fees onto rentals when I dropped the car off – fees that were NOT told to me at the time of the rental. And I’m not talking about one-way dropoff charges, necessary taxes or even gasoline costs, because I expect to pay those. No, they charge for things like “concession recovery,” “energy recovery” and “customer facility” fees that they cannot even explain!

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