An Israeli executive attempted to rent a car from an Avis rental office over the weekend, but is claiming the Avis employee refused to honor his Israeli documents, though he has used the same documents to rent from Avis many other times. The Israeli told a harrowing story which suggests the Avis employee acted out of malice against Israel, and that her manager backed her up.
Avis claims that according to its investigation thus far, the Israeli executive appears to be “unfairly maligning” Avis “with unfounded allegations.”
So what did happen?
According to an Observer.com article, Dov Bergwerk, a senior executive with the Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva, tried to pick up the car he had reserved from the Avis car rental agency on West 76th Street, on Saturday night, Nov. 21.
Bergwerk has rented from Avis many times, according to the article, as recently as just two days before, and he is a member of the Avis Wizard membership club.
However, the rental agent, “Angelline,” refused to honor Bergwerk’s reservation, claiming “it was company policy not to recognize Israeli documents.”
Angelline also, according to the report, refused to look at Bergwerk’s Avis profile which would reveal his longstanding and also very current history of renting from Avis, using the same Israeli documents the agent was now refusing. When an Avis manager appeared, instead of extending courtesies to the customer, she sided with the rental agent.
Next, the Observer article continues, Bergwerk contacted Avis customer service, which confirmed that an Israeli driver license was valid identification. That Avis employee suggested Bergwerk show his passport to smooth over any concerns. At this point, Bergwerk claims, the Avis manager and Angelline changed their story and said they were refusing to rent to Bergwerk because he argued about the way he was being treated in front of other customers.
Avis stood firm and refused to honor Bergwerk’s reservation.
Although Bergwerk said the Avis employees refused to provide him with their names, the Observer said it found, through Linked-In, that Shamoura Welch-Robinson is the manager of the West 76th Street rental office on New York’s Upper West Side.
After numerous phone calls and emails asking for comment from Avis about this incident, the JewishPress.com received an email from Avis’s public relations department.
Avis said it was “aggressively investigating” the customer’s allegations. Thus far, however, Avis appears to be backing its employees rather than its customer, going so far as to say that its research “suggests that this customer is unfairly maligning us with unfounded allegations.”
This is the full statement from Avis:
On Friday, a customer seeking to rent a car from Avis Car Rental in Manhattan was not allowed to do so because he failed to provide the required documentation. Visitors to the U.S. from other countries must provide both a valid drivers license from their country of residence as well as either a valid International Drivers License or passport in order to rent from Avis. We are aggressively investigating the customer’s allegations regarding the handling of this matter, as we do not tolerate any form of discrimination. So far, our ongoing investigation suggests that this customer is unfairly maligning us with unfounded allegations.
Avis Budget Group Public Relations
Avis has now posted its statement on its Facebook page.
Lori Lowenthal Marcus