Saturday, November 28, 2015
Avis has just been forced to make an embarrassing retraction after publicly accusing an Israeli customer who’d been denied a car rental of “unfairly maligning us with unfounded allegations.”
Mistakes happen. What’s troubling is that the company made an initial rush to judgment not remotely backed up by the facts.
Dov Bergwerk, a senior vice president for the Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva, tried to rent a car from Avis’ West 76th Street branch. He’d done so many times before, and has an Avis “Wizard” account and card.
This time, though, he says he was turned down and told Avis doesn’t recognize Israeli documents. The branch manager backed up the rental agent’s claim.
According to the New York Observer, Bergwerk contacted Avis’ customer service, which confirmed that his drivers license was acceptable. But the manager then reportedly declined to honor Bergwerk’s rental because he’d argued about how he was being treated.
Contacted by the Observer, Avis responded that its “ongoing investigation” indicated Bergwerk was lying.
The next day, after the story was published, the company was singing a different tune: “We have found that we have been inconsistent with respect to documentation requirements with this customer,” said an e-mail, adding that Avis had apologized to Bergwerk.
We’re still not sure what really happened, but it doesn’t look good, given the ongoing attempts to boycott and isolate Israel.
We’re glad Avis eventually realized its staff’s mistake — a “policy” that’s unacceptable anywhere, but particularly in New York.
A word of advice, though: Next time, wait until all the facts are in before spouting off.