We've covered Payless' shady business practices in the past. The company has been a frequent target of consumer reporters for the New York Times as well as a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit. You'd think with all that negative press that a company with the reputation of Avis Budget Group (the parent company of Payless) would have bent over backward to try to clean up the problems at their wayward subsidiary. Apparently, either they don't care all that much, or the problems at Payless are just too deep-rooted to allow for a speedy resolution.
The latest in the Payless saga is that the Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Eastern Oklahoma has sent a letter to the attorneys general of four states — California, Florida, New Jersey, and Oklahoma — informing them of the marketplace conduct and complaint history of the company.
In the past three years, over 830 complaints have been filed with BBB against Payless Car Rental; all were handled by the BBB serving Eastern Oklahoma as the designated corporate customer service location for the company. A review of these complaints and allegations indicated a pattern of complaints in three major areas according to BBB:
Sales Practice Issues: People have complained about things like the misrepresentation of options like extra insurance, loss damage waivers, and upgrades. Although the terms and agreement section on Payless Car Rental's site says additional insurance probably won't be required and that customers can use their own policies, some allege that sales reps misrepresent the necessity of optional insurance.
Billing and Collection Issues: There have been many complaints about unnecessary charges for anything from special equipment like GPS, optional insurance, and deposits that vanished into thin air. Only after filing a complaint were some consumers able to recover those funds, the BBB says. Some complaints accuse the company of charging for unavoidable upgrades, which is also related to contract issues.
Contract Issues: On that note, the BBB says there is a "significant failure" to honor the rental price people see online when they're booking their car. Though they expect that's the amount they'll be paying when they pick up their car, in general, they're finding upon arrival that the reserved vehicle isn't available and they'll have to pay for an upgrade, says the BBB.
"BBB has attempted to address the pattern of complaints with Payless on several occasions over the past three years," said Amie Mitchell, president and CEO of BBB Tulsa. "The most recent attempt was on March 29, 2017, in a letter sent by certified mail. The business failed to respond. Because consumers are still coming to us with the same complaints, week after week, we felt we had no choice but to turn this matter over to law enforcement."
As part of its vision of "an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers trust each other," BBB sets standards for marketplace trust, encourages best practices, educates consumers, celebrates marketplace role models, and addresses substandard marketplace behavior.
Despite bringing those complaints to the attention of Payless Car Rental twice, the company hasn't done anything to fix the situation:
The Better Business Bureau told ABC Action News that they recommend documenting interactions with car rental companies:.
"Take out your cell phone, record the interaction and let them know you're recording it so you can document the conversation you had with the company," said Bryan Oglesby, a spokesman for Better Business Bureau Serving West Florida.