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Last week I wrote about Dov Bergwerk, an executive for the Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva, who felt that he was discriminated against because an Avis agent in New York City refused to rent him a car because she would not accept his Israeli driver’s license or passport. This is despite the fact that Mr. Bergwerk holds an Avis Wizard number (loyalty number) and has rented from Avis several times in the past (including at that same location!)
Avis’s initial response
I thought that Avis’s initial response was somewhat strange – they posted on their official Facebook page
On Friday, a customer seeking to rent a car from Avis Car Rental 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 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 accusations.
I guess someone in Avis PR felt that they had to get “out ahead of the story” and say SOMETHING, but it just felt very odd
Avis admitting wrong
Yesterday a commenter alerted me to a followup story in the New York Post, where Avis had to make a followup statement admitting that they had made a mistake. I checked back and they made the following statement on Facebook
We have investigated the denial of a rental that recently occurred in Manhattan. We have found that we have been inconsistent in applying our policies with respect to documentation requirements with this customer, who has rented from us in the past without providing a second form of identification. We are committed to providing an outstanding car rental experience to our customers and believe that we should have done better here. We have spoken with the customer and apologized for the misunderstanding that occurred as a result of this inconsistency in applying our documentation policy, and the customer has accepted our apology.
We reiterate our policy that we do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin or sexual orientation. We intend to take steps, including additional training, to improve the consistency in our application of documentation policies.
So on the one hand, it’s nice that Avis admitted wrong, but even their second statement seems to gloss over the fact that according to the initial story, Mr. Bergwerk even DID produce a second form of identification, but was still denied renting a car.
What do you think? Had you heard about this story? Do you think that Avis went far enough with their apology?