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The other reviews of Avis on Ciao seem to show people have had good experiences with Avis. However I feel I must let people know about the awful experience I have had with Avis in St Lucia. Which leads me on to saying I would also think twice about hiring a car from Avis on any of the other Caribbean islands.
Although a few years ago now (1999) myself and 5 friends travelled to St Lucia for a wonderful holiday on this beautiful island. We were staying in a villa a few miles away from any town so of course we needed some wheels. We chose to hire a people carrier from Avis and done all the necessary arrangements in the UK.
Avis are of course not one of the cheapest hire companies around so we expected a good service and a fairly new car. However we were totally shocked when we got to the airport and were eventually handed the keys to a ten year old Toyota Hi-ace with a lovely orange and brown interior.
This car lasted for about 3 days, gradually electrical things started to go wrong with it like the indicators failing and then the instrument lights, head lights and finally a burning smell ..which was nice. This prompted us to phone Avis and we were told to take it to their workshop (or as it turned out someones house with a corrugated iron shed attached). It was here that we were told the car had an electrical fire and would be off the road for some time. We were given a lift back to our villa where a new car would be delivered promptly (it was the next morning in the end, maybe that is 'prompt' in the Caribbean). Also it wasn't exaclty a new car, more like an even older car but it worked.
This next car lasted about 4 days and eventually the poor thing gave up the ghost and the engine caught fire going up a hill in the rainforest. Lucky enough we all managed to get out ok and a local businessmen saw the event and offered 2 of us a lift to the Avis garage in the main city (10 miles away). This unfortunatley meant we had to abandon our friends in the heat of midday by the side of the road, however they did get a nice tan!.
At the Avis office they eventually believed our story and gave us the biggest vehicle available, a suzuki jeep estate with a canvas roof (nice). However this seemed so unsafe for 6 people so we did manage to perusade Avis to give us another people carrier as soon as possible...and as with everything in the St Lucian way, this turned out to be the next morning.
This new old car (another late 80's Toyota) was an automatic and only seemed to have 3 gears that worked (3rd, 2nd and reverse). This museum piece lasted a whole seven days and we managed to hand it back working...just. I accidently cracked the rear bumper (where I reversed into a big rock) but they wavered this probably because of all the problems we experienced or were just too lazy to notice.
In the end we did manage to get some compensation but only through their shear stupidity. They offered us a percentage of our money back and a bit of compensation but instead of it being in Eastern Caribbean dollars which was on our Invoice we were refunded in US dollars (1 US$ = 4 ECD).
So in summary all I can say is....beware of the Avis pirates of the Caribbean.