A rental agent and manager at an Avis location in Manhattan refused to rent a car to a customer from Israel, according to a report by the New York Observer.
Dov Bergwerk, a senior vice president at Israel-based Teva, said he presented his driver’s license, reservation number and loyalty card at the Avis counter, according to his account that was reported by the Observer. The rental agent declined to honor Bergwerk’s reservation, allegedly saying it was company policy not to recognize Israeli documents, according to the report.
Bergwerk supposedly explained to the rental agent that he had rented with Avis many times, including at that location only two days prior, says the report.
Then the branch manager was called, but she also allegedly refused to recognize Bergwerk’s documents, according to the report. Bergwerk called Avis’ main number and an Avis representative (over the phone) confirmed that his Israeli license was an acceptable form of ID, says the report.
When Bergwerk put the customer service representative on the phone with the branch manager, Bergwerk allegedly claimed that the branch manager said she declined to rent to him because he had argued about the way he was treated in front of other customers, according to the report.
Bergwerk told the Observer that “while no direct reference was made to being anti-Israel, that was my impression almost from the initial moment I presented my license and credit card as I have done over 15 years of business and leisure travel without ever being challenged.”
Avis responded to the Observer story with this statement:
“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."
Click here for the full New York Observer report.