CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A Lowcountry lawmaker said he plans to file a lawsuit against a national car rental service after they billed him for damages he did not commit.
State Rep. Wendell Gilliard feels he was scammed by Budget/Avis after they sent him a bill for more than $20,000 in damages weeks after returning a rental. He said the car was returned in “mint condition.”
After receiving the bill, Rep. Gilliard said he called the director of the Charleston International Airport and asked them to investigate the incident.
An incident report from the Charleston County Aviation Authority shows that they began investigating an incident on January 27 after security video showed the car, a dark gray Lincoln MKZ with a Florida license plate, being driven around by an Avis/Budget employee.
The dispatcher told authorities they felt activities of the vehicle in question “appeared to be suspicious” because it was seen coming in and out of both the old and new parking decks and picking up and dropping off other people throughout the late afternoon and evening.
An employee working at the Avis counter inside the terminal said the vehicle was rented on January 25 and was returned just after 3:30 p.m. on January 27.
A manager for Avis Rental Car told investigators that the car was seen on security video being used by “what appeared to be an Avis/Budget employee on 1/27/22.” They also believe it was seen parked at the Embassy Suites that same night.
The vehicle was reported as stolen. No other details were provided in the report.
Rep. Gilliard said he received a bill totaling more than $21,199.
“I’m filling a lawsuit on Budget because they are running a scam on me and only God knows who else,” said Rep. Gilliard. “When I returned the car, it was in mint condition, but some weeks later, they sent me a bill for over $20,000 in damages.”
Rep. Gilliard said he feels that if he did not call the airport’s director to investigate, the incident would have left his credit and reputation in ruins.
News 2 has reached out to Budget/Avis for more information. A representative sent us the following statement: “Avis Budget Group has contacted the customers impacted by this matter to resolve the issue.”