By Kurtis Ming

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Tonya Sanchez remembers the moment when she realized her Chevy Captiva Rental Car was stolen from in front of her house.

“My heart was racing. I didn’t know what to do or think,” she said.

Sanchez filed a police report and alerted Avis. She had piece of mind knowing she paid Avis extra for the loss damage waiver that gives you extra protection when you rent a car. She says with no explanation Avis billed her nearly $6,000. Because she used a debit card, they plucked $3,200 of it straight from her bank account, leaving this single mom of four no way to pay her rent.

“I had no money for my kids,” Sanchez said. “And that’s the most stressful thing; not having money for the kids.”

We watched her call Avis and get transferred from person to person, before ending up stuck in a voicemail prompt.

Department of Insurance spokesperson Nancy Kincaid said she’s never heard of a rental car company going after a customer for a stolen rental car. Neither has consumer attorney Stuart Talley.

“I can’t see how they can justify charging her thousands of dollars for this situation.”

We reached out to Avis which claimed they charged her the thousands of dollars because after the theft, “Avis was unaware that the vehicle was impounded”.

Avis told CBS13, “…This has been corrected and Ms. Sanchez has been refunded”.

That brings relief to this single mom.

“It’s been such a stress for the past few months.”

Tonya tells us police found her rental car smashed up in Sacramento. As far as she knows, the suspects have not been caught. Avis says renters are responsible for theft or damage, although you may want to cover your own insurance or credit card company before renting a car, to see if they offer protection.

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