PORTLAND, MAINE -- Before traveling to Bulgaria, I called to ensure that I could rent a car and then take it to other countries. I was given a list of countries to which I could travel. I asked how close to the trip I could call back and they said that it was just a matter of availability. So I called back to book two rentals on a Friday - one for the next day and one for the following Tuesday. At this point I was told that it took five days to get the paperwork in order to travel out of Bulgaria. OK, the next day trip was out, but what could we do about the second trip? They booked it for the following Wednesday - that being five days out.
On Monday, I was informed that it was denied because it was not five business days out. I fully understand some of this is on me, but part of calling a broker is to use their expertise, and knowing my plans to travel outside of Bulgaria, it seems they could have notified me up front regarding the waiting period.
As for booking it out 5 days only to tell me that it is 5 business days, come on! Know your own rules. I could have rented something locally for the portion of the trip in country, returned, taken their rental and gone. It would have sufficed, but now I am simply faced with not enough time to get there and back. I am thoroughly frustrated by their lack of knowledge of their own product, but I should acknowledge that everyone I spoke with was courteous.
Beware! These guys will rip you off. They have incompetent billing practices. Their website will quote one price and then one week before you leave on vacation they will contact you with additional fees. By this time it is too late to find anything else so you eat the extra cost. I booked a vacation to Turkey and two days before the trip they contacted me saying that it would be an additional 250 euros for additional car drop off fees. Couldn't find anything else on such short term notice and had to pay.
I came back from vacation and went to a dinner party and met a couple who were going to Croatia the following week and they told me the same story about booking through Auto Europe. An agent had contacted them the week before saying that there were additional fees. The couple tried to book something else but everything was already sold out. Beware!
I paid to rent a car for a week through Auto Europe for use in Dublin Ireland. I picked the car up from Hertz. The coupon said that I was guaranteed an upgrade. Hertz said they did not have to honor that. Then I tried driving and just couldn't drive on the left side of the street. I returned the car the same day. Hertz said that I would have to work with Auto Europe to get a refund. I called Auto Europe and they said that on page 3 of the terms and conditions it states that no refund would be issued. I will NEVER use this service again.
PORTLAND, MAINE -- I rented a car for 9 days in July 2012 from Auto Europe and the Rental Company was BUDGET. Upon arriving at Shannon Airport I asked if I could upgrade to an automatic. The original voucher of $302.99 included insurance was paid in full to Auto Europe. The upgrade to an automatic came to $1102.64. I'm sorry I assumed they would take the $302.99 off that price for a balance of $799.65. However not only did they not take off the $302.99, they ADDED it on for a total price of $1405.63 charged to my credit card. Also BEWARE, the car they gave me was a 2008 Corolla with damage to rim, several dents and scratches which luckily I had noted on paperwork.
I spoke with a couple of people from Auto Europe, one felt they charged me for both agreements. However Customer Service said because I upgraded I owe both the $302.99 and the $1102.64 for a total of $1405.63. She said although they are affiliated Auto Europe BUDGET in Ireland can charge whatever they want and disregard the original voucher of $302.99. Live & Learn and BEWARE of Auto Europe BUDGET.
WASHINGTON -- Well, think twice about this company. They took my order, claimed it could be cancelled or modified as long as there was a 72 hour notice. My flight was changed to a later hour in the day, and I would not be able to pick the car up on the original date. I called and requested to pick it up the following day. The customer representative told me it was not a problem. I asked if I could have a credit for the unused day, they told me to just change the pick up date because the costs went up for the other days I was going to keep it. That seemed fair.
Then I went to pick it up on the new date. Guess what, Auto Europe did not change my reservation. The car company rented the car as they thought I was a no-show. There were no other cars available at any class. But then I remembered, no worries, customer service will help me, right? HELL NO. Called, they were closed (American Company which does not stay open to help during Europe business hours when the car companies are open).
I called the number to make a reservation and explained myself. The guy told me there was no mention of my change in the system, there was nothing I could do to until business hours. He suggested I call customer service when I got back. Seriously? Stuck in a country with no car, and they charged me. RIP-OFF. Thank God Visa will credit me back.
Booked a car through them for 5 days, to use in Spain. There was no mention about any particular fuel policy during the booking process, so one could well assume that this would be the standard "pick up full, return full" policy. Only after I'd paid and received the voucher, I noticed that the fuel policy was an abusive one: you had to buy a full tank of petrol (overpriced even, at almost double the average price per litre!), with no refunds given for any unused petrol at the end of the booking.
I should have seen something like this coming judging by the way the booking went - site broke down and could not handle online bookings, so had to book over the phone, on an international call, with a slow and untrained operator.
Having dropped off the car on return in Bologna, my deposit for any damages etc, was fully refunded and Sicily By Car/Auto Europa signed off on the car. In the agent's words "tutti a posto" or "Everything is fine". 4 weeks later, after my return to Australia, I see this charge of over 300 dollars from Auto Europa on my credit card. The reason? "Damage to interior - not covered by your comprehensive insurance cover". What a scam!!! There was no accompanying documentation, no photos of the so-called "damage". That's because there was no damage and this company is simply trying to extort 300 dollars from me. Any prospective clients beware!
Auto Europe, Fiumicino airport. Only 3 people in line at the counter, 2 clerks, and up to half hour waiting before being attended. First surprise is that I have to leave a 1200 euros deposit, otherwise no car. The terms and conditions were not transparent about the deposit, the amount was never clearly stated, I only found out at the counter. I had asked for a small car, the cheapest, they gave me a Fiat 500 automatic instead. Allegedly new, the car had 8800 km and was full of bumps.
I left Fiumicino airport and after 20 km of highway a red light came up with an alarm and the car made a tremendous noise, like grinding metal. I stopped under a bridge, there were 30 degree outside, and with my son began to read the instructions manual. After a few minutes we identified the problem, the automatic shift was not functioning, presumably because there was no oil.
I called the counter at the airport, they said it was impossible, the car was new! Then they said I had to call the central service in Milan. I did, and the guy said I had to call the counter in Rome! Then he said he could have me towed away (but where?), but it was better for me to try to go back to the airport and change car. Luckily the car had a double shift, automatic and sequential. I got it in sequential mode and very slowly went back to the airport.
When I got to the garage, the clerk told me again that the car was new that it was impossible it had a problem. He then checked whereas spare tire and tools were still in place, and finally had me sign a declaration about the problem and gave me another car. Four days later, when we brought the car back to the airport, I was charged 7 euros for gas, since I had not refilled the first car before bringing it back. I will never again go back to Auto Europe, I ended up with them because my usual car rental company had a problem with the internet site the day I made reservations. It was the first and last time I rented with them.
SCHIPHOL -- Misleading quotes are used by Auto Europe!!! They quoted me a cheaper car rental than anyone and told me it was because of their agreement with various car rental agencies. Their voucher even indicated the price I was to pay. However, in the "attachment" you will read all the additional charges that they do NOT put on their quote. The rental rate was substantially higher than I had been able to find elsewhere. If you complain, they say that you have to adjust this before you rent, by going through their "matched rate department" to obtain the lowest price. The problem is you do not know about all these extra charges till after you rent!! BE AWARE!!!
To all: I have been traveling to Italy to for many years. I have learned several things. Italy or any other foreign country is not the US. There are cultural differences, insurance differences, and many other things that are different from the states. I have used many agencies to rent my vehicle, while on stays in Italy but the one I use the most is Auto Europa because it consistently has had the best prices and good safe vehicles. The agent in Bologna usually recognizes from past rentals and makes my time at the desk as short as possible, which is not always the case in Italy.
I think part of the reason for my good experiences is that I do my homework ahead of time. I know what kind of a car I want and I know I want to waive the excess insurance coverage. Of all the credit cards out there most exempt Italy from insurance coverage. Visa is the only card I know of that will cover your vehicle from accidents and stolen vehicles up to the replacement cost of the vehicle. You must waive the excess coverage and you cannot be renting an exotic vehicle. Also the rental period cannot be greater than 15 days.
I know not to expect an automatic transmission because Europeans love the gas mileage benefits and handling of a stick shift transmission. Auto Europa I have found is very honest about what they cover and what they don't. Vouchers are paid ahead of time when you use a broker. They receive a percentage of the rental as a broker fee for running their website and facilities to help you find your best deal.
The balance due at the time of rental can be in Euro or US dollars but you should know that before you make the deal. In dealing with Auto Europa I have always received the auto I wanted, I have never been pressured into upgrading, I have been asked about the excess insurance and when I have declined it has not be a problem.
Their to be has been outstanding. I leave on March 10th 2010 for another trip to Bologna Italy, and I am using them again. I know everything will be just fine. I have also witnessed many "Ugly Americans" at the rental desk verbally abusing the agents. This is not just in Europe but in the states as well. People just do not do the homework and then get angry with everyone else when things go bad. I am not affiliated in way with Auto Europa. I am an American born in the US who bought a condo in Tuscany and Auto Europa is helping me get there. Thanks Auto Europa for the fine service over the years.