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.
I am an Auto Europe employee. No one from Auto Europe asked me to write this or knows who I am. I am not going to tell you how great Auto Europe is - I just want to give you a better understanding of all travel brokers so that you can avoid bad experiences. Auto Europe is the oldest and largest car hire broker in the world. That is a fact.
Before Auto Europe, consumers had no real advocate in the car rental industry. You could go to a rental counter anywhere in the world and get ripped off by any employee or undisclosed fee and no one would come to your aid. Travel brokers, like Auto Europe and others, negotiate prices, fees, terms of service, and quality of service and then post them on the web for you to compare and out-do the car rental agencies themselves and penalize them for bad service, if necessary.
There are limits. No travel broker can control the experience that you get at the desk! However, travel brokers can act as a liaison between you and the rental counter like a big brother protecting you from the bully in the school yard. I have had to do this many times and I would do it for you, if you needed me to.
I've booked two cars (one in O'hare, and the other one in Orlando MCO) through Auto Europe, and the rental car company turned out to be Dollar Rent a Car. The first car that I've been given in O'hare Chicago was making all kinds of noises on the road, that I had to stop and ask for a change in Oregon Airport. The first car I've been given was also not-safe-to-drive, therefore I asked another one. The last one was so noisy, that you can not speak inside the car, had no power windows or door lock. But I had to take the car as I was already late.
I called Auto Europe's 1-800 number several times. The person answered the phone always connected me to some numbers in Europe, with answering machines speaking all languages but English. At last, when I reached a person, she asked me to drive back to O'hare-Chicago, and try my chance to change the car there. Three hours drive… I'm trying to make a business meeting. A very creative approach.
The worst was on the way back. As I did my online C'in, I arrived at O'hare, one hour before my flight. I delivered the car, and started to wait for the shuttle to take me to the terminal. As the shuttle bus did not leave on time, I entered to the building and asked what is happening. I've been told that as I'm the only customer, the shuttle will wait for the next group of customers... Even if I begged, I had to wait there for more than 30 minutes, and therefore missed the flight.
I arrived to Florida, at 1:30 AM, and started the car only at 3:30 AM. Each transaction in Orlando Dollar takes at least 30 minutes. They had 2-3 personnel and only 6 customers when I arrived, and it took two hours to get the keys of the car. The first car had problems with the breaks. The second car a bad battery, that I had to jump start using some help around, as Dollar Emergency Number called me back only after 1 hour, and told me that the help is on the way, and may arrive in one hour.
The last car was the only decent car that I ever had during the entire, and last experience with Dollar Rent a Car and Auto Europe. I've missed a flight, spend one sleepless night, had to look for helpful people to help me on the road (in US!) to start the junk that I've been given by Dollar and Auto Europe, and lost at least my 10 precious hours for to sort out all those problems with the junks. Make yourself a favor and keep away from Auto Europe (Dollar's partner in UK) and Dollar Rent-A-Car.
This company sells an excess refund product with illegal terms and conditions, forcing customers to commit a crime in order to process a claim. Their terms and conditions are a contradiction of the Road traffic act and are a violation the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. They are not authorized to sell insurance but advertise their products as if they are an insurance product when they are nothing more than a con. In this market I suggest that all readers look further down internet search results, and save yourself having to file a county court claim.
They do nothing, they guarantee nothing, they just take your money rented a car in Antwerp airport through AE and it would be with Hertz. You pay AE 66 dollars and then you pay 65 euro to Hertz for a 1 day rental. That is the most expensive car I've rented in my life for the day. The smallest class, bear in mind. $150.00 for a one day rental. I used the car for 2 hours as I had to pick up my dad. Do not Use it Auto Europe!
Most of the reviews of this company (Auto Europe) are poor. Since I have had both good and bad experiences with them (I've used them three times), I'd like to share some hints for having a positive experience with them: If the agent who answers the phone is grumpy or short with you, call back or ask to speak with a supervisor. Their service ranges from superb to abysmal. This is true for both the rental agents and Customer Service.
These folks are "brokers;" they own no cars but match you up with the "best deal." This is often with Europcar, which has appalling business practices (IMHO) -- dirty, unreliable cars, misrepresenting fees, refusal to provide documents, etc. Buyer beware with Europcar! Ask for quotes from other companies, which will often match Europcar's prices.
Be aware that, with some of their companies, road tax and "location fees" are not included; others include them. Ask your agent to compare all items being included in the quote. Continue to monitor prices. Call back every week to see if there have been "better deals" posted. The company will change your reservation until pick-up day. If you don't like the car upon pickup, insist that the agent call Europcar. They WILL advocate for you. Of my three experiences with Auto Europe, one was entirely positive, one terrible, and one mixed. I would use them again, but with greater caution. Meanwhile, I will continue to look for alternatives.
I asked for and thought I was paying all the fees before I left on vacation. I had asked for the "full" rate.
I gave them my card and paid in full, but I was surprised by a whole lot of unanticipated fees when I got back.
They justified the fees by pointing me to fine print where there was vague language about fees that "were not included." They gave me a runaround about "not being allowed (by law?)" to charge these before the rental. Apparently they also aren't allowed to be up front with you about them either.
The best way to make a customer mad is to not share full information. Auto Europe's way to socking you with fees afterwards is shady.