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 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!
PORTLAND, MAINE -- In July 2010 I rented a car from Auto Europe (National Car Rental), on a vacation trip to Scotland. When I returned the auto to the Edinburgh airport, I had problems with Auto Europe. First the representative claimed that the car had been damaged; after a lengthy debate the decision was "no damage."
After I returned home to the United States I was shocked to learn that I had been charged for an extra day by Auto Europe. The car had been returned on-time, evidenced by the receipt provided to me by AE, and the company did not advise me that the return was late. I attempted to resolve the dispute with Auto Europe, but the company was unresponsive. After several months the credit card provider (not AE) refunded the disputed balance. I got ripped-off by Auto Europe and any prospective customer should be aware of the treatment I received. AE was unethical and the customer service was lousy.
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.
PORTLAND, MAINE -- My story is similar to the others posted on this site. I rented through Auto Europe but ended up with a different local provider when I actually picked up the car. The bill from the company actually renting the car exceeded the "guaranteed" maximum price by almost 30% - inflated by charges supposedly authorized in the small print of the voucher after I completed the reservation. In what I can only describe as deceptive and misleading, Auto Europe sucks you in with low "guaranteed" rates and then lets the company actually providing the car clobber you with ridiculous extra charges (I was charged over $100 for "winterizing" a car I rented for 10 days in December). And the customer service folks appear to send out canned responses and were totally unreceptive to any perspective but their own. My recommendation - stay away from this outfit. I will never use Auto Europe again.
PORTLAND, MAINE -- Don't be fooled by Auto Europe internet ads with the great call in special price. I have rented numerous cars in the UK from the US and this is the worst experience ever. I was promised that the price that I was quoted would be all that I would pay - including airport pick up and an extra driver - only to arrive at Europcar pick up desk and be told there would be extra charges - a total of almost $200 extra even though the voucher stated "balance due 00.00". If this was not bad enough, a few days after I arrived home, I had a charge on my credit card that was almost two and a half times the extras that they had even told me about. They are returning (so they claim)the extra day charge for stating that I had dropped off the car when I was already on the plane ($40 - big deal and it took over a month for them to even agree to this)- but are refusing to budge on the other additional charges making the rental 73% higher than the original price quote of $605.30. Unless you want to pay a price that is higher than almost any rental company and not even be sure what that charge might be - DO NOT USE AUTO EUROPE!