Europcar...the great car rental disaster
GOD ONLY KNOW, KANSAS -- I had two problems with Europcar in 2009 and 2010.
First problem: When renting in Catania, Sicily, the gas tank was given to me on "empty" when we picked up the car. When I said to the lady at the Europcar office that they are required to give it to me "full", she said not to worry; simply return it empty and she will mark the rental sheet to reflect that it was given to me that way. The Europocar Rental agent lied. She marked the rental form, I delivered it close to empty and then Europcar charged me in Palermo, where it was returned, for a full tank that they bought for the vehicle. LESSON: Never take a car from Europcar without a full tank of gas, no matter what they tell you...they are liars.
Second problem: I reserved a car this spring (Feb, 2010) to be picked up in Nice at the airport...or so I thought. I never received a confirmation from Europcar (they never email you one, like they promise). Some time later, I wondered if my rental had gone through, so I checked the Europcar website (which is a disaster to work with) and didn't find a rental in my name. So, at the suggestion of a friend, I booked a car the SIXT Car Rental, who were wonderful (the opposite of Europcar). Thinking that I now had the car I would need in August, I was surprised to get a bill from Europcar on my MasterCard for a pre-paid rental for the same date. But, I thought, it was probably my fault and tried to make inquiries to cancel it with Europcar; willing to pay the 5% Europcar cancellation fee. It was impossible to contact Europcar on their website. Europcar's website is a disaster and only permits you to rent cars; not to change your rental, cancel reservation or speak with anyone. Beware, this is some kind of gimmick. Rent from someone other than Europcar and you'll save yourself headaches in the process. It took me more than 10 hours writing emails to Europcar to every possible email address that I could make invent. Finally, an email that I sent addressed to email@example.com was answered and they promised to cancel my reservation...we'll see if they do. My advice is to avoid renting from Europcar and try the new SIXT Car Rental agency that can be found online. So far, my expeience with SIXT Car Rental is far superior to my horrible experience with Europcar Car Rental and the SIXT Car Rental prices are lower than Europcar Car Rental. Also, don't avoid the tried and true American car rental agencies such as Hertz, Budget or Avis, as they can't be any worse than Europcar and they have offices in the US with a phone number and "real people" with whom you can speak. You can't say that for Europcar.