BORDEAUX -- Last year we rented a car in Bordeaux, France. When we arrived they were very short staffed, taking over 45 min to get us a car. When they brought us a child seat, despite the fact that we specified that we
wanted a superfix (considered as a safe seat in the UK), they brought a very old style seat. It was impossible to fix and unsafe for our child. When we asked for another seat, they refused to bring it.
After spending almost 3 hours in the airport and complaining to supervisors, all of whom were rude and unhelpful, even though they saw that we had a 2 years old child with us, who was very hot and tired, we finally got a marginally better seat (at least we could attach it to our car). We sent a written letter of complaint on our arrival to the UK, but heard nothing and had no time to chase.
We rented a car in Switzerland this year, which happened to be from Europcar. When we turned up to pick it up, we were refused, as apparently Europcar blacklisted us. This resulted in us spending money on two more taxi rides and wasting 2 hours of our holidays and having to rent from another rental company. We have no idea how in the eyes of consumer law it is possible when a company takes our money, provides unsafe and unfriendly service, and then blacklists us!
STAY AWAY FROM THESE CRIMINALS AS FAR AS YOU CAN!!! Europcar is basically an enormous credit card fraud scheme, covering as a car rental company. I too have had a horrible experience with them and I am taking legal action (not just threatening with it). Feel free to join me if you were treated the same way (see below).
My story (Perth, Australia): Rented a car that had a scratch on the rear bumper when I got it (clearly marked on the rental agreement form as 'DAMAGE OUT'). Returned it in the exact same condition, but the airport desk was unmanned. Same scratch was marked as 'new damage' by some lazy employee afterwards. My card is now charged with 3023 euros (yes, three thousand!!!) for a stupid 5cm scratch that was already there!?!? I've explained their mistake to them numerous times. No reply to my many emails, needless to say. They just take your money and then ignore you.
Look around on the internet and you will find nothing but horror stories of people being charged ridiculous amounts from their credit cards for impossible claims by Europcar. If you wish to help me put an end to these practices, you can contact me at: **. I will be collecting all your stories, contact the press and if you are interested, my lawyer can prepare an international class action lawsuit. This is criminal behaviour and it has to be stopped.
I WILL NEVER EVER RECOMMEND CAR RENTAL FROM EUROPCAR EVER AGAIN! I regretted not renting from Avis instead! I had rented from Europcar from the airport 31 Dec 2011- 4 Jan and dropped off at Europcar Dandenong. Paid the toll through the phone and now, I received a letter saying I did not pay the citylink toll charge. Got proof for that in my credit card bill!! Have yet to call to clarify the charge as I just received the letter today.
Second time, I rented and extended the rental from Europcar Dandenong for 11-18 Jan. Upon return on 18 Jan at the airport, the guy who checked the car for mileage and petrol tank, said all was OK! I got a shock when I was charged by Europcar Dandenong for AUD$39.51 on 19 Jan… Called Europcar Dandenong to clarify. **, who spoke to me on the phone, claimed that I was charged for 1/8 unfilled petrol!
I practically lost my temper when I told her I had MADE SURE petrol was filled up upon return as I was well aware of the exorbitant charges I would incur. I had even gone an extra mile to wash and vacuum the car! I did mention that from the nearest petrol station to the drop off area, she must be crazy to expect a full to the brim petrol tank!!
Anyway when demanded for her to send me a letter or invoice as a document/notification of charge, til now nothing has been sent! Emailed her to send to me again and still silence! Just because it is in the terms and conditions that they can charge us for all these it does not mean that they can do that without notifying us. They should provide proof of these claims instead! My sweet memories of Melbourne has been tarnished by this experience. I have spent nearly $2000 and yet they have the cheek to charge additional bogus charges!!
This car rental experience was probably one of the worst experience of my life. I reserved the car via Europcar website for 8:00 A.M. on the 1st of February 2011. First of all, your website stated that your rental station was located in a hotel which is called Paradisus in Puerto Morelos. I couldn't find this hotel on Google map, so I asked several taxi drivers to find out that the Paradisus was now called the Sapphire and in fact, it was located outside Puerto Morelos. I found out that there was a closer office.
So I went to that office, it was now 9 a.m. at the office, I asked if I could if the get the car there since it was closer to where I was staying. The clerk was really nice and told me that there was no problem that I just had to come back an hour later and the car would be there. So I came back an hour later (around 10 a.m.) and then, the clerk told me that there was a problem with Europcar system at the Paradisus (Sapphire) and that I had to wait for another hour to get the car. So I waited, and waited, and waited, to finally get the car around 13h30. A car that was not the one I originally asked for and was supposed to be an upgrade (yeah, right!).
Then came the time to sign the contract, again there was a problem. The price was not the one I booked for. It was almost the double! The clerk tried to fix the problem with the reservation center but both were helpless. I was so mad and didn't want to lose more time than I already had that I took the car and left. As I was getting on the highway, I noticed that the left tie-rod end was so worn out that I could hear it flapping when hitting bumps or holes. In fact it was so worn out that the car was pulling radically to the right when I had to brake hard.
I had so much trouble getting the car that I didn't want to get in the trouble of changing for another car. I have worked for few years in the car rental business in Canada, so believe me, I know how it works and I know that this kind of situation is unacceptable. In the end, I lost half a day of my 7 days vacation in Mexico and end up with a barely undriveable car. So if you ask me, from what I have seen Europcar is the worst rental company ever.
NEW ZEALAND -- Although the clerk at the desk was a little gruff and unwelcoming, we did get the car we reserved and were on our way. In Napier, the car was vandalized, and a complete police investigation & report were filed. Upon return to Europcar in Wellington, they assessed the damage (which took quite a long time with three staff that obviously did not know the procedure), and a complete claim was filed, a contract sign, and damages paid for.
Two months later I get a mysterious $1,300 (USD) charge from Europcar Christchurch with no e-mail explaining anything about the charge. I contacted my bank, who said the charge to their system included no explanation of the charges, and had no routing numbers of any kind so it could not be investigated by my bank, but they put a claim against Europcar.
I have been completely lost in the Europcar internet maze, and no e-mail messages have been answered. I've had even poorer luck with their voicemail system, which seems designed to discourage any customer assistance of any kind. Obviously, I will not rent from Europcar again, but in many of the complaints I've seen, many others have been victims of Europcar's unexplained and unwarranted charges.
CAPE TOWN -- I rented an economy-class car in Cape Town South Africa. When I booked in the agency, I asked if I had to refuel the tank when bringing it back and was told they would take care of it. Having rented cars before with various companies, I inquired wether this service was included in the amount I was paying or considered as free, and was told that no I wouldn't be charged for that.
I brought the car back, with not even a quarter of the tank empty for the 400km we had done with it.
When I received the invoice, a charge of over 200Rand has been taken for refuelling. I called the customer service to complain and received the answer that I should have known they would charge me for the refuelling as per my previous experiences in renting cars, making me sound like a fool who misunderstood what I was told when I specifically double-checked that particular point. The customer service then forwarded me the following, titled FYI:
From: Customer Service
To: - Cape Town
Please can you assist here, this client was told that she will not be liable to pay for the fuel, client asked we said no charged, I did the whole explanation, she has rented before and knows how the processes work but this person told her she does not have to pay for fuel, I find this hard to believe. How can we resolve this there is no RA scanned.
I can assure you that this did not take place, our employee who checked out the customer has been with us for many years and would never have said anything like this.
I have replied once again highlighting the fact that this was not what I had been told, and still haven't heard back from them.
Without a doubt, the worst customer service (or lack thereof) we have ever encountered. Only wish we had read previous reviews prior to using this company. We travelled from Australia to NZ and rented a car from Europcar Auckland in March this year. While touring the North Island our trip went without a hitch until another vehicle collided with our car (while parked in a shopping center carpark). The other party admitted fault and supplied all relevant details. Relatively minor panel damage was sustained but we contacted Europcar to report the incident and pass on the details as per our obligations. We can only assume that we were put through to a call center, as the operator was apparently unable to locate us on her map, and had to consult a supervisor for assistance.
We were eventually advised to take the car to the 'nearest' depot some 194km away in Hamilton, for assessment. As this incident took place at around 4pm on a Saturday afternoon we attempted to explain, at length, the logistics of this exercise, given that we were already booked into our accommodation at our present location on the Coromandel Peninsula.
We finally convinced the operator that it would perhaps make more sense to present the car for inspection in Wellington on completion of our trip.
On returning the car to the Wellington ferry terminal as per our contract conditions, we finally managed to convince someone to attend the unmanned booth around 5pm (after two hours, several telephone calls and declining to relocate to Wellington Airport)
The car was inspected and we were then charged an additional $1125 to cover the scratch to the door and were advised that we would be contacted in due course once the claim to the third party had been finallised.
Several e-mails, receipted with 'out-of-office replies' and nearly six month's later, we are still unable to ascertain whether the claim has even been lodged and are still waiting for confirmation and/or reimbursement. We have however, since been informed that these things can sometimes take months to reconcile and that yet another representative would now be handling this claim and will contact us with an update. Needless to say, we are still waiting for this information.
It seems that despite even responding to Europcars' internet customer feedback facility (again, no response) delaying tactics are the preferred method of dealing with such issues. Or perhaps overseas travellers are deemed a lesser threat in these situations once on the plane home. One can only wonder... Seriously, avoid this company at all costs.
CAMPO DE LAS NACIONES, MADRID, SPAIN -- Beware Europcar Atocha Station office!!
Yes, it's very central. But avoid Europcar's Atocha Station office at all costs if you want to have any hope of recovering anything you might have left behind. When we returned our rental car a few weeks ago, I had a bad stomach virus and felt like I'd been run over by one of the big Toro Osborne cutouts you see along Spanish highways. Frankly, my main interest was finding the nearest toilet, so I forgot that I'd left our 400 dollar camera under the passenger seat. We realized we'd left the camera about a half-hour later in a taxi driving along Gran Via. We told the cabbie to turn around, but at that exact moment, the police were putting up barricades to block traffic heading back to Atocha because of some kind of demonstration. They routed all traffic down the smallest of side streets, which meant we weren't able to get back to the station for another hour. And guess what! By the time we returned, the car was supposedly already washed, vacuumed and rented to another customer... and the camera was gone. In fact, not surprisingly, they denied the possibility of there ever having BEEN a camera in the car. When we filed a claim with the police, the cop told us unprompted "I don't know about the U. S., I've never been there. But in Britain, this never would have happened. They'd be too afraid of losing their jobs. At these rental car offices here, there's no accountability." A few days ago, Europcar's legally required response arrived in the mail. It basically reminded us that the contract stipulates that Europcar has no responsibility for items left behind and that a review of the car had been conducted in our presence (not true; the review only included a check of the mileage and whether there were any new scratches, not a check under the seats). Fair enough. I was an idiot. A sick idiot, but an idiot. However, customers also should be able to have a reasonable expectation that, even so, they'll be able to recover anything left behind... I know of plenty of cases where people have. So Europcar, you've just permanently lost a customer worth more to you than a 400 dollar camera.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
BLUF: DO NOT RENT FROM THIS COMPANY
With the volcano grounding all air flight I rented a car in Frankfurt to Madrid. I was off for a 24 hour drive with the GPS and a Germany map as my only guide. All was well until in the middle of France when I stopped for gas the car would not restart. I had three people try and dial the emergency number with NO success. I had the gas station call a mechanic who got the car started. He also tried to call the number, but did not get through. I paid so I could get out of there but when I arrived in Madrid not only were the people completely rude they would not reimburse the repair cost to me because I did not call the number. I said the number did not work and they said that was my problem. They told me if I wanted to talk to anyone I had to get back in the car and drive to another terminal they would not even tell me how to drive there. This after driving 24 hours already.
My second experience with this company was in Spain again where I rented another vehicle. They had nothing available but their expensive cars and they did not provide me with insurance. WARNING, if you do not get the insurance they WILL find a way to charge for damages when you turn in the car. At the return the guy had to use a soapy sponge to make the damage show up. I paid extra to have this car in regular parking and it was never left on the street and nothing happened when I was driving it basically looked like someone rubbed their luggage against the car. I think the guy did this to the vehicle after I walked away to go to the office. They said this was damage and I needed to pay 350 Euro extra.
Never deal with this company. I feel they are dishonest and unhelpful. STAY AWAY