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 whether 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 refueling. I called the customer service to complain and received the answer that I should have known they would charge me for the refueling 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: "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 finalised.
Several e-mails, receipted with "out-of-office replies" and nearly six months 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 Europcar's' 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's 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
This company is dishonest and will rip you off.
They have NO customer service.
Absolutely the worst company I have ever dealt with.
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.
Rental Agreement No.: **. I pre-booked a small van for a day hire over the internet from Europcar UK Ltd at a quoted 40.25 euros to be collected 19.09.09 from their Etoile Foch depot in Paris, France. This quote subsequently morphed into a total of 109.71 euros with CDW insurance and other sundry extra charges and insurances, but not to worry you live and learn.
I was sent to pick up and check the vehicle from reception unaccompanied. The sheet detailed no panel damage and only one small scratch. The reality however was somewhat different with dents, scratches and other defects which took me twenty minutes to list, after which back to reception to get the damage verified and countersigned.
The van was returned after six hours and the hire desk assistant after having the vehicle checked informed me that everything was O. K. and bade me "au revoir". I insisted that before I was prepared to go anywhere I required a printed final invoice and also return of the credit card authorization slip for the security deposit of 700.00 euros, which he had told me at the time of the hire would not be processed and would be destroyed after the vehicle had been brought back in the same condition as it originally had left the agency.
He point blank refused my request for return of the slip but did eventually and after a great deal of fuss on my part print out a final invoice, and again insisted that the security deposit would not be processed. Over three weeks later I now find that a total of 809.71 euros has been taken from my credit card account for a six hour hire of a small van, and Europcar, their central office and the Paris depot are ignoring all communication.
I have informed my credit card issuer of the unauthorized charge in respect of the security deposit, which according to Europcar`s own terms and conditions is refunded at the termination of the hire. I am currently taking advice on possible civil and/or criminal proceedings against this company along with reporting them to the Office of Fair Trading and European Trading Standards.
On September 8th, 2009 I had booked a car for 9:30. I was to pick it up at the Edinburgh office and drop it off on September 11th at the Glasgow office prior to returning home to Canada. While in Edinburgh, there was a delay and I sat in the office from 9:15 until 11:00 waiting for my car. When it was finally my turn to pick up the car, I also rented a GPS unit for 10gbp per day. The deposit on the car was 250gbp, and I had to show my Ontario driver's license as proof of identity. This information was copied down on the contract. The car was fine. It was clean and in good condition.
On September 10th at 4 PM I dropped the car off in Glasgow. I packaged up the GPS unit and returned it and the keys to the office. I commented on how the GPS unit (TOM TOM) had sent me to the wrong address a few times, and the other employee accompanying the lady I was dealing with shared a similar story of how he had ended up all over Glasgow because of the GPS unit. At the conclusion, I asked for a receipt and was told they would mail me one. (This was a big mistake.)
After returning home, I noted that 2 weeks later, I received a bill from Europcar for $586. I expected that this was the converted 250gbp deposit that had not been removed. A week later, I sent an email to Europcar to explain it and ask them to return my deposit. They did not reply. I sent a 2nd email a week later and told them I was going to contact VISA if I had not heard back from them. I received an unsigned reply the next day stating I had not returned the GPS and I was not getting my deposit back.
It is now 5 weeks later, and I received my receipt in the mail. On top of charging me for stealing the GPS, these morons charged me for an extra day's rental (that being the 11th), and wrote my address as being in the USA. Seeing as the car was returned on the 10th and due on the 11th, it is ludicrous that they would charge me an extra day. Further, they copied my mailing address from my driver's license. Note, Ontario is in Canada, not the United States. In short, they have no customer service. Their administration is totally messed up. You cannot call them as no one answers the telephone. I have reported this to VISA for investigation.
My wife and I rented a Peugeot 107 for two weeks in June 2009, through easyJet, from the Faro Airport outlet of Europcar Portugal. I declined the 13 euros per day for CDW & THW since I had coverage with my Canadian RBC credit card. Europcar told me that I would be responsible for any damages up to 1500 euros and they also insisted that a 650 euro deposit be charged to my card. They gave me the distinct impression that they were trying to pressurize me into purchasing the additional coverage but I refused.
They also wanted 20 euros per day for a second driver, but I declined that too. The rental car worked just fine, it was small but big enough for us and it did have AC. The only glitch was when I hit a pile of small rocks in the road when backing up into a driveway and dented the driver's side sill. There seems to be lots of road construction going on in the Algarve at the moment, in every one of the small towns along the coast, and it's just about impossible to avoid hitting something.
I contacted RBC while I was still in the Algarve and they told me that the mishap would probably be covered by their insurance. On returning the car, the Europcar “inspector”checked everything – gas, spare, jack, glass, body panels and sure enough he saw the dent, all 7.5 cm of it. I told them I had third party coverage but they were not interested and charged my card 360 euros for the damage, but they did return the 650 euro deposit.
On returning to Canada, RBC Insurance did a great job and took care of my problem and credited me back the 360 euros within 2 weeks. Portugal is not the easiest of countries for driving and it appears that Europcar want to penalize people for the slightest damage. The guy in front of me in line got dinged 50 euros for a few litres of gas and the guy behind me got stung 250 euros for a scuffed tire!!! So take my advice and use any other company, but not these money grabbing toads!!
ITALY -- I spent 2 months in Italy last year from August to October 2008. While we were there we rented a car. The place we rented from was Europcar at the Termini location in Rome. As with any car rental you must produce your credit card even if you are paying cash for the vehicle. Upon each vehicle return we paid in cash and were assured nothing would appear on the credit card. The CC company is TD Visa in Canada. We returned home in October and then began to receive all kinds of charges to the card from the car rental company Europcar at Termini location in Rome.
Each month other than one, we have incurred charges from over 1000 dollars to a bottom of 59 dollars. Non of these charges are valid and have been made up! However the dispute resolution process with TD Visa is to no avail. If the billing occurs and you do not have proof then you are charged. The fraud dept with Visa will not interfere because you have authorized use of the card even if your authorization was to be believed to simply hold the funds in case. Once you sign for a vehicle rental the contract is open ended and they can charge your account for years after you have left the country.
It has been 7 months since our visit and we are incurring new charges dated for the time we were there and each charge is a new charge. Case in point to alert anyone with common sense. The most recent charge is for extra mileage, etc. Why was that not incurred upon return of the vehicle when inspected and accepted by the rental company? Beware... Do not deal with auto Europcar in Rome, Italy! And make sure you have recourse with your credit card company in case something like this should arise. In my experience and opinion Do not use TD Visa as your credit card company as you will not have fair recourse.
GREECE, ATHENS -- In August last year, I flew into Athens airport (Greece) with my wife and children for a three week holiday. We flew with EasyJet and through EasyJet booked a hire vehicle with Europcar. At the Europcar counter at the airport, the gentlemen in question refused to give me the vehicle claiming that my driver's license was not valid as it was a South African driver's license.
I have been renting cars for over 15 years in Europe including countries such as the UK, Germany, Spain and almost every year for the last 14 years, Greece. This is the first time that I have been refused a vehicle because I hold a South African driver's license.
After an hour spent arguing with ** at the airport, I went across to the next Car rental agency, which in this case was 'Sixt', and in a matter of 10 minutes I had a hire vehicle.
The unfortunate thing is that it was at a substantially higher cost due to it not being pre-booked. I requested to ** that he should consult his supervisor as this was the first time that this has ever happened to me, to which he answered to that he did not need to and even had the audacity to tell me that he had cancelled my reservation!
To date, I have not been refunded by Europcar for the vehicle I was wrongly denied (pre-booked for and paid for upfront) nor for the additional expense incurred by going to the other rental agency.
It appears that nobody at Europcar is prepared to assist and neither are EasyJet. This issue has been dragging on for nearly six months and now do not know who to turn to assist in getting my money back. The amount is not a lot, but it's the principle!
My family and I were seriously inconvenienced and even distressed for that hour as the whole holiday hinged on having a hire vehicle to get around! Thank you SIXT!