TORONTO -- When I arrived at the Toronto airport, there were no signs direction me to "New Frontier" car rentals. I went into the Hertz, Budget, Avis AND Dollar car rental offices, asked them if they had heard of the rental car company and no-one had!! Eventually I called Payless from the shuttle pick-up area, and they had a number for a company called "AutoWise", who had a record of my reservation.
When I arrived at the car rental office (via their pick-up service), I filled out the requisite paperwork, and was taken out to a dark parking lot, where I was (at the very last moment) informed that the car I was being rented was damaged. To my eyes, it appeared that the car had recently been in accident, so I immediately asked for another car and I was told that (despite my reservation of a theoretically SAFE vehicle) nothing else was available. Therefore, because I was late for a meeting, told I had no other choice, and it was dark, and distant from any other car rental company, I accepted the car.
It turned out that the car was unsafe. The wheel well was broken, and held together with duct tape. (On top of that, it was missing hubcaps, was filthy, reeked of smoke and had so little gasoline in it that I could not drive to my destination without filling up.) (I returned the car with twice the gas it had originally had in it, and was not credited for that either...) When I returned the car, needless to say, I expressed my concern. I risked my life and the lives of those I love driving an car that had visibly recently been in an accident. It should not have been rented.
Driving on the highway was terrifying, but I was too busy to drive back to Dixon Road in Etobicoke to argue with the rude man who rented me the vehicle. I was not charged when I returned the car, as the customer service representative could not believe that his manager had rented the car to me in such disrepair. Interestingly, a few days later I was charged the FULL amount for the car rental (it was billed to my credit card). I have complained to the rental car company, and heard nothing in response.
TORONTO -- Please FORGET Autowise!!! (especially their new location in Toronto: 6465, Airport Road). I am going to tell you our bad experience from last week. We booked 5 days online, and we get a confirmation email which told you: $53.78. OK, we knew that there were something wrong because it was really cheap... but when we arrived at the car rental agency, the guy (the manager, a very rude, unpolite and dishonest person) told us:
That they had a problem with internet and that they sent an email to every customer telling them that the price indicated was false... OK, but we haven't received ANY email!!! It was simply a lie!!! That we were 30 min late, so our car has been rented (in half an hour ???!!!), so that we'll have to pay not $18/day but 18+5=$23, for a bigger car (we wanted a small and cheap on gas car). So we get a big Nissan, for which we gave up A LOT OF MONEY for the gas... but we wanted to go on vacation and we conclude: OK, but for only $18/day.
Then the guy told us that we had to pay for the insurance... OK, that was... $24.95 more/day!!! (we had rented a car in the same agency in July and it was totally different!! The girl was nice, it was cheap, and the car was clean). So we had planned our vacation and are in Ontario just for a couple of months (we are from France), so we decided to pay, whatever the price. Then the guy told us that he had no time for us (!!), and let us sign very quickly... He spoke French and could understand what we were saying, from the beginning ... but he spoke English (and very fast) on purpose so that it was harder for us to understand the small details of the contract...
We went to the car, the guy disappeared, and we saw that it was very dirty... and that the gas tank was empty!!! (that what they do in very cheap car rental locations, like in very touristic places... what a shame!!). We lost maybe $15 of gas when we came back, because we didn't want to break down.. We went to our trip, it was great... but when we came back, the guy told us that we had to pay 40 $ more because we had only 200 kms/day (we've never seen that online, it's always unlimited kilometers... and that what we asked for!!!) and we saw that there was a very small and discreet indication on our contract: 200 km/day...
So, I wanted to tell you all the details, to tell you that it's really dishonest!! We had a reservation for $58, we thought that we'd have to pay $18/day and we paid... $492!!! for 6 days, it's very expansive and totally dishonest!! and it's stupid to go to the airport (what takes more than one hour) to get better prices, if it's not the case... Sorry for my English, I hope the explanations were easily understood... So.. choose something else!!
TORONTO AIRPORT -- I had the same experience. I went to this stupid car company because they were shown as the cheapest in CarRental.com but a $164 rental turned into a $391 nightmare when the transaction was complete. When I went there for the first time, a lady treated me in a polite manner and helped me out. In the pretext of being nice to me she "UPGRADED" my car to NISSAN Versa. I didn't know I was walking into a trap. When I came back a week later, apparently she was fired. I see a charge of $264. I asked them about the charges. Initially, the guy had some problems "printing" the receipt.
When I insisted, he showed up at the office. He started to raise his voice when he started to explain the charges, trying to scare me. So I raised mine too and another customer walked in to rent a car and he tried to be nice. I saw this same problem when I went to rent the car with another customer. In the auto wise receipt it was $264 now he prints another one in a white sheet that says $391 with a different company name. The charges listed where stupid like using A/C there is a $5 fee, which I never used by the way! I asked him to give a copy of the auto wise receipt, which he initially refused but agreed since the customer was watching.
He added another $110 claiming a mileage fee on top of the unlimited kilometers right in front of me. We had a pretty good debate and I told why I now know when Enterprise rent a car advised me to be wise if I am renting a car from Auto wise. Auto wise is a rip-off that will charge if you sneeze. I am an Indian and feel so bad that there are dishonest and rude people like him in this business. Please don't rent from them. It will save you a lot of headache and money! Beware of their two bill system and insist on having a copy of Auto wise if you are filing a claim against them in the consumer quote. Also have the original booking confirmation email as well.
TORONTO -- I went to pick up a friend of mine at their office (6465 Airport Road, Mississauga) near Toronto Pearson Airport and the office was chaos with every single customer having a fight with the customer service people. It was surreal! One guy wanted a taxi fare returned to him because they wouldn't rent him a car without proof of his own insurance or pay for theirs. Another guy was phoning someone to get them to fax proof of insurance. Another was arguing that they were being charged for a Border Crossing Fee when they had never crossed any border!
Another was saying that he had unlimited km in Ontario and the Autowise guy was saying that he could not drive 2,000 km in Ontario in a week! It was completely crazy. Be very very careful if you want to rent from them. Sometimes a bargain is not what it appears to be.
Beware Autowise. Document your promised rate, insurance information and KEEP IT WITH YOU WHEN YOU BRING THE CAR BACK or they'll jack your rate. Although we confirmed our booked rate when we picked up our car, when we returned the car, we were told the price was $200 more! Thankfully, I had a copy of our confirmation email to prove the point. THEN the clerk said "Well you don't have unlimited miles. I will charge you for your mileage." Again, I used our confirmation to prove the point that we did have unlimited mile.
THEN he said "Well you paid for extra insurance and that's the difference" so we pulled out a copy of our rental agreement noting that we had declined all coverage. "Well you're not covered so you must pay extra," he said. "Yes we are covered," I said, producing a copy of our insurance card. "You have a copy of this," I added, pointing the photocopy stapled to the papers in his hand.
ON and ON this went - somehow I remained calm and polite as the clerk pulled out every possible unscrupulous business practice. By the time we got out, I felt like I needed a shower from all the slime. Oh and the advertised 'free airport shuttle' was not provided, in either direction. False advertising, as icing on this bitter cake. Beware!