Car Rental with Europcar at VeniceBack to Forum
I ask my fellow contributors if any of you have ideas on how to get revenge on the EUROPCAR rent-a-car company in general but in particular at Venice Marco Polo airport (VCE).
Very briefly, back in March, I rented a car in Pisa and after some meetings in Toscana, drove to Veneto also for a few days business. After completion, and as per the agreed rental contract on the hire of the vehicle, I returned the car to VCE approximately 05.00am on a Saturday morning and took the 07.00am BA flight to LHR followed by a connection down to AUH.
There was nobody on duty at the Car Hire Return Parking, so I left the vehicle with keys inside in a EUROPCAR space, not 5 metres from their Office cabin, and proceeded into the Terminal, where by coincidence I found a EUROPCAR office also in darkness.
My problems began when Pisa office chased me (in AUH) after 3 days or so for my whereabouts. I explained that I fulfilled my contractual obligations and returned the car on time at VCE. Also in slang Italian (and bad words) told them what I thought about the useless idiots at VCE and where were they at 5am on the Saturday.
Then to my disbelief, after some weeks I finally received a copy of the invoice with 3 days added to, or should I say debited from my credit card.
I wrote to EUROPCAR and after an exchange of perhaps 3 or 4 emails they refused to budge or re-assess that they are in the wrong. For them the matter is closed. I was in default on the rental contract and they are correct to charge me for the extra 3 days. (How they did not see the car in front of them for 3 days I do not know)
So to all my fellow forum contributors, it is not necessarily the money, as we are talking about Euros 100 plus only here, but its the principle, and if they are doing this on a regular basis, using the strategy that one cannot prove when one returns the vehicle, how many other people are incurring treatment/losses like this.
Any of you have any suggestions on how to dirty their name in the media, perhaps magazines/TV and the like???
Any suggestions on how to get revenge on this (FRENCH) company???
I am aware there are comments about the French and the subject of money in another topic here on this forum.26 Jul 2019
A couple of comments.
I would hesitate to call Europcar a ‘French’ company in this context as I believe that the individual country operations are franchised out. That said, the head office is in France.
If you can prove that you were on a flight immediately after dropping the car, that is very strong evidence, although not cast-iron, that you returned the car prior to boarding. Someone else could in theory have used it for three days before returning it.
The VCE office is probably closed at 0500 so your comment about them not being there may be unfair. When you returned the car, did you note the mileage nd if so, is there a discrepancy between your figure and theirs?
Avis did something similar to me a few years ago. I told them to check their CCTV and they would see the car coming in through the barrier. After a few calls back and forth they admitted that they ‘might have made a mistake’. I said there was no ‘might’ about it. I returned the car at 0430, took their shuttle bus to the terminal about 10 minutes later, and at 0600 was on a flight.
Last year I had a problem with Europcar over a rate discrepancy (a couple of hundred pounds difference, not petty cash.) I initially contacted their ‘customer services’ who were a waste of time, useless, or worse than useless, and obstructive. It took a lot of control for me not to be very rude to the one female in particular as she was condescending and patronising. Eventually I managed to find a high level contact in the company and it was sorted out amicably and more than fairly (they refunded more than the difference) and within two hours of my contacting this person, who by the way was French!
If you do want to go the route of dirtying their name in the media, you could try TripAdvisor although probably not very effective, or if you’re UK based, one of the BBC Watchdog/Rip Off Britain programmes, Katie Morley’s Daily Telegraph column, and there are similar ones in most of the other British newspapers.
There is also the BVRLA (British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association) who mediated for me in a dispute with a nasty shoddy outfit called Easirent (nothing at all to do with easyJet group), and there is a European equivalent, I forget the name, and presumably an Italian body.
Good luck, these things rankle with me too and it’s not about the money, it’s about being taken for an idiot or a liar.26 Jul 2019
Europcar are cheap, but not always the best. Since acquiring Goldcar, instead of pulling Goldcar up, they allowed the premium brand to be dragged down, not only in Italy, but UK and France also. I think that Europcar European offices are mainly Europcar, not franchises.
Normally there is an “out of hours” box on the side of the cabin, where you deposit the keys, rather than leaving them in a car, and I seem to remember that VCE is no exception. For the future that is safer and, as Capetonianm suggests, take a photo of odometer and fuel gauge. In future, you should also take a photo of the car park entry ticket as proof of when you entered the car park area.
Persevere with Europcar head office or, if you are UK based, the UK office. Sometimes you can be lucky there. Good luck!26 Jul 2019
I hadn’t realised that the appalling Goldcar, which consistently scores about the worst ratings of any company, was owned by Europcar.
Just as an aside, I’ve noticed that there can be huge differences in Europcar’s rates for the identical rental, depending on when you look. A couple of weeks ago I rented in the UK, prepaid about £320, and was miffed to find when I checked as a matter of curiousity that two days before the rental, it had gone down to about £180. I completely understand that this is about supply and demand and it’s how YM systems work, but it is worth looking at rates several times, or not prepaying which only costs slightly more. As a further example, an LGW rental I’m looking at for the week after next has over the last few days varied from £140 to £230.
I sometimes wonder if it’s worth walking up the desk without a booking and asking what they can offer, the problem is it could go the other way and one might end up with no car, or a very high rate.
I am not pointing this out as a criticism of Europcar, but simply because it may hopefully be helpful.26 Jul 2019
Over the many years that I have rented vehicles I have never been really successful in winning in any dispute. I may have drawn a couple of times but Capetonianm yours is I believe an all to infrequent winn.
Long have I suspected that there is somewhere a secret training college for rental car operatives where degrees in deception,misinformation,condescension, general malfeasance intransigence and lying under duress are studied for and obtained – many with honors!
Odd isn’t it that my experiences with Europcar in Asia have been mostly good. This probably underscores the point made above that they are mostly franchised. I use them often in Thailand and they are the best of the bunch in my opinion. .
1 user thanked author for this post.28 Jul 2019
I think you have a valid point, cwoodward!
The worst car rental company I’ve dealt with ever, anywhere, in my entire life, is Easirent (and again, I emphasize no connection with the easyJet group), they are sly, devious, cunning, bullying, obnoxious and downright evil. Their staff definitely went to the secret training college you mentioned! We needed a 9 seater for a long weekend and the difference in price between them and the ‘majors’ was over £500 – that should have been a warning signal and if the situation were to arise again I’d happily spend the extra £500.
I agree about wins being rare but when I feel I have been cheated I won’t give up until I either win or at least know that action has been taken against them. Most companies have a point at which they will back down, and the consumer has to be more pig-headed and persistent than they are. I am! In such cases I find going right to the top usually more satisfactory than starting with ‘customer relations’ who are just a first level defence.28 Jul 2019
When a company has the freedom to charge your card ‘at will’ at a later date, I always use my Amex, simply because they are, for me, the easiest firm to make a payment dispute or a claim of over charging.
Why not claim to your payment company that the firm stole from you – which is basically what they did (as long as they knew the car had been returned.28 Jul 2019
Well I rent about 180 days a year and 95% of it I book with rentalcars.com in UK. I rent all over the world with them. I always buy full insurance off them and the three times I made a claim I have been refunded within 48hrs. Dont get me started on those slimey crooks called Easirent. I now have my own account manager at Rentalcars.com and he is brilliant. I am based on the other side of the world to him and communication is seemless.Too many bad experiences dealing with various rental companies in countless countries, for me now its rentalcars.com every time.29 Jul 2019
I do feel for you, Alainboy56, as this whole episode seems to be symptomatic of how the travelling public see car rental firms in 2019. What a shame.
People seem to be having more luck with disputes when taken to Twitter, as this seems to have high profile within organisations, given the number of people that read Tweets and follow various brands. Many companies seem keen to have swift resolution on such a public forum.
A few ounces of prevention (as has been suggested above, photos of the vehicle exactly where you returned it, copies of boarding passes showing your exit from VCE, pictures of mileage and fuel, and perhaps a call to res to say exactly where you left the vehicle) all can help your case. I also think disputing the charge via your credit card company is another way of resolving your overbilling, as they have to prove they weren’t negligent by ignoring your car in the lot. I have always left keys in lock boxes when the rental firm is closed.
Keep us posted on your progress!29 Jul 2019
To all fellow contributors – Actually this story had another phase of mishaps and that was at the initial renting of the car at Pisa Airport. I had signed all the paperworks gone out and collected the car and set off north for Massa, a route I know extremely well having lived there for more than 20 years. After joining the motorway, I suddenly realised the car was empty of petrol. I called the number on the contract which was a Pisa number, but ended up talking to a girl in Spain who spoke Italian. I asked how I can reach the office in Pisa Airport. It took several attempts, but eventually I got through to the rental desk back in Pisa just 15kms behind me. They did not believe me and basically said its impossible. However they called me back after 20 minutes after checking into it, to confirm that it was true. I insisted they put this FACT into the computer booking, as by then I had put Euros80 into the tank. They promised to do so.
The main point of this was that to call the rental desk that I had just departed from was an enormous problem. After the girl in Spain, on my next call, it was a guy in Slovakia!, following that, a girl in Holland I think!!! So I do wish EUROPCAR (and others) would stop this ‘call centre’ nonsense and allow us to speak with the actual depot, after all if we are renting from a particular location its far better for them to respond to a problem, not somebody in Spain/Slovakia etc.
So ‘StephenLondon’ your suggestion to make a call, is not always so simple. Perhaps as suggested by ‘cwoodward’ and others, that this is part of the training and strategy for the company – i.e RULE No 1 – How to make things as difficult as possible for the customer to make contact with us and complain.29 Jul 2019
Whenever I’ve had to hire a car, there have always been specific instructions when dropping off when the office is closed, e.g, keys into a drop box, keys through a letter box after locking the vehicle. Making sure to park in the designated spot and photographs of this, with pictures of the vehicle and petrol gauge, which can be deleted once the charges have been settled.29 Jul 2019
I mentioned tyre damage in another thread, where I (or rather my wife!) caused serious damage to a tyre. When I took the car to Kwikfit to replace the tyre, they found damage to the other one which they opined was previous damage which Europcar had not noticed.
I am happy to report that they accepted my contention that it was previously damaged and have agreed to refund me the cost, meaning I will only need to claim on my insurance for one and not both.
This is why I will continue to use EP. They are probably not always the cheapest (admittedly I don’t normally check others) but their service is always good and they have treated me fairly over the years.27 Aug 2019