Europcar to be investigated for 'overcharging customers for repairs'

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  openfly 21 Nov 2017
at 08:05
.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 30 total)

  • AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Over the years there are been many posts about car rental firms (both in the UK and overseas) of overcharging customers in various ways.

    So I thought you would be interested in the fact that the head office of Europcar UK has been raided by Trading Standards officials over billing concerns.

    Daily Telegraph reports that Europcar UK ‘may have profited to the tune of millions of pounds by inflating the cost to consumers of windscreens and other repairs by up to 300 per cent.’

    Paywall for the link below.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/24/exclusive-europcar-accused-overcharging-customers-repairs/

    But there is no paywall for today’s piece in the Daily Mail.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4702174/Car-hire-industry-crisis-fraudulent-repair-probe.html


    capetonianm
    Participant

    About time this scandal is brought to the courts.


    AnthonyDunn
    Participant

    I have a standard operating procedure to address/head off such a possibility: I take photos of the vehicle at the point of collection and upon return. Should there be any issues, I have the photographic proof of the state of the vehicle before and after the hire period. This is unarguable.


    K1ngston
    Participant

    That is a great idea so simple AnthonyDunn, I generally have not had an issue I only use Avis and I am actually reasonably happy with the service wherever I am.

    Only once did I have an issue where there was some damage to the car which I noticed myself after I had hired the car and probably done in a car park and I had to pay the amount they suggested but it was a published rate and I basically didn’t argue!

    Photographs it is from now on!


    openfly
    Participant

    I have had several “arguments” with Avis Cape Town about “damage” found on returning cars in the past. It’s a monthly rental and as Pres Club all goes well, until the returns area! Some of the tiny scratches they find are ridiculous and can often be wiped of with a little spit! The latest ruse is to find tiny windscreen stone chips and attempt to get me to pay for the windscreen. If you see any stone chips scatter a little plain yoghurt over the windscreen and let it dry just before returning the car so it is dry….looks like bird poo! Beat them at their own game..??..and no argument.
    I stay with Avis as “better the devil you know”, but total mistrust!


    capetonianm
    Participant

    My worst experience was with Enterprise in the UK. I had used them for many years, many times, and always been delighted with the service. Then within a short period, I damaged a tyre (I hit a pothole on a dark wet unlit road in Buckinghamshire at night, 100% my fault) but there was no other damage and they tried to charge me nearly £300 for a tyre that I could have got from any of the main tyre suppliers, fitted, for about £70. I fought that and they dropped the charge to £90.

    A few weeks later, and I suspect that they may have had me in the system and were determined to ‘get me’ for something, they found ‘shopping trolley damage’ on the rear bumper when I returned the car. They were very unhappy about me taking photos of it at that point when I said I was going to appeal. It may have been there when I picked the car up late on a dark wet night but I hadn’t noticed it and it wasn’t logged. They took the full excess and then refunded the difference, ended up charging me about £500 for removing and repainting the whole bumper. I asked them for supplier’s invoices, which they sent me, but I’m sure they work hand in glove with bodyshops.

    I have an annual CDW policy against which I can claim, so I really don’t care, but I fight as a matter of principle when I feel there’s a ripoff.


    K1ngston
    Participant

    Actually openfly the only time I had an issue with Avis was in Johannesburg when there was a storm that bought down hailstones the size of fists and having been warned put the car undercover and they started to tell everyone that there was damage from the storm and were going to charge me and I pointed out there was no damage as the car had been undercover … your post reminded me of that, the only poor experience with Avis in many years


    openfly
    Participant

    I always insist on a final bill. This indicates that there can be no further charges to be added….however hard they try.


    FaroFlyer
    Participant

    openfly

    You would think that a final bill is just that, but it is not. I had a final bill from Europcar and they later charged for fuel. The car was not full on taking it out, and the agent noted it by hand, on my contract. At return I pointed this out and was given a final bill based on returning with fuel level as taken out.

    A couple of days later I noticed an additional charge on Amex and enquired. A fairly heated discussion with Europcar took place and eventually they backed down, but told me that a Final bill is not a Final bill until the car has been checked in the garage.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    It is true. As far as I know car rental firms, like hotels, are allowed to bill customers for things they may discover later.

    Many years ago I rented a vehicle (with two child seats) from Hertz in Lugano and returned the vehicle on schedule several days later. I took the trouble to wait and collect the bill.

    Imagine my surprise when a week or so later Hertz’s Lugano office billed me for the cost of two child seats … even though I had naturally returned them unmarked inside the vehicle.

    After I protested Hertz dropped the charge.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    http://dailym.ai/2uwXYic

    The media have picked up on this and will do it to death, which is not necessarily a bad thing.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    I rented an Avis car for 3 weeks last month in Florida through BA.

    No issues with the car, however we waited almost 45 mins at the desk in Orlando whilst 1 guy served about 7 others in front of us.

    1. Deception #1. I was asked at the Avis desk if I wanted to pay extra for a satnav. Said no. Guess what – got to the car and it had a satnav fitted as standard.

    2. Deception #2. They try to get you to buy a full tank from them at $2.14 a gallon. There is a big sign behind the desk saying ‘average price at local gas stations $2.18’. Fact – in Kissimmee we filled up 4 times at $1.92 a gallon.

    3. Deception #3. They ask you if you wish to use their transponder to pay tolls and have it billed to your credit card. Only if you read the sheet they give you do you see this actually costs $3.95 a rental day.

    Not hard to see overall why car rental companies, banks and airlines have the same type of ‘avoid’ status as a dog turd on the pavement.

    Personally I would be delighted to see them taken down a peg or two.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    capetonianm
    Participant

    This is the damage which occurred to an Enterprise car while it was in my charge. They ended up charging me £220. A panel shop I popped into quoted me £70 but I didn’t have time to leave it with them.

    I queried the charges with them and made them work for it, asking for photos before and after, invoices etc. On this occasion they didn’t back down and I haven’t used them since. I strongly suspect that they wouldn’t have carried out the repairs fully had I not insisted on proof.

    I sent them the following letter, to which they didn’t bother to reply, and this in my view ‘have the same type of ‘avoid’ status as a dog turd on the pavement.’

    Enterprise Rent-A-Car UK Limited

    Dear Sirs

    You may wish to know why, after many years of excellent service from several of your branches in the UK, I will be unlikely to be using Enterprise Rent-A-Car in the future and have already rented several times in the last couple of months from your competitors.

    On Friday 13th. September I rented a car from your Gatwick branch (Rental xxxxx) and returned the car with minor damage to the rear left hand side area. This consisted of about 4 scratches a couple of inches long, in a small area of the rear skirt of the car. The scratches were deep enough to take out the paint down to the plastic.

    I was subsequently charged £220 for this, which I consider abusive and excessive. I took this up with the branch requesting proof that this represented the true and reasonable cost of the repairs, and that the repairs had been done. They were slow to respond and I had to ask repeatedly for the matter to be escalated. I was eventually given the information and full supporting documents requested.

    I have no complaint about your staff, other than the slow response, but I consider, and this was confirmed by an independent professional opinion based on photographs (yours and mine) of the damage, that the restoration could have been done for substantially less with buffing and paint/filler. I appreciate that this would not have given the 100% new look which your repair achieved, but would have been a satisfactory repair.

    It is certainly not up to me to tell how to run any aspect of your business, and if you insist that any damage, however minor, has to be repaired to restore the car to immaculate condition at the customer’s expense then that is your choice.
    Mine is not to rent from a company which operates such a stringent policy and which places profitable business in the hands of a subsidiary where there is probably an agreement lucrative to both parties at the expense of the customer.

    As I am insured under an excess policy this money has not come out my own pocket, but there is a principle involved. I am not expecting any sort of refund or credit, but felt you should know how I, as a customer, perceive this matter and why I will be unlikely to rent from you in the future where an alternative is available.

    At the same time, I would like to add that the standard of service I have received when renting from Enterprise has been outstanding, your staff are always friendly, well-presented, professional and approachable.

    Yours faithfully


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    It’s new reported in The Telegraph that Europcar staff are being handed £4 each time they spot “damage.”
    (Paywall)

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/23/car-hire-scandal-europcar-staff-handed-4-time-spot-damage/

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