Europcar to be investigated for 'overcharging customers for repairs'Back to Forum
This is a very interesting thread and it is very interesting to see the different ways in which the different rental companies try to rip people off.
I mainly rent from Hertz and always take their super insurance which means I have zero excess to pay irrespective of how damage may occur. It includes tyres and windscreens and the only way I would not be covered is if I took the car off road.
It is not cheap at €13 per day and I know there are many cheaper policies that I could take out but this way I do not have to pay any money out and claim it back and returning the car is very simple as when they see I have the zero excess insurance they simply check to make sure that the fuel tank is full, thank me for my custom and send me on my way.
Also, when I collect the car, similarly, all I check is that I have a full tank of fuel as with the zero excess cover nothing else matters.
I have to date after 20 plus rentals never had a single issue.24 Jul 2017
I always take pictures now, as a matter of course. I surprised the Hertz guy in Cape Town recently, when I insisted on checking the spare wheel (both for damage and actual presence), but I’ve been caught out there before…27 Jul 2017
We have been stung by this a few times, so now we:
(1) Are VERY careful to check the car over – it can take quarter of an hour to do this properly
(2) Video the exterior of the car rather than take photographs – sometimes scuffs (in particular) or dents can be quite difficult to capture in a photo, but if you walk around the car with your phone and point out where all the marks are with a voiceover commentary then even if it is hard to see the mark in question it is pretty difficult for a rental company to deny that a fault exists
(3) Take out a global excess waiver insurance policy. These are so cheap I am astounded more people don’t do it. We use icarhireinsurance who have, without quibble, promptly paid out on every claim we have made, including the administration charges levied by the hire company. We are currently quids in…
The next step I am going to add (as suggested by one of the linked articles) is to do another video at the END of the rental; and another step I am going to add is to video the interior briefly. Although I have not yet had a rental company try to claim for interior damage, this might have avoided the huge fight we had at Jo’burg once where they tried very hard and in the face of fierce argument to charge us several hundred quid to “replace” a luggage compartment cover which wasn’t in the vehicle when we picked it up (and which, we eventually discovered to the clear dismay of the staff member concerned, wasn’t fitted to ANY of the cars of that model used by that car company – thank you to the anonymous staff member who overheard our heated exchange, strolled past and said “oh, we don’t have any of those covers on our cars”).
I do wonder the extent to which this is done to make up the rental companies’ income with ridiculous “excess waiver insurance” fees. These must be one of the worst rip-offs in either business (car rental, or insurance).
Let me give an example. I had hired a car from Gatwick through a company that offered very cheap prices. In the queue, I had to listen to customer after customer in the queue ahead of me getting the hard-sell. For one group this generated significant debate between them. The result was one of the slowest car pick-up experiences I can recall. When my own turn came for the staff member to try to
rip me off, I mean boost his commission –oops, I meant protect my interests by selling me a reasonably priced policy – I initially resisted quite firmly and was then given a car with a broken driver door mirror. I duly videoed this, noted it on the form, drove off, and a couple of miles up the motorway, completely terrified once it really sank in just how dangerous this was (yes, I know, I should have worked this out beforehand, but I had a Jeremy Clarkson moment, thought about the other two mirrors available and thought “how hard can it be?” – the answer to which is “really quite hard, actually”), turned round (safely and at the next junction!), drove back and demanded a replacement. The head of the office acted in a very “righteous” way, said I should never have been given a car with such a terrible defect, told me how much he would berate his staff etc, and then shamelessly tried to flog me waiver insurance all over again, tried to persuade me that my icarhireinsurance policy wouldn’t cover administrative charges (it does – 75 quid on the last claim we made, paid without quibble), etc etc and generally wasted much more of my time while they found another car. Later that trip I had a puncture, which happened after dark. I managed to drive back to where I was staying, surveyed the damage in the morning, realised there was no spare and only an emergency puncture kit, used same (without instructions – why do they miss that essential bit of info? – and no, it wasn’t even remotely intuitive (and I am a fairly practical man)), spent the miles driving towards the M25 mulling whether it would be cheaper to repair the tyre (and went to a Kwik-Fit who said they wouldn’t repair a tyre if puncture sealant had been used – news to me) or replace it (Kwik-Fit didn’t have the right tyre) or just go back to the airport and return the car and see what happened. Having been rejected by Kwik-Fit on both my other options I was left with the only alternative of driving (at a maximum of 50 mph – my apologies to all on the westbound M25 that day) back to the airport. The manager’s words of doom in my ears, and having already confessed to the Memsahib that a hefty bill might be in the offing, I confessed my sins to the staff member receiving the car, and was charged however much it was. Made a claim on my excess waiver insurance, and was reimbursed the full amount so quickly I think I received it before the credit card charge from the rental company was deducted from my bank statement.1 Aug 2017
Ian, just went to the website and it appears to be EU centric and won’t allow me to put in my Singapore details. Did you use your local Asian details or a UK address ??1 Aug 2017
Another detailed piece today. James Daley of Fairer Finance says “Car hire is like the Wild West. It is impossible to know exactly what has been charged until the car’s returned and even then customers end up holding their breath to see what the final credit card bill will be.”1 Aug 2017
I’ve noticed several forum members have had problems renting in South Africa, as have I. In fact disproportionately so. One notable incident recently was hiring a car with a small dent in the door about the size of an old half crown – and it was duly noted. When I returned the car they wanted to charge me ZAR 5,000 (the amount of my excess) on the basis the dent was bigger!
I refused saying first it was ridiculous, secondly a dent that size would be fixed for about ZAR500 and third, I want a price showing the cost of the repair to make the dent the same size as it was previously. At this point he laughed and let it go.
Returning any car now in SA I arrive in very good time and insist the whole bill is closed off. So far I’ve had no problem when that has been done.
Regarding the excess, I use either my AMEX or Platinum MasterCard and have only had the card blocked for the excess in roughly half of my rentals. Actually it’s something I accept since they want to know if there is damage that it will be paid for. Fair enough I suppose.
Having said all the above, if you’re in SA and going to Knysna, then rent from AVIS and ask for Morney. We always get wonderful service from them and never any hassles. He’ll also sort a car out for you at George airport.1 Aug 2017
I noticed another expose in yesterday’s mail about car hire companies ripping people off with unnecessary insurance, fuel scams etc.
Coming after Monday’s article on them not doing repairs they charge for.
Europcar (needless to say), Goldcar (being bought by Europcar – very appropriate) and Hertz. Plus Budget and Thrifty adding 100% plus premiums for walk up clients.
These people really are the scum of the earth, they make the turd on the pavement look polished.
Just like the airlines they cannot be trusted, I guess a car equivalent of EC261 is required.2 Aug 2017
Europcar’s “repair charges scandal” is set to cost at least £40 million in compensation, Daily Telegraph reports this afternoon.
“The firm has written to its suppliers telling them to stop inflating invoices for repairs and cease paying it secret rebates.”
“Instead suppliers will now charge Europcar for the true cost…”
The remainder of the article is behind a paywall.4 Aug 2017
It looks as if the annual excess policies companies are also being the victims of dishonesty practice. I had this email this morning from mine, see last paragraph. Also, it took them over a month to process the claim, whereas in the past, and the last time I claimed was probably 2 or 3 years ago, it’s been turned round in a couple of days.
I am pleased to advise that your claim has been accepted.
I can confirm that an amount of £122.97 will now be refunded to you. Please allow 3 to 5 working days for this payment to clear
Your reimbursement has been calculated as follows:
Damage ZAR 2020.00 = £122.97 using Oanda 27/6/17
Your claim is now closed however should you receive a refund from the Rental Company following their repairs, please send the refund back at your earliest convenience by cheque payable to:
We may contact your rental company at a later date to confirm any funds you have been refunded. Failure to return these refunded funds may lead to legal action being taken against you.9 Aug 2017
I don’t see it that way, K1ngston, it’s clearly a standard addendum to the emails they send out when when settling claims and I think it’s perfectly reasonable. I don’t see why they think the rental company might subsequently refund, but if they did, and the renter kept it and thus benefited, I would consider that fraudulent.9 Aug 2017
Latest ruse from the Europcar group.
Today Mrs FF rented a car from Interrent at BHX. Interrent is part of Europcar. She was asked if she would like extra insurance which they “strongly recommend” “No thank you, Amex or Insurance4carhire will cover.” Next was: “Would you like breakdown insurance for £3.30 a day?” “Why would I need that?” asked Mrs FF. “Oh, that means that if the car breaks down someone would come out to recover the car.” explained the agent.
Quite amazing. Has anyone else ever heard of a major car hire company that charged extra for breakdown recovery?20 Nov 2017