Europcar UK schemozle

MikeG

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I picked up a rental car from Europcar in Derby UK booked for 10 days and returned to LHR.

This was booked via trip.com and pricing was per a search for one-way hire on Skyscanner. I thought I'd provide my feedback here for anything considering booking with Europcar or trip.com

1. The car was booked as an intermediate sedan (Skoda Octavia or similar) and we were given a Chinese-made MG large SUV which was not what I wanted mainly due to the fuel economy and the difficulty parking it and passing in narrow lanes.
2. we were charged extra fees that were not disclosed by trip.com for one-way, extra driver and airport fees.
3. The car smelled of cigarettes which was comical given the huge sign on the passenger seat saying this is a non-smoking car and smoking in the car was prohibited.
4. The car had a really annoying rattle from the rear tailgate.

I called Europcar UK three times to try and resolve this, and the callbacks we were promised didn't happen - on the third call I was told to call AA to get them to check out the rattle. I did this and the guy agreed I should request the car be replaced. I rocked up the Derby Europcar depot, and I was immediately denied a replacement as they had no stock. They said the smell was the "leather seats" and I was offered for the car to be recleaned. They did this, and the car was returned about an hour later with carpets soaked in smelly cleaning fluid (to counteract the leather seat smell???), the car washed, and the rattle was gone. Not bad, but still I was stuck with a huge car for travelling in rural England, and in the end, the rattle came back a few days later.

trip.com offered compensation of $10 (which on a $1300 car rental was ridiculous) - I plan to approach Skyscanner to see what they can do.

Is there any trick to getting Europcar and other car rental companies to sit up and listen? Are chargebacks accepted for receiving a product that was not fit for purpose? The SUV was ok, but it was very unpleasant to go down single laneways in a car that touched the hedges on both sides and it made reversing and passing nightmarish.

Has anyone else had such experiences with Europcar? Any advice for next time, as I'll be steering clear of Europcar. (even though I'm a Privilege Club member.)

M
 
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drron

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Sadly we have a Europcar booked for August in Spain and the UK in September. Fingers crossed.
 

tgh

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Most of your problems were/are par for the course when hiring cars ; some minor annoyances and a different car , all typical of the luck of the game

IMO, Agency bookings get less traction for issues than direct bookings. I always join the loyalty "club" , give my credit card in advance and do everything possible to present as both a canny but committed customer. This approach has delivered more hits than misses in terms of the experience and also some decent rates.

I have used Europcar in Europe with no problems but have had "irritations" with other majors..it's just a lucky dip..smile...
 

MikeG

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Europcar has a reputation. I don't think I've ever heard anything even slightly positive about them.
I've used Europcar in Australia without issue for years. That said this was some years ago. Mainly hiring the prestige cars for jaunts around the country.
 

Duffa

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Just completed a one way rental with Europcar via holiday-autos aggregator. May 2022
The one way fee was clearly disclosed on holiday-autos and the rental agent could not have been more helpful when paying for this at the desk.
I've had nightmares with Hertz in Europe.
A car with no engine oil in it from Avis. An ashtray full of fa_ butts from Avis.
I'm sorry you had such an awful experience. As others have said, it is a total lottery.
I screenshot every webpage now. For all of this stuff.
 

MikeG

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Just completed a one way rental with Europcar via holiday-autos aggregator. May 2022
The one way fee was clearly disclosed on holiday-autos and the rental agent could not have been more helpful when paying for this at the desk.
I've had nightmares with Hertz in Europe.
A car with no engine oil in it from Avis. An ashtray full of fa_ butts from Avis.
I'm sorry you had such an awful experience. As others have said, it is a total lottery.
I screenshot every webpage now. For all of this stuff.
Last time I used Europcar UK 5 years ago, I was provided with a new Volvo station wagon SUV, it was a non-smoking car, no extra fees, it was all 100%. Not sure what has changed.
 

Duffa

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Until there are problems….
Like this, above!!!
So I was dropping back my Europcar at LGW underground car park. I wanted to leave the car a bit straighter so I could open the doors and let Mrs D out on the passenger side. It caught the concrete pillar. I must have misjudged by less than 1mm since the outer case was torn off rather than causing the whole mirror to flex!
 

Duffa

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Thats what Travel insurance is for.
My first ever bingle in 30 years of hiring cars in Europe. And I've always used my free premium credit card insurance for CDW excess!!
Anyway, I was lying in bed in the Heathrow Sheraton the night before this 4-day hire, with jet lag, stewing about whether my signature Visa would cover my excess given that I hadn't paid for the flights on it.
As it turned out my anxiety got the better of me, so when the lovely chap at the Europcar rental desk offered me the excess waiver, I accepted..... For the first time in my life! Don't know why. I just did.

Of course, he told me it is normally £160 but he could do it for £82. That's 20 quid a day. I still took it! I know he is on commission too, so he would have been stoked.

Fast forward to LGW 4 days later and the awful sound of splintering moulded plastic. The car-return guy gleefully asking me if I had taken their excess insurance.

"Yes, I did actually."

I could have sworn his shoulders dropped, just a smidge.
 

Scarlett

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In the interests of balance, I’ve hired cars in about 50 countries; sometimes with the major well known brands, sometimes with local suppliers; sometimes direct, sometimes through aggregators.
In earth shattering news, I do not have a trend of any supplier or method being better!
- Pegasus in NZ at two different sites have been good.
- Hertz in the US have always been good.
- Thrifty have always been good in Australia when they had the NRMA discount and benefits.
- Eco-car in the Seychelles were fine even when someone else had put a dent in our door when parked. (insurance claim refunded the damage excess)
- Europcar were fine in Cyprus recently.
- A local company called Pandora were fine in Turkey on the same trip.
- Although there was this piece of junk Avis car I was given (“it’s the only car we have!”) in American Samoa that had an actual rust hole in the drivers footwell!

So, much like my choice of J class airfares, I’ll choose whatever is best value for where I’m going.

@MikeG, could you just have said NO when given the MG? I’ve done that before when I knew I was driving plenty of KMs and didn’t want the larger vehicle I was being ‘upgraded’ to.
 

MikeG

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My first ever bingle in 30 years of hiring cars in Europe. And I've always used my free premium credit card insurance for CDW excess!!
Anyway, I was lying in bed in the Heathrow Sheraton the night before this 4-day hire, with jet lag, stewing about whether my signature Visa would cover my excess given that I hadn't paid for the flights on it.
As it turned out my anxiety got the better of me, so when the lovely chap at the Europcar rental desk offered me the excess waiver, I accepted..... For the first time in my life! Don't know why. I just did.

Of course, he told me it is normally £160 but he could do it for £82. That's 20 quid a day. I still took it! I know he is on commission too, so he would have been stoked.

Fast forward to LGW 4 days later and the awful sound of splintering moulded plastic. The car-return guy gleefully asking me if I had taken their excess insurance.

"Yes, I did actually."

I could have sworn his shoulders dropped, just a smidge.
I usually have a blanket travel insurance policy (Annual). But usually, the credit card excess cover only works if you take all optional waiver insurance offered by the car hire firms, so it's usually as useful as cough on a bull.
 

MikeG

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In the interests of balance, I’ve hired cars in about 50 countries; sometimes with the major well known brands, sometimes with local suppliers; sometimes direct, sometimes through aggregators.
In earth shattering news, I do not have a trend of any supplier or method being better!
- Pegasus in NZ at two different sites have been good.
- Hertz in the US have always been good.
- Thrifty have always been good in Australia when they had the NRMA discount and benefits.
- Eco-car in the Seychelles were fine even when someone else had put a dent in our door when parked. (insurance claim refunded the damage excess)
- Europcar were fine in Cyprus recently.
- A local company called Pandora were fine in Turkey on the same trip.
- Although there was this piece of junk Avis car I was given (“it’s the only car we have!”) in American Samoa that had an actual rust hole in the drivers footwell!

So, much like my choice of J class airfares, I’ll choose whatever is best value for where I’m going.

@MikeG, could you just have said NO when given the MG? I’ve done that before when I knew I was driving plenty of KMs and didn’t want the larger vehicle I was being ‘upgraded’ to.
Yeah, I guess that would be have been an option. But I've tried to get a rental without notice overseas and the rates are usually sky high...
 

OATEK

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My first ever bingle in 30 years of hiring cars in Europe. And I've always used my free premium credit card insurance for CDW excess!!
Anyway, I was lying in bed in the Heathrow Sheraton the night before this 4-day hire, with jet lag, stewing about whether my signature Visa would cover my excess given that I hadn't paid for the flights on it.
As it turned out my anxiety got the better of me, so when the lovely chap at the Europcar rental desk offered me the excess waiver, I accepted..... For the first time in my life! Don't know why. I just did.

Of course, he told me it is normally £160 but he could do it for £82. That's 20 quid a day. I still took it! I know he is on commission too, so he would have been stoked.

Fast forward to LGW 4 days later and the awful sound of splintering moulded plastic. The car-return guy gleefully asking me if I had taken their excess insurance.

"Yes, I did actually."

I could have sworn his shoulders dropped, just a smidge.
I had a one way Hertz rental from Salzburg to CDG. I also decided at the last moment to take the excess waiver knowing I was likely driving through lots of tight, twisty locations on unfamiliar roads. We even had heavy snow in Germany.

Turned up at CDG to return and there was a guy totally run off his feet doing the returns. he saw a chip in the windscreen and happily told us it would cost EURO1700 as he madly entered data in his handheld. I said wait a minute, we took out the waiver, and he said he would check that and came back a few minutes later to confirm there would be no charge. Sure enough with hours the 1700 showed up as pending on my Credit card. Took a week to get it reversed, all because he was in such a hurry.
 
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