What price integrity? | Australian Frequent Flyer
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What price integrity?

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Nov 15, 2004
I rented a small car from Europcar on a recent trip to Perth. As usual, I was asked to bring the car back with a full tank of fuel. I have rented cars in the USA, in New Zealand, in most states of Australia and in the UK.

Always, I return the car with a full tank and have never before been questioned.

This time I received an additional account for $13.63 for refuelling a week after I returned to Adelaide.

I phoned Europcar in Perth and was put through to the Customer Service Manager who informed me I had brought the car back requiring 8.4 litres of fuel. He also noted the car had been driven 280 Km and that the particular car had a fuel economy rating of 11 km per litre.

I had refuelled the car at the BP service station closest to the Airport entrance and had recorded 19.35 litres of fuel used at a cost of $21.26

As my accountant would testify, I keep accurate records. I had logged some 210 Km of driving in Perth and the 19 litres used seemed reasonable to me at the time.

In my discussion with the Customer Service Manager, I mentioned that no person met me at the airport when I returned the car. In good faith, and on trust, I left the keys with the Europcar service desk attendant.

However, it would appear, based on the manager’s calculations, the car did an extra 70 Km after it was returned by me.

The Customer Service Manager accused me of lying and commented “anyway, it’s only the cost of a couple of beers!”

My comment is: My integrity and honour is worth far more than $13.00

I suggest all hirers of rental cars take careful note of the starting and ending mileage recorded and they get someone to verify the actual fuel gauge position when they return their vehicle.

I have to admit the Europcar rental was an excellent deal. However, customer service managers need to remember that;

"People don't remember what you did for them. They only remember how they felt when you were last with them."

John Harris
Flinders University, Adelaide
Subscriber: frequentflyer.com.au
Qantas Club member


Established Member
AFF Supporter
Nov 10, 2002
I recently rented from THRIFTY at Melb. Dom airport.

I only needed the car for a trip to the city and return, and upon getting back to the airport late (well, I had about 30 mins to check in, buy a gift, get a drink or two in the QC etc.), I didn't have time to fill up somewhere close.

So, I left it up to them to do it (I knew I was up for $1.35 a litre).

To my complete satisfaction, I was charged $13.65.

I wasn't met at the return point either.... (but I didn't leave the keys in the car!)

I think anyone can have 'bad luck' in a situation like as previously described.



Veteran Member
Nov 16, 2004
My Map
This type of thing happens far more than it should. People working for hire companies often get away with it for a couple of reasons. One is a vast number of hirings being for corporate use and the average corporate hirer is not too concerned about a mere $10-$15 addition. Another is that it's often "too hard" to rattle the cage for these small amounts of money.

The attitide from the CSM that "It's only a couple of beers" is not adequate.

I once had a situation in Canberra when for a period I traveled there on a weekly basis. An employee was found to be regularly adding five or six litres of fuel to his own car and charging it to company hirings It happened more than once to me and he was found out when once I only did 22km but 'used' over 8 litres of fuel.

Hire car companies generally will refund the money when queried. Have they done so?

In any case, you should complain directly to Europcar HQ in writing (not Perth); include copies of any statements you have and of your fuel receipt. To illustate your points, check the timings; what time did you fill up, what time did you return the car, what time does it indicate the car was returned? Tell them there are many other hire car companies and while you had a cheap rate this erroneus charge undoes all the good.


I have had trouble, too.

Booked a Commodore or similar through Thrifty NZ to get from Whangerei to AKL. Instead I was presented with a Honda Accord. The speedo on the Accord went up to 220km/h - the Accord didn't.

Pissed off, I ticked "fault with vehicle" on the card when returning it, and wrote "vehicle does not reach maximum indicated speed".

A few weeks later received an apology letter from the NZ Customer Service Manager, and a complimentary upgrade voucher.

Go Thrifty.
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