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Europcar / europcar "serenity pack" scam

1 France Review updated:

My partner and I hired a car with Europcar which was collected from and returned to Bergerac airport. Upon returning to the UK we noticed that we had been charged an extra £179.98! -- a complete surprise to both of us as we had returned the car as we had found it, with a full tank and had checked with the staff at Europcar in Bergerac that everything was OK. After two failed email attempts and several phone calls we discovered that we had apparently agreed to sign up for a "Serenity Pack", which includes comprehensive insurance (no excess) and allows you to return the tank empty at no extra charge. However, we were not informed at the time that we were signing up to an extra insurance package (no mention of it at all), and we certainly didn't request it when we reserved the car online -- it was simply added at the time of booking, and in a very discrete way at that. I was asked to initial next to it, and didn't look close enough.

Indeed, we had already taken out insurance to cover the excess with another company (so didn't need it). Furthermore, we were specifically told by the staff at Europcar that we should return the car with the tank full, which contradicts the package that we had signed for.

A search online reveals that many other people have fallen into the same trap of accidentally signing for nearly £200 of extra insurance, without being informed.

I have been appalled both at the fact we have been charged for this, without any verbal agreement, and with Europcar's response -- they didn't get back to me after numerous enquiries and forced me to chase them.

I have posted this review here:
http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/transport-international/europcar/ and also here
http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.htm l?p=[protected]
and would like to encourage others to get in touch via this thread -- perhaps we can all complain together!

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Comments

  • Gg
      2nd of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    The exact same thing has just happened to me, also in France. If it is the case that the Serenity Pack covers insurance and fuel then I'm not sure quite what I gained as I was told when I picked up the car that I'd be liable to the full excess of around 600 Euros and was charged a small fuel charge on return!

    I've emailed Europcar France and UK, and have rung UK (response was that I had signed the agreement and so agreed to the terms). I pointed out that that would not stand up in a UK court (though unfortunately I suspect the contract will be with the French Europcar entity). I will also send a recorded letter to Easyjet. Next step will be to go via my credit card company.

    I feel very angry and will never use Europcar again, nor will anyone I know once they've heard the story, so not a great move on Europcar's part.

  • Wu
      22nd of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    Note that their is now an article in the Telegraph dealing with a customer who had a very similar experience. This may help others get their money back, and if not I think it might be worth contacting this travel correspondent to see if they can help

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/columnists/gillcharlton/6204884/Ask-Gill-Paying-for-car-hire-insurance-I-did-not-want-travel-advice.html

  • Wu
      2nd of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes

    In case anyone's interested, Europcar today finally agreed to refund the charge for the "Serenity Pack" insurance. Thanks to everyone for help!

    If you've been caught by this scam I recommend pursuing a complaint, I am now aware of three people who've been refunded. In one case, they did not have a carbon copy of their contract (like I did) but still managed to get a refund.

  • Wu
      16th of Dec, 2009
    0 Votes

    Update: now featured on watchdog!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/watchdog/consumer_advice/europcar.shtml

  • Pa
      10th of Aug, 2010
    0 Votes

    Like the previous writers I have just returned from Nice, France to a hefty bill (£288) from Europcar which relates to a Serenity Pack. The car was returned with a full tank of diesel and without incident - having been checked in Nice and found to be fine. At no stage was the Serenity Pack discussed or agreed to and I very much feel that this is a scam. I have attempted to get my money back from Europcar, so far without success although I am continuing to pursue this further. I would advise anyone thinking of hiring a car to think twice about Europcar.

  • Po
      23rd of Aug, 2010
    0 Votes

    Having returned from France July 2010 we noted that an extra charge on our credit card and subsequently received an invoice for 'serenity pack'. Have been told that my husband signed for same which he categorically reffused when pickin up car. We have been onto Europcar and they say he signed for it so nothing can be done. We have hired cars in the past and this has never happened. Any comments on our next course action as we feel very agrieved at this dishonest practice.

    Furthermore, we had not originally booked the car on line with Europcar but that does not seem to matter.

    Patricia O'Keeffe

  • La
      7th of Jul, 2018
    0 Votes

    We hired a car in Israel through Ofran agents of Europcar. The voucher was for a VA IVAR VW TOURAN or similar.
    On presenting the voucher in Munich we were informed that in our category we could get a Renault Scenic or a BMW. The clerk recommend the BMW and said in Germany use a German car. So we agreed. On returning home we find that from our credit card a deduction of Euro 329.95 was made. On checking we were informed it was for the upgrade of the car. We did not ask for an upgrade, we were not told that we are being upgraded and that it would cost us an additional Euro 329.95. This is highway robbery. We have rented cars many many times and were sometimes upgraded without any additional cost and were told so.
    They gave us to sign on a document in German which we assumed it was a confirmation of receiving the car as on the voucher or similar...
    This is no way for a big car rental company like Europcar to cheat tourists visiting their country.

    I request that a refund be made to our credit card of Europ 329.95 for an upgrade which we did not ask for, nor were we told that we are being given a upgrade at the above charge which obviously we would not accept. Had we wanted a car for Euro.766.95 for a week we would have ordered it in the first place.

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