Europcar / unauthorised damage surcharge debit

Contact information:

On the 14th of April I rented a new (very low mileage - 2, 000 miles on the clock) Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet, registration ‘3677HJF’ from the Europcar Alicante Airport branch in Spain. From picking the car up, I covered approximately 400 miles. On the 20th of April I approached a junction and depressed the clutch as normal, but could not select a gear making the car un-driveable. I telephoned Europcar at Alicante Airport and explained the situation, stating that the clutch had failed and in my opinion, a roadside repair would not be achievable and a replacement car would be required, bearing in mind that we were 40 miles from the airport. I was informed that roadside assistance would be sent out and they would be with me within 45 minutes. 35 minutes later, a tow truck arrived without a replacement car and a non-English speaking mechanic. After an excruciatingly hard conversation consisting of mostly sign language with the mechanic, he hooked the tow up to the car and attempted to lift it on to his truck, with our belongings still in the vehicle! We had to quickly open the boot and remove our stuff as the vehicle was being pulled toward the flat bed on the truck. The mechanic then said “You phone Europcar” before getting back in his vehicle and driving off, leaving four of us stood at the side the road with no idea what was going on. I then made a second phone call to Europcar and asked what I should do now as I was stood in the middle of Torrevieja with no transportation. I was told I needed to ring for a taxi and return to the airport to collect a replacement vehicle. When I asked who was paying for the taxi, I was told that I would have to be the one to make payment. After disputing this ridiculous request, a taxi was sent to collect me at Europcars expense. Once at Alicante airport, we were downgraded to a standard Volkswagen Golf, after agreeing with the Europcar personnel that I would not be paying for fuel as compensation for the lesser quality vehicle and the huge inconvenience caused.
The following day – Saturday the 21st of April, I returned the car. After a short queue of people handing their rented car keys in at the desk and leaving instantly, I was informed that my car couldn’t be simply handed back and full checks had to be made, which leads me to ask why I was treated differently to everybody else?! The gentleman then informed me I would have to pay for the missing fuel, to which I had to dispute yet again, reminding him that I had been downgraded in quality of vehicle and as compensation I would not be paying the fuel costs, as originally agreed when I collected the second car.

On the 2nd of May, I receive an invoice from Europcar Spain for a bill of 1, 200 Euros with two fuel charges and a 'Damage Surcharge'. The money has now been taken from my account and I am battling Europcar for a refund, but they will not return phone calls or respond to my letters or E-mails. The car will have been under warranty as it was new and they cannot justify stealing this money from me! I shall soon be getting a solicitor involved.

Only use Europcar if it is your only option... Even then I would rather walk though!!

Post your comment