Green Motion International / car hire gb941624400 (east midlands airport, 21/4/18) - debit card not accepted.

United Kingdom

On arrival at East Midlands Airport on Saturday April 21st I went to collect my hire car from Green Motion. I had pre-paid online for the car and associated insurance using my Lloyds Bank debit card. I had contacted the Green Motion reservations team in advance of my visit to the UK, as although I live in France I have not yet transferred my address on the licence to my French address. I wanted to know exactly what I needed to provide in order to collect the car, and I was given a list of four things:-
• Driving Licence
• Passport
• Boarding pass if flying in
• Credit card for security deposit
I had brought those things, except that I had a debit card, not a credit card. In every walk of life these things are interchangeable, although not for Green Motion, apparently. So, when I presented my debit card in order to pay the returnable deposit on the car it was refused. Your agent then said he could accept it if the excess was reduced to £400, but to do this there was an additional cost of £18 per day. As the car was only hired for three days the cost of this (i.e. £54) was greater than the actual hire cost!

In the body of the text from the terms & conditions on the Green Motion website it states:-

7. Methods of Payment
Green Motion locations accept all major credit cards for payment (Master Card and Visa). American Express and Diners are not generally accepted and may attract an administration charge - please apply locally for confirmation. Credit cards are accepted for pre-authorisations.
All credit cards will be subject to and must pass CHIP and PIN verification, cards without this facility will not be accepted. Un-embossed cards and cards marked Electronic use are not accepted for pre-authorisation. Cards must be in the main driver's name. Cash deposits/pre-authorisations are not accepted.

Cheques are not acceptable.

Pre-paid cards may not be accepted, please check with your renting branch at the point of booking.

It does not state that DEBIT cards are not accepted.

In my initial complaint to Green Motion I was told:-

"In order to assist you with your booking and as a favour on this occasion to help you out, you were advised of our excess waivers to reduce your standard excess and we would then feel more comfortable accepting your debit card. This is purely for the customer's peace of mind in the event of any damage/accident incurred to the vehicle we would not feel comfortable at all charging a debit card such a large amount as we can understand this would impact any daily expenses on a debit card."

Surely, that is my problem? They say they won't feel comfortable charging a large amount, but as long as it has been made clear to me that it could be charged then it is my decision? You have no idea how much I have in my bank account, yet you won't accept my commitment to make a payment? Furthermore, the payment would be declined by my bank if there were insufficient funds, so you would naturally ask me for another payment method at that point?

From my perspective this is tantamount to extortion or even fraud, as it was not made clear that a debit card payment was unacceptable but no return of my initial payment was forthcoming. I had paid the initial amount of over £50 debit card too, compounding the injustice! Furthermore, when my son offered to make the payment using his credit card that was refused.

So the car was not hired, I am over £50 out of pocket, and I hired an alternative car from Avis/Budget who were happy to help at short notice and happy to accept my debit card payment. It is an unacceptable practice for you to accept a debit card for the main payment centrally and then not at your branch. This is sharp practice at the very least and I am very keen to hear from you what you plan to do to restore my faith in your company and in Green Motion?

As usual with any complaint these days, it seems like you and Green Motion will do anything to obfuscate the process by which an individual should pursue a complaint, you quote terms and conditions which are at best ambiguous and at worst designed to defraud a genuine customer, and Green Motion told me that they "are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused me" but of course this appears to stop short of actually reimbursing any of the payment that I originally made to you in good faith.

Peter Sansbury.

Apr 29, 2018

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