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Wicked Campervans / Attempt to warn prospective customers of my bad experience

1 New Zealand Review updated:

I am travelling NZ with my girfriend. We are from the UK. I am writing to complain about the company "Wicked Campervans". Based in Australia, also in New Zealand and the UK.

The best way for me to convey the details of my complaint is to attach the email sent to the company in question this morning 04/10/06.

The complaint is regarding the quality of the rental vehicle rented to me and the disgusting level of customer care shown to me during correspondance with this company during the vehicles breakdown.

My intentions are , besides recieving compensation from the company in question, to ensure that noone else has to endure the upset caused by the situation when renting from this company in the future.

The company is extremely popular with travellers like myself as it is a budget rental company. However, I believe that the stress resulting from the problems I have had far outways the small amount of money saved by using this company as opposed to another rental firm.

The email I sent is as follows:

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to complain on two counts; firstly reference the actual vehicle rented to us and secondly regarding the way in which we (Miss Jodie Twose and Mr Nick Siddorn) have been mistreated during the vehicles breakdown in New Zealand.

In respect of the vehicle CYL845 'Batman'. Within two days of collection the van, the power steering malfunctioned. We took the van into a garage in Rotarua, and were advised that the pump required fluid, this we had filled up at the expense of 5$, in addition we had the driver side wing mirror
fixed as this had collapsed. After 30 minutes of driving away from the garage, the power steering again malfunctioned. A few days later, the battery light came on, and a burning smell came from the engine. We rang roadside, and then the AA, after 30mins someone came out to us and asked us to follow them to the garage in Waitara.

At the garage, we were told the power steering pump hose needed replacing, we hung around from 11am till 13.30, after which time, we were told the problem was fixed. We then drove the vehicle in the direction of our next destination, shortly afterwards, the battery light came back on and within
half an hour, the electrics went and the power failed, leaving us stranded quite literally in the middle of nowhere. We went to a local farmers house and used the telephone, to call roadside and again the AA. We sat in the car for 3 hours waiting to be recovered, we telephoned the AA twice, and were told that they were unable to tell us where the contractor would be dispatched from or how long it would take, so we were left on the side of a very unsafe road.

Finally, we were recovered but it was too late in the day to take the van to a garage, so we were driven to New Plymouth, not a place we intended to visit, and dropped off at a campsite for the night, at our expense.

At 8am this morning, we were picked up by the same contractor and taken to a second local garage. At the garage we were told, the alternator had failed and needed replacing. We were told we would be back on the road "at best" that evening. Having been dropped off in town in New Plymouth we telephoned roadside assistance to enquire what wicked campers could do for us in practical terms as we have now lost two days, possibly leading to three days, of our holiday. I now refer to the second of our two complaints.

On the phone I dealt with a Mr John Webb. Mr Webb was also the person that i dealt with on the days of the breakdowns. Upon explaining my dismay at the prospect of loosing two days of our holiday, Mr Webb advised me that he had spoken to the garage with the van and that we would be back on the road very shortly. He said that the part would take "about half an hour" to replace. This not being the timeframe that was given to us by the garage; I immediately phoned the garage again and relayed this expected timeframe to them. The garage again told me that the van would not be ready to collect
until, as previously stated, the end of the day.

I then rang customer services only to be connected to Mr Webb who was apparently doing some after hours call service for Wicked. The conversation that I had with Mr Webb is THE PRIMARY reason for this email. When explaining my dismay regarding the situation we are in, I remained calm and
respectful for the duration of the call, despite being upset. I explained our reasons for our concern; the time lost, the expense incurred by us, the fact that we are in a place that we do not want to be in with no vehicle which is loosing us time in The South Island. I requested the telephone number for the Auckland Depot in the hope that a replacement vehicle could be brought to us. Mr Webb refused to give me the contact number of the depot and proceeded to tell me that: "I was pushing his buttons" that I was "getting in a mood". He then put me on hold while he "calmed down".

At NO point in the conversation with Mr Webb did I raise my voice, use an inappropriate tone or behave disrespectfully towards him. I specifically told him that I appreciated the fact that he does not work in customer service and was told by him that even if i tried again later I would not be able to speak to anyone on the phone regarding my situation. He then gave me this email address and I terminated the conversation.

In light of the above, I expect to be compensated in full for a total of three days vehicle hire, the cost of the campsite for two nights and the petrol wasted. I also want to know why a replacement vehicle could not/ can not be provided. I am certain that had we been dealing with another rental company that we would not have been treated in this way and would have been provided with a replacement vehicle as soon as the above problems started.

In anticipation of a prompt response.

Jodie and Nick

As mentionned above, I am writing to somehow attempt to warn prospective customers of my bad experience. I am also unaware as to what options are now open to me in regards to my rights. Any advice would be grately appreciated. Response via email is preferred as due to the nature of our visit to NZ we have no fixed address or mobile telephone number in service.

Yours sincerely,
Nick and Jodie

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Comments

  • Br
      7th of Jun, 2016
    0 Votes

    Wicked Campers are actually illegal in Portugal. Yes the multimillion dollar company can't be bothered to play by the books or european law. To rent vehicles in Portugal they need to have a license. They haven't got this because you cannot rent vehicles over 5 years old, and most definitely not uk registered vehicles. This means without the license they don't even pay tax here. Tax is due where the keys are handed over to the vehicle. Hey ho, no problem for a big company to skip paying taxes in one of the poorest countries in Europe. ### company ### ethics, and most importantly big piles of steaming turd like junk that they rent.

  • Ni
      30th of Jan, 2015
    0 Votes

    My partner and I rented a small wicked camper for 3 days last week and it was awful. I'm going to write a formal complaint but by the sounds of the other posts it won't make much difference so at least I can add a warning to others here. DO NOT RENT FROM THIS COMPANY!!!

    We really wanted to hire a camper but because it's peak season most companies have minimum rental times of 1 months or at least a couple of weeks so Wicked was the only one that I could find that would allow us to rent short term. It cost $600 (NZ) for 3 nights by the time they added 100 extra things on (extra cover, admin fee, short rental fee, table and chairs etc.) which is pretty expensive for what was not much more than a people carrier with the seats ripped out and some wooden bases put in. But it was our last few days together for probably the next 9 months so we were really looking forward to driving about and spending some time together in the north island but it was just grim.

    Firstly the van: it had 285, 000 km on the clock and was ancient. It had a high pitch squeal when I turned left, it had a high pitched squeal when I turned right, and same again when it went up a gear (it was automatic). The fuel gauge was completely useless so I had no idea if we were gonna run out of fuel or not.. We paid extra for a camp table and chairs but the chairs they gave us were broken (and so cheap we could have bought them new for not much more!). But the worst thing was the bed which consisted of a few disgusting camp mattresses that didn't even fit the space they've built. It was dirty and full of BED BUGS so the first night was pretty horrible. By the last night we ended up finding a hotel instead. The kitchen area was pretty useless - it consisted of a camp stove and a sink that empties onto your feet.

    Secondly, the customer service: I really didn't appreciate all of the warnings that go with hiring the van. When we picked it up we were constantly told that we would be charged extra if it broke down and wasn't mechanical (even though I'd paid for extra cover) and that we would be charged $200 if we didn't bring it back clean inside and out. By clean they told us to go to a car wash nearby and gave us a map. There was no way we were paying for a car wash for a clapped out van which actually had cobwebs all over it, inside and out, when we collected it! We were also given the van empty and told to return it empty which is a stupid system because you don't want to put too much fuel in so end up constantly filling up and trying to judge the dodgy fuel gauge.Ordinarily I wouldn't have minded taking it back with a bit of extra fuel in but because everything else was so rubbish I really grudged them getting anything more out of me!

    Finally, you can only use this type of van in a campsite so we had to pay for campsites as well. Freedom camping is not allowed in most places especially in a van with no toilet etc.

    All in all it was a horrible experience and I don't recommend it to anyone. Instead, if you want to travel around on a smaller budget I suggest that you hire a decent car from a reputable company and just buy some cheap camp gear. It will be cheaper, you'll be far more comfortable, bed bug free and have a much more enjoyable trip. We hired cars from a couple of other companies during our month trip and they were great.

  • Tr
      13th of Oct, 2013
    0 Votes

    John,


    I have been given your email address from a complaints committee that specialises in services provided to travellers. They are, from what I gather, accustomed to requests for contact details for Wicked campervans as the complaints procedure does not seem to go anywhere via telephone, although I am told not to expect much via email either. This remains however to be disproven by yourself.


    We (******) rented a vehicle from you on the 4th of October until the 7Th October – an extra day because of the inability to return the vehicle on a Sunday. We have three formal complaints to make regarding this service.


    a) We telephoned the Auckland depot on the morning of the 4th October and one of your employees advised us that we could rent a vehicle immediately, and to ‘head over’ to the depot. We arrived promptly at 10:15am only half an hour after speaking to him. We were met by an empty warehouse, aside from a mechanic who told us the employee had “gone for lunch” and another couple who had been waiting for an hour for their vehicle already. We did not leave the depot until 12:30pm on Friday. As you can imagine, given that we had only rented the car for the weekend, ate into our travel time and disrupted our plans.

    b) Further to this annoyance, the first night spent in the vehicle was appalling. We have both rented a number of camper vans all across the world and never experienced anything like this. It was foul smelling, dirty, and worst of all we both woke up covered in bites – which the doctor who we had to see due to allergic reaction advised us were bed bugs. We had to stay in a hostel for the second night (cost on top of rental vehicle parking cost), and spent much of our trip applying lotion and taking pills to overcome the reaction to the bed bug bites.

    c) We paid a $500 deposit due to the lack of us having a credit card with us, despite not being told to bring one over the phone that morning. Upon returning the car on Monday morning – given that we didn't need the rental for Monday, we just couldn't return it on Sunday – your employee assured me that because we hold an NZ bank account the funds would be returned to us within 7 days. These have to date not been returned to our account.


    We are incredibly disappointed by both the service and the vehicle itself; I expect a full response from you outlining your suggestions for compensation for the cost of half the first day’s rental, doctor, hotel and parking costs of in excess of $200NZD, as well as full return of our deposit of $500NZD.


    Should you refuse this compensation we will of course be incredibly disappointed, and will consequently be looking to make formal appeals to the Complaints Board. As a travel journalist my boyfriend also intends to voice our experiences publicly through the Lonely Planet Magazine, and through the Telegraph Newspaper in the UK. I very much hope that it will not reach this stage and will be rectified appropriately; however I am assured by a number of your previous clients that this will not be the case.

  • Ha
      4th of Sep, 2013
    0 Votes

    Wicked campers are the worst company I have ever dealt with!
    The first camper we picks up was disgusting dirty plates moulds inside so we changed it for another which wasn't much better! But they had no more vans at their depot and wouldn't refund me my money so had no choice.
    Then when I returned the camper 2.5 years ago to this day I am still waiting go m bond of $2200 to be returned. I've emailed John an d spoke with him but he is making poor excise after poor excuse!
    DO NOT USE WICKED CAMPERS THEY WILL RIP YOU OFF!

  • Ro
      11th of Nov, 2012
    0 Votes

    Absolutely Agree -
    We got stranded a couple of hundred Kms from no-where in remote Australian Bush, recovered the vehicle at our own expense, haven't been reimbursed like we got told we would be and where hired an absolute piece of ### 4x4 camper that basically fell apart as we drove it. Aircon was busted (summer in the Northern territory, 45 degrees plus), the car leaked and pooled water on the floor, the indicators didn't work, a headlight was smashed, the batteries fell apart and spewed acid everywhere (leaving us stranded) and the spare tire was balder than a drag racing slick until I pointed it out and it was begrudgingly changed. The rear bumper was held on with tech screws and a brake light didn't work. The car had such a serious shudder I was worried the transmission was going to fall out. The "chiller" was a broken 25L esky you buy from Woolworths that the lid didn't stay on, hence didn't keep anything cold, we literally had ice for as long as it would last sitting in a hot car in the sun with no eksy. The Gas Cooker bottle was open when we picked the car up, we only noticed when we put the windows up on the highway and could smell LPG (gas) in the car - EXTREMEMLY DANGEROUS - All it would have taken was an interior light to blow the whole vehicle to pieces and kill us both. Hence we didn't have enough gas to cook dinner that night. I am used to old 4x4's. I am used to budget repairs. I drive a 15 years old hilux 4x4 with almost 350, 000kms on it as my daily driver, so I am not just having whinge because I wanted a limo. The car we hired was not roadworthy in any way and we ended up almost $600 out of pocket because their battery fell apart. if the mechanic had charged us for labour, which he didn't, it would have been twice that. When I rang roadside they were unavailable multiple times. When I eventually got through, I got told the boss was on a plane from Chile and we'd have to pay ourselves and get reimbursed. I new we'd lost the money there and then. If you are thinking of hiring a Wicked Camper or anything from "The Juicy Love trust" do not do it under any circumstances. They are ### to deal with.

  • Wi
      25th of Oct, 2011
    0 Votes

    JeanC, I would not believe all your son tells you. I was there on time to meet your son and collect the van from him. I saw him driving away and chased him down the street. They did not call me and the number I had for them was not working. They did not wait even 30 seconds at the drop off point. They then kept the van for a few more days because there was no accommodation in Barcelona which they admitted to me. The van was meant for other customers so they had to wait for another van to become available. Your son was charged what for having the van for more time than he had booked it. Simple.

  • Gr
      18th of Jun, 2011
    0 Votes

    It states in the small print “Everything is at your expanse”. And this means everything, which is a lot when you have hired a clapped out death trap. Trust me they are more than happy to charge you to fix there heap.

    We returned a van in a better condition than what we collected and still lost our bond.

  • Ge
      5th of Feb, 2011
    0 Votes

    Honestly, what do you people expect if you rent cheap rubbish based on price, you'll get cheap rubbish. If you put as much effort into research as you do into writing long complain letters, you might be paying decent money for a decent vehicle and getting to enjoy your holiday.

  • Je
      11th of Jul, 2010
    0 Votes

    My son has just returned a Wicked Camper to their Barcelona office, he was stung an extra 117 pounds!
    This left them without enough money to return to the UK
    When he arrived at Wicked Barcelona there was no one to collect it
    The wan was at the Barcelona office on time. No one was there to hand the van over to, no parking area and no signs.
    No one in the street knew anything. The numbers they were given didn't work.
    They were treated rudely about being late due to them having to come back at the Barcelona office.
    Due to no fault of their own, they should not have been charged the extra
    They will go to Wicked in London to see if they can get their money back
    Consumer Affairs will take the matter up, failing that, Jean

  • Bo
      31st of Mar, 2010
    -1 Votes

    Early on this year, I went on a trip to Australia with a few friends. A month prior to my departure, I reserved a camper van from a rental company in Brisbane called Wicked Campers. They quoted me $1200 USD for two weeks and charged me an initial fee of $250.00.

    After arriving in Brisbane, my friend and I boarded a train and walked a mile or so with our entire range of luggage (Surfboards, Clothes, Etc) to their location. The first vibe I received from the location is that it looked like an illegal chop shop. After 15-20 minutes or so of waiting, one of the girls requested that I sign a rental form and give her my driver’s license prior to seeing the full amount I was about to pay. I refused and requested that I receive a formal contract with a dollar amount prior to singing any forms.

    By this time, it felt like something fishy was going on. She presented me with a quote of $2300 USD for a van that looked like it was about to die. This was nearly twice the amount that I was quoted online! I presented her with the receipt I received online and she said they would not honor that price and that if anything happened to the van I would have to pay out of pocket for it. I requested that they honor the amount on my online booking receipt. They refused and I told them I didn’t want the van. After requesting the initial deposit of $250.00 back, they refused yet gain. I told them I would file a complaint and a dispute with my credit card company.

    I put in a dispute with my credit card company over the charge. I am also contacting the Fair Trade Commission of Queensland and filling a formal complaint. I encourage anyone who has had a bad experience with this company to speak up and file a complaint as well.

    Fair Trade Website: http://www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au/make-a-complaint.htm

  • Ja
      15th of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    Haha, I've heard it all now. So lets get this right Steve J. You were attempting to drive through a flood and you ingested water in the engine and killed it. Christ what do you think they are, amphibious???
    Your obviously not familiar with Australian weather or the vehicles that are made here. NO vehicle be it a Wicked camper or anything else will tolerate being driven in deep water. So to suggest there dangerous because of that is laughable.

    Why don't you admit it? You were very stupid, tried to drive in flash flood conditions and paid the consequences! Its not London here i'm afraid, you can't just catch a taxi to the nearest Holiday Inn when your in the outback... that's why its called the outback...

    Maybe if you cared more about your camper they would care more about you??

    Anyhow i hired one in South Africa and it was one of the best experiences of my life...No water to cross though :)

  • St
      29th of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    WARNING DO NOT RENT FROM WICKED!!!

    Please if you are even considering renting from this company understand this:

    If you in any was have an accident, break down or absolutely anything happens to your vehicle you will find you will have to pay for everything. READ that small print there is no Insurance for these vehicles! you are 3rd party only.

    We broke down in the middle of nowhere and was caught in a flash flood, the 24h roadside number is not 24h meaning we were stranded on the side of the road with a broken vehicle.

    We called them the next day and they told us to "recover it ourselves" and they would not help in any way.

    We paid $700 to recover it to a garage like they said, we got a RAC Inspector to inspect it like they said. The RACI said the vehicle is a write off. Wicked then told us to recover it back 800km's to the nearest depot at a cost of $4600! what is the point?????

    We had to charter a plane to get out of where we were and then fly back to Perth at a cost of $2500 this is all in 6 days.

    These vehicles have their air intakes at the bottom of the vehicle so if you try to cross any more than 250mm of water you can kiss goodbye to your engine ever working again.

    PLEASE PLEASE do not get caught out with this company they do not care leas about the customer. All they want is your money. The Vehicles are DANGEROUS and unfit for long distance travel.

    Stay away, not worth it. Read the small print they will tell you your covered in the shop but that means nothing.

  • Ji
      26th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    Wicked campers are s**t they call bad taste art

    The Mr Webb you speak if actually the owner !! wicked are soo cheap the owner answers afterhours breakdown calls to save money !

    doent really inspire you about the quality of their vans when there not even prepared to pay someone to answer the roadside assiatnce phone, so the owner doe sit himself ??

    DO NOT RENT FROM WICKED CAMPERS THEY HAVE NO SOCIAL OR MORAL CONSCIENCE

  • Ch
      29th of May, 2008
    -1 Votes

    i couldnt disagree more. i rented a van in Perth and i intended to drive to brisbane (the long way!!!) through adelaide and melbourne.

    we were halfway along the great ocean drive to melbourne stopping over and we had a slight problem. the van wouldnt start.
    i phoned through to the hotline and they also connected us through to a fella called John. He was great. he got onto the automotive service department who came out and checked out the van. It seemed as the it was the starter motor (and it would need to be replaced). John personally out us up overnight in a nearby motel and by the morning we had a deluxe model van there for us to continue our journey. (equipped with fluffy handcuffs)

    i couldnt have been happier with the experience.. (although a bit disappointed that the starter motor went.. i understand that these things happen.. and that the problem was dealt with in a really professional manner). Maybe you caught them on a bad day? anyway.. i cant wait for my next trip back to Australia.

  • Mi
      7th of Apr, 2008
    0 Votes

    Hi
    Same problem. Wicked are a nightmare. All you have to do is look at many forums including trip-adivsor.
    A letter we sent to wicked below.
    Dont expect the so-called customer service dept to do anything!

    To whom it may concern,

    This is the second time we have had to send this e-mail. We sent it a week ago but have not had a response. There are also some extras.

    My partner and I are currently driving (or at least trying to drive) Sachmo around but we have encountered a few problems. Firstly we had to swap into Sachmo from Julie Andrews as her engine was done. On the way up to Whitsundays we were delayed, with the cigar lighter not working, at Rockhampton. When we arrived at Whitsundays we decided not to stay and turned round to leave. Unfortunately we had a problem as accelerator power cut out on a hill. We had to take the van to the garage. This took from 11.30am until after 5pm. The mechanic discovered that the lines going into the fuel pump were attached the wrong way round. This seemed to help some but the van still wasn't running good, just okay. As we were driving to a campsite south of Proserpine the van again lost some accelerator power but this time on a flat straight road. I nursed the van to the sight and took it to the garage again the next day. The mechanic changed the fuel filter and gave the distributer a quick clean but he couldn't tell if this would fix the problem unless he had a detailed look at the engine. He did state that the old filter didn't look that bad. The fuel economy of the van has been very dodgy. At one stage, in good conditions, I only got about 90-100kms from half a tank. We have also had to use petrol travelling to and fro from the garage and wherever we have been as well as spending money that we wouldn't have spent on buses and passing time etc. More importantly we are on holiday and our time has been wasted getting these problems seen to and possibly fixed. John, on 1800 24 68 70, has been very helpful and given us the right numbers for people to contact and offered his theories on the problems. I know he will be contacting yourselves with a report on what I have just written about and has stated That your customer services will "Look After Us" because of the hassles. I am interested to know what way you will "look after us" and would appreciate your thoughts and comments.

    That was the original but there have been other developments since then. Firstly I did forget to mention that just after we left Brisbane the drivers side head cloth fell down around me while i was driving on the highway. This was potentialy very dangerous. This was fixed when we returned to the garage depot in Brisbane in search of the Lonely Planet book that we left in the confusion of changing vans. Unfortunately it seems that one of our fellow travellers had sticky fingers and decided to take the book as their own.

    Anyway back to Sachmo and his problems. On our way from Whitsundays to Mackay we had real problems with the van. After driving for 90kms with no particular problem, the van suddenly started to shudder going up a hill. for the next 35kms we couldn't go over 80km/h without serious shuddering and backfiring from the engine. Indeed at on stage this problem was occuring at 60km/h as the busy Bruce Highway traffic built up behind us. We nursed the van to Mackay and parked up for the night. The next day we took the van to the garage. The Mechanic established that the original work done by the first mechanic i.e. changing lines over going into the fuel pump, was wrong. "Gulahs" was the word that he used about them. the mechanic was in contact with John from Wicked and they now seem to have at least temporarily sorted out the problem. It was though Monday Afternoon before we were properly on the road again meaning that we had effectively lost 4 days of our holiday, been very frustrated and wasted time and money in a place that we did not want to be in.

    We would really like you to contact us and tells us what you think.

    Regards, Knox Moore

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