Europcar International — additional charges on car rental
On 17th September 2017 we picked up our rental car from Europcar at Rome Train Station. This had all been pre-arranged & paid for in Australia and we had a voucher to present to Europcar with all the details. After waiting over an hour to be served we were served by someone who spoke very little English. My partner speaks some Italian and did his best to communicate with her, but it was very difficult. There was a lack of understanding that is for sure. In particular, she kept insisting that we did not have adequate insurance & that if the car was damaged we would have to pay an excess of EUR900. I showed her our voucher for the prepaid hiring costs and this clearly states EUR300 excess. She insisted it was EUR900 excess and she did not know what this EUR300 was. She explained that if the car was stolen that we would not be covered. I again showed our voucher which says EUR500 excess for theft & she kept shaking her head saying no. She had another person there helping with interpretation however I don't think they were understanding what we were trying to explain to them.
People were lined up behind us waiting to be served by only two staff members and were making noises as if to say, hurry up. In the end we said OK, just add it on so we could get out of there, and that we must have not read the voucher correctly or misunderstood our travel agent. She also then asked us if we wanted an additional driver noted on the car hire and we did say yes, however it was never explained that it would cost us an extra EUR10 a day plus 22% tax. Tax was never mentioned to us at all in our entire dealings. Nor was the Navigation System. We did originally request a Navigation System if available, but as this could not be guaranteed we had brought our own. After being rushed and what we felt was pressured to complete our transaction, we finally made our way to pick up the car.
We had requested a Fiat 500L or similar 4 door vehicle. We received a Jeep Renegade. This was fine, it wasn't what we asked for, however again, it was so busy and rushed that we were almost pushed out of the car park. We had no issues having a Jeep at the end of the day, and the attendant there showed us the Navigation System that was inbuilt into the car. We advised that we had brought our own and he said the car comes with it anyway so there was nothing he could do. Again, we figured this was fine as they couldn't exactly take it out.
The next day my partner was checking his credit card statement online and saw the holding deposit from Europcar and was incredibly shocked to see the amount. We were very confused & didn't understand why it was so much. When we got to our next destination we got out our paperwork and tried to work it all out. This was all written in Italian so we could not understand anything that it said except the amounts. EUR1048.87 We tried calling Europcar Customer Service, the pick-up counter in Rome, no one would answer our calls. We tried calling Australian Europcar to be told they couldn't do anything. We spoke to our travel agent in Australia who tried to help bu they couldn't either as it was all in Italian. They said we had to deal with the company in Italy.
We ended up travelling to the closest Europcar office in San Benedetto to try & get help to sort this out. He spoke relatively good English and tried to help us as best he could. He typed notes into the system explaining what had happened & phoned customer service for us. They said that they would redo the contract and fix it up without the insurance and navigation system. We waited 2 hours and this still hadn't been completed so we had to leave to reach our next destination. The man at San Benedetto advised that when we got to Palermo to drop the car off that it should all be sorted out then.
This did not happen. On October 15th we returned the car and they just kept saying they could not do anything about it and we would just have to lodge a complaint requesting a refund, which leads me to where I am now.
The lady at your office in Palermo airpoirt did advise that she could not understand why we were charged for the Navigation System either and that maybe because we got a bigger car that we were not charged extra for, that they charged us instead for the Navigation system? At most she said, they should have only charged us for 7 days.
This is all completely confusing and misleading as everyone we spoke to gave us a different answer. In Palermo we had to end up paying the mount in full less the security deposit of EUR300, so that was EUR748.87. This equals around $1, 100 Australian which is almost the same as what the car hire cost us in the first place!
We feel completely ripped off and over charged due to your staff not being able to adequately communicate these charges and knowing their product. 3 different people and 3 different stories.
I have attached copies of our car hire voucher so that you can see clearly the inclusions and the excesses stated. We respectfully request a full refund of the full damage protection and the Navigation system including tax which I calculate to be EUR568.86. We accept the additional driver costs as we did ask for this.
Vanessa Martin & Guiseppe Manitta
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