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Vieques Car Rental - be advised!

atlanta
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Vieques Car Rental - be advised!

This story ends with a man (either the owner or an employee) shouting across their Vieques Car Rental parking lot that he hoped I died in a car accident, but before that punch line, here's how the story began:

My husband, 6 year old daughter, and I rented a car from Jock Aikman (the new owner of VCR) Tuesday April 5th 2011 and the car literally almost killed my daughter.

We made this reservation back in Feb, so this was not a case of a "last minute - we'll take whatever you have" situation. When we arrived at his "business," it was a tiny metal hut, locked tight. Nobody there despite the fact he knew we were coming as I called when we left the mainland. He or his employee (didn’t catch the name) arrived 25 minutes later and he spent another 15 minutes arguing with somebody on his cellphone before he got around to our paperwork.

Then he showed us the jeep - really old, in bad shape, bald tires, no a/c and it smelled like something had died inside the car (turns out there was a dead rat under the hood). He said this was all he had and we had no other option, so we took it. Ironically, he made us sign an agreement to keep the doors locked and wear seat belts at all times.

I say ironically because the car doors would not lock and the seat belts wouldn't buckle, which is how my daughter very nearly fell out of the back seat when the rear door flew open unexpectedly when we made a turn. I’ll never forget the look of panic in my daughter’s eyes as her new hat flew out the open door while she clutched at the end of a broken seat belt, struggling not to slip out the open door. What a nightmare. And the entire car was just rickety and falling apart. There seemed to be no power steering or shocks; the brakes squealed and the headlights mysteriously turned off as if the wiring was loose (much of it was visibly hanging out under the passenger side dash area).

The engine started smoking about 5 minutes into our drive. When my husband finally figured out how to lift the hood, he found the remains of a smoldering dead rat. That was the last straw.

We called the “agency” immediately upon arriving at our rental home and told the owner/employee we would be returning the jeep ASAP as it was unsafe to drive. He said he had no other vehicles and that he was charging us for a day anyway. When we took it back the next AM he demanded my credit card (he already had it from the authorization anyway) but I refused to give it to him, stating that the car was a death trap and there was no way I was paying a dime to smell a stinking dead rat and almost lose my daughter off a cliff.

Astonishingly, he denied any responsibility for the jeep’s condition, stating repeatedly that "nobody tells me these things" about the extremely dangerous nature of this vehicle, implying that it is our duty as customers to somehow psychically divine the crappy condition of his rentals before we drive them, instead of his responsibility to inspect and maintain his cars. Unbelievable.

He kept demanding my credit card, but I just walked out of the shack to the new vehicle we borrowed from the vacation rental we reserved. As I left the shack that's when he shouted across the lot "I HOPE YOU DIE IN A CAR ACCIDENT!!!"

Wow, way to do business Mr. Aikman. I should have called the police as others have done when his cars almost killed them, too (read all the reviews on the various travel websites - it's terrifying what this man is doing). He did manage to charge my card anyway – without my signature, and of course I am disputing this at the moment with AMEX. Thank goodness I used AMEX, they will prevent further brutalization from this “company.”

I believe it is just a matter of time before somebody really does die. We can only pray they go out of business or this owner/employee gets arrested before somebody loses their life as a result of their careless, negligent, greedy, illegal and grossly irresponsible business practices.

Edited: 11 April 2011, 20:27
NYC
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for Isla de Vieques
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59 reviews
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1. Re: Vieques Car Rental - be advised!

its really unfortunate.

please know though that stories like yours are in actuality a small percentage.

also, fyi, february is last minute for this time of year in vieques. you are lucky(relative speaking) to have gotten that.

can you tell me what other travel sites are there with reviews from vieques. people mention them but i cant find them.

also, how was the rest of your stay? would you do a trip report?

Phoenix, Arizona
13 posts
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2. Re: Vieques Car Rental - be advised!

To find other sites, simply google "Vieques Car Rental". You'll quickly find

viequestravelguide.com/…Reviews

where this agency is pretty well hammered.

We're planning a couple of nites on the island and the quick research I've done so far leads me to think I'll seek the help and advice of Inn for car rental.

3. Re: Vieques Car Rental - be advised!

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Removed on: 12 April 2011, 11:35
Edited: 12 April 2011, 11:35
4. Re: Vieques Car Rental - be advised!

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Removed on: 12 April 2011, 15:05
atlanta
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5. Re: Vieques Car Rental - be advised!

Uhm, Gussy - did you read my post? Are you affiliated with this rental "agency?" I don't quite understand the tone of your post, you sound almost hostile. Fact is, my first grader could have been killed. No joke.

The seat belts wouldn't fasten and the door flew open, which is why we returned the car to the so-called agency. My daughter "literally" almost fell out while the car was moving and the door flew open. I can't imagine how/why you would feel this is somehow our fault?

Do you honestly believe we would unfasten her belt and just open her door while the car was moving?

Edited: 12 April 2011, 03:00
6. Re: Vieques Car Rental - be advised!

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Removed on: 12 April 2011, 11:35
atlanta
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7. Re: Vieques Car Rental - be advised!

Live and learn, of course. I was charged $65/day for this "vehicle." It was the only car on the lot and it was getting dark outside - the owner/employee kept us waiting outside quite a while before he finally showed up. We didn't make it more than a mile when my husband called this guy and told him we needed another car. Of course he refused.

Then it was just a few minutes later the door flew open in the back without warning. We didn't forsee that happening. Nor did we realize the headlights would go off and on.

Trust me, we only drove it a very few miles before parking it. Still hard to believe this man yelled that he hoped I would die in a car accident when I refused to pay for this incredibly dangerous vehicle.

Again, he yelled that he hoped I would die in a car accident. Can you imagine that? After the terrifying ride the night before, he wished me dead. Loudly.

I have never, ever been treated like this by any business owner in the world, ever. Or really anybody else, for that matter. What a sociopath. And what a terribly dangerous situation for any renter.

My only purpose here is to warn others to steer clear of this place for fear of their own safety, and the safety of their loved ones.

Chicago, IL
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8. Re: Vieques Car Rental - be advised!

Oh no! I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. We are booked with this car rental company for our trip in May, and now I'm worried...I have nothing against old rickety vehicles, but as I am pregnant working seat belts (and doors!) are important to me! Since our trip is in 2 weeks I'm sure we can't change reservations at this late date. Crap. I guess all I can do is call to confirm they will give us a vehicle with seat belts, and hope for the best?

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9. Re: Vieques Car Rental - be advised!

Planning a trip and need a auto rental. Any suggestions?

10. Re: Vieques Car Rental - be advised!

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Removed on: 13 April 2011, 17:05