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Europcar car rental - Heathrow

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Europcar car rental - Heathrow

Thought I would give a very positive review for Europcar at Heathrow airport.

We picked up two rental cars from them (tip: two small rental cars much cheaper than hiring one big one!). Apart from guy at counter trying to sell an upgrade (which we were expecting) it was very easy and fast. Shuttle arrived within 5 mins of us getting to the stop, counter service was efficient and we were out of Europcar within about 15 mins, including choosing cars from the variety parked (slightly strange concept!) and getting the bumps and scratches noted on the forms. The car return was even better - we drove straight up, hopped out of cars, the guys checked them over, no problems, checked the fuel guage (full) and printed receipt for amount charged (identical to that on the booking). Then we queued for shuttle to airport, which took all of ten minutes. Two days later the NZD equiv amount was charged to the credit card.

So big thumbs up to Europcar....we'd def use them again.

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Califon NJ
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1. Re: Europcar car rental - Heathrow

Our trip to UK was without doubt, the best trip we've taken, but the experience at Heathrow Europcar Car Rental, revealed some very deceptive practices for which others should be aware before renting. We would never rent from them again.

We rented a car from Europcar on Priceline about a week before we left for the UK. Here’s how things went once we arrived at Europcar.

1. We rented a compact size car, knowing the roads are small. While completing the rental process, the agent suggested we upgrade to a larger size car. The rental would cost more, but because it was diesel, the higher fuel mileage would offset the difference. We declined. When we finally finished and got the keys to the car, guess which one it was; the next size larger car. Confused at first of course, we thought it must be a mistake. But on pulling out and telling the man at the gate that we were not going to pay for the better car, he said we got that one because they didn’t have any compact cars, all were rented.

2. During the rental process the agent wrote on a piece of paper 18,000.00 GBP and said “this is your liability on the car now, what would you like to do”, i.e., how much insurance would you like to buy. But the advertised rental we committed to on Priceline said insurance was included, that’s why we went with it. My wife nicely required an explanation as to why we need insurance since it’s included. “It’s not included” was the agent’s answer. That led to a call to a higher manager somewhere who described that yes, the insurance is included, but only in the online car rental advertisement, but, and this never was explained, “was just a form.” My wife asked to see the “form.” He said it was with the agreement we were emailed. No “form” was emailed, we had everything emailed with us on the counter at the rental agency. But she kindly continued to request an answer and eventually the manager on the phone revealed that if you are renting the car on Visa or Master Card from the US, most likely your credit card will cover car rental insurance in full, so we didn’t actually need it from Europcar. Note though, this was only after they were spending way too much time (approaching 1 hour) trying to get us to buy their insurance. We called our credit card. Yes indeed, they do cover in full, but the driver must be the person in whose name the card is. It’s my wife’s card but I’m driving. So we were informed that there would be a daily charge for the second driver. But, two weeks later, when we returned the car the return agent said, “so you’ve paid for an upgrade to a larger vehicle.” My wife said absolutely not. Yet the rental receipt had the upgrade charge on it. How did it get there? We suspect it was disguised as the charge for a second driver. However the return agent told us, Europcar does not charge for a second driver, yet at the time of rental, they clearly told us it would be 20GBP a day. I will say, the woman at the return end was honest with us.

This is unacceptable, Europcar / Alamo is not a reputable car rental company to deal with. And we would suspect it might have just been that location, but the manager on the phone was just as deceptive.

Edited: 18 October 2014, 22:27
Richmond, VA
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2. Re: Europcar car rental - Heathrow

We've rented from Europcar several times, mostly in the early years of trips to UK.

Sometimes we've had good experience with them, but more times like the poster Timothy C describes.

Clearly part of their business plan is selling insurance. We also did the trans-Atlantic call to check with our bank to see if the cc covered insurance, it did.

But other times Europcar offered deals that were hard to beat price-wise and we went with them, more knowledgeable about insurance and still had to resist their hard-sell.

Hertz pre-pay online has been the best as far as helpful, efficient service and no, in fact none at all, pressure to buy insurance. Highly recommend.

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Europcar car rental - Heathrow

Europcar - Heathrow

I won't be hiring a car from Europcar at Heathrow again.

I've hired from other firms at Heathrow and around the world without a problem.

It is best described as chaotic and took me 2 hours to pick up the car due to the long queues and locating booking on system even though I booked online. This followed the hard sell of upgrading to a larger car despite car booked being adequate. Despite having my own Sat Nav and one built into the dashboard I was given the hard sell with this as well. This gave me enough time to experience the disharmony within the staff, low morale and being informed that cars are frequently stolen due to policy of leaving ignition keys in cars in compound.

My main complaint is an excessive charge of £713.46 and £169.61 VAT for an extra days rental from Europcar.

On the 01/07/15 I hired a Vauxhall Astra from Europcar at Heathrow Airport through Easycar.com for 16 days at AU$586.33 from Tuesday 14/7/15 until Thursday 30/7/15.

I live in Australia and have returned from the UK after a 3 week holiday. I am using Australian dollars and pound sterling in this correspondence as I booked online in Australian dollars, my credit card statement is in Australian dollars and I paid in pounds sterling on return of car.

On return of the car the Europcar representative checked the car in and informed me that I owed a £1000. I advised that I had already paid for hire through easycar but was informed that I had £500 outstanding for fuel, tyre/ windscreen cover and extra day hire. On reflection I should have queried the amount but the Europcar rep was a little abrupt, I was pre-occupied after a busy drive to the airport, glad to have returned the car safely and pre-occupied with the prospect of a long haul flight to Australia.

Not until I was in flight did I realise that the receipt stated £713.46 for an extra day car hire along with £169.61 VAT. Two credit card charges of £445.30 and £572.37 have been debited although I had only entered my card and pin into the card reader once.

On my credit card statement I was debited AU$1277.95 and AU$1010.49 for the extra days car hire, fuel and tyre / windscreen cover totalling $2288.44. This is on top of the $586.33 I had already paid for 16 day car hire.

Part of the extra charge is for tyre & windscreen cover at £7.50 a day for 17 days totalling £127.50 and £47 for empty tank refill, both of which I agreed to and not disputing. Although £169.61 VAT is a little high as well.

I was aware I would not be able to return the car on time prior to 09:00 on 30/7/15 and contacted Europcar by phone on Wednesday 29/7/15 to seek advice on returning after agreed time.

I was advised of a grace period of 30 minutes before the hire goes into another day and I will then be charged an extra day so I decided on the latter option and return late.

During my hire period I had no mechanical issues or collision issues and returned the car as agreed with an empty tank.

I agree to paying for an extra day after returning 4 hours late but feel that the charge for the extra day is a little excessive. Is this normal practice to charge an excess amount for late return.

After seeking legal advice I am in the process of contacting the Metropolitan police and my card issuer.

With so many international travellers passing through Heathrow and hiring cars this may not be an isolated incident. Reviewing Trip Advisor and Yelp I've observed numerous complaints with Europcar's Heathrow Branch.

Brisbane, Australia
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4. Re: Europcar car rental - Heathrow

We have rented through Europcar many times, but were deceived last time at Heathrow.

We had booked and paid for the car hire before we left Australia. When we picked up the car at Heathrow, we were talked into getting a diesel car for an extra GBP 15 per day on the grounds that it would be offset by the savings in petrol. While travelling a considerable distance, there was no saving and with the extra taxes we were out of pocket by a considerable amount.

When we returned the car, they managed to find a minor scratch on a hubcap which they claimed was 'fresh'.- it would not have been noticed when we picked up the car. So after being charged for the damage plus administration fee, the car hire became very expensive.

Added to the fact there is no email for Europcar Heathrow, except through a travel agent, I would suggest such tactics and underhand and amount to sheer profiteering on the part of Europcar.

Adelaide, Australia
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5. Re: Europcar car rental - Heathrow

Yes our experience was very similar. It seems that it is a common practice for Europcar to deceive customers about the savings on diesel to encourage them to accept an upgrade. We were told "We have upgraded you to a diesel vehicle because of the distance you are travelling. We were charged twice for one item - an amount which was finally refunded only after 4 emails were sent by me to customer service and 4 weeks after the vehicle was returned. There were a number of other issues we had and we will never use this company again.

Perth, Australia
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6. Re: Europcar car rental - Heathrow

Similar story with me. Booked a car 8 weeks in advance and arrived after 24 hour flight to be told nothing available in that class, options were to pay an extra 1000GBP to upgrade or get an inferior vehicle and travel back in a few days (4 hour round trip) if they did manage to find a vehicle in the class I booked.

I only found out about the extra 1000GBP once the contract had been drawn up and presented to me for signing. I was told by the customer service guy that it would only cost me 630 GBP in total - when I queried the 2300 GBP bill I was told that the 630 was just the difference I would have to pay extra. When I had s guaranteed price of 1286GBP the numbers just didn't add up.

I am a regular business traveller and have never come across this behaviour before - I was left with the impression that they were trying to obtain money from me by misrepresentation - I was tired my family was tired and can quite see how people would just accept the cost to get out of there and on their way.

Never again will I use Europcar and I will also raise through their loyalty partner programme airline

Wales, United...
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7. Re: Europcar car rental - Heathrow

Our experience of Europcar Heathrow is also similar. We had prebooked & paid for an economy car. We arrived after a 17 hour flight & just wanted to pick up our hire car & drive home. The representative (Panjak) tried for a very long time to persuade us to upgrade the insurance, which we firmly said 'No' to. He then suggested we take a diesel car as it would be cheaper on fuel. I specifically asked him to confirm that the diesel car woud not cost us any extra, to which he replied no. It wasn't until we received the invoice the following day we discovered we had been charged an additional £30. We checked the contract & there in very small print it shows the additional cost we had been charged for. I phoned cutomer services but they stated as we had signed the contract there was nothing they coud do.

We have hired cars around the UK & Europe from various hire companies, sometimes our car has been upgraded free of charge and I can honestly say we have never been treated in such a manipulative & underhanded way. For sure we will not be hiring from Europcar again & I urge anyone hiring from them to read the very small print very carefully

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8. Re: Europcar car rental - Heathrow

Europcars Heathrow won't hire me a car again. It's all to do with their little business generating technique involving car upgrades.

I will be hiring a car in London for a month each year from now on and this year booked one with Europcars through an agent 7 months before the pickup date. Full payment was made 6 weeks before this date as requested by Europcars.

When I arrived at their depot there was a car there for me alright - it was this upgrade, as the car I thought I was getting was apparently not available. You are standing there at the counter with your bags and needing to get to your destination and so you go along with their scam. Europcars don't give any prior warning of possible vehicle changes or shortages so their way of operating really is a scam. The result was the rental price I had paid 6 weeks earlier exactly doubled.

On a positive note I found the depot well designed, attractive and welcoming when I arrived but unfortunately the gent behind the counter tarnished this impression and I will never use them again.

United Kingdom
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9. Re: Europcar car rental - Heathrow

"When I arrived at their depot there was a car there for me alright - it was this upgrade, as the car I thought I was getting was apparently not available.You are standing there at the counter with your bags and needing to get to your destination and so you go along with their scam. Europcars don't give any prior warning of possible vehicle changes or shortages so their way of operating really is a scam. The result was the rental price I had paid 6 weeks earlier exactly doubled"

Not sure why you should end up paying more as per the T&C if your car category is not available they should upgrade for free or downgrade and provide compensation.

(Certainly that is the case for online bookings)

Auckland Central...
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10. Re: Europcar car rental - Heathrow

Its good to know you had a great experience - I was not so lucky.... Booked a rental car whilst still in NZ ready for a trip back in England. After googling rental cars used Rentalcars.com I found them to be less than hopeless ! Incorrect information provided the pricing was being increased whilst using the chat window. The car I eventually booked was through Europcar's sister company Interent based at Heathrow. They provided lots of stress and little in customer service, arrogant rude would not cover the experience. This would be the last thing you need after a grueling flight from NZ. On top of everything that occurred the car was dirty inside and out. I would recommend NOT to use any of these companies if you look for a smooth transaction.

On previous trips back to the UK I have used Hertz which I have found to be excellent ........

Edited: 14 August 2016, 10:55
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