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Europcar

toronto
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133 posts
53 reviews
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Europcar

If you are renting a car in France, we had a terrible experience with Europcar (rented from them on two occasions for a number of days, different locations)

With the first one the agency just wasn't open when the hours said they SHOULD be open. When the employee DID show up, a huge line formed. Our car was dirty and the cigarette lighter (which was used to power the GPS) was broken.

Then with the second rental I had reserved an automatic, which they did not have, nor was the class of car that I had reserved available, and the car was in poor condition. They tried to charge me more than 100 Euros more than my reserved quote (which read "Guaranteed Quote" on my paperwork, and when I questioned them they said "Guaranteed" meant nothing, that the price would be whatever came up on their computer when I showed up. Even though it was a lower class, and not an automatic, that they were providing me with. It took a lot of arguing to get it back to the "Guaranteed Price" they had emailed me as a quote (that I had a copy of with me). They were not helpful at all.

I have rented a lot of cars in Europe and never had a bad experience like this, but I have not used Europcar. Next time I will go back to Avis or one of the other rental companies that have always been helpful and at least upgraded you when your car class was unavailable.

California
Destination Expert
for Grasse
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8,179 posts
68 reviews
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1. Re: Europcar

Did you book through autoeurope? When things go wrong that consolidator will intervene for you.

Other good agencies are Kemwel and Sixt.

Washington DC...
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2. Re: Europcar

I also had a terrible experience with Europcar. I had rented it thru AutoEurope in New England, but that didn't help in the resolution. We booked thru AE as I said, and when we picked up the car at Charles de Gaulle airport, terminal 1, we were given a refueling option. I was told by the guy it would be 48 Euros and he advised it, if we used more than half a tank. Then he gave us the wrong location for the car and it took 45 minutes to find the car. I still think he did this on purpose, because I was questioning everything he said. I could not understand his thick accent and he seemed to get peeved by all of this and I felt like he did not like Americans. Anyway, I did not trust the guy and could not find any info in my rental packet on the 48 Euros, so we returned the car full. Well, 2 weeks later I get a bill for 89 Euros, so not only did he give me the wrong amount, it was not optional. AutoEurope says it was signed for that way, but that was not what I understood. I will never use EuropCar again. They lie. They deceive.

Paris, France
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for Paris, Loire Valley
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21,033 posts
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3. Re: Europcar

I have used Autoeurope as a booking agent with Europcar for years and never have had the types of problems described in these examples. True, I know what to expect, completely read and am familiar with what charges are and what charges are not included in the Autoeurope quote, and fully understand the fuel options which themselves can be confusing.

Most of these problems can often be resolved with a bit of consumer education. Several points:

1. Read the voucher used to pickup your car. Autoeurope quotes do not include costs such as: location pickup surcharges, additional driver fees, road taxes, or environmental fees associated with rental vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions. These can easily add $100 or more to the price of your rental and will be charged at the drop off location. If you haven´t read your rental agreement, you may not be aware of these charges until you receive your next credit card statement.

2. Be careful about agreeing to a hybrid refueling plan. Pick up your car with a full tank of gas and return it with a full tank of gas. Do not sign something you do not understand. Call Autoeurope´s free telephone number if you are confused about any aspect of the rental.

3. Cars with automatic transmissions are not popular in France and will always cost more if one is available. The best place to pick one up will be at one of the Paris airports. Otherwise, call the pickup location a day in advance to preclude problems before you arrive. I always do this and I do not drive drive automatics. This small effort has saved me a lot of trouble in the past.

4. Next to service problems with airport shuttles, car rentals are consistently the most problematic area for tourists. I cannot stress the following too strongly: read your rental agreement before you arrive to pickup your car, assume nothing.

5. These complaints are persistent on this forum and occur when using any of the French rental companies, even Avis and Hertz which I avoid completely. They eagerly charge one way fees which the other companies do not.

Washington DC...
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2 posts
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4. Re: Europcar

I'm not blaming AutoEurope. I understood that there would be small fees when I booked. But EuropCar never gave me anything with the fuel information on it, so I had no way of knowing what the charges would be, and again…I was told that this was optional. Since I did not have anything in writing or printed out, I chose not to use the option and returned the car full with fuel.

I had thought that Hertz or Avis might be better for future rentals, but based on what you have said. I won’t use them either. And by the way, we rented twice from Europcar on this trip (because we had a one-way river barge trip) and the 2nd pickup was no easier. It took 2 hours to get our car. I’m not kidding. The guy at the counter in Chalon-sur-Saone could not figure out how to use AutoEurope’s prepaid voucher. 2 hours!!! This 2 hour delay caused ripple effects in our itinerary. It caused my parents to miss their connecting train and lose a prepaid hotel reservation.

A few years ago Europcar incorrectly charged us for damages to the car, that we had not done and it took me 6 months to sort that out. Long story short….I will never, ever, ever use EuropCar again…and frankly…will likely never go to France again. That country is messed up and has no concept of what customer service is all about. I’ve been putting up with headaches in our France travels for the last 20 years, and frankly..yes the food and wine is wonderful, but the country is just not worth the hassle.

Comet, Qld
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575 posts
261 reviews
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5. Re: Europcar

I've posted full details of this elsewhere so won't bore you with the whole story again, but here's the bare bones. We rented a car for a week with Europcar last year. No great dramas with pick up or drop off and the automatic car we had was excellent. But when we got home they tried to charge us more than $700 for 9 days additional car hire and an extra driver. We did eventually sort this out through the travel agent we booked with. Mr G's cousin had a similar problem.

I'm not saying I'd never use them again, but if I do I'll be taking all the invoices and credit notes just in case they try to charge me again for the previous hire. For the sake of a few pieces of paper I would rather do that than try to settle an arguement and spoil the holiday.

Napier, New Zealand
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115 posts
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6. Re: Europcar

We used Europcar twice in France in April of this year. Once for a week in Avignon, and then another 5 days from Lille to Caen.

We had no problems with either rental, no extra charges, no surprises, charged exactly what had been quoted. Helpful staff at Avignon and Lille - only issue was the drop of at Caen (advised to park wherever we could find a park as no dedicated parking at the rail station).

Would we use them again - Yes

M :)

London, United...
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7. Re: Europcar

Customer services at europcar are terrible. If anyone has any trouble contacting europcar in france, call this free UK number 0116 2233 632. As least they wont charge you 5p a minute using the other number.

In short - they overcharged me for refuelling, charged me €50 for blowing a tyre although i had full insurance, and it took weeks to sort.

If anyone has any issues, you need to complain to the manager, not the clerks who answer the phones, and in order to claim refunds, you have to complain at least 3 times and have something in writing (email). This is what I have learnt. In order for europcar to refund, they need to have something in writing for audit purposes, so dont give up and hassell them everyday if possible.

I hope this help out people who have been incorrectly overcharged.

Bucks

1 post
2 reviews
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8. Re: Europcar

I also had a terrible experience with europcar, in moriani, Corsica. the hotel had warned me that the man there was aggressive but they seemed to be the only option. I booked and paid for a family sized car as I have three children. When I arrived the man said he only ever had the smallest model Peugeot. When I asked (politely) why he took payment for larger cars he began screaming and swearing at me in front of my children. I left because he seemed to be about to get violent. I wasted half an hour on europcars 'help' line with no reply, or to my emails. I'd never use them again.

Paris, France
Destination Expert
for Paris, Loire Valley
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9. Re: Europcar

Most of the rental problems I have read on the forum have had their root in a misunderstanding or a false expectation on the part of the renter. Often contracts and not read, charges not understood, and the basic rental tenants are misinterpreted.

Most customer service problems can be avoided buy using a reliable broker such as Autoeurope or Kemwell. Insurance coverage is best left to third parties such as credit card companies or specialty companies such as Car4hire. Rental company insurance often has very high deductibles and is very expensive.

There really is not sufficient detail in either of these two recent posts to make any kind of conclusive analysis but these problems are not unique to Europcar or any other specific company. We read about rental problems with Sixt, National, Avis or Hertz and the larger the company (Europcar is the largest in France to my knowledge) the more complaints it receives.

In addition to Bucks2010 suggestions, I might add that if you rent a car while in France READ the pickup voucher and KNOW what charges are covered at pickup and what charges are incurred at drop off. Inspect your vehicle before you leave the rental office and be clear about who pays to refuel the car. A few early precautions might save a lot of frustration later.

Edited: 22 June 2011, 21:37
London
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10. Re: Europcar

On two recent trips to the South of France, I've used Europcar (at Avignon and Toulouse). On both occasions I've returned the car with the tank full, only to receive a credit card statement a couple of weeks later showing a €20 fee for topping up the petrol. On the first occasion, the petrol station was about 5k from the drop-off, so I guessed that this accounted for the depleted tank. However, last time (August 2011), the garage was much closer - too close to have made any significant difference to the level in the tank. I'm starting to suspect that this is a regular way of ripping-off customers.

It's a smallish amount, small enough to feel that spending a lot of time trying to get it back isn't worth it, but large enough to make me feel very annoyed.........