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Avoid Sugarland Car Rental in Cairns

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Avoid Sugarland Car Rental in Cairns

I hired a Toyota Camry at Sugarland Car Rental in Cairns. Whilst the car was fine, I had a very poor customer experience at Sugarland Car Rental: 1) They failed to honour their 10% discount advertisement2) They charged me for 7 rental days instead of 6 (I picked the car up at 11am on a Sunday and dropped it off at 8am on Saturday..they could not do the maths! Unbelievable!)3) When I returned the car one notch below full petrol they made a song and a dance like you would not believe. I had actually received the car with exactly the same amount of petrol but the manager disputed this. I had just spent some AUD 600 with this company and the manager quibbled what turned out to be AUD 11 dollars of unfilled petrol. The manager effectively branded me a liar when I was certainly not lying. Please remember I had spent AUD 600 but felt that I had returned the car with the correct amount of petrol The whole experience left me with the strong impression that customer service is unimportant to these people. These people appear to me to be unprofessional, very petty and small-minded and quite frankly rude and inept. I have hired cars all over the world and have never had this many problems. This company has a policy of charging the unsuspecting hirer a fee if the car is not returned 'clean'. The mind boggles at this because how many tourists bring their vacuum cleaner and hose pipe on holiday! I would strongly recommend all decent and fair-minded people to avoid this company at all costs and hire a car with Avis, Hertz or one of the other reputable providers at Cairns airport.

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1. Re: Avoid Sugarland Car Rental in Cairns

Tip for the next time your hire - take photos of the car all round before you get in it and also photos of fuel gauge/speedo reading when you get in and do same when you drop car off.

Most cameras these days record time and date of when pic was taken. These are great if you ever have to dispute something.

Port Lincoln
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2. Re: Avoid Sugarland Car Rental in Cairns

I have used Sugarland every time I have been to Cairns & their service, cars & rates has been very good.

I think you are being a bit precious over the fuel. If you noticed that the fuel gauge was below full why didn't you advise them? Having "hired cars all over the world" surely you are aware that things can become difficult over issues like this.

Sounds to me like you were portraying victim behaviour & are now blaming Sugarland.

Cairns, Australia
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400 posts
7 reviews
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3. Re: Avoid Sugarland Car Rental in Cairns

When you live in Cairns, or nearby, you can expect to be deluged with visitors, especially at this time of year, when its so much colder in southern states.

I've been recommending Sugarland to my visitors for years, never has there been one complaint and all have been pleased with service, quality of vehicles and grateful for free pickup at door. This saves my visitors time and money as avoids having to travel to airport or into city to pick up an Avis, Hertz, Thrifty , Budget etc rental, which do not offer this free service .

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4. Re: Avoid Sugarland Car Rental in Cairns

I am the owner of Sugarland Car Rentals and am in my 17th year of being in this business. I doubt very much that I would still be operating in Cairns and renting cars to all of the local hotels and accommodation places, if all of the above was how this customer has described his experience with our company.

1. The customer had been given a brand new Toyota Camry which was 2 weeks old at the time of hire. He was staying at a beautiful B & B situated 20 kilometres from our office. The B & B had rung and organized the hire of the vehicle for the customer and asked if we could pick him up from there. That is part of our service and we do not charge any extra for it. We picked up the customer and his new bride and brought them back to the office to complete the paperwork. We use the customer's car he is going to rent for this service, and therefore by the time we got back to the office (after travelling 40 klms in total, the vehicle's fuel had gone below the full line. The vehicle was full of fuel when we left to pick him up and yes we do expect the vehicle to be returned to our office at the end of hire full of fuel, ready for the next customer. We offer our customers a free pick up from their accommdoation and free drop off to the airport at the end of their hire as a little added extra. The taxi fare for these 2 trips alone would have been in excess of $50.00. This is a service that the major companies do not offer, however they are no different from us in expecting their vehicles to be brought back full of fuel. It is completely irrelevant what his rental cost was. If every customer throughout the day expected us to top up their vehicles, just because they rented from us, I'm afraid I would not still be in business.

2. We did not fail to honour a 10% discount. The advertisement he showed us very clearly states that the customer has to ring direct himself, in order to get the discount. As the vehicle had been

pre-arranged through the B & B, I explained to the gentleman, that unfortunately he was not entitled to it.

3. Initially the car was organized by the B & B for a 5 day hire but when the customer was in the office he asked if he could extend the hire from 11.00am on 13/07/08 to 4.30pm on 19/07/08 which is a 7 day hire, and that is what we charged him for. During the time of his hire he changed his drop off time to 8.30am on the 19/07/08 and so we gave him a refund of 1 day. He was the one who changed his mind from a 7 day hire to a 6 day hire, not a miscalculation on our behalf.

4. We have a sticker in our vehicles asking for the car to be brought back in a clean conditon. This means for all rubbish to be removed before the vehicle is returned to us and we expect the seats and carpet to be as they took it. If the vehicle has to be taken off the road for a day, in order to wet vac the interior of the car due to stains left by the customer, then extra cleaning charges apply. It does not mean for him to vacuum the car and he is the first person to have ever mentioned such a ridiculous suggestion. He brought the car back perfectly fine so I don't know why he has brought that up.

5. Our aim is to have 100% customer satisfaction however it is obvious that you can not please all of the customers all of the time.

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5. Re: Avoid Sugarland Car Rental in Cairns


After reading this thread, I will not be renting a car from you when I visit Cairns in Feb.

My reasons are: YOU state you provide the free pick up and drop off. However, you used the customers gas to do this. If the customer had canceled while at your office, would you have charged him for the gas it took to drive to the B&B and return trip?

I presume (if the customer canceled at your office) you would not be returning him to their B&B.

The 10% discount should have gone to the paying customer. As a visitor he asked the B&B to call you, but he paid for it. Not the B&B. Jeez!

I have never rented a car anywhere in which I was required to clean the car before returning it. True many customers may leave trash in the car, under the seats, cigeretts in the ash tray or whatever. That's why you hire the high school kid at the lowest wage possible to wash and clean the cars! It's called the cost of during business.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard "We've been in business for ..."

Lygo, I like your idea of taking pictures.

Los Angeles
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33 posts
13 reviews
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6. Re: Avoid Sugarland Car Rental in Cairns

Have to say I agree with rhodesaz on this one.

Denying a 10% discount that you advertise simply because he had someone else call to place the reservation seems a bit tacky to me. Why is the discount not eligible? Is it because you give the 10% to the B&B as commission for booking the car? If that's the case, then a commission is a cost you should eat in order to get more business and, presumably, get this customer to recommend your business to any friends that might be planning a similar vacation. Guess that isn't working out so well, huh?

I would also assume the "free" pickup is something you offer to set yourself apart from other car rental places in the area. Your motivation for doing this is to secure a rental with your local office rather than having a bloke go with an internationally recognized chain that they might feel more comfortable dealing with. In which case you should, again, eat the cost of this as you probably never would have gotten the rental in the first place without the added bonus of the 10% discount which he thought he was going to get and the "free" pickup which he also didn't really get. If you have a problem with how much petrol this takes, then limit your offer to 5km from your office location.

Brisbane, Australia
Destination Expert
for Brisbane, Noosa
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7. Re: Avoid Sugarland Car Rental in Cairns

It's good to see that there can be two sides to a story.

Sammy, I surely will book through you next time I am in Cairns.. I do think Ramblin makes some good points worth your consideration.

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8. Re: Avoid Sugarland Car Rental in Cairns

We rented a car from these guys last month and found the experience quite good overall. When i was unsure whether we needed 4-6 days, or over 7 it wasnt a drama for them to adjust the rate. They offered me a discount (which i asked for) and were friendly, professional and even allowewd us to leave the car at our apartment to pick up, as we had an early morning flight out of Cairns.

Having used primarily Larger companies, I'd definitely use them again. There were no 'surprises' with any aspect of the rental, and it was a straightforward rental.

Dazz Hassan


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9. Re: Avoid Sugarland Car Rental in Cairns

It's always very interesting to read something on this sort of forum that resonates with your own experience. I will share a few features of my experience with Sugarland:

1) Ordinary cars. For 55$ a day!!! (booked as part of a package) we were presented with a 2005 Daihatsu Charade manual transmission with 85000km on the clock. Not what we were expecting. The windscreen was cracked, the fella was unapologetic: "that's unavoidable...it happens." Despite having very little in the way of suspension, the car handled like a shopping trolley. The brand new Getz's at Europcar are a great deal less expensive and are better cars. We were a bit miffed, but hey, first day of holidays - don't sweat the small stuff. The car went, it would get us around.

2) All the insurance reduction, tyre and windscreen insurance was part of our package, but they were not aware of this, tried to charge us and then rang the resort we were staying at to check that we were indeed being honest. This was not the last time we were made to feel that we were dishonest.

3) As we booked the car as part of a package we thought it was all inclusive in covering our last day until the afternoon. We were not told that we needed to get it back to them as early on our last day as we did. I am willing to admit culpability here - I should have checked, I should have been clearer. After a civil discussion, they agreed to charge us for half a day's rental for the three hours more that we needed the car. Fair enough. Better communication was needed, but a reasonable compromise was reached. The lady our host at the resort dealt with seemed affable and accommodating.

4) In the course of driving the dubious car - the roads in North Qld are not exactly like German autobahns - a hubcap came off going over a bump. We picked it up, put it in the boot and returned it to them. On returning the car, despite having all available insurance cover - including tyre and windscreen, we were charged for the hubcap. Now these guys might have been within their rights - I really didn't know and we didn't put up too much of a fight for $40-odd. Again, not worth spoiling a holiday over. What disappointed us was the way in which the man approached it. His manner was extremely rude from the outset. We were accused for mistreating their car and were told we were being dishonest: "you must have done something to it". No "it's unavoidable...it happens" with this one! We were then asked to "consider it from HIS perspective." Our perspective: this was the second time we were made to seem dishonest and these episodes bookended our holiday.

These guys need to understand that they are in fact in the hospitality industry whether they like it or not. No guest enjoys being condescended to and treated rudely and it leaves a real sour taste in your mouth. I thought that perhaps this treatment might be an aberration until I read this blog. I'm sure there will be excuses, I'm sure there's another side, but the fact of the matter is that we were unhappy with our treatment and will go back to using the cheaper and far better Europcar or Budget with whom we have never had any dramas.

Cairns, Australia
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10. Re: Avoid Sugarland Car Rental in Cairns

G'Day The Hed0nist,

Thanks for doing that very thorough review there, and it certainly helps us locals when recommending these (often, a lack of..) "service" providers.

As said, they should remember that they are associated with the hospitality industry, and should be able to display a modicum of flexibility and sensitivity when it comes to individual dealings with the people who pay for their livelihood....the customers.

I think the proprietors have to accept that ALL customers are potentially very vocal critics with the advent of sites like Trip AdvisorExpedia etc., and word (especially uncomplimentary word) tends to spread a lot faster over the 'net than it did just a few years ago.

I'm sorry to see some Cairns business/es cop a bagging, but it's about time some of them treated their paying customers, especially visitors to our city, with the dignity and respect they deserve. These businesses should anticipate a write-up on every aspect of their treatment of their customers.

Thanks again for that review, make sure you try a different mob next time, and don't let this one negative aspect put you off ever visiting Cairns again.

Cheers mate,