We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Car Rentals - Do NOT Use Apex Car Rentals

Washington, DC
3 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Car Rentals - Do NOT Use Apex Car Rentals

Just wanted to pass along some advice about rental cars in NZ. We had a terrible experience with Apex Car Rentals (the only low point in an otherwise outstanding 3-week trip), and would strongly advise against renting from them.

We booked several rentals (from Auckland City, Nelson, and Queenstown) through Apex before we left -- the company seemed good, and the prices were less than at Hertz, Avis, etc. When we got to Auckland, though, we found out that their "economy" cars are cheaper because they are about 10 years old and are, in many cases, slightly beat up. We were assigned an old brown Nissan with a faded interior and patches of missing paint on the right side. That's when things got freaky:

1. An employee started to back our car out of the Apex garage. When he put it in gear, it lurched forward and hit another car, and then went into reverse at a high rate of speed, colliding with yet another car and ripping off the door.

2. He got out of the car and (no kidding) ran away. Other employees came out to gawk, but no one offered to help us retrieve our bags (which were in the trunk), or to get us another car. We were left standing in the middle of the garage, staring in disbelief.

3. After about 20 minutes of having no one help us, we wandered into the back office and asked the manager of the Auckland City Branch what was going on. He seemed exceedingly annoyed that we had bothered him. After another 10 minutes of waiting, he announced that he had another old Nissan we could rent.

4. We explained that, after having witnessed what appeared to be a serious transmission failure in one of their old cars, we were not about to get in another one. In light of what had happened, and the fact that no one had helped us or yet retrieved our bags (which were still in the trunk of the destroyed car), we at least expected he would offer us a complimentary upgrade to a newer and safer model (the next level up was a late model Ford Focus or Toyota Corolla).

5. His response (and I am not making this up) was, "Absolutely not. What, do you think you've won the lottery or something?"

Needless to say, we cancelled all our reservations with Apex on the spot and took a cab to Hertz. We rented with Hertz and Avis for the rest of our trip (including two complimentary upgrades from Avis for no reason whatsoever), and the rest of our trip was wonderful.

Issaquah, Washington
Level Contributor
3 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Car Rentals - Do NOT Use Apex Car Rentals

I'm really shocked by your experience with Apex. My husband is from New Zealand and we have always rented with Apex when we go back to visit. However, we have only rented out of Christchurch. But we have always had newer cars that were in good shape and very positive customer service (including the time I lost the rental cell phone in the water at the Moaraki Boulders!). I can't say I would have done anything different in your situation but if you ever end up in Christchurch don't write them off completely.

Surrey England
Level Contributor
2,370 posts
89 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Car Rentals - Do NOT Use Apex Car Rentals

We had no problems at all with our Apex rental.We rented from Christchurch,took it on the ferry and delivered it to Auckland airport site.

Auckland Central...
Level Contributor
29 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: Car Rentals - Do NOT Use Apex Car Rentals

I can't speak to an experience with Apex directly, but the reason why we chose one of the larger rental chains was because of the age of the cars at Apex and the like. Definitely something to consider if you're renting a vehicle.

Grimsby, United...
Level Contributor
475 posts
63 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Car Rentals - Do NOT Use Apex Car Rentals

We rented with Apex back in February. Our car was a few years old but it was presented in a clean and servicable condition. They were very helpful and very organised.

I wouldn't have a problem going back to them at all.

If you expect the best expect to pay for the best!!

I suspect you caught them on a bad day.........or they saw you coming!


New Zealand
Level Contributor
9,490 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Car Rentals - Do NOT Use Apex Car Rentals

Bad day or not they should have looked after you a bit better than that. I would suggest a letter to head office, at least they will be then aware of the situation and bad service in Auckland.

However, Apex are regularly recommended on here and yours is the first negative report I can recall. You do get what you pay for, part of the cost saving is because Apex uses a lot of older cars in it's fleet- these are likely to be second-hand Japanese imports of which there are thousands of in NZ.

PS- You did give me a chuckle with number 5! :) I would have wanted to punch his lights out.

1 post
Save Reply
6. Re: Car Rentals - Do NOT Use Apex Car Rentals

I am the manager of Apex Auckland City Branch and a director of the company. I was in charge of the depot on the day that this incident occurred. I feel that Mr Parker’s post should not go unanswered.

Our driver collected Mr. Parker and his partner from their accommodation as pre-arranged. Mr Parker had reserved one of our Economy Automatic class cars. We advertise these vehicles on our website as 1999-2002 models. The vehicle supplied was a 2001 model Nissan Sunny sedan with 63000km on the odometer – in all ways typical of this class of vehicle. During the drive back to the city depot the Parkers expressed their dissatisfaction with the vehicle and began angling for a free upgrade.

On arrival at the depot our driver raised Mr Parker’s concerns with our Customer Services representative who offered them one of our new car classes. Mr Parker explained that he did not want to pay the $10.00 per day price difference.

After completing the rental agreement with the Parkers he took them out to the garage and started to back their car out while they stood waiting and continued to badger him about the condition of the car, the Parker’s main concern being that the car had only two airbags. Very few cars in NZ have more than 2 airbags, including most of the “new” cars. The Parkers alleged that the lack of side airbags made the vehicle inherently unsafe.

At this stage, and for reasons known only to himself, our driver chose to back the vehicle whilst looking backwards out of the drivers door, which he was holding open. The door caught on the side of another parked car and when he tried to step on the brake he hit the accelerator instead, folding the drivers door forward along the side of the car. He then ran off in embarrassment, fearful for his job (he had only been working for us for a couple of weeks). I ran out to see what had happened and check that nobody was hurt. I found my employee out the back in tears and told him not to worry and to take whatever time he needed to compose himself. Our supervisor told the Parkers we would organise another car as soon as possible and returned to the office to continue dealing with the customer she was attending to at the time.

At no stage did the Parkers express any concern for the fellow involved in the accident. Instead they turned their attention to calculating how best to turn the incident to their advantage. They demanded that we supply them with the latest model vehicle available. “We want a free upgrade because our bags are still in the trunk of that other car!”

I simply do not see how any of this has seriously inconvenienced the Parkers. The car reserved for the Parkers was not in any way unsafe. There was no “transmission failure” and the car was not 10-years old. They were offered the best Economy car I could find to compensate for the 15-minute delay caused by the accident. Sure, I could have offered them an upgrade. Apex does this from time to time the same as any rental company, but like most people, we don’t like having it demanded of us. I was also mindful of the fact that we were holding subsequent bookings for the Parkers for Economy cars at other depots – doubtless the same issue would arise again and it was by no means certain we would be able to upgrade the later hires. I think the Parkers had the wrong rental company and we had the wrong customers. Given the glowing reports of their experience with Avis/Hertz I am sure we found the best solution all round – I must note here that the Parkers had to take a cab to the Hertz depot, whereas we provided them a free pickup from their hotel. I also expect that they paid a good deal more than we would have charged them for a similar car.

Our Economy class cars are 5 to 7 year old vehicles and are a popular choice for travellers that want to keep a few hundred dollars in their wallets for jumping off bridges, fine dining, boat cruises or many of the other great experiences of New Zealand. If our customers prefer a newer car, we can provide these as well at rates well below those of the multinationals.

Apex is entirely New Zealand owned and we are fiercely proud of our company and our service. We make every effort to disclose to our customers exactly what type of vehicle we will deliver and to disclose the full cost of the hire upfront – there are no hidden extras or nasty surprises when you rent with Apex.

Ian Berrington

New Orleans
Level Contributor
757 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Car Rentals - Do NOT Use Apex Car Rentals

Thanks, Ian Berrington, for your reply clarifiying what happened. We are going to be renting a car from you in February and this post worried me because all the other comments about Apex, and my own experience so far, have been positive. You're right that some customers want more than they're due or have paid for: We've seen the "parkers" often in our travels, they're not always American, but they give us all a bad name!

Happy New Year!

Level Contributor
720 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: Car Rentals - Do NOT Use Apex Car Rentals

Ian, thank you for responding. I have met many tourists that have hired from Apex. All have been satisfied with Apex cars and service and appreciate that they are saving money by using your company.

TA is a great source for information to help tourists get the most out of their NZ vacation.

Unfortunately, bad reviews can happen, but at least you had the opportunity to reply.

I wish you and Apex, all the best for a busy summer season.

Level Contributor
15 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Car Rentals - Do NOT Use Apex Car Rentals

New Zealand is a wonderfully "different" country for everyone who lives outside its blue waters, it is particularly suited to a certain type of traveller, and not so, for others. Most probably don't realise that "Economy class cars are 5 to 7 year old vehicles" are relatively new vehicles for many New Zealanders, where quality of life and friends are more important than the lastest model Lexus.


Durango, Colorado
Level Contributor
118 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Car Rentals - Do NOT Use Apex Car Rentals

So typical of New Zealanders to respond in such a polite and courteous manner!

We've spent a great deal of time in New Zealand and virtually everyone, save one minor incident, bent over backwards to assure we were happy with what we paid for.

It's a refreshing attitude in New Zealand and I hope it never changes.