View Full Version : The worst car hire companies

14th Feb 2006, 14:27
Through the years I have dealt with a lot of car hire companies, and have had countless problems with them.
Who would you say is the worst in which cities? Maybe we can avoid future frustreations!

e.g. AVIS, BUDGET etc etc

14th Feb 2006, 14:29
The worst car hire companies.
Errrrm.....ones that do Skodas! :ok:

'Worst car' hire companies, see. :)

Never mind. :(

14th Feb 2006, 14:39
At the risk of sounding prim, there's a sticky wicket here - if you bash a named company, you leave yourself open to litigation if you can't substantiate. Might be better to discuss positive experiences... though that could constitute advertising.

This is why the pub was invented. ;)

14th Feb 2006, 14:50
Them feckers Europcar get my vote.

We hired a car a couple of years ago when we were in the south of France. When we picked the car up, nobody came out with us to do the "inspection". Thing is, there was a bump on the car. I marked it on the sheet, went back in and demanded somebody came out to verify what I had put on the sheet. Too busy. Give me another car then. Sorry, no other cars. I wrote on the sheet this fact and made the girl behind the counter sign it (took some effort to get that). We returned the car in Paris and I made sure I went in with the paper work and made sure I showed them what was going on and the dent was there when we picked it up.

Guess what happened............Europcar charged 800 euros to my credit car to fix the dent. Two weeks of phone calls, emails, faxes and arguments followed. They asked me to send them the original of the inspection paper. Yeah right, like I would have seen that again. Funny though, the mention of taking the matter to court seemed to make things right.

(I've just seen Crepello's post. Agree there mate, and can totally substantiate ;) )

14th Feb 2006, 15:07
I was a little cheesed off to be charged 200 euros 'country repatriation fee' at Geneva airport last year. Late for our flight, we parked the hire car at the Swiss side car park when we should have dropped it at the French side car park...all of 200 feet away. We just couldn't find it is all. To cap it all, one had to exit through the swiss side as if one had come off a flight, customs etc. Crappy old idea having an airport in two countries.

14th Feb 2006, 15:57
Like Jerricho, I've had a bad experience with Europcar in France, though the problem might have been with Holiday Autos who were the broker. Arrived at Beauvais and the desk was deserted. Being France, it wasn't going to be manned for another two days (weekend, public holiday...). Left at Beauvais airport as the cleaners were leaving and turning out the lights. Asked the people at the Hertz desk if they could help - they didn't have any cars but they did organise a taxi, bless 'em.

Took the whole of the following day on the phone before finally picking a car up at CDG, an expensive taxi ride away, in the evening. On return to Blighty Holiday Autos copped a large amount of my ire and made it up to us by refunding the entire cost of the hire. Bless 'em as well. Europcar, on the other hand, sent us a bill for not filling the tank up. A couple of litres cost 80 francs.

All of which was a good number of years ago and we've had good experiences with Holiday Autos and Europcar since. This autumn we are going to Carcassonne. Just booked the car - with Europcar through Holiday Autos. Oh, and we are due to arrive 10 minutes after the desk officially closes. :8

14th Feb 2006, 18:54
Have used Europcar LHR twice in the last 12 months - booked via Web, v good rates, excellent smooth service, didn't even visit the office.

However, they did 'upgrade" me to a Kia last time - only had 5 miles on the clock though, and it went from A to B and back to A with no problem...

14th Feb 2006, 19:04
Maybe it's just them French :E :E

14th Feb 2006, 19:29
However, they did 'upgrade" me to a Kia last time - only had 5 miles on the clock though, and it went from A to B and back to A with no problem...

UPGRADE to a Kia? What did you start with??:eek:

The Real Slim Shady
14th Feb 2006, 19:44
Rented a car through Europcar at PMI a few years ago.
Day we were due to go home, loaded the car with luggage, family in and ......it wouldn't go. Nothing , da nada. Dead.
Phoned office who said get bus to airport instead. Gee thanks.
Decided a taxi was a better option but had about an hour and half to wait so went off for coffee. When we came back to the car to collect the luggage it had gone!!
The hire company had come with breakdown truck and even though I had the keys, they had taken it away!! With our luggage and tickets!!
No warning, nothing!!!
After some frantic calls and a taxi ride from Pollensa to Palma we recovered our luggage and JUST made the flight. No apology though.

14th Feb 2006, 20:09
A certain hire company three times delivered hire cars, which we needed to get to our nightstop hotel from a minor airport with no facilities, to the wrong place. Just what you don't need after a 14 hour day followed by a short night...... They begin with a letter E. :*

Remedy? Easy. We don't use them any more, we now use one that begins with a letter A instead. Their delivery drivers can apparently read. :ok:

14th Feb 2006, 20:35
Hiring a car in Cyprus is interesting. Doesn't matter from whom - Europcar, Hertz, Andy Spyrou - chances are you will get a clapped out, knackard heap of old shit. This need not be a disadvantage. The one we got was so full of dents and missing trim it meant we could, well, trash it and no one would know any difference.

Mind you, one of the tyres had a puncture which wasn't very good, though perfectly understandable bearing in mind the state of the Cypriot roads. Swapped it for the spare. Luckily, the rental company (which, come to think of it, was Andy Spyrou, Cypriot agents for Europcar and booked through Holiday Autos) never noticed as I would have no doubt be clobbered for a puncture repair. :cool:

14th Feb 2006, 21:22
UPGRADE to a Kia? What did you start with??

Never found out ....maybe just as well, but for 11 days it did what it was meant to....

14th Feb 2006, 21:38
Problem is, most car hire companies run on a franchise (or similar) basis. There are certain Avis, Hertz etc standards, but only up to a certain point. Basically, the standard you get is the standard of the local company. Ive had both good and bad experiences with all majors (Avis, Hertz, Budget, Europcar etc.) and found that, in most cases, the quality of service, billing etc. depended much more on the local franchise company than on certain differences between the majors in general.

14th Feb 2006, 22:31
A friend hired a car from "E" in South Africa a couple of years ago. Planning to drive from Port Elizabeth to Cape town over 9 days.

Got handed keys, and that was that. Whilst friends were loading car, I thought I would just check the oil and water as didn't fancy breaking down in the middle of nowhere. Glad I did as the oil was level was less than minimum, there was no water in the washer bottle, then the 2 front tyres were completely bald !!!.

Went back to complain, so they took another car that was the same, and got us to follow to the service station just down the road, and filled the oil, and swapped the 2 front tyres off "our" car with the 2 rear tyres on the other one and topped up the water bottle, wasting around 1.5 hours of our time.

A few km's down the road when windscreen was covered in squashed flies, tried to wash it, but no water in bottle - damn thing had a hole in it and water had leaked out !! For rest of week had to keep buying bottles of water just to pour on the screen to get rid of the flies !!!.

Complained again in CPT when dropping off the car, and friend only got charged 33 for 9 days rental !!

Personally, I always use Avis in South Africa, and Doller or Alamo in the US.

Once took a car back to Avis in SA with Lion's teeth marks in the front bumper, but thats another story...........:eek:


15th Feb 2006, 00:48
Many years ago when I spent far too much time flying back and forth across the Atlantic, I got a Hertz Gold Card. I still have it. It's brilliant! I book the car online or over the phone - no formalities. When I get to the other end, it's always there, ready. In the US, in winter, if I've given them flight details, it's likely to have the engine running to get it warm inside.

A couple of years ago, we tried to save a few quid by booking a car together with our flights, through Dial-A-Flight. When we got to Fuerteventura, we were told our booking had been cancelled "by London" and there was no car available - the one we'd booked had been reallocated and had gone. No explanation, no apology, and no fix. Surprisingly, it was booked with Hertz.

I produced my Hertz Gold Card, and immediately a car was available. Not only that, but it was about 10% cheaper than I'd paid Dial-A-Flight for the same model. We eventually got most (but not all) of our money back. Apparently, I should have phoned the UK and waited for them to sort it out. At that time in the evening, no thank you.

Since then, we've always used the Hertz card and never had a hint of a problem.

15th Feb 2006, 07:58
Tell you what Balix, me & the punterette rented a Micra in Limmasol & the lady turned up all red faces explaining that they had run out so would we accept an upgrade? A Civic Type R.

I had no idea it was possible to get up the Troodos Mountains in 4 minutes flat.:E

15th Feb 2006, 08:03
http://www.rentawreck.com ???

15th Feb 2006, 09:01
If you use Holiday Autos this shower of sh1te are their preferred supplier at LAX. Expect a 2 hour wait in queue for your non-existant car. When they finally grace you with a car that actually exists expect it not to have much gas, be filthy and overdue a service.

This has happened twice to me now at LAX.... be warned......

neil armstrong
15th Feb 2006, 09:22
I always use alamo as they give travel industry discounts!
Never had a problem with them even that they work together with Europecar i think


15th Feb 2006, 09:46
Had a pleasant experience with Alamo at ORD once. Me and me Doris turned up expecting to find our little compact ready and waiting for us.

Unfortunately Alamo had got our date of arrival wrong and our car was blocked in at the end of a ruddy great parking lot. They asked if we 'minded' an upgrade to a Firebird. Sensing that I was in a good position here, I noted that the Firebird was a bit more of a gas guzzler than a compact.

No problems, 75 bucks off the original deal.

I've always hated posers in flash motors, but I confess I became one for a couple of weeks. :cool: :cool:

Vertical Propulsion
15th Feb 2006, 09:49
Alamo have always been excellent for private rental, they don't make a song and dance about being under 25. Have rented in both the UK and Ireland with them.

15th Feb 2006, 14:06
I'm not going to be nasty - I'm going to be nice (for once). To cut a long story short, hired a convertible in California with Alamo, from San Fran. On our grand tour, we broke it. Oops! Well, no fault of our own, actually. There was a funny click from inside the stereing wheel boss and and the dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree. Took it to another one of their stations and within 10 minutes had an identical make and model and we were off again. No fuss, just a quick signature for the different car.

There are a lot of whinges about Europcar here but I've never had any probs with them, though I got the Kia upgrade a couple of weeks ago as well. Can't complain. The time before I got an upgrade as well and it was a C-class merc. And I'd only booked a "B". Just hoping I never get done for any of the dings other people leave....