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Beware Europcar, Melbourne Airport, Australia

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Beware Europcar, Melbourne Airport, Australia

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Old 1st Dec 2013, 07:26
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Hong Kong
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Beware Europcar, Melbourne Airport, Australia

Avoid Europcar for any hire car requirements at Melbourne Airport, Australia, at all cost.

With nothing more than a wish that nobody else is stung with illegitimate claims of damage after returning their vehicle I wish to alert others to a recent occurrence of such behavior by Europcar that my wife recently experienced. My wife returned a vehicle early one morning in October after a few days hire and even managed to make human contact with a company representative at drop off to hand over the keys etc. The car was returned in exactly the same condition that it was hired. A few weeks later an abstract and absurdly nondescript letter arrived in the mail with an accusation of damage caused to the vehicle during my wife’s period of hire. This letter was sent without one shred of detail about the claimed damage my wife was accused of causing but instead simply listed, at long length, their intended procedure for recovering the costs of repair. An email was promptly written back to Europcar vehemently disputing the accusation and reminding them that the car had been handed over to a company representative at drop off with no issue raised at that time. Our objection was completely ignored by the branch manager and a second, unsigned, letter was received a few weeks later with the bill.

For your own protection, please be very careful of the unprofessional and disgraceful customer service that is provided by Europcar in Melbourne.
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Old 1st Dec 2013, 17:16
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Back of beyond
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Not just Europcar, not just Melbourne.
Be very wary of any car rental outside the US. And be normally wary of any car rental there.
The Avis scam | You Must Be From Away
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Old 1st Dec 2013, 17:24
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Car rental companies are totally bent - especially in Spain & Italy

The US is best IMHo but even there.................
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 06:57
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: moraira,spain
Age: 76
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Europcar

I had a similar experience with Europcar last year at Birmingham airport. I do wonder if the staff are paid a commission to discover small scratches which you did not notice
when collecting the vehicle. Never had a problem with Avis or
Hertz.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 07:36
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Europcar have been pulling this trick for ages, you are not the first.

Lodge a complaint with Europcar, then lodge another complaint with Consumer Affairs.

It's always a good idea to walk around the car taking photos when you pick it up.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 07:42
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Thanks for the tip Peterc005. I'll follow up with consumer affairs as suggested. Just hoping I can warn others in the mean time.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 08:02
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Join Date: May 2003
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AVIS

As bent as the rest, I was cut off by an agent, whist he was insulting me, I complained via their Facebook page, was banned, along as it happens a colleague of mine, for the same reason on a different booking. Avoid AVIS as far as I am concerned.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 09:07
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You've got a camera on your phone. Use it both when you pick up the car and when you drop it off. Make a habit of telling the staff that you do this.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 10:50
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Join Date: May 2007
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SIXT

Just to add to the body of knowledge; my son experienced this scam from SIXT at Heathrow; ie a letter sent 3 weeks after the car was returned with an unspecified claim for "damage" found "on return" of the car.

There was no damage whatsoever.

It so happens that said son is a partner in one of London's major law firms, and dealt with this false claim with a few well-chosen words.

So that's another hire-car company to avoid. Problem is that they all do this! I, not being a partner in a law firm, get a signature on the hire form from the firm's representative, name printed out etc, date and time, that the car has been inspected with no damage found. You have to plan ahead to do that and never, ever use the dreaded key-drop as they hope you will, but it's worth it.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 12:44
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Join Date: Jun 1999
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I just pay the added insurance which covers any excess. That way they can't have any claims on me, damage or not. Came in handy when some kind person damaged my hire car whilst correctly parked in a hotel car park - and did a runner.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 12:58
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Join Date: Aug 2011
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agree with hotel tango. just make sure you have zero excess and then who cares what they say. all the major firms have this extra cover you can add or you can get a yearly policy at home that will cover all your rentals during the year if you hire often, this works out much cheaper, about £100 for a years cover.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 13:06
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I just pay the added insurance which covers any excess. That way they can't have any claims on me, damage or not
That's not the point.

And in NZ (and possibly AU and UK), you can only reduce the excess from $3000 (no, NOT a typo) to $300
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 13:48
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I think that to a certain extent it IS the point. As for the levels of excess, yes it can vary around the world I agree, but it can also depend on the rental firm you choose to use.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 13:58
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The point is not to fall into the trap of letting car rental companies rip you off for non-existent damage.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 15:11
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Hire the local 'rent-a-wreck'. You may have to take a taxi from/to the airport but these guys are generally honest.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 15:29
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It's the franchises that tend to try and fiddle their clients! Mate of mine used to work for the local Europacar franchise, and all the fiddling the manager did was one of the reasons for him quitting his job with them. He now works for the same company at an airport in the south of Europe which is run via the main office, complete different way of working!
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 17:22
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"And in NZ (and possibly AU and UK), you can only reduce the excess from $3000 (no, NOT a typo) to $300"

The annual policies mentioned above aren't from the rental companies, and do give complete cover for the excesses. They also cover damage to roof, undersides and wheels which are excluded from many rental companies excess reductions (another catch you rip off!!!)
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 23:43
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Get your own excess reduction policy, they are available for a couple of days to a year. I've found it is always cheaper than taking the hire company's overpriced insurance. Beware of some of the smaller car hire companies, they can be even worse than the majors.

This is becoming like the Thai jet ski scam.

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Old 3rd Dec 2013, 03:40
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I heartily agree with RevMan2 above. I'd hope that people (myself included for all future hire car encounters!) can avoid the unscrupulous behaviour that Europcar provided us with by simply being forewarned. The option of paying their exorbitant added insurance is almost as corrupt as being accused of causing damage that never incurred. After reading the responses above, the answer is simple… Use a camera to record all major panels prior to departure and get a company representative to sign the paperwork at drop off acknowledging that it has been returned in the same condition that it was hired in.
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Old 3rd Dec 2013, 07:37
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Weary traveller,

I've shown your tale of woe to the GM of Europcar here in Australia, and if you contact their Customer Relations Manager (Matthew Burns) on [email protected] and request a review of your problem he will look after you.

Whenever you hire a car make sure that the inspection form is accurate before you sign it: that applies whoever you hire from and if there is a ding that you don't have listed it can come back to bite you.

I've had excellent service from Europcar such that they get all of my business these days, but I would point out that all hire car companies can slip up now and again. I'm a President's Club member with Avis, but that hasn't prevented odd errors happening: I find a polite but firm contact with the company reaps far more reward than having a moan on an internet forum!

Mind you, it may have been to your benefit in this case
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