TROTTINGS = Trip Jottings

The Fox Trots: Travel Stories from The Fox’s Friends.



June 05 2011



Trottings. Europcar leaves you on your own.




 RENTED a car from Europcar. So far, so good.


I was due to return the vehicle on a holiday, but the office was due to be open that day from 1400 to 1800. These times were on the rental agreement.


I turned up at 1415. The office was closed. My friends left me with my other vehicle, and I waited, giving the office 30 minutes grace on a holiday. But by 1500 I assumed they were not coming, so I call Europcar’s helpline.


Misnamed. During the conversation, the operator actually said (check the recording, Europcar), “we can do nothing for you; it is not our problem; it is between you and the local office”.


(There were other words, and the operator was polite. The message, however, was rude.)


She did suggest I find a hotel or another car rental company and leave the key with them. But for obvious reasons (I was responsible), that was not a sensible proposal. (I later found out that the office had an arrangement with the next door restaurant, but that is not much use if the arrangement is a secret.)


The operator also suggested I drive to another town (it was named, but I was not from the area and so I don’t know where it was; I later found it was about 50km away). And leave it at the Europcar office there. (I presumed she knew that office was open – but that was not certain because she did not know my contracted location was closed.)


But she could not help me on how I would get back from that other location to my other vehicle. Also, I had already travelled from the town where I was staying because the Europcar office there was scheduled to be closed that day.


But, I was on my own. Europcar could not help me. I had to resolve the matter myself.


I put a note under the Europcar office door (the letterbox had been sealed closed – so I could not leave the car keys there). And I left the keys by a wheel – hidden from view, but not secure of course.


I left my number for Europcar local office to call me. They did, the following day. They explained that Europcar (the big Europcar) had been advised that this local office would be closed, but did not enter that information. I, of course, have no way of checking either version.


But, of course, ‘the system’ knew I was returning the car at that time. Somewhere, someone should have known this was not possible, and advised me. The fact that this did not happen indicates there is a system fault.


Lastly, I had given a credit card for deposit, but planned to pay cash. That, of course, was no longer possible. That caused me a problem because I could not have payments on that credit card.


I am now in the process of trying to get that reversed. That is proving surprisingly difficult as well.



The Fox’s Friends