This page documents the process I followed when trying to resolve a dispute between myself and Europcar (http://www.europcar.com.au) related to the renting of a 3 Tonne Truck for a day.
For those that don’t know. I booked a truck to help Carly’s folks move furniture down to Victor Harbor way back on the 28th of January. Pickup at Salisbury SA, return at Victor Harbour SA. We went through a place calledhttp://www.vroomvroomvroom.com.au/ to book it and got a quote for $62.11. Pretty good value we thought.
Monday Carly rang up to confirm that the booking was ok (last thing we wanted was not to have a truck). Only to be told that the price must be wrong, and that the guy at Salisbury didn’t even know there was a Victor Harbour office.
We then got told there would be a $200 drop off fee. – Which is unacceptable, the vroom vroom vroom website said no hidden fees. This was a hidden fee. So Monday I called up eurpocar to see what was happening. The person at Salisbury didn’t really know how the web bookings worked so said he’d have to get back to me. Later on Monday he did. Saying there was still a $200 charge – only 100 free Km’s (despite the form and vroom vroom vroom indicating unlimited km’s). Once again this was unacceptable and I asked to speak to someone higher. He said he’d checkup again.
Later Monday I called the normal Europcar call centre, asked to check the reservation but the lady at the other end couldn’t open it – it was locked. She looked further into and found the state manager, was looking in to it and told me she would call be back.
Tuesday came and at 9am, I called the call center again, got another person, explained the situation and got told the state manager would call me back. 2 minutes later the state manager called me back saying she would look into it. About 4pm Tuesday I called again (after receiving no phone call) and asked to speak to the state manager. The lady wasn’t sure who I ment so put me through in the end to the a person in the Client Relations section of europcar called Daniel Johnson. At this point I’d like to say, throughout this whole saga, Daniel was the one person who returned called, answered emails and was very understanding.
Daniel indicated he didn’t know what was happening and asked if I could send email him the original quote. Which I did. Later on I emailed Daniel to see if there was any progress (admittedly this was only about 1 hour later than the first email).
Wednesday morning I got a phone call from Daniel indicating Europcar was not willing to pardon the $200 drop fee but the fee would now only be $100. At this point I asked to speak to the state manager. I was told she was not taking calls and also that I could not have her phone number. I was busy (with sysadmin stuff at work) at the time and accepted the conclusion.
About 10 minutes later when I was free, I emailed Daniel asking for a finalized quote. The quote arrived in my inbox and it was $177 with 100 free km’s – that’s not right.
I rang back the customer centre, asked to speak to Daniel Johnson again. They didn’t know which section he was with and I eventually got put through to the Salisbury branch. They game me the Client Relations phone number which I rang. Daniel was on the phone at the time when I called, I waited a few minutes, the was asked if he could give me a call back – I agreed.
About 10 minutes later I got a call from Daniel and I asked him what the extra charge was (as the original quote was $62) and why there was only 100 free Km’s. He asked me to hold. When he got back to me, he said I could have free Km’s (as per the vroom vroom vroom website) and the extra charge was GST due to the $100 drop fee – fair enough. I then asked how they can charge the fee considering all there terms and conditions never state extra for a drop fee. Also indicated on the website I could still make the same booking – again with no $100 fee (though there was now a $27 vechicle relocation fee). He said it wasn’t his call and it was up to the state manager (Petrina is all I know her as – by the way). At this point I indicated I’d be contacting the ACCC about this as it was false advertising and he gave me the address to send the complaint to:
Europcar Complaints PO Box 1139 Tullamarine VIC 3043
I also asked if he could send me a final quote again.
The quote came through and Daniel indicated that he couldnt’ update to give unlimited Km’s but did make it 900 free km’s which should be ample (and will be).
Later in the week, I receieved a call from Daniel indicating the letter had been received. He said there wasn’t much he could do. At that point I indicated I would be taking the case to the ACCC. He said he’d try one more time and get back to me. Later that day I received another phone call from Daniel and he indicated that if we could return the truck to Salisbury there would be no drop off charge.. quite a back flip. Speaking to him I then asked if Europcar would then pay the petrol cost for the return trip which we would otherwise have to pay. He said he’d have to look in to it and would get back to me.
After an hour of thinking about it, at this point we had acutally conceeded defeat and and I was about to ring Daniel back and tell him we’d drop it back at Salisbury. Before I could however, I received one final phone call from Daniel. He indicated that after talking it through with management, we could drop the car to Victor Harbour at no cost to ourselves. I asked him to email me through confirmation of this just in case. He said it wouldn’t be needed but again I asked for it in writing – which he did email through. It was a quote, approximately $3 more that the original but hey, that was ok in my books – certainly better than $200.
The day came when we had to pick up the truck and we went in to the pickup centre armed with the various emails confirming the cost. It was just as well as we did as if we hadn’t we would have been billed the $200. To his credit, the guy at the counter was quiet comical and he said that as long as he had something in writing that he could show his boss, he’d be happy to let the truck go for that price.
Hence we picked up the truck for $65 +$24 (we paid for the extra insurance on the day).
Moving all went well. We filled up the truck at Victor Harbour (It took $28 diesel) then dropped it off at the Victor Harbour drop off center (a hotel). The person at the counter was surprized to see the truck as he normally was informed when something was to be dropped in. He made a phone call to Europcar to check and all was good.
Hence we dropped the truck off without incident
So in the end we managed to move all that was required by hiring a 3 tonne truck with furniture ramp, pickup from Salisbury, drop off at Victor Harbour for ~$110 – not bad.
As for Europcar. They have since fixed their website and a $160 relocation fee now exists for the same type of booking. To their credit, once the issues were sorted out, the Truck, the service and the help they gave were excellent.
So for anyone wishing to hire a truck, I would recommend them. However, if you get a quote that will not be honoured, don’t give up, keep at the company to give you what you were quoted. Most people won’t fight it but those that do will win, as in the end the company gets a bad reputation if they don’t honour their quotes and that’s bad for business.
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