Europcar extra day charge of GBP 1000 – really?
I know there are plenty of stories out there already – this is a +1.
In short – 2 week rental from LCY to LHR (London City to Heathrow) in the UK. The rental was very good value – perhaps GBP25 a day, and after a journey from hell, my wife’s gallows humour charmed the agent into giving us a free upgrade (Qashqai with high trim level) and free one-way rental. Booking agency was rentalcars.com
Crisis on the day of departure – daughter spends 2 hours A&E, another 2 hours in now-rush-hour traffic, and we miss our flight. I put off extending the car while we check flight options, and by the time I do, too late – the office I phone is closed, and I can’t find a means of extending it anywhere. There’s nothing on the front of the rental agreement about extending rentals, or a daily rate, although my wife finds something amongst the 2mm-high print on the back.
So – being used to Avis/Hertz corporate rentals, I dismissively assume another day at the daily rate, or worst case, a full-price one-day rental fee of GBP100, a quote I get from Europcar’s website for that day, directly. I rock up the next day, and the returns agent bemusedly tells me it will be GBP1073.34 for the extra day! Yep, almost fifty times the rate we had paid per day so far!
I had spotted a similar story when belatedly googling the extension, and had a sinking feeling this would happen. He suggested I speak to the manager, and said he would keep the rental open until then. I phoned Amex, cancelled the card Europcar had on file, then walked in to speak to the manager.
The agent in the main office listened, confirmed the GBP1000, then said she’d speak to her manager. I watched her go over, talk to him, and to my relief and his credit, he told her to manually close the original rental as being returned on time yesterday at no extra charge, then log the extra as a one-day rental for GBP50. Hence they would just deduct GBP50 from my GBP250 card deposit…
It appears evident that the lack of clarity on these extra charges is an effort to sucker anyone who extends past the terms of the rental to profit from their omission; I don’t think you could argue that GBP1000 is a risk offset for an unreturned car, in a centre that turns around 30 cars an hour.
Anyway – takeaways that might be of use here:
– If in doubt, perhaps cancel your card before you go in. They might try to pursue the charges, but the initial effort will be on their part. There’s no reason why you might cancel your card if you simply lost it.
– If they say there’s no way to repeal the charge, then they’re lying, as there is evidently a workaround:
– Ask to leave the return open when you return it (or discuss it before you return it)
– Close the reservation manually as being on time
– Pay a new rental fee for the extra time
– The agent did this after verbal instruction from the office manager, and it took two minutes