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Gatwick Car rental (hire)

We greatly enjoyed our driving tour of Wales, Scotland and England except for the rental car experience.
The people at Auto Europe are accessible and pleasant, BUT… their product is a voucher. If the airline makes changes ahead of time, you are starting over and may lose your early booking price advantage.
That was our situation when Norwegian adjusted our flight time. At AE’s suggestion we switched to Europcar. BIG MISTAKE!!! On our flight to England, we were informed in the airport departure area that the flight was delayed, and delayed again. Five hours worth, followed by an hour wait in the British customs line.
When we got to the rental desk, the agent told us, “Your voucher is no good. You are more than two hours late. We don’t have a car for you.” This in spite of the fact that we had provided all out flight information to AE. After forty five minutes and declining two more expensive contracts for lesser cars, I was ready to sign the third contract when I asked, “The voucher does cover this, yes?” “No. Take it up with AE.” The agent looks over at my wife, guarding our bags, about to pass out, and desperate to find a clean bathroom. (Go BEFORE you head to the rental area!!!!!) She sets the contract aside and says, “Oh, alright, I’ll use the voucher and give you a nice car. And you’ll be all set if you sign off here and here. Aren’t I being lovely?” I signed without realizing that it would amount to an additional $330 for Road Hazard coverage I already had from a different source, and it was not billed until three weeks after we returned the car. (It makes me wonder if they only line up the service if you need it, like the insurance agent who holds onto the premium payment.)
But wait, there’s more! We used the DART and tried to pay online as directed. For some reason my card didn’t go through, so DART notified Europcar, who slapped a £40 charge on us, along with threats that we’ll never rent another car again. I paid it, thinking that would settle things, as it would have here in the States. No! The £40 charge is simply for them to rat us out, even as the fines are accumulating! Finally, the DART people accepted the payment without fines (Be aware: you have NOT paid DART if you don’t see an email receipt.)
We are done with Europcar forever. If you are smart, you won’t have anything to do with Europcar from the start. If you decide to take your chances, get the CDW THP for complete coverage as we did – they will charge you for ANY damage on the car.

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