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Tricky Italian car rental company

I have rented an economy car from Locauto two weeks ago.
I picked up the car on time and return it back on time.
Just 1- 2 km before I returned the car at Rome Fiumicino airport. I fulled the gas tank and received an invoice. Then I drove 1- 2 km to the car rental office. Sometimes, the pointer of the gas tank on the front panel reacts slowly. The pointer did not showed ‘FULL’ at the time of return. I told the boy working for Locauto that I had the receipt. He was insensible and rude. He did not accepted the receipt and told met hat I have to pay a fine. As I had two more hours of time, I drove back to the gas station. The man working at the gas station opened the hood of the car, disconnect the cable of the car battery and then reconnect the cable. The pointer began to reacted correctly. He told met hat this is a TRICK that some car rental companies do.

Stay away from LOCAUTO car rental Company.
They have lots of tricks.

Posted by
507 posts

As person who is familiar with the workings of a car, I ask how does disconnecting & reconnecting a battery affect the dashboard? That is a new one on me.

Posted by
24885 posts

Some of this account does not add up.

The poster did not say what happened when they returned the car the second time.

I have been to Italy many times but have never seen a boy working in an adult business like around cars at a car rental lot. If a boy he wouldn't have even been old enough to drive the cars.

Who goes to an airport 2 hours before they have to?

What did you expect the filling station to do when you got there? Who goes to a gas station with a rental car expecting them to do repairs?

What possible relationship is there between the fuel gauge and removing the battery cable?

What did the rental company do when you said you paid somebody to mess with their battery?

You said they have lots of tricks. What are some of the others?

Are you employed by a competing company?

By the way, welcome to the Forum. Yours is an unusual first posting.

Posted by
4 posts

Dear Mr. Nigel,
Thanks for your kind and deep interest.
My real name is Onder Uretmen (just like my nickname in the forum). I am not working for another car rental company. I am a proffessor of Ophthalmology in Ege University School of Medicine, Izmir TURKEY. You may check this (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=uretmen+o AND http://www.med.ege.edu.tr/index.php?SayfaID=135 ).
I am not a native English speaker. Sorry for my English (about boy- man thing) ....
I have been visiting Italy at least three times a year for 10 years. I did not have a major problem with car rental companies up to two weeks ago.
In my first message, I did not want to bother you with the details. Therefore, thanks for the opportunity to tell my story in detail.
1. I have rented an economy car (Lancia Ipsilon) from Locauto (autoeurope voucher number, EU8009930- Locauto ID 581563- Documento: FCO 14270). Pick up time October 2nd at 15:30 PM, Drop time October 7th at 11:00 AM. I may send you the voucher if you like. My address in Turkey is written on it..... There is not any Locauto office in Turkey.....
2. I also sent a complaint letter to Locauto Customer Service. Mr/Mrs Filomena from Locauto is interested. He/ she asked me to accept their apoligies which I did not accept. My dispute number is 37271. You may check it if you like.
3.The boy (or man) was around 24- 25 years old, had brown hair. I showed him the receipt and asked him to check the kilometer range. He was insensible and rude, he did not check anything and told me that I have to pay a fine. I told him that ı had enough time to go back to the gas station. Then he disappeared. When I fixed the car and returned back to Locauto office, another boy (or man) met me. He was around 24- 25 years old, taller than the former one and had blonde hair. I may recognise both of them anytime.
4. When I returned to Locauto office after the man at the gas station had fixed the problem, a second boy (or man, blonde and taller) met me (as I already told). He checked the fuel. It was FULL. I told him about the trick. He did not answer. If I had not enough time to get back to the gas station, I would surely pay a fine. This is the TRICK.
5. In our country, every airline (domestic or international) suggests that the passengers should be at the airport at least one hour before for domestic flights and two hours before for international flights. Our flight from Rome to Munich (then to Izmir) was at 11:40 AM. We were staying at Podere San Quiricio at Castelnuovo Berardenga which is 2 and half hours away (244 km) from Fiumicino airport. You may check our stay by asking Mrs. Michela from Podere San Quiricio (info@poderesanquirico.it). On October 7th, there was heavy fog all around Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria. Mrs. Michela warned us to drive as early as possible. The traffic is insane at around 9:00 AM at Grande Raccardo Anolare (in Rome). It took 40 minutes to drive just the last 7- 8 km. Therefore, we arrived at the airport at least 2hours before our flight. For me, it was a perfect decision.
6.For the fuel pointer thing, I did not realized that this was a trick in the beginning. I thought that the man at the gas station did not fill enough fuel into the tank. So, I went back to the gas station to fill it up. The man at the gas station looked at me and smiled. He raised his arm and told 'This is a magic hand'. (Sorry, but I am not kidding). He opened the hood of the car, disconnect the cable of the car battery and then reconnect the cable. The pointer began to reacted correctly. He told met hat this is a TRICK that some car rental companies do. This is the real story. I am a physician not an engineer. I have no idea how this maneuver fixed the problem. He did not do anything else. He is working at a gas station just 1- 2km away from Fiumicino airport. He is aware of the trick and fixed the problem.
to be continued

Posted by
4 posts

I have the invoice, I have the km range at time of pick up and return, I have the written statement of the man at the gas station, I have the photos of the dashboard. I may share them with you after I bring the lawsuit against Locauto, if you like.
Also, I have hired an attorney in Italy.

You asked: What did the rental company do when you said you paid somebody to mess with their battery? I told the second boy that this was a trick and I am going to bring a lawsuit. He did not answer and walked to the office. I also send a complaint letter to Locauto Customer Service. Mr./ Mrs. Filomena (from Locauto) asked me to accept their apologies.

I am sharing my story with many people from different forums. Because, I want to warn you about tricky car rental companies. Also, when you face a similar trick, it is easy to open the hood of the car and try 'the magic maneuver'. It is free of charge.

By the way, my booking number for Lufthansa was 62PUH2, my sirname/username is uretmen. We landed Fiumicino on October 2nd (LH1844), and went back to Turkey on October 7th (LH 1844).

I hope that you will be satisfied with my reply

Greetings from Turkey,
Onder Uretmen

Posted by
24885 posts

So when you returned they decided not to charge you for the fuel penalty?

Well, I understand your frustration and concern.

But if you have, at the end of the day, lost no money, I fail to see what damages you could sue for. I hope that your Italian lawyer is cheap, so that if you lose the case you don't waste too much money.

Posted by
4 posts

I have a close friend in Italy. He is a lawyer and is both a Turkish citizen and an Italian citizen.
I asked him to work on this topic. He' ll decide what to do (to bring a lawsuit or send complaint letters to Italian Financial Police and Tourism Ministerial Offices etc.)

When I searched the web for Locauto (unfortunately after this nasty experience), I have seen many bad reputations about them.
I wish I have read them before this car rental event:((

Thanks for your understanding...

Posted by
1 posts

Hello everyone.
I just returned from Italy, where I rented a car (LANCIA) from the same company (LOCAUTO).
When I returned the car, I filled it up, 3 km before the airport, but the needle got stock at 7/8th.
I literally OVERFLOWED the tank and drove the 3 km to the rental car parking lot at the airport.
I had filmed the whole procedure with my camcorder, and also had it on RECORD, when I approached
the parking lot guy with a LOUD voice, that I was expecting a trick and that he better accept that the
car is full.
You know, what he did ????
He opened the hood, disconnected the battery, put it on again and !WONDER! the needle went to 8/8.

Exact same story!!!
Hans Beyhs (Germany)