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Why would i use Europcar again when they scammed us for insurance $650

Heathrow Airport June 2015, Reservation with Europcar for 2 weeks booked with Priceline.com, with CDW included. The Europcar agent was vague about insurance and told us clearly that he saw NO INSURANCE on us , even when i showed him a printed reservation from Priceline, which was in the Europcar system. After 20 minutes of enduring upselling, misrepresentation, and evasive answers, my wife & I ( aged 75) elected to sign the contract as the agent requested. This felt like duress after a 20 hour trip from Oregon. Isn't this why we make a thorough reservation in advance? Upon return, we found a billing for $648 for insurance on our Europcar invoice. WE disputed this with Europcar, which they denied. In retrospect, the CDW insurance from Priceline WAS valid, and was essentially the same thing that Europcar overcharged us for. The Europcar agent was purposely vague about PL&PD coverage & CDW. He/Europcar scam unknowing tourists, try to upsell, and are insensitive to their tactics. We have made intelligent appeal on this charge to no avail.

I strongly recommend that you DO NOT use this company anywhere you go. As Americans, we take insurance seriously, and scamming on this level is unforgivable.

Posted by
3451 posts

Did you contact your credit card company about this? It sounds like you were double charged.

When we returned a car to the airport in Amsterdam a couple of years ago, there were scratches on the right front wheel. The over zealous young agent wanted to charge us €700 for the wheel. My husband who knows a few things about cars said that a new wheel didn't cost that much. He also said that if they insisted, he wanted the wheel.

In the meantime, I called our Visa company and was told to not sign the form and to take pictures.

We told the kid what we were told. He was flummoxed first by our wanting the wheel and then by the advice we were given. Trying to save face, he shrugged and said it didn't matter whether we signed the form or not. They had our CC number and could charge us for the repair.

For Visa, we had to fill out some forms which they sent online to my husband. He did that while we were in Amsterdam and sent them back, with our pictures of the wheel. Payment for the repair cost was approved.

The bill turned out to be about €140 which Visa reimbursed us for. And we didn't have to ship a "€700" wheel home as a souvenir.

Lessons learned: look for scratches on the wheels when you pick up the car, stand your ground in the face of agents and contact your CC people before you sign anything.

Posted by
2570 posts

Though there is none given for Europcar, if you go to elliott.org there is a listing for company contacts at Priceline. Since you booked and paid through them, I think contacting them would be your best recourse. There's also a good primer on how you should approach your misfortune. You also might want to find a customer service contact at Europcar and contact them in writing. If you go the their website, there is a contact form that you can complete regarding your experience. Keep copies of anything you send!

Posted by
14 posts

I sent ainslieberyl a message. suggesting that they also contact the Insurance Commissioner and also the Tourist Board. They need to know what is going on. I also suggested as others have that they contact the credit card company and Priceline. This happens all the time and public awareness can be very effective.

Posted by
518 posts

This is now the second time in recent weeks I've heard of questionable practices by rental car companies, the other is from a company called Locauto. I'm assuming these companies only operate in Europe. Has anyone had similar experiences from the big international chains (Avis, Hertz, Enterprise, etc.)? My guess is that with those companies there would be more channels for recourse and accountability.

Posted by
4514 posts

Despite the name, Europcar does not just operate in Europe - it claims over 160 countries. Like most car hire companies of any size it operates a franchise system so the service you get from any particular location can vary greatly, without considering individual staff.

If you feel you have gone as far as you can with the company itself there are conciliatory services.

As you went through a reseller and did not purchase directly you can't complain via the European Car Rental Conciliation Service. However, Europcar is also a member of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, which although a trade association also runs an arbitration service.

Posted by
24885 posts

If you do a little search here on the Forum you won't have to go very far to find people also ranting about various of the major international companies.

Posted by
4 posts

I'm guessing what happened was he signed you up for every insurance they offered not just the CDW that everyone takes. you have to really pay attention to what charges are being added to your bill. Understandable hard to do at the end of a long flight. Typically it's the lessor known (the ones that are usually way cheaper than the manor brands) companies that try and sneak in extra charges.

I've had mixed luck on this one, in Florida I noticed it and they, reluctantly, removed the extra charges. On the other hand In Madrid I didn't catch the extra charges till it was too late and with extra insurance I bought ended up doubling the cost.

Posted by
1064 posts

Let's not be too quick to jump to judgment. All the information we have was supplied by the OP, although I have no doubt he is telling the truth, as he sees it. However, nothing here came directly from Priceline or Europcar.

I assume the OP was either misled or misinterpreted information by either Priceline or the Europcar company, a franchise or a dishonest employee. However, from the information supplied here, I cannot tell what happened, how or why, with possibilities ranging all the way from fraud to differences in interpretation or expectations anywhere along the line. I may have missed this part but was it Priceline or a credit card company that was supposed to supply the insurance that the Europcar agent rejected and what were the terms of that agreement?

I am not really asking for detailed answers or arguments on this matter. I just hate to see this forum turn into another TripAdvisor, where these things assume a life of their own, and accomplish nothing.

Posted by
4 posts

Lets be clear about what happened, and why i am posting this warning about Europcar; the Priceline.com reserrvation # *****462-60 was registered in the Europcar system when i arrived. I presented to the Europcar agent a blue printout of the Priceline reservation with Collision Damage Coverage clearly listed. The agent stated repeatedly that he saw no insurance for this rental. Granted, he was not able to comment on another coverage, however, he was also evasive about PLDP coverage ( 3rd party) which i was concerned about. He was deliberately evasive and vague. He caused me to doubt my coverage, which he would have know was complete, having seen my printed reservation. PLPD is the big liability. Anyone knows this. He knew it was included in the rental rate. Lets further be clear; the appeal to Europcar, by me and by Bank of America gave Europcar Inc. plenty of opportunity to reverse charges. They refused, and defended the agents actions. They kept the $648. It is clear that Europcar is in the business of scamming people on insurance.

I don't feel like i am cluttering this travel website. I feel like this retired, educated professional, age 71 with plenty of travel experience, is seeking to warn other travelers about an illegitimate international rental car operator who does have offices in the USA, Mexico, and throughout Europe. Scamming insurance is a very bad thing..

Posted by
24885 posts

Well let's look at this. Somebody comes on here for their first and only post, counting the duplicate in the England Forum as the same post, tears into a well respected company, with the victims of the rant having no chance to reply what they see the issues as.

This is nearly 4 months since the alleged offence, yet we are only now hearing about it.

I wonder if Priceline and BofA were unable to retrieve the money perhaps it isn't so clear cut as it may appear.

I wonder if the poster will share with us why he chose the Rick Steves Travel Forum to post this?

Posted by
2246 posts

".. my wife & I ( aged 75) elected to sign the contract as the agent requested. This felt like duress after a 20 hour trip from Oregon"

Unfortunately this sounds to me like buyers remorse. I didn't want to jump all over the OP when first posted, because I am sure it did feel like duress, however it's well known that car rental works in this way-you make a reservation and when you show up it is extremely likely they will try to sell you a bunch of add-ons, and a "good" sales job is sometimes tough to resist. It's too bad, it's unpleasant and it's a lousy way to start or end a trip, but what you signed, I suspect was a deal that included additional insurance or a buy down to zero deductible. If you did not sufficiently read or understand what was in the contract then that is where the problem lies, in my view. This is not their first rodeo and I would guess that they have their bases covered. I'm sorry for your negative experience.

Posted by
4 posts

Ok this confirms what I thought.

"The agent stated repeatedly that he saw no insurance for this rental."

Correct CDW is always purchased at the counter.

"Granted, he was not able to comment on another coverage"

Again correct as he's not an employee of Priceline.

" however, he was also evasive about PLDP coverage ( 3rd party) which i was concerned about. He was deliberately evasive and vague. He caused me to doubt my coverage, which he would have know was complete, having seen my printed reservation"

Ahhhh the upsell! Understand that this is how they make their money, selling over priced add ons, so either he was under pressure to sell or made a commission on this. Personally I'd say the word scam is too strong, "high pressure sales tactics" would be better. I've rented many cars and been the receiving end of "extra" charges as well and sometimes I've gotten them removed (Florida) others not Firefly in Madrid. In general my philosophy is to search for the cheapest deals and if the odd time I get hit with extra charges I don't like it but over all I save a lot of money.

Rob

BTW $650 is a lot of money unfortunately I don't think you'll win in the end.

. PLPD is the big liability. Anyone knows this. He knew it was included in the rental rate.

Posted by
518 posts

I've never rented a car in Europe, only here at home in the US, and they ALWAYS offer CDW as well as liability coverage. I always get CDW but not liability because my personal auto insurance policy extends to cover liability for a rental. I usually don't get any additional pressure or pressure at all when I decline the liability and I'm guessing it's because they have already have an understanding of how auto insurance policies work here in the states. It sounds like the OP's issue is, as others have stated, a disconnect between what Priceline and the rental company. This can often be the trouble with using a third party (in this case, Priceline) for bookings. This is true of any kind of booking, be it air, hotel, tours, etc., made through a third party, no matter how reputable.

Posted by
7679 posts

ainslieberyl, I'm sorry this happened to you. Thank you for the warning.

Posted by
20973 posts

ainslieberyl, since you are new to the board and are well traveled, why don't share some of your positive travel experiences to benefit those less well traveled.