Renting a car from 'home' with a consolidator

I rented a car from a consolidator before I left to go to Italy. Let me say from the start that there is nothing wrong with this and I would do it again. My message is that you should be sure your consolidator has told you with what car rental company your car will be provided. I did not know this and when I searched the airport rental desks and didn't find one from my consolidator (my ignorance, I admit), I started asking each rental company. Well, there ya' go. The 1st one I asked said they were the one for me and - yes, they were not. Long story short they told me my car, unfortunately, did not arrive in time, but they had a substitution! Oh, boy! I went from a Mercedes to a very old, very stinky, and badly performing Opel. On our way to the car I spotted a car just like the one I rented and noted to my travel partner as such. Yes, that was our car. It was getting late and dark so we plowed onward. We had to get the largest air freshener we could find for the car, the trunk opened at will on the Autostrada, if you tried to accelerate to fast it would stall, etc.! Oh, well, we did what Steve always says to do: "Relax, enjoy the trip, it's not like home, enjoy the differences, and Italy is like a plate of spaghetti - you don't straighten it all out before you eat it! We decided to laugh all the way (even when we were picking up our belongings from the Autostrada). We were learning a lot of new Italian phrases. Again, if you don't want to do this, ask your consolidator which company will have your car! Jim

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
6029 posts

Which consolidator did you use? I have used Auto Europe multiple times and when I receive my confirmation and voucher the company (Hertz, Avis, etc.) is clearly stated. I take the voucher with me.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

What Andrea said. It's always written down somewhere no matter which consolidator is involved.

Settling for something you didn't order. .....


There's two common ways it could have easily gotten screwed up:
. It was done over the phone and all that was written down was the voucher number.
. Holiday Autos was the consolidator.

Posted by Bets
3350 posts

Not only is the name of the agency on the voucher, but if renting in a city, I use google earth to see which agency is at the address Autoeurop has given. If it's one I don't want to deal with, I choose a different car or offer at a different agency. But good for you for for rolling with the punches.

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
9881 posts

I also have found Auto Europe's vouchers to be quite clearly written (but Google-mapping is your own responsibility). They work with many European suppliers. While I've certainly been "upgraded" to a larger car than I wanted, I've luckily not experienced any old or inform cars. I'm glad you approached it with a good attitude, which really can make a big difference to your experience!

Posted by Paul
NYC area
2047 posts


We've rented many times through a consolidator. The name of the actual rental co. is always on the voucher. How old was the Opel? Just curious, as I've never seen "very old" cars in the rental lot.