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WARNING! CarTrawler / Argus Car Hire - PepeCar AVOID!

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WARNING! CarTrawler / Argus Car Hire - PepeCar AVOID!

edited 13 September 2012 at 8:42AM in Flights, Currency & Car Hire
56 replies 94K views
kosterkoster Forumite
15 posts
edited 13 September 2012 at 8:42AM in Flights, Currency & Car Hire
CarTrawler / Argus Car Hire / Pepe Car - Rental Scam when taking a security deposit.

I just returned from a trip to Barcelona. I booked car hire from the UK through Argus Car Hire which is also called CarTrawler and had a very eye-opening experience which cost me dear in my wallet.

They use a company called Pepe car hire in Barcelona. What CarTrawler do when you arrive is take a 680 Euro deposit in case of an accident. Even if you have already taken out full collision and excess insurance cover, they will still BILL your credit card by at least 680 Euro.

While this might not seem like a problem, note that they do not HOLD this amount, but they actually BILL your account, the transaction goes through. What this means is that when they 'refund' you the 680 euros back after you return the car, you will only recover the exchange rate value for the deposit back on your card, plus commission.

I lost £40 on the return exchange rate by hiring my car for two days. This conversion was almost as much as the car hire itself.

I complained to Argus Car Hire (CarTrawler) about this incident but was told that this was part of their policy!!! Can you believe it? You lose about £40 just by letting them take a compulsory deposit for your car at the time of hire!!

Completely barmy, so I would avoid this company at all costs.

This was their exact reply to my complaint (names and numbers removed):

"CarTrawler Ref: xxx-xxxxxx,
Thank you very much for your correspondence in relation to the experience you had when renting with Pepe through CarTrawler.

I am very sorry for the length of time that it has taken to resolve this case for you, however, on this occassion I am unable to offer you a refund for the loss incured due to currency fluctuations.

The reason for this is due to the fact that this deposit is advised in our terms and conditons (which are present at the end of your rental voucher). Payment Method (Driver must have one of the following credit cards when collecting vehicle)

I understand that this may not be the outcome that you were hoping for, however, I hope that this has helped to resolve this matter to your satisfaction.

Alternatively, if you would like to discuss this on the telephone, please do not hesitate to contact me on my direct number xxxxx x xxxxxxx (available during business hours 09.00hrs / 17.00hrs).

Kindest Regards

xxxx xxxxxxx
xxxxx x xxxxxxx


  • stonemanstoneman Forumite
    4.4K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Sorry to hear about that but as you will eventually find out you are flogging a dead horse. I am afraid that car hire has gone the same way as air travel, to get the lowest fare you actually pay more. "Most" companies now charge for a full tank of fuel, charge if you damage the underside of the car, or get a flat tyre. And the one that really sticks with me is charging for breakdown. So if there badly maintained car goes belly up on you while you have it you have to pay yourself to get it taken back to them.
    The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.
  • edited 3 September 2012 at 11:59PM
    kosterkoster Forumite
    15 posts
    edited 3 September 2012 at 11:59PM
    Well, I organise car hire quite a lot and this is the first time I have come across a company that actually makes the transaction on the credit card for the security deposit rather than simply putting a hold on it.

    I'm not sure if they are creaming money from this transaction in the form of currency exchange commission - My guess is that they are considering the amount, especially over my 36 hour rental. If so, this is a very dodgy practice.

    We all know that so-called 0% commission for foreign exchange isn't really 0% as the company makes money by setting the exchange rate in their favour. It's quite likely this is what CarTrawler / Argus Car Hire are doing when you hire a 'cheap deal' from them.

    For a car hire company to be making money off their customer's deposit given in good faith is below the belt in my opinion.
  • edited 3 July 2015 at 1:37PM
    ArgusCarHireArgusCarHire Forumite
    3 posts
    edited 3 July 2015 at 1:37PM
    Dear Sir / Madam,

    Following your recent post on Money Saving Supermarket, I am sorry to hear of your experience concerning charges applied by your car rental provider for the security deposit. The normal policy is indeed for the Car Rental Provider to hold the deposit on your credit card and not to actually apply this charge.

    If you have lost on funds between the amount charged and credited to your account, we would be happy to refund you the difference. In order to refund you any difference we would require a copy of your credit card statement to show the charge applied and the credit provided. So that this matter can be dealt with promptly please email your statement to my direct email address [EMAIL][/EMAIL]. Also if you could provide me with your booking details:

    Name of reservation
    Booking Ref
    Car Rental Provider

    I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience so I can assist you further.

    Kind regards,
    Argus Car Hire Support -
  • I rented a car in Bordeaux from this supplier. I booked in their exoctic/ special class a mini. When the booking came it then said it was a Citreon DS3. Well I thought its not what I booked but its similar.
    When I arrived they gave me a C3 picasso. I refused the car and asked where the car I booked was? They told me this was all they had take it or leave it. Of course Argus had already had my money by this point.
    I tryed to complain when I got back after being forced to take the car. Its an email only complaint/ hope you will get fed up and we can just rip you off , type service.
    They after a month finally replied telling me that this picasso/ postman pat van was more expensive to rent and impying that I got a good deal. Just like to point out a c3 picasso costs about £10000 and a DS3 about £14000. So they are talking rubbish. They offered me £15 as a goodwill gesture/ insult.
    These people are taking money for cars they dont have to rent and then fob you off with junk cars that nobody else wants to rent.
    Think twice before you book with this lot!!!!!!!!:mad:
  • I had a similar experience with a company called Marbesol, based at Malaga Airport (I made the booking through Unknown to me, they actually billed my credit card for the €800 deposit. Together with the additional transaction for the refund, I ended up paying £40 in charges. Avoid this company!
  • To be fair, even Hertz to offer me a drastically different car even though I 'checked in' and confirmed the booking online.

    I ordered a BMW sports model and they offered me a Mini when I arrived.
    When I didn't quite appreciate the joke, they took it further by offering me some kind of Berlingo type vehicle.
    Next a BMW automatic.

    Finally we settled on a brand new Volvo.

    So, whilst they annoyed us in the beginning, we were all friends at the end.
    This was at Malaga airport.
    No issues with deposits.
  • Small update -

    I have been back in touch with CarTrawler following the response here by a customer manager. The original person I dealt with has offered to refund the amount I lost from the currency fluctuations affecting the deposit being refunded on my card.

    I'm still a little confused as to what their policy actually is. The manager that posted his reply here says that the funds should only be held and not billed on the card. However the personal reply I received says they wouldn't normally refund because the terms & conditions are set out clearly in the policy when we hire their cars.

    I'm trying to get a clearer picture of this and will update in due course!
  • Okay, final update on this thread for me -

    CarTrawler got back in touch with me and offered to refund me the loss I incurred as a result of the currency fluctuation when Pepe Car in Barcelona *charged* the card for a security deposit instead of *holding* it. - So I now have the refund.

    It's all been fully explained to me now, so here it is...

    First of all, CarTrawler aren't responsible for what Pepe Car did. The fault was actually with the car hire company themselves who are not supposed to charge the card. They are only supposed to hold the funds. So watch out for that when you lumber in there after your flight. Check to make sure they are only going to hold the funds.

    CarTrawler/Argus are just the agent that find the best deals with the car hire companies and I was wrong to conclude that they were the bad guys in all of this. They refunded as a gesture of goodwill.

    So there you have it!
  • I' have been renting a car for 8 days last week using Auto Europe who leads me to PEPECAR rent car... Price was good and affordable on the web, but when arrived at Madrid Airport we first had the surprise to have to catch a shuttle to bring us to the Hilton Madrid where PepeCar is located ( 2 miles away from the airport)...
    Next when we arrived there, 2 people only were there to serve 5 customers queuing...
    It took almost 15 minutes for each customer to get the contract done, even if it should have been prepared as already WEB prepaid .
    The other surprise was to be charge upfront 700 euros for the the Gas ( 100 Euros) for a car containing only 80 euros Gas, and 600 Euros for the caution. Yes you read well !!! they charge you the caution upfront...
    They cross charge the 600 euros back when you return the car...
    This means they make my money to work for their account during 10 days for an 8 days rent...
    In addition to that you can imagine you do not leave the car back with empty gas, since you do not want to push the car....
    So you leave a minimum of 10 euros plus the 20 euros charged for no Gas ( 80 Euros the car could contain against 100 Euros charged) .... I did complain as you can imagine, they say it's written in the rental contract which I have never seen since I came from AutoEurope org, and no such thing was mentioned..
    Strange way to make business I told them....
    when I return the car, they also tried to charged me something missing in the car that we never seen...
    Lastly, People were very long to serve, and really not nice to customers..... For returning the car which such slow people and distance away from the airport, you should arrive there 3 hours before your flight departure... This is the worst renting car company behavior I have ever seen in my life...

    Avoid them...
  • They really are a bunch of sharks - I was charged by Argus/Cartrawler despite the car hire company (Avis) confirming that they had cancelled the order with no cost to them. It is very difficult to know who to complain to or who to deal with as there are so many companies involved. Now I won't be using Moneysupermarket, Argus or Cartrawler or even Avis. It is so difficult to contact any of them as well. All the numbers are premium/high cost and emails only possible through an endless menu system and form filling thing. And of course they only reply weeks later. HOPELESS! There is bad customer service from one company alone and then there is bad customer service from 4 companies none of which will take responsibility.
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