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  • FIRST POST
    • Gozzy2000
    • By Gozzy2000 18th Oct 19, 2:00 PM
    • 2Posts
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    Gozzy2000
    0 WOW
    Car Hire Scams (Holiday Autos & CarWiz in this case)
    • #1
    • 18th Oct 19, 2:00 PM
    0 WOW
    Car Hire Scams (Holiday Autos & CarWiz in this case) 18th Oct 19 at 2:00 PM
    I'm sick of it really, it is such a cockroach infested industry out there. Picking up the car is the one part of the holiday I hate, this blog I wrote sums up why...

    We’d been looking forward to our summer holiday in Crete all year, the first time we’d gone away in the summer holidays as our daughters had got to that age where you really didn’t want to be taking them out of school.

    Looking to see as much of Crete as possible we decided to hire a car for the fortnight, some of the cost of that would be recouped by not needing to pay for transfers to and from the airport to the resort, an hour’s drive away.

    After setting off from home at 3am, and after car, airport and plane we finally arrived at around 1pm at Heraklion Airport. Leaving my family outside the terminal in the August heat of Crete (30 plus) I walked/jogged to the car hire area following the instructions sent by Holiday Autos to ‘CarWiz’ (or whatever they’re called).

    On arrival at the Carwiz Portacabin I waited for a full 30 minutes while the one person dealing with customers tried to hard sell additional excess car insurance to the family in front of me. She went through the rules, how they assess damage, not listening to the (also English) customer’s repeated statements that he had already purchased insurance.

    Obviously this is an age old scam designed to massively bump up their margins in a hugely competitive market. Read more HERE about an even worse saga where again Holiday Autos literally abandoned their customer and couldn’t have cared what happened to them.

    Anyway when it came to my turn I asked them (politely) not to bother with the hard sell and just crack on to the bit where I sign stuff and you give me the car keys and I get on with my holiday, my family have been waiting for 45 minutes now.

    As expected the lady explains I need to give over a credit card to make a deposit (800 euro) for any additional damage – which will be refunded assuming there is no damage – and I whip out my American Express card.

    “We don’t take take American Express” says the lady.

    “But the Holiday Autos website says you do” I explain and go on “I even paid for the hire using American Express”.

    Now I suspect this is because they have to pay a bigger credit card fee for Amex and when margins are so tight they don’t want to accept it. To the point they would rather I walked away with no car.

    “Do you have another credit card?” she asked.

    I explained I didn’t, my wife may have her credit card. But then they said to use that I would need to add her as an additional driver – at a cost of 200 euro. Checkmate.

    This went back and forth but to cut to the chase I could see what they were trying to do and I told them to stick their car. They gave me a form to sign and I left with no car.

    We got a taxi to the hotel at cost of 90 euro and I emailed Holiday Autos the next day explaining what had happened and got no reply.

    Only after several days when I made some noise on Twitter did they then suddenly get back to me asking me to DM them the details (basically get it off of Twitter because it looks bad).

    They asked me to send them a copy of my driving licence, a bank statement showing I had credit on my card, my passport, my flight details. Basically I couldn’t do most of this as I was on holiday with no easy access to a scanner.

    Each time I sought a reply I had to harry them on Twitter before they could be bothered to respond.

    Halfway through the holiday we hired a car from Easycar (which was a great service by the way – and they accepted American Express AND didn’t try to shaft me) and got on with things, but still 800 euro down.

    I’m lucky enough that I could afford to pay for another hire car while Holiday Autos still had my 800 euro and refused to give it back to me until I sent them the documents and then went through a 20 day ‘investigation’ process. But many people wouldn’t and this would have ruined their holiday.

    I did ask Holiday Autos repeatedly to just call the local car hire firm and confirm what happened but they basically couldn’t be bothered and were content to leave us to it, even if it ruined our holiday.

    I picked it up again when we returned from our holiday (which was great by the way, thanks) and the despicable Holiday Autos continued with their evasive tactics, asking me to reopen the case because it had expired and explain things all over again. At this point they were either being extremely belligerent or downright deceitful.

    Either way it was only when I kicked off AGAIN on social media that they refunded 80% of my money with the rest to come when they concluded their ‘investigation’.

    I requested they compensate me for the taxi as the fault was absolutely 110% between them (Holiday Autos) and CarWiz but after various excuses they finally pulled the “we’re just a broker” card effective saying you’re on your own when it goes wrong. They sent me the phone number in Greece for CarWiz and said I can sort it out with them.

    Anyway they did finally acknowledge that CarWiz do say they take American Express cards which the Holiday Autos website states and that they would refund the rest of the 800 euro, to appear in my account in 5 days. As with everything above I have the emails to prove that.

    That was 6 weeks ago and it still hasn’t been paid. And now they aren’t replying to my emails or Twitter messages.

    I now need to consider if I can really expend the effort to pursue them through a small claims court process for £105.

    I probably will on principle and also hope this blog at least costs them some future business because they are a truly shocking company.

    That said, like many people I’m busy and really don’t have the time – I think they prey on this.

    Incredibly despite my pointing this out Holiday Autos still carry CarWiz on their website and still say they accept American Express credit cards!

    Stay well clear of both companies people….
Page 1
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 18th Oct 19, 2:22 PM
    • 2,995 Posts
    • 1,494 Thanks
    EveryWhere
    • #2
    • 18th Oct 19, 2:22 PM
    • #2
    • 18th Oct 19, 2:22 PM
    Get a credit card and save yourself future drama. Then you could have done a Section 75 claim with your evidence.

    As far as CarWiz themselves;



    https://www.carwiz.gr/en/before-rental

    As for Holiday Autos/CarTrawler/eTrawler;

    By using this booking engine you acknowledge that all information including, but not limited to, information relating to Transportation, Transportation Suppliers, travel and holidays published on this booking engine may include inaccuracies and/or typographical errors and that CarTrawler will not be liable for any such inaccuracies or errors.
    That alone would dissuade me from ever using them.
    • Gozzy2000
    • By Gozzy2000 18th Oct 19, 2:30 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Gozzy2000
    • #3
    • 18th Oct 19, 2:30 PM
    • #3
    • 18th Oct 19, 2:30 PM
    Fair advice and taking another card in addition to Amex would obviously be what I will do in future. The Holiday Autos website still says CarWiz accept Amex:

    Deposit and Credit card Information
    ACCEPTED: American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard (not prepaid), Visa (not prepaid). Debit card not accepted unless otherwise stated below.

    Interesting disclaimer you've copied though, basically saying "If we mess up it's on you". Which is stunning really.
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 18th Oct 19, 2:39 PM
    • 2,995 Posts
    • 1,494 Thanks
    EveryWhere
    • #4
    • 18th Oct 19, 2:39 PM
    • #4
    • 18th Oct 19, 2:39 PM
    Fair advice and taking another card in addition to Amex would obviously be what I will do in future. The Holiday Autos website still says CarWiz accept Amex:

    Deposit and Credit card Information
    ACCEPTED: American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard (not prepaid), Visa (not prepaid). Debit card not accepted unless otherwise stated below.

    Interesting disclaimer you've copied though, basically saying "If we mess up it's on you". Which is stunning really.
    Originally posted by Gozzy2000
    It stunned me.

    What it should state is that they can cancel a contract and provide a full refund if the error is theirs.
    But to try to absolve themselves of responsibility for mistakes on their website, that would be a reason to not utilise them.
    • jimbo6977
    • By jimbo6977 19th Oct 19, 2:46 PM
    • 448 Posts
    • 253 Thanks
    jimbo6977
    • #5
    • 19th Oct 19, 2:46 PM
    • #5
    • 19th Oct 19, 2:46 PM
    I now avoid hiring cars altogether, and would rather spend 2 days driving my own car to the Med, paying fuel, insurance, breakdown etc to do so. I don't trust any of them.

    However, on the Greek islands (too far reasonably to drive from UK) I've always found the local one man band rental outfits to be great value with no mucking about. You will get an older, more basic car, but I count that as a blessing.
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 19th Oct 19, 6:14 PM
    • 2,995 Posts
    • 1,494 Thanks
    EveryWhere
    • #6
    • 19th Oct 19, 6:14 PM
    • #6
    • 19th Oct 19, 6:14 PM
    I now avoid hiring cars altogether, and would rather spend 2 days driving my own car to the Med, paying fuel, insurance, breakdown etc to do so. I don't trust any of them.

    However, on the Greek islands (too far reasonably to drive from UK) I've always found the local one man band rental outfits to be great value with no mucking about. You will get an older, more basic car, but I count that as a blessing.
    Originally posted by jimbo6977
    I think you need to work on those issues. When you believe that you cannot trust anyone. Otherwise it will only get worse.
    • budgetflyer
    • By budgetflyer 19th Oct 19, 6:58 PM
    • 5,838 Posts
    • 3,747 Thanks
    budgetflyer
    • #7
    • 19th Oct 19, 6:58 PM
    • #7
    • 19th Oct 19, 6:58 PM
    I think you need to work on those issues. When you believe that you cannot trust anyone. Otherwise it will only get worse.
    Originally posted by EveryWhere
    But that seems to be the norm rather than the exception, when renting a car abroad.
    Having a stand alone policy just means you shrug your shoulders as they scam the insurance company for the so called damage.

    Personally Id tather poke myself in the eye with a fork than rent a car abroad
    Last edited by budgetflyer; 19-10-2019 at 7:00 PM.
    • jimbo6977
    • By jimbo6977 20th Oct 19, 9:49 AM
    • 448 Posts
    • 253 Thanks
    jimbo6977
    • #8
    • 20th Oct 19, 9:49 AM
    • #8
    • 20th Oct 19, 9:49 AM
    I think you need to work on those issues. When you believe that you cannot trust anyone. Otherwise it will only get worse.
    But I do trust some people, as per para 2 of my post. I don't trust the franchised multiples who take advantage of "captive" customers at airports etc.

    I also take advantage of local public transport, but it's not as plentiful as it might be in some destinations.
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 20th Oct 19, 2:29 PM
    • 2,995 Posts
    • 1,494 Thanks
    EveryWhere
    • #9
    • 20th Oct 19, 2:29 PM
    • #9
    • 20th Oct 19, 2:29 PM
    But that seems to be the norm rather than the exception, when renting a car abroad.
    Having a stand alone policy just means you shrug your shoulders as they scam the insurance company for the so called damage.

    Personally Id tather poke myself in the eye with a fork than rent a car abroad
    Originally posted by budgetflyer
    Nonsense.
    I don't think that I have ever had a claim for non-existent damage. I use the large franchises most of the time and have probably hired more cars in more places, than most.

    How many complaints do you read here with concern to the large franchises? Very few.
    Other than GoldCar, most of the complaints concern second or third tier car rental companies.

    In this case, it seems to be a issue of Holiday Autos carrying the wrong information, rather than a problem with the rental co.
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 20th Oct 19, 2:38 PM
    • 2,995 Posts
    • 1,494 Thanks
    EveryWhere
    But I do trust some people, as per para 2 of my post. I don't trust the franchised multiples who take advantage of "captive" customers at airports etc.

    I also take advantage of local public transport, but it's not as plentiful as it might be in some destinations.
    Originally posted by jimbo6977

    I seem to have gone through a large amount of rentals with franchised multiples and other, without being treated as a "captive" customer.
    You possibly miss out because of that blanket lack of trust.
    Caveat emptor.
    • benjus
    • By benjus 21st Oct 19, 10:07 AM
    • 5,323 Posts
    • 3,275 Thanks
    benjus
    I do think some of the reactions above are excessive.

    I've rented cars several times a year for the last 10-12 years or so, and although I've been quite paranoid about being scammed, nothing has actually happened. Hertz at Geneva once claimed some spurious damage when I returned the car, but I sent a strongly worded email to their UK headquarters and their claim disappeared. That's the worst that's happened to me in all that time. I've had very good service from most of the companies I've used. I've never had anyone threaten to refuse me the car unless I pay for some expensive extra insurance, or whatever. I really don't think it's "the norm" for scams to happen, we're just used to reading about the bad experiences as regulars on this forum.

    I don't want to be limited to public transport (which frequently doesn't cover places I want to go to), nor to places I have time to drive my own car to - so I don't really have much choice.
    Let's settle this like gentlemen: armed with heavy sticks
    On a rotating plate, with spikes like Flash Gordon
    And you're Peter Duncan; I gave you fair warning
    • ciderboy2009
    • By ciderboy2009 22nd Oct 19, 9:33 AM
    • 629 Posts
    • 588 Thanks
    ciderboy2009
    This is one of the reasons why I've stopped booking through the likes of Holiday Auto's, Carjet etc. I now book directly with the car hire company.

    It may cost me a few pounds more (usually less than £5) but I've never had any of the problems I read about here & regularly get free upgrades.

    This includes Goldcar at Alicante who I've been using there for the last few years.
    • zagfles
    • By zagfles 26th Oct 19, 5:51 PM
    • 14,762 Posts
    • 13,203 Thanks
    zagfles
    I never book car hire in advance when going to typical package holiday resort type places. There are usually loads of local car hire companies who don't pull the usual sorts of tricks where you can get a straightforwards hire without all the bull, and where you usually don't need a credit card. I always pay in cash where possible, and it nearly always is.

    You might save on transfers getting a car at the airport - but then you'll need a bigger car that'll take all your luggage, plus you'll be paying for it for the entire holiday, and you probably won't need it every day. And booking in advance you'll almost certainly need to use a card.
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