Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    • creamtea78
    • By creamtea78 12th Jun 17, 5:18 PM
    • 2Posts
    • 0Thanks
    0 WOW
    Autovia Italian car hire co. charged me unfairly for breakdown recovery & repair
    • #1
    • 12th Jun 17, 5:18 PM
    0 WOW
    Autovia Italian car hire co. charged me unfairly for breakdown recovery & repair 12th Jun 17 at 5:18 PM
    Back in April 2016, some friends and I rented a VW Caravelle from Autovia (also known as Ecovia) from Milan Malpensa airport, to go on a ski touring trip. We made it clear to the attendant that we were heading to the Queyras region in France to go skiing - we had plenty of ski gear with us and we also rented snow chains from them.

    A few days into the trip the van broke down in France, the cause of which was not clear. Autovia arranged for the van to be collected by a breakdown service, but refused to offer us alternative transport and leaving us stranded. We had to cancel accommodation, waste a day, and spend a significant amount of money to eventually be able to get back to the airport to get home. At the airport, Autovia refunded the 2000 Euro deposit to my card.

    A few days later I got an email from Autovia; the reason for the breakdown was that the diesel had frozen and clogged the filter. They alleged that this was due to my negligence, and billed my card for the repair, recovery and repatriation of the vehicle - about 1600.

    Now here's the thing: the fuel was originally supplied by Autovia; we never put any more in. The contract stated that the vehicle would be 'supplied in a good condition appropriate to the agreed use' which in this case was clearly a cold-weather trip, as evidenced by the rental of snow chains. Therefore I contend that the contract was broken in this regard by Autovia, and it was their negligence, not mine, that led to the breakdown, as the vehicle was not in a condition appropriate to the agreed use, having not been supplied with appropriate fuel and without warning of this (Also - I realised too late that it didn't even have winter tyres; the oil filler cap was not on, so the engine was close to seizing, and the windscreen wash had no additive). I had never heard of diesel freezing before, and never had a problem with rental cars/diesel in similar conditions.

    I raised this with them but they didn't respond to my arguments, and had already charged my card - without my authorisation in fact. So I presented the whole case to my credit card company, who agreed with me and after a few months got a refund from Autovia's bank. I was very happy and considered this the end.

    Now, over a year later, I have received an email from Autovia stating that this was illegal and so they've consequently billed my card again - unauthorised - and if I contest the transaction again they will start legal action.

    So... what are my options? The contract is under Italian law so although I am confident that I am in the right, it's very hard for me to contest it without being in Italy. If I get the transaction refunded again (which I think I could) and Autovia consequently start legal action, where does this leave me with regard to EU/Italian law as a UK citizen?

    Any advice is welcome.

    And my advice is - AVOID AUTOVIA CAR RENTALS!!
Page 1
    • firefox1956
    • By firefox1956 13th Jun 17, 3:50 PM
    • 1,520 Posts
    • 904 Thanks
    • #2
    • 13th Jun 17, 3:50 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Jun 17, 3:50 PM
    Well diesel do not freeze as such it goes 'waxy' in extreme cold & blocks the filters.
    However fuel suppliers change the include an additive during the winter months to prevent this.
    Sounds to me like the van had a tankful of summer fuel but who really knows.
    To sort this out then charge you again over a year later & threaten legal action I would say is not on.
    I wonder what the 'legal action' could be ??
    An empty threat I would think.
    Personally I would pass the whole matter to your credit card company & let then sort it out.
    • creamtea78
    • By creamtea78 14th Jun 17, 11:14 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    • #3
    • 14th Jun 17, 11:14 AM
    • #3
    • 14th Jun 17, 11:14 AM
    Thanks Firefox1956. Indeed I let my credit card company know about it to find out what my options are, but they essentially took it out of my hands by immediately declaring it fraudulent as it wasn't authorised (as per the first charge) so they have refunded me and replaced my card. So we will see whether Autovia are bluffing or not but I feel I'm in a strong legal position.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

60Posts Today

1,639Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • It's the start of mini MSE's half term. In order to be the best daddy possible, Im stopping work and going off line?

  • RT @shellsince1982: @MartinSLewis thanx to your email I have just saved myself £222 by taking a SIM only deal for £7.50 a month and keeping?

  • Today's Friday twitter poll: An important question, building on yesterday's important discussions: Which is the best bit of the pizza...

  • Follow Martin