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Car hire contract cancelled

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I had a trip to Spain recently. Flight was delayed by 3+hrs. On arrival at Barcelona Airport, car hire place was closed. Booked hotel for the night and went to office in the morning to find the contract cancelled as we were no shows. 

Is this usual? Are there suppliers who will honour contracts if your flight is delayed? 

I tried calling both the agent, discover cars and the supplier, record go prior to take off but to no avail. 

Ended up taking a car with everyone's favourite goldcar at over 3x the original price.

This has never happened to me before, I have learned a bit and wouldn't want it to happen again. 

 SATTY 01 Mar 2022
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Goldcar have got to be one of the vilest companies on earth, personal experience with them appalling, 3 years ago at pisa Airport hiring a car from them very aggressive pushy belligerent staff threatening customers.they take your card details and if you don't take their ridiculously priced insurance stick a €1500 debit on your account. Even if you show them u already have good insurance arranged in uk. They consistently feature in the worst customer experience listing and all the watchdog type programs. Seriously avoid this company at all costs

Post edited at 21:02
7
In reply to SATTY:

They helped us out of a hole last week. I am familiar with them and if you take their insurance you get good service, without it you don't. A bit of a protection racket.

Any way it was not my intention for this to become yet another gc slag off thread, there are many of those.

I am looking for experiences of cancelled contracts and how to avoid them. 

1
 profitofdoom 01 Mar 2022
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Sorry to hear about your experiences. But it is absolutely normal for car hire companies to cancel the contract if you are late. They get many no shows, and consequently will quickly rent the car to someone else when it happens

Post edited at 22:48
 Andy Chubb 02 Mar 2022
In reply to profitofdoom:

There’s a difference between a ‘no show’ and a ‘delayed flight’. You’d hope that the car hire company would check the flight arrivals board and work out why you’re late picking up the car.

as for avoiding cancelled contracts - check the car hire website to see if it gives details of the Ts & Cs before making the reservation. 
Europcar states the following:

A confirmed reservation is guaranteed for one of the following periods until the closing time of the rental location on the given date:

For one (1) hour after the due check out time for the standard level of service, 

For two (2) hours for the Ready service at a Ready rental location, 

For three (3) hours for First cardholders at any rental location, 

For no limit of hours for any prepaid booking. 

At airport rental locations the reservation is guaranteed - for all service levels - for one (1) hour after the actual flight arrival time if the reservation has been quoted with a flight number, subject to the following exception:
When a reservation has been quoted with a flight number and the flight has been delayed after the due closing time of the station, some Airport rental locations may remain open until the flight's arrival up to a maximum of 2 hours according to the same rules as defined above. An after-hours charge may apply. After the guaranteed period and prior to no-show listing One, two or three hours (according to the service level) after the due check out time and until the reservation is listed as a no-show (closing time of the rental location ), Europcar will make its best endeavours to provide the requested car category.

Post edited at 07:09
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Had the same happen when visiting Granada. Flight delay meant I arrived about 15 mins late and, despite phoning them, they insisted I Needed to get a new car/contract.

In reply to Andy Chubb:

Yeah, it's all in the detail which should have been read.

My learning from this is:

Read the small print, take a prepaid contract if possible. 

Avoid late afternoon flights, particularly if the rental office is not 24hr.

Pay attention when Google flights warns you that the flight is unreliable.

Avoid Manchester Airport until they address the lack of baggage handlers (cause of delay). I have a full 15 on rant about Manchester Airport but will spare you that. 

On the plus side, the ibis budget at Barcelona Airport is good value at £50 for a twin room, taxi there and back about the same. 

In reply to Presley Whippet:

IBIS Budget is everything Travelodge *should* be, i.e. basic, but well-maintained and serviced, and often at a better price too.  It's the poor cleaning and maintenance that annoys me about Travelodge.

 ag17 02 Mar 2022
In reply to Presley Whippet:

I took a pre-paid contract once via an agency, flight delayed, advised the agency via phone & email of the delay, but contract was cancelled and the agency argued over a refund...

Luckily I was able to hire another vehicle for around the same price, just wasted several hours at the airport in the process.

In reply to SATTY:

To add some balance, me and my climbing partner just had a perfectly reasonable experience with Goldcar in Marseille. Yes, having a 1500€ deposit on your credit card isn't ideal — but it's also not exactly hidden or unusual. The chap who checked the car out and also back in again was unfailingly friendly, pleasant and helpful, and at no point was there any drama. Car returned in less than five minutes.

I've also previously had a good experience with them in Alicante in 2017.

 Howard J 02 Mar 2022
In reply to Presley Whippet:

This reminds me of a former colleague who when being badly messed about over a personal car hire threatened to terminate his firm's sizeable corporate contract with them.  They thought he was bluffing - he wasn't.

 Carless 02 Mar 2022
In reply to SATTY:

To add another point of view

I'm always intrigued about Goldcar criticism

Maybe I've always been lucky but I've used them a few times in Spain and it has always been a cheap and pleasant experience. They never made any fuss about me having my own extra insurance: yes, they block a large amount on your credit card but it's always been unblocked within a week of returning the car

In reply to Presley Whippet:

I attempted to avoid this once when delayed overnight flying to Alicante.  We rang our hire car company to tell them that we would be delayed because of a cancelled flight. When we arrived at the desk we found that they had cancelled the original booking and they then charged us the walk in fee, which was obviously a lot more than what we had originally paid. I think I was about £350 out of pocket.  A friend who was on the same flight (both the cancelled original flight and the actual flight that we all got the next day) but had not phoned the hire car company to let them know was in front of me in the queue.  They didn't say a word to her about the fact that she was 24 hours late to collect her car and just handed her the keys. Me and another friend (who had phoned) were left arguing over increased bills for a while before giving up and shelling out the extra. Later we both tried to get the money out of easyjet who had cancelled the original flight (ha ha ha) and then eventually we both did actually get full refunds from the hire car company.  IIRC it was europcar and we both booked with them directly rather than through a third party.

 Uncle Derek 02 Mar 2022
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Did they have your flight number, I assumed this was why they ask for it?

In reply to Uncle Derek:

Yes, no dice with that. 

 Uncle Derek 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Presley Whippet:

That's poor.

In future I will avoid car hire firms whose desk is not 24 hour.

Sorry if it's been said up thread, but did you get charged as a no show.

In November when I went to el Chorro, that car hire firm phoned to ask where I was, I had booked the wrong week, I was arriving the following week.

They were exceptionaly good about it.

In reply to Uncle Derek:

It was a very last minute trip and so organised in a rush.

A small deposit was paid with full payment being made on arrival.

Be aware that some airports don't have 24hr opening for services such as car hire. Barcelona being case in point. Morning flights from now on. 

In reply to James Malloch:

> Had the same happen when visiting Granada. Flight delay meant I arrived about 15 mins late and, despite phoning them, they insisted I Needed to get a new car/contract.

I remembered a few other parts of this story. First was that I booked the car in Granada by accident (we were staying there but flying into Malaga), silly me. Second was that I put the collection time as the flight arrival time as I had no idea there was a 4hr collection window and regularly used to get straight through the airport and didn’t want to be early.

Still, would have made it without the delay…

 Darron 03 Mar 2022
In reply to SATTY:

>they take your card details and if you don't take their ridiculously priced insurance stick a €1500 debit on your account. Even if you show them u already have good insurance arranged in uk.

Thats standard with all the hire companies. They block the excess on the insurance that comes with the hire. You have taken out insurance in the UK to cover the excess. In the event of damage they take the excess off you and you claim on the insurance you have arranged.

 ChrisJD 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Presley Whippet:

We we fly with EJ (which is mostly) then we book our hire cars via EJ ... in the vague (probably stupid and misguided!) hope it 'might' gives us a bit comeback if things goes wrong (see below).

Although EJ sub out the car hire search out to CarTrawler (their T&C say that flight cancelations are not covered for refund), you do get some 'potential' (financial) protection via EJ as they treat flight plus car-hire as a 'Package Booking'; see Conditions 7 & 8:

https://www.easyjet.com/en/terms-and-conditions/package-bookings

I've not tested this .... and no doubt you would get batted between EJ and CarTrawler; but if EJ cancelled/delayed the flight, then EJ has given their undertaking to deliver the 'package booking' and failed  etc, etc.

And the hire prices via EJ to CarTrawler always seem fairly reasonable (we take out our own Excess Insurance ...  something else I've not tested ...); never been pressured by the Care Hire agents to use their 'extended' cover.

Post edited at 11:01
 99ster 03 Mar 2022
In reply to cathsullivan:

> ....IIRC it was europcar and we both booked with them directly rather than through a third party.

Europcar are one of the worst offenders - absolute crooks.  Avoid like the plague.

In reply to 99ster:

> Europcar are one of the worst offenders - absolute crooks.  Avoid like the plague.

I've generally had good experiences and used to use them a lot.  Also, although I spent ages trying in vain to get easyjet to acknowledge the issue, once I raised a complaint with europcar themselves they very quickly gave me a refund of the extra I'd been charged.

 ChrisJD 03 Mar 2022
In reply to 99ster:

Europcar - had two (relatively recent) entirely pain free hires off them via EasyJet.

In reply to cathsullivan:

The problem is that they are generally - including the big names - franchised operations.  So it varies massively.  Overall, though, issues are *less* likely with the big names, as with hotels which are also very commonly franchised (other than "known bad" operations like Britannia).

Post edited at 12:29
In reply to Neil Williams:

> The problem is that they are generally - including the big names - franchised operations.

Exactly. It's why the reviews are more useful when they are for that specific branch/franchise rather than the company in general or other franchises. I think what I was impressed with was that I was able to take up this issue with europcar in the UK, even though the car was from Alicante airport, and they dealt with it and refunded me.

In reply to ChrisJD:

A package booking like that certainly gives a level of reassurance that I will look for next time rather than the customary you get the flights, I will get the car division of labour.

My flight out was with Ryan Air as it was all that was available, I tend to avoid them, like I usually avoid gold car, the risk adopted to achieve the saving is disproportionate for both.

Having said that GC got us out of a hole and as I said above, take their insurance and the experience is problem free (but overpriced) 

In reply to Presley Whippet:

Hire companies' own CDW is often expensive but does remove a lot of the stress.  Having had the experience of returning a damaged hire car (I didn't crash it but for logistical reasons I had to return it), it was a very quick - "oh, you've taken our insurance, no problem" and off I walked.

When pricing it up since that experience I would always compare prices with their CDW included.

Of course you can be as careful as you like but s**t happens, particularly in e.g. Italy.

Post edited at 13:17

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