After our trip to Berlin we had lots of problems getting home, more of which I will share in an easyJet themed post but it ended up with us having to hire a car and drive home from Newcastle to make it back in time for Mike’s 30th Birthday celebrations. That’s an almost five hour drive down the country to get home but it was needed!
We booked an economy car at 9pm on the 30th December after securing our flights and settling at our hotel. We also arranged a drop-off to the Romford branch at 5pm on the 31st December once we had got back home. This was all confirmed when we picked the car up the following morning.
We were given a nice little Ford Fiesta and the drive home was super comfortable! I think Mike’s slowly coming round to my idea of getting one!
We were in the car for around six hours with stops and dropping home our other passengers who we had met at Berlin airport. I dashed into the flat, showered, washed my hair and jumped in our own car to help Mike take the Fiesta back.
When we arrived at Europcar it was closed. We had waited 20 minutes and still no one showed up. The branch had closed at 1pm and they hadn’t sent an out of hours staff member to meet us. Time wasted on an already stressful and busy day.
We photographed the car outside the closed gates and left a note in the gate. When we returned home I also tweeted them and emailed to state what had happened.
Fast forward to Tuesday, Mike’s at work and he gets an answerphone message from the Romford branch… asking where the car is! Really guys, we’ve contacted you three different ways and you can’t even work out that we still have to car as you’ve been closed! They also asked us when we would be returning the car. Mike told them they would have to pick up the car as we’ve returned to full-time work and are no longer insured to drive the Fiesta. They asked our address and then put the phone down on him.
Mike tried to call back and the phone just rang and rang and rang. Finally he gave up for a while.
When he then tried again to have the phone picked up, and left. No one said a word yet they could be heard talking in the office in the background. They were then engaged all day until close at 6pm.
So we had the car for yet another day… we were beginning to feel we’d got ourselves a new car as they seemed in no rush to take it back! We’ve now had the car for an extra four days before they try to contact us again. We gave up after no replies to emails or tweets either and decided we’d kept our part of trying to give the car back on the agree time so they should do the contacting rather than have us waste time at work.
When they did contact us again, Mike received another phone call asking where the car was and when we would return it despite having already gone through this! The guy on the phone from the Romford branch then transferred Mike to someone else who had zero idea what was going on and why he’d been put through, so poor Mike had to explain all over again what had happened.
An agreement was finally agreed that the car will be picked up from the flat when Mike is around at the weekend. Talk about taking forever to organise something so simple!
This isn’t the first time we’ve had trouble with the Romford branch of Europcar either! You may remember a while back that we road tripped to Oxford (you can read that here.) But here’s what happened then…
We worked with Travel Supermarket to hire a car; they were fab, fast and super helpful, but then when Europcar got involved it al went downhill.We received our booking confirmations for pick up on Sunday morning at 10am and dropping back on Monday at 8pm so we had plenty of time to enjoy ourselves. Then on Thursday I get a call from my local branch of Europcar starting they would cancel our booking as they weren’t open on either of those days despite having paid a premium to have them open. After a good half an hour of arguing with the woman on the phone who was so rude, muttering under her breath and totally unhelpful I gave up; this wasn’t suitable to deal with at work! I sent an angry tweet to Europcar and within an hour I had an apology call and the issue was sorted, but they were still shoddy and caused a great stress when having to change plans about to get the car earlier.
After these two incredibly bad shows of customer service and organisation we won’t be using Europcar ever again, even if they are the cheapest next time we need a hire car. I’m nore than happy to pay extra to not have to deal with them again!
Have you ever used Europcar?