1 Dec 2019
• 30 August, 2019. Arrived following a 25 hour flight from Australia at 8.45am for a pickup of vehicle at 9.00am.
Waited for 45 mins while two staff members served other clients (numbered ticketing system in use which shows an ‘advanced time’ of issue, mine showed 9.05am) and four other staff members were exchanging pleasantries and chocolates.
• Handed over to staff member detailed booking confirmation (done online , paid for ,showing vehicle and class, declination of any and all ‘extras’, had our own Travel Insurance), who then took about 15 minutes to return. Staff member then ‘TOLD’ me to sign the Rental Agreement – a document in small print (two A4 pages printed on one A4 page). Out come the reading glasses, I am 71 years young) and I protest that I did not ask for nor want any extras, which are detailed to costs approx.EUR 2584.00.
Now the rudeness, obtuviness and aggression kick-in: staff member INSISTS that I circle and initial those areas which I do not agree with because this is the system THEY use. I, also, notice that the vehicle on the RA is not what we had booked; I bring to their attention that fact and the fact that the vehicle booking was confirmed six months earlier. We had booked a Peugeot 3008 SUV Auto since there were 4 well-nourished people with 4 pieces of luggage (avg.weight 25Kgs) and hand luggage; we researched the vehicle quite extensively and knew that would work for us. Now the belligerence and incompetence kicks in – they had a well-used, damaged, Ford Focus SW and would fit us all. With no further words, they told us to go to the parking station and collect the car from the attendant.
Well the Ford Focus SW is a ‘write off’; it’s been damaged along the length of the vehicle on both sides, it’s dirty inside and out AND none of us can actually enter it. The drivers can’t be accommodated and the passengers can’t get in because the front seats have to pushed back so far. We complain to the attendant who passes on to another staff member. I repeat the story. He shows us a Mercedes Benz 200D- won’t take our luggage- he suggests we lower the rear seat-what about the passengers? We see a 7 Seater KIA and suggest that might work – NO – a different class to what we paid. Aha I see a pristine Peugeot 3008 Auto – how about that? NO – that’s the manager’s car. It’s now 11.00am and we still have not left. Finally, my co driver spots a VW Tiguan 2012 which might fit the bill. NO, it’s a manual…..we paid for an AUTO. We implore the staff member that we can drive manual cars and under the circumstances HE says it’s OK. Do we need to change the paperwork? – No, he says.
The VW has done 94,000 Kms with a few scratches on the front quarter panels but it works for us; although the ‘engine stop-start in traffic is quite irritating and for no reason stalls.
After 14 days we returned the vehicle to AVIS Civitavecchia, Rome as we are leaving on a cruise ship that afternoon. Note this is an extra fee because we are not returning to the original pick up point – already paid for in the original booking. The local staff member inspects the vehicle. No damage – what about fuel? – It’s been filled only 5 kms earlier. He seems perplexed. I ask why? Well you agreed to pay us for fuel. No, I’m not paying for extras at all. He also informs me that AVIS will charge me an extra day’s rental because it is now 11.30am and I should have returned the vehicle by 9.00am as per agreement. I’m flabbergasted……It’s alright for AVIS to keep me waiting for over two hours but not the other way round.
I agree reluctantly ….I’ll pay for it in cash……..No, we’ll bill you ….We have your credit card details…….
And the rest is history…..IT’S A SCAM…….