Written on: 03/12/2011 by SarahCoxen
There seems to be a recurring theme to all of the reviews I have read on Sicily by Car - shame, like some other unlucky customers I read these reviews too late. We are frequent travellers to this airport, have been for the past 10 years+ and always book car hire with Hertz. Unfortunately this was a last minute holiday and Hertz were fully booked. We therefore had the misfortune of booking car hire with Sicily by Car through the autoeuropa site. Just to point out I have never felt so strongly about something which has compelled me to write a review on a site like this before, but felt that I had to share our experience of this company to try and help other people avoid the blatant scam they have tried to pull on us.
After a most unprofessional encounter at the customer service point to collect our keys, things seemed to be all in order. We set off in our mediocre hire car to begin our relaxing 2 week break. Less than 24hours and 50 kilometres into the holiday a warning light appeared on the dashboard and the car began to lose power. We found a safe place to pull over and the car sounded like it was dangerously overheating. We got out of the vehicle and called the autoeuropa assistance number provided on the key fob. To cut a long and stressful story short we spent the entire day being transported to a garage, waiting around for a taxi to collect us and return us to the airport to collect a replacement vehicle. Not a great start to the holiday we thought but thankfully we were happy to be able to continue with our break and felt grateful for the help we had received.
The best was yet to come when after over a month following our return home we discovered that our credit card had been charged £1081 by Sicily by Car without any approval from ourselves. Eventually a letter did arrive from the company explaining that we had incurred this charge as we had been 'negligent' in our driving of the vehicle and because of this we were billed with the cost of the extensive repairs required. Of course we were not happy with this and entered into a formal dispute with autoeuropa with the help of Barclaycard to try and appeal this charge.
During this dispute a number of interesting documents were provided to us by Sicily by Car which fundamentally evidenced their underhand and fraudulent handling of our situation. These included 'evidence' of repairs undertaken and the cost breakdown of these repairs and the letter sent to us determining our negligence as the cause of the damage - both of which were dated the same day as our breakdown and recovery. This happened to be a weekend and we had been informed by the recovery vehicle driver that he would be storing the vehicle until the beginning of the new week and then Fiat would be collecting, in order to carry out the necessary repairs? Another interesting point is that we were still with the vehicle until at least 15.30hrs on this day awaiting transport to the airport. Now this was either impressively fast work by mechanics following our departure back to the airport or dare I say a fabricated invoice? Most interestingly a document was provided, seemingly giving our authorisation for this payment from the credit card. My signature appeared on the bottom of this document which I had never seen before - curious?
We have asked for responses to these and a number of other 'interesting' points, to which we have had no reply. However fortunately because we have asked these questions, knowing that we have done nothing to deserve being penalised in this way, we have been informed that the money has been reimbursed back to us!
I WOULD STRONGLY URGE PEOPLE NOT TO BOOK WITH THIS COMPANY. THEY ATTEMPTED TO USE A VAGUE, CATCH ALL STATEMENT WITHIN THEIR RENTAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS AGREEMENT TO EXPLOIT US AND FUND REPAIRS TO ONE OF THEIR VEHICLES SUFFERING WITH EXISTING MECHANICAL PROBLEMS! BEWARE!!