I paid for a prestige car & was given a standard car

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Guest's review of Argus Car Hire - www.arguscarhire.com

★☆☆☆☆

“I paid for a prestige car and was given a standard car”

Written on: 08/07/2020

I am struggling to find a hire car company that doesn't screw me around at the start of my holidays. I had a recent issue with Europcar (booked through Argus Car Rental) in Jan/Feb 2020 when I visited the UK from Oz;

A family member died on 25th December 2019 in the UK. We were required to return to the UK for the funeral in January. Knowing that we were attending a burial funeral, I rented a prestige car that could be used to convey our family to the funeral as part of the precession, hence my choice of a Mercedes. Furthermore, we had a lot of luggage and were unable to fit it into a sedan, therefore I booked a wagon. The booking was made through Argus Car Rental who in turn provided a rental through Europcar.

We travelled to the UK and arrived at the car rental depot with our 2 sleeping children. We were initially told that Europcar only had a VW Passat sedan, but I told them we could not fit our luggage into the car and needed a bigger vehicle. After about 1.5hrs waiting at the rental depot they finally located a VW Passat wagon at a nearby depot. They rang around several other branches and advised me there were no premium vehicles anywhere nearby.

With 2 sleeping children and 2 very tired parents, there was nothing else we could do apart from accept the wrong vehicle and begin the 2 hour journey to our next destination. Our only other option was to cancel the booking (which we had already paid for) and rent another car through a different company at short notice, which would have cost significantly more money (I know this because I considered that option at the time). That was not a viable/affordable option so we took the downgraded vehicle we were given.

In an attempt to help the situation, the staff at Europcar advised me that I could attend another Europcar branch in the North of England and swap the car for a Premium vehicle. I would have been satisfied with that result, but sadly that did not happen.

When we reached the North of England I attended Newcastle Airport and spoke with Europcar there. After another hour of wasted time I was told that there were no premium cars available in the North of England at all; he had telephoned around ALL of the branches and none of them had a premium vehicle available.

At this point I gave up trying to replace the vehicle and I organised a seperate premium car rental through another company for the funeral. This rental cost me 224GBP; approximately $450.

In addition to my efforts with Europcar, I called Argus Car rental at the start of the holiday in the hope that they might be able to swap us to another rental company such as Budget or Avis, but they were unwilling to do so. They simply told me to wait until the rental was complete and THEN lodge a dispute with them. Wait....when it's too late?! Thats just stupid.

When I returned to Australia I duly contacted Argus and lodged a dispute. The result of this was a token refund of $117.32 which I was unwilling to accept. However, they went ahead and actioned the refund anyway. They say this was the difference it would have cost between a prestige car and a standard car over a 2 week hire period. Yeah....right!! I can tell you right now, it was AT LEAST $400 more at the time of booking to get a prestige car rather than a standard car. They showed me their calculations and it seems like they simply plucked a figure from thin air and refunded that amount (against my wishes).

I sought a full refund because I purchased the rental based on the vehicle type, and I did not receive that type of vehicle; I was downgraded to a standard vehicle. As per the Europcar promise, they should have upgraded me if the booked vehicle was not available, not downgraded me. Ultimately, if I had known the premium vehicle was unavailable at the time of purchase, I would have chosen another company that was able to provide a premium car.

In the end, Europcar and Argus promised me a car that they simply did not have. They took my money and then refused to refund it back to me when they failed to deliver. I will avoid both companies like the plague next time. There is obviously a reason they have such bad reviews on here. AVOID AVOID AVOID!

  • Jan 2020

    Date of hire (month/year)

  • London Stansted Airport

    Country & City of hire

  • Good

    Condition of vehicle

  • Poor

    Choice of vehicles

  • Customer Service

  • Value For Money

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