On Saturday 8th of September 2012, we booked a car from Europcar Madrid to go on a sightseeing trip to Avila & Segovia. Along with the car, we had few extras like a baby seat (for our 2 year old daughter) and a GPS as we were new to the place.
Firstly I booked a VW Polo, but the car given to me was a Lancia which was the worst car I had ever driven, The pick up was almost like a 800 cc car.
After 80 KM of driving, the car had a flat tyre because of a puncture. I called the number on the pamphlet, and the lady on the phone explained that a pickup truck would be on the way within 30 minutes. Also, since the Europcar Avila branch was closed, we had no option but to take the taxi back to Madrid. And, get a new car from Madrid.
The pick up truck arrived within 30 minutes, and loaded the car in. He asked me to speak to the local Europcar person from the walkie talked inside the pickup truck. She told me that there was a car available in Avila, and asked me to take the baby car seat & GPS out of the current car, so we could use in the new car. This made me feel a little better in the hope that my day was not entirely going to be a waste.
Since there were 3 of us, and we could not fit in the pick up truck, Europcar Avila employee said that she was going to arrange a Taxi to pick us up from that spot.
The taxi never arrived.
We waited for 45 minutes for a taxi to pick us up. It had started to rain and standing there with a 2 year old was not an option for much longer. So, I called the Europcar Avila office number, but no one would pick up the phone. After making 5-6 phone calls, and getting no answer, I decided to take my own taxi and go to the local office (which took 5 minutes) – in centro commercial in Avila. And guess what – The office is CLOSED.
How can it take 45 minutes to arrange a taxi, when the office was only 5 minutes away. ?
Who was this person from Europcar Avila office who lied to me about the car in Avila ?
On arriving at the Europcar Avila office and finding the office closed, I made another call to the number on pamphlet and explained the situation to the person. His first instinct was to tell me that I should have waited where I was asked to. Fair enough, but how long would you wait? I was certainly not going to spend my life waiting for a taxi there. Anyways, he said he had to speak to his superior, and that he was going to call me in 5 minutes.
Another wait. – this time for 30 minutes & no information again. After 30 minutes, I make another call and speak to another person. This person finally comes out with the truth that Europcar Avila does not have a car & is obviously closed (I am standing in front of the office). And, the only option is to come back to Madrid in a taxi.
So, the only thing I did in Avila for 3-4 hours was to either wait for Europcar to pick me up, on phone with Europcar, or going to Europcar office,. And, all this while I am stuck with a Europcar baby car seat & GPS.
If I were not stuck with the baby car seat, I could have managed to do some sight seeing in Avila, but with those things, it was absolutely impossible.
Back in Madrid at 6PM, the front office person explained that the extras like Baby Car seat & GPS have slightly different business process than the car. Hence ( I think) the reason that the Europcar Avila did not want to be responsible for those 2 items, lied to me, and cunningly got me to take those items out of the car.
The more I think about it, the more I feel that the reason for lying to me about the car in Avila was that Europcar wanted me to take the baby car seat & GPS out of broken car so the local office were not going to be responsible for it.
In all of 4 hours, Europcar did not call me even once. I had to make all the calls (on an international roaming) to get them to take any action.
The madrid office did tell me that they would look into not charging me for the trip. To be honest, getting money back is the least of my worry.
Can they reimburse me the wasted day?