We Rented a car for one week for our Australia vacation because they had a very good weekly rate. Upon pickup, the office was swamped and I noticed that an asian woman in the queue who had gone out to pick-up her car was complaining that there was damage on the car that was not noted on the contract. So one of the agents said she needed to wait and one of them would go out and document the damage. They made her wait until all of us in the queue were served (at least 20 minutes) before they sent someone out with her. I got my contract and went out to pick up my vehicle and noticed some scratches on one of the quarter panels and bumper. The vehicle was wet however and I didn't notice a continuation scratch on the doors. I went back in to the office and said that there was damage that wasn't noted on the contract and they told me to wait. After waiting for about 15 minutes, I said that I wanted to see the manager and one of the girls said to just write what was wrong down on my contract and she would enter it into the system--big mistake!
Upon returning the car, they inspected the vehicle with a fine-toothed comb and noted the continuation scratch on the door that I had missed. I showed them where I had noted the damage on my contract on check-out but they told me that their system showed no damage! So they lied to me when I took the car and didn't enter the preexisting damages into their system and this is obviously their pattern of behavior to generate additional revenue from bogus damage claims. When I talked to the manager about the "existing damage", he accused me taking the vehicle offroad and scraping a tree and threatened me if I didn't sign his estimate of the damages for about AUD $150-. My second big mistake&never sign anything on check-in with them. It is better to let them charge the full DLF of AUD $2,750- without your authorization, because you will have greater legal standing to challenge the charges.
Unfortunately I signed the AUD $150- damage estimate and went on my merry way. Upon returning home, however, I found that they had charged me over AUD $800- additional and had some bogus estimate as documentation¬ a receipt for actual work, just an estimate.
As an aside, as I was checking-in, I was complaining loudly to my wife and an employee from another car rental agency came up to me and said that it was well known to everyone at the airport that Europcar was running this scam. He said that they would bill me for a big charge, but that they would never pay to have it fixed, hoping to catch the next renter for the same damage. I didn't believe this guy initially because I thought that he was just trying to bad mouth Europcar to garner business for his company. Oh, how wrong I was to doubt him! This would certainly constitute fraud if this is their modus operandi.
I called to complain to my credit card company and they said that my signature on the estimate allowed Europcar to charge my card.
What a scummy company&I can't believe that Virgin Airlines has allowed themselves to be associate with these vermin through joint-marketing and their Velocity rewards program.
Bear, Melbourne, VIC