Horrendous experience of Firefly Car Rental

Firefly Car Rental
Las Rozas Business Campus
Edif Tripark
C/ Jacinto Benavente 2
Edif B 3a Planta
28232 Las Rozas
Madrid                                                                                                                                                                                                                  9th July 2104

Dear Manager,

Ref: Complaint against Firefly Car Rental (Policy number 90969495-1)

I paid for a 10 day rental agreement, and collected the car from Alicante airport on 29/06/2014. On collecting the car, the staff member used high-pressure selling tactics for additional insurance for accidental damage/widescreen/tyre/key cover. I reassured the saleswoman that I had separate insurance for accidental damage/windscreen/tyre/key cover, to which she replied “if you have an accident Firefly will take the 700euros we have blocked on your credit card”.  I reassured her that in the event of an accident, I was covered by my own insurance. No mention of mechanical fault was discussed, and I assumed that any reputable company would provide a mechanically sound vehicle, or free replacement at our convenience in the event of a fault. I was proved very wrong……

On Saturday 05/07/2014 the car stopped suddenly whilst driving in Arboleos (Almeria), which could have easily caused a serious accident. I rang Roadside Recovery, as per my documents, who attended within 45 minutes. The Roadside Recovery driver was unable to fix the problem as there was a fault with the engine and the car was unsafe to drive, so it was towed away, leaving us with no car.

I tried to ring Customer Services, which was closed for the weekend. I sent an email to Customer Services but still have not received any acknowledgment or response from that email to date. I finally got through to Customer Services on Monday 07/07/2014, who were rude on the phone and stated I must make a complaint with Alicante office directly, as they could not help me over the phone. I tried to ring the Firefly Alicante office for two days, but there was no answer.

After many phone calls and much stress, I finally tried Murcia airport office and was advised that a new car would need collecting from Murcia or Alicante airport but at my cost. Both airports are over 160km from where the car broke down (110euros in a taxi). The Manager at Murcia advised that if I had purchased insurance at the cost of 100euros, Firefly would pay 100euros towards the taxi back to the airport. So in summary, if I had bought Firefly insurance I basically would have been given my money back and effectively paid 100euros anyway.  As I did not buy the Firefly insurance, I was told I had to pay the full cost to collect a replacement car.  Apparently it is Firefly ‘policy’ that customers should pay in order to collect a replacement car, even if the original is faulty/broken/dangerous, and therefore not the customer’s fault. This ‘policy’ only serves the interests of the company, and certainly not the customer.

When I broke down, I was in a remote village, 8km away from any shops, in 35degrees heat, with no car and no transport to buy drinking water. I had to spend endless hours on the phone trying to sort out the problem, and I had to borrow drinking water from neighbouring houses, plus pay for taxis to the shops for food. The remainder of my holiday was restricted and I had to cancel two planned excursions because I was left stranded without a car, as the one provided was faulty.

I had to pay 110euros to return to Alicante airport to fly home on 08/07/2014, where I was then told at the Firefly Alicante desk that I would be charged 260euros (+VAT) for the roadside assistance and towing.  I was also told by a very unhelpful and rude member of staff at the Alicante desk that I would have to ring Customer Services, as she would not help me and asked me to stand aside, throwing the complaints book on the desk and turning her back on me. Thankfully another member of staff (Ana) came forward and did her best to help, but could not authorise any refunds.

My experience of your company has been horrendous to the point it has ruined my holiday… I paid for 10 days car hire, and could only use it for 6 days…I narrowly avoided an accident in a dangerous car… I have had to deal with rude, unhelpful and unprofessional staff… I have incurred additional costs in taxi fares and towing costs, plus money and time on the phone trying to deal with this.

I have been appalled by your company’s treatment of a customer who has suffered as a result of your company providing an unsafe, faulty product. Given the apparent morals of your company I would not be surprised if I was intentionally provided with a faulty car, because the saleswoman lost her commission when we didn’t buy it from her.

I have disputed your payment with my credit card company as you have not provided the service I paid for, or made any reasonable attempt to rectify or resolve the problem caused by your company.

I am requesting a full refund of the tow costs (260 euros +VAT), a full refund of the airport transfer costs (110 euros), and a pro-rata refund of the car hire (approx. 35 euros) (receipts enclosed).

I look forward to your satisfactory response within 14 days. Please note:  a copy of your reply will be made available on TripAdvisor and other customer feedback forums. I have also copied this complaint to a few other interested parties.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Darren Tait
Newcaste Upon Tyne
NE16 4XX
Tel: +4477XXXXXXXX

Mark Frissora
CEO, Hertz

Robert Stuart
Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing, Hertz

David Trimm
Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Hertz

Kenneth Seavey
President of Airport Operations, Hertz

Barry Beracha
Head of Compensation Committee, Hertz

Service Territorial de Tourisme, Rambla Mendez Nunez, 41 (Torre Generalitat) 03001 Alacant.

Spalx51@gmail.com (Manager of Firefly Alicante airport desk)

invoice from fireflay car hire for recovery of their broken down car
Firefly Invoice
A taxi receipt to return to alicante airport firefly car hire desk
Taxi receipt Firefly Car Hire

Rental Car Offices at Bournemouth Airport not always staffed

I booked online at Tipoa.com for my recent return to the UK. Europcar was the chosen supplier, as they had the cheapest rate for a 7 day hire. To my surprise when I arrived at the tiny office all the car suppliers use at the Airport, the Europcar desk was empty !!

The rental car offices at Bournemouth Airport, just across from the arrivals hall.
rental car cabin at bournemouth airport
The portakabin is just across the road, a simple walk from Arrivals.

On my arrival at the Europcar desk I found there were no staff, and yet my reservation was confirmed for mid-day arrival. There were also other customers wanting cars. 
Europcar at Bournemouth Airport had no staff at their desk
Europcar can't afford to staff their desk?
#Europcar are one of the largest car hire companies in the world and yet they cannot afford to employ one person to stay at the desk when they know clients are arriving? amazing !!

Luckily there was a sign provided saying that we can call a mobile number and talk to the representative. It turns out he was 15 minutes returning as he is the only employee and was cleaning cars a few miles away?

When he did return, he did process the paperwork extremely fast and efficiently. I was soon only way in my little FIAT 500, which was brand new and very clean, this is an excellent car with good fuel consumption. I had a full / full fuel policy thanks to Tipoa Car Hire.

Bournemouth Airport Europcar Desk, closed on a Monday mid-day
Vacancy apply within !
I had to return my car full of fuel on Sunday afternoon, and it came as no surprise that none of the hire car suppliers were open on the Sunday, so I used the Europcar key dropbox return system.

The nearest petrol station I found was the Tesco at Ferndown which is open 24 hrs

If for any reason the rental car desk person doesn't have time or isn't there to make the car inspection with you, make sure you follow the instructions displayed on the outside of the paperwork folder, supplied by Europcar. If you discover any damage that isn't shown on the damage inspection sheet call their number to report any damage as soon as you are able.
Europcar & Tipoa Car Hire emergency assistance UK number 0800 0280 999
Road side assistance telephone number

Also the road side assistance number is displayed here 0800 0280 999 should you have an accident or breakdown.

When I returned home I must admit I was impressed to receive an email invoice from Alamo/Europcar for zero, which was 100% correct.

Moral of the story, make sure they have your email address, especially if you require a formal invoice.

Europcar Alamo Invoice of Charges by email
Alamo / Europcar Invoice

Jim Obrien

Southampton Airport Tipoa Car Hire & Enterprise

Tipoa Rental Car Desk Southampton Airport
Tipoa Car Hire & Enterprise Southampton Airport
I must say I was impressed with the service the new local Enterprise assistant manager at Southampton Airport afforded me on my recent rental car hire. As always I used the Tipoa Car Hire website to make my reservation, as I know I am always going to get good after sales support should I need it. On this occasion I did not, as the local supplier chosen by the Tipoa system, was Enterprise.

Located with the other rental car agents just across the road from the exit of the arrivals door at Southampton Airport. For those who have not previously used this airport, I can tell you it is small and easy to negotiate your way around. As soon as you exit the terminal building simply walk across the road crossing toward to car covered car park and the car hire desks are all grouped together.

The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Damage Evaluator Gadget
Enterprise Rent-A-Car Damage Evaluator
I produced my confirmation voucher, and because I had purchased my zero excess additional insurance with #Allianz Insurance, I didn't purchase any extra items, and was not pressured to do so by the Enterprise representative. In no time we both were inspecting the car using the new #Enterprise Rent-A-Car Damage Evaluator gadget (see photo)

Basically a device that measures the severity / size of any existing damage when you collect the car and likewise when you return it.  I like the fact that the representative had the time to inspect the car with me, which was reassuring.

I was only renting for a few days, had unlimited mileage in the deal and I wanted to return it very early morning, which was free of charge. The rental car companies at the airport all have early return drop boxes for out of hours key return. The box is located just inside the felt hand glass door entrance to the airport ( departures) on the right hand side. Please be aware that at 05:30 am nothing is open inside the airport, not even security, so you cannot check in until 06:00 hrs

My security deposit was returned within 3 days as I returned the car full of fuel. There nearest gas station to the airport is the local Asda store at Eastleigh which is open 24hrs a day.

Nearest petrol station open 24 hrs Asda Eastleigh for Southampton Airport
Asda Eastleigh 24 hrs Petrol Station
If like me you have a very early flight, then I recommend the #PremierInn which is located right at the airport, just a walk across the road from the terminal building.

Joss Williams

Goldcar Online Check In Service

Rental car supplier Goldcar are now offering the option of advance Checking-in On-line when booking at the Tipoa Car Hire website.

We assume that the extremely long queues experienced at the Goldcar desks in the Spanish Airports this year in particular, prompted them to create this new service.

Tipoa welcomes any innovations that may save its customers time.

But it is unclear to us how precisely this saves our clients time and, more importantly, avoids long queues.

Strangely, Goldcar themselves seem unable to explain how using their new online check in facility saves the customer time.

Of course, entering your identity document, driving license, credit card details in advance saves Goldcar staff time from having to manually enter this information in the system at the desk when you arrive.

Goldcar rental vehicle

However, it is our understanding that these documents still have to be produced at the counter.

Goldcar already operate an "Express Service" so unless completing the new online check-in forms allows you to use their "Express Service", we do not see its benefits.

If you have already used this new Goldcar service, perhaps you would be kind enough to share your thoughts with us.

You can either email our travel writer Uxía Olsson at uxiaolsson@gmail.com personally, or share your experiences on our Travel Blog so that other travellers can benefit from
your comments.

Did you really save time?, were you asked to show the same documentation again?, would you recommend it to others?

Long queues GOLDCAR Alicante Airport

Alicante Airport GOLDCAR desk queue
GOLDCAR July 13th Alicante Airport 
A Tipoa Car Hire client arrived at Alicante airport at 16:30 hrs on the 13th July 2013.

As you can see the queue was very large at the GOLDCAR desk, with an average wait time of approximately 45-60 minutes .

If you experience similar queues at car hire rental desks around the world please email us your photos.

Include please the location the car rental company and the date and time.

We recommend that you factor in the wait / queues when booking the very cheapest car supplier. Other rental car companies that may charge a slightly higher rental rate, have much smaller queues if any at all.

Thank you Mr Eleveld for your photo.


Review of Green Motion Car Hire Heathrow Airport

Brian based in Dusseldorf, a new Tipoa customer sent us this review of his impressions of Green Motion at London's Heathrow Airport and one of the off airport rental car suppliers:

Green Motion Office next to Holiday inn

Directly outside of Heathrow Terminal 1 after exiting the arrivals hall. is the bus stop is marked BUS STOP 3 and you take the bus number H1 marked "H1 Holiday Inn (M4)" There is a bus every 20 minutes from 04:42 and from 15:22 every 25 minutes. The bus ticket costs £4.50 single and £8.00 return. The journey time is about 15 mins (it goes via Terminal 3).

Green Motion have their rental car office located in separate building opposite the Holiday Inn entrance. I arrived on a busy Monday morning and their office was staffed with at least two people ( that I could see)  They took 15 minutes to process the paperwork. I pleasantly surprised when I was offered a very new Honda Civic with only 8,200 miles on the clock.  The overall process time was about 30 minutes, by time you check over the car.
New Honda Civic rental car

It was a similar experience when I returned the vehicle. Overall time from arriving at the Green Motion office to returning to Heathrow again was 30 minutes.

The bus did stop at two other nearby hotels, both close to the M4 motorway, but the bus journey itself was only 15 minutes.

The whole process ran very smoothly, given I arrived on a Monday morning and departed on a Saturday afternoon. - On this ocassion I can definately recommend booking online with www.tipoa.com and
there is no need to avoid Green Motion as often they are the cheapest option.

I had read on the internet some less than complimentary reviews on Green Motion, but as I was travelling on toe Swindon, their M4 location was perfect, so I decided to try them. I am glad I did as the week before again booking through Tipoa Car Hire, I was allocated SIXT and I was not at all impressed with, as their location was again off airport, and not at all convenient for me at least.

Green Motion Heathrow M4
Brian's review has been edited and we hope it will assist others. If any other customers, wish to provide similar articles on their travelling experiences, then we would be more than happy to publish it to our blog. (good or bad)

Tipoa Car Hire

Meteora- the sky city in Greece

When we talk about Greece, we imagine sunshine, cozy white little houses spread over the hills, decorated in blue, clear sky and turquoise calm sea. And history.

Meteora (Μετέωρα) is one of the largest complexes of monasteries in Greece. It's second only to famous Mount Athos in Halkidiki peninsula. Meteora is located at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly. It's about 70 km on the west of Larissa.
The nearest town is Kalambaka.

There, in the dark green mass of trees, about 60 gigantic rocks (upto 300 metres in height) are reaching high to the sky in different shapes, like towers. The monasteries are uniquely located on the top of those sharp rocks.

The exact date of the establishment of the monasteries is unknown. By the late 11th and early 12th century, a rudimentary monastic state had formed called the Skete of Stagoi and was centered around the still-standing church of Theotokos (mother of God).

In 1344, Athanasios Koinovitis from Mount Athos brought a group of followers to Metéora. From 1356 to 1372, he founded the great Meteoron monastery on Broad Rock. The only means of reaching it was by climbing a long ladder, which was drawn up whenever the monks felt threatened. There used to be twenty- four monasteries; now active are only six or seven. Each monastery has fewer than 10 inhabitants. The monasteries are now tourist attractions.

Although Meteora is one of the top Greek attractions, the place is quite isolated (seclusion is part of the monastery idea, I guess). We reached it with a rented car from Tipoa Car Hire from Thessaloniki airport. It was easy to find it after less than 3 hours drive. From the airport, we crossed Thessaloniki heading for the highway to Athens (E75). After a short drive, we followed highway E90. Both highways required partial toll payments. It costed us about 5 euro in tolls. At Grevena, we took the Exit 15 to Trikala. The road is new but it has a lot of turns (way too many :-)) There are plenty of Meteora signs on the way, so you can't miss it. A road is heading right to the top of the cliffs so you can park very near to the monasteries. Admission ticket for Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron is 2 euro. There's a striking skull room inside (scary!).

You could easily spend the whole day, wandering around the monasteries. The nearest town of Kalambaka is a tourist place so it has a lot of restaurants, taverns and little comfy hotels to stay.

Report submitted by Tipoa customer: Mr Pete Stanack (Evesham)

Returning a rental car at Alicante airport

Returning a rental car at Alicante airport. You may need to fill up the tank before returning a rental car at this airport following the "full out/ full return" fuel policy.

In this case and for your information, there is Galp petrol station opposite the new terminal building.

1. If you head to the airport from the A7 highway, take the exit "aeropuerto" through the road N338. Then in the first roundabout take the road N332 heading to Alicante.
You will be able to turn back in another roundabout and then reach the N338 road back again to the airport and the petrol station.

2. If you already drive on the N332 from any direction and heading the airport, just take the exit to the airport through the N338.

Report submitted by Tipoa customer: Mr David Hunter (Manchester)

Mrs Tip explains where the nearest petrol station is to Alicante Airport:

Centauro rent a car Valencia Manises Airport

Centauro is a Spanish rental car company that operates the Full/Empty fuel policy, when you make a reservation for more than 3 days.

Some useful information regarding their location at Valencia airport (Manises):

Like most of the car hire companies at Manises airport,Valencia Centauro have no desk at the airport terminal . Some rental car suppliers like Avis, Hertz and Europcar do have a desk , but ALL provide their customers with a prompt bus service to the nearby facilities in Manises Polygon, where the rental car fleets are located. This bus collects and delivers the customers outside Departures. On your confirmation voucher it explains this, so whether you arrive by air or to the airport by taxi, for example, you should stand just outside the airport in front of Departures and await the Centauro shuttle bus.

If you are not arriving by air, you can go directly to their office and collect your rental car. When returning a car, then you always go to the same office.

Please note that most spanish car rental companies operate a full out empty return policy. Click here for additional advice on Tipoa's FAQ page

With Centauro if you rent a car for 3 or less days, you have the chance of returning it with the tank full and the initial amount of money you paid as a deposit for the fuel when you collected the car, will be reimbursed.

I recommend that you take this option, as they charge you a premium amount for the initial full tank of fuel. So it is best that you do not return the car empty.

Filling up the tank before returning the rental car is not a problem as there are many petrol stations at Manises Polygon. i.e. just a few meters behind Centauro local there are a Repsol and also a Galp petrol stations.