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