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