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Europcar car rental scam - follow-up and solution
Mar 27, 2015, 8:58 AM
About a half a year ago I have posted here my bad experience with the Europcar car rental at Sydney airport. I was complaining that few days after I had returned the car without any damage to them my credit card was charged with an additional fee, allegedly for special cleaning of the stained car interior. We did not do any stains inside the car and I was quite unhappy about their conduct which looked to me as a premeditated scam. For the details please see my previous post:
The reason I am posting this follow up is that after some effort I have succeeded to have the money returned to my credit card and so I believe my experience may be of some use for other people treated to the same malevolent attempt. Here is what I did and what was the outcome:
1. I send an email to the Europcar Australia customer relations (their mail was given in the original e-mail claim of extra charges) where I refused their claim and asked for any proof of the damage and the expenses for cleaning. At first I got just automatic email reply of them receiving my mail.
2. In the same time I disputed the charge on my credit card at my bank which issued the card. The bank later asked for some documentation of the case which we provided.
3. After some time I have got a letter (by postal service) from the Europcar Australia, which more or less just elaborated on the same claim, provided no evidence of the alleged stains in the car interior, and documented the expenses for the cleaning of the car by a photocopy of an invoicing letter (which anybody could create it on his computer). I have sent another email to the Europcar Australia customer relations, once again refused their claim and asked them to ether return the money or provide any evidence of the damage and the expenses. This time I finally got their e-mail reply stating that they would "not consider refunding the fee" to me - no proofs, no nothing.
4. I send an email to the Europcar headquarters in France describing my experience with their Australian branch and asking for their assistance. The only reply I got was just an automatic email reply of them receiving my mail.
5. My bank informed me that they could not do anything for me as the Europcar car rental had "the right to charge me for additional expenses for car rental" according to the Mastecard rules.
6. I sent another complaint to my bank, stating that the Europcar car rental had that right indeed granted on condition that they could somehow prove that (i) the given damage was indeed done, and (ii) the given remedy action had been indeed taken and cost as charged to may card. My bank somehow reluctantly agreed to resume their effort to gat the money back.
7. About twice I got information from my bank that they had to extend the deadline for resolving the issue but in the end (after about two and half months) I received the information that the Australian bank asked their customer, the Europcar Australia, to prove "how the car was stained" and as the Europcar Australia could not prove that, the Australian bank returned the disputed money back to my card.
So, as you can see, we are not so hopeless after all. One just need to be sufficiently stubborn and ask them to provide the proof for their claim.
Good luck to all similarly affected … Vaclav
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