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BEWARE! - CAR RENTAL NIGHTMARE! London, Ontario

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Beware! New technology is everywhere and it is supposed to make life easier for everyone. I guess this was the concept when DISCOUNT Car Rentals opened a fully automated (no employee present) rental car Kiosk at the Via Rail Station in London, Ontario. The concept was simple. This unmanned Kiosk would allow passengers arriving at the Via Rail station in London, Ontario after hours to rent a vehicle at any time of day.

As my train was arriving in London at 10:45 pm, I though that this would be an excellent way to rent a car. I made an online reservation through Discount Car Rentals online to ensure that there would be a care available for me when I arrived.

On arrival at the station, I promptly contacted Discount through video chat at their Kiosk as instructed. The representative scanned my driver's licence, credit card, etc. and I "signed" the contract digitally. She put the charge through for the car on my credit card. They then sent an email to my smart phone with a link for me to obtain the licence plate number and model of the car I was to take. While still on the line with her, I went out to the parking lot and found the car. Please remember that this was late at night, in a secluded, dark parking lot, in downtown London. The Train Station had been locked for the night and I am a lady who was alone with her daughter.

The representative attempted to remotely unlock the car. It did not work. She tried several times, yet the car doors would not open. She asked me to hold, and left me on hold for almost twenty minutes in that secluded, dark, parking lot. She finally came back on the phone and asked me to try the door locks again. Nothing. She asked me to wait again, but the line got disconnected somehow. I called them back at the number I had been provided (a call centre in Toronto somewhere). I spoke with a gentleman and quickly told him the situation. He told me that, "Oh yes, she is working on it", and put me on hold and our call was disconnected. I called back again and got the same gentleman. He told me that he didn't really know how to help me and that she was working on it. He said that I should remain on hold indefinitely. On asking how long this might take, he replied that he had no idea and that it might take awhile.

This was NOT acceptable to me so I respectfully demanded the rental be cancelled and that my money be refunded to my credit card. After checking with a supervisor, he said that a refund would be processed the next day and promptly hung up.

The worst part of this mess is the fact that they left my daughter and me stranded in a dark, secluded parking lot at night and were willing to leave me on hold. NOTE THAT I DID NOT GET A CAR!

Thankfully, a wonderful security guard who worked at the Via Rail Station stayed with us to ensure our safety while this was going on. He is a wonderful person who should be thanked and commended for his caring.

To add insult to injury, I called them back the next day to inquire about my refund. She transferred my call to the Station Kiosk in Ottawa which had NOTHING to do with my situation at all. My credit card company also advised me that they had charged my card twice for the same car that I never got.

Financially, this mess has been cleared up and refunded on my credit card. I, however, will NOT forget the horrible treatment that I received when I was forced into this unfortunate situation.

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