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A warning when renting with Economy Car Rentals

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A recent incident with our car rental through Economy Car Rentals has me reversing my whole hearted recommendations I have previously given for them. I had reserved a car through them in Feb for our 15 day rental in Italy with pick up in Bologna and dropping Milan, May 11-26. We were picking up our car after time in Venice and Ravenna, the contract was with Budget

When we got to the Budget counter we were told they didn't have any record of our contract and their computers were down. I presented my rental copy and our contract was drawn up from my papers. We were even given an upgrade car!

Two days after our pick up my husband noticed an email from economy notifying us our contract with budget was canceled and they would refund our deposit. Like many of us here on Fodor's I have used brokers like Economy, Autoeurope, Kemwel and Gemut in the past and I don't know if their contract obligation is any different. At the time of reading the notice we already had the car for two days. We had refused all additional insurance since our contract with Economy included it.

What we have since discovered is that Economy has the right to cancel a contract and does not offer any assistance in securing a replacement. We were at an airport surrounded by many rental companies so not having the expected contract would not have posed much of a problem getting a replacement car. We could have hopped from counter to counter to find the best offer. I would have been very upset if this had happened last Oct when we had a rental with Economy and a pick up in central Florence with no other companies in the vicinity.

I was surprised and most disappointed by Economy's lack of effort to secure a replacement contract for us; also that they would cancel a contract so close to the pick up date. I certainly will no longer feel secure in renting with them. We were fortunate that Budget's computers were down so we received a car. I will now add confirming a car rental contract to my list of last minute travel tasks although in this case it would have made no difference as the contract was still in place when we left for Italy.

I'm just glad our Sept contract for our car is with Kemwel but I will both confirm the rental and also check what their cancellation obligations are to the consumer. I don't want to be in this position again nor would I wish it for anyone else. But if the same should ever happen I only hope the computers are not working then either;;). This has been another travel learning experience for us!! Deborah

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