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Car rental companies - why so many negative reviews?

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Car rental companies - why so many negative reviews?

Old Jan 21st, 2016, 06:50 PM
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Car rental companies - why so many negative reviews?

On the spur of the moment, I booked air tickets to Iceland for 8 days in early July.

Excited, I started looking into booking a car, and first, I got a sticker shock , and second, I was so surprised to see a huge number of negative reviews basically for each car rental company.
We have rented cars all over the world, and I have never seen anything like this, and never experienced any issues booking a car.
All I see is that - DO NOT RENT WITH HERTZ! DO NOT RENT WITH AVIS! DO NOT RENT WITH BUDGET!... and so on... whom do I rent with?

I did read some blogs suggesting to rent with local companies, but those have negative reviews as well (old cars, bad handling if something goes wrong, etc.)

For now, I booked with SIXT, because they have the cheapest prices, but they get very mixed reviews as well.

Could you please share your experiences, and whom you rented your car with?

Thank you so much for your help!
helen63 is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2016, 07:19 PM
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Like so many others here, I usually rent through Auto Europe, a consolidator that sets up your rental car with companies like Hertz, Europcar, or Avis.

My family has rented plenty of cars in Europe, most without incident or problem, but each time there WAS a problem, Auto Europe really went to bat for us, and smoothed everything out.

I think the negative reviews are there because when something goes wrong, customers are annoyed and want to A) vent their frustration and/or B) warn others against making the same mistake by avoiding the company.

Personally, I have never written a complimentary post about great service at a car counter (even though it has happened). It's my least favorite aspect of travel.

I think it's a crapshoot, really. Good luck!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 02:15 AM
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I always rent through AutoEurope, too. They are there to help 24/7 IF something goes wrong. And I have never bothered to write up a good review of a car rental, either. In fact, I hardly ever write reviews of anything. Seems to me reviewing is primarily the territory of DISsatisfied people, not people for whom things go smoothly. Or people on TA who just crave bizarre recognition.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 04:13 AM
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Iceland, used nothing but public transport, never needed a car, in 8 days are you really going to get somewhere that only your own car would be a help? "I just need to get to that distant hot-pot"
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 04:35 AM
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I am a frequent traveller and I rent cars all the time in all parts of the world, mostly in Europe. I rent from Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz or Sixt, depending which company offers the best value.

In all these many years, I had only two issues, this is arount 1 or 2 per cent of all rentals. Once, in New York City, the rental car (a 12-seater) was delivered four hours late and only after many and sometimes frustrating phone calls. The second time, it was at Naples Airport when we received a 5-seater although we had reserved a 7-seater. After an hour waiting time, we finally got a 9-seater which was halfway acceptable.

On the other side, I had often experience excellent service from the rental car companies, like free upgrades, cars delivered to the cruise ship pier or returning the car just by leaving it on a certain parking lot, open, and with the key hidden somewhere inside the car.

So, I am wondering a lot about all these complaints here. I suppose that in rare cases, things may happen. And often, it is because the clients make mistakes. And then, they get angry and rant here on this forum as a kind of revenge. Often, they sign in only to rant about a certain agency.

Because nobody posts if everything went well, this forum is biased to negative experiences.

Don't take them serious.

And trust in Sixt. It is a very professional company and there is not the slightest reason for mixed reviews. Sometimes, these mixed reviews are the result of a nationalist attitude of U.S. tourists. Because Sixt is a German company they are suspicious from the moment they book. And if you are suspicious you will be oversensitive and even provoke mistakes. It is basic social psychology.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 04:52 AM
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What I have written about the forum here, applies for other reviews websites too. It requires a certain amount of energy to write a review and most people do it only if things went wrong, not if everything went well.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 07:29 AM
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I've used AutoEurope with good results, and Sixt and Enterprise in the US, also entirely satisfied. I have to be suspicious of the Sixt thread that keeps popping up here, revived by one-time posters.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 07:36 AM
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I have never had a problem with a rental.

I take now some precautions : I takes pics of the car when I get it, I take pics when I give it back. Pic of the dashboard showing mileage and gas level.

I don't rant when I get an admin fee if I get a speedticket, I mention if I damaged the car and pay for the repair, even if it is quite expensive, since it was mentioned when I rented it.
Maybe some people don't do that and instead post a rant afterwards.

Now some places or some people are more hairsplitting among the rentals then others.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 07:43 AM
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"It requires a certain amount of energy to write a review and most people do it only if things went wrong, not if everything went well."

So true. I remember when I had mt gallbladder out and my bloating lasted a little longer than expected. I went online, and everything was a horror story about how their lives were ruined. I asked a doctor buddy of mine, and he replied, "Nobody writes if the operation went well. It's only the few where things went wrong who take the time to write. Don't worry. You'll be fine." And I was.

By the way, I can't remember ever having a major issue with a rental car company in all my travels, business or pleasure...
and I have rented a lot.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 08:37 AM
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This is the problem with ranty threads. It's perfectly natural to want to vent when you have a bad experience. Some of the information you share may help other people avoid similar problems. But the terms such posts are counched in is everything. These companies have millions of customers - some rentals go well, some go badly. Just because you had issues doesn't mean they never get it right. This is why I find titles like DONT USE AVIS!!!, AVOID BUDGETCAR AT ALL COSTS!!!! idiotic.

Put something like 'Had a bad experience with Avis' or 'Be aware of refueling penalties - I wasn't' instead, and let the reader be the judge.

My own experience is that airport rentals seem to be a bit more problematic than town centre ones. I think it might be a combination of genuine intent to try and pull a fast one (on occasion) plus generally the fact that the counters are just so much busier there and mistakes do happen. That said, for many people arriving from overseas an airport rental is their only realistic option.

I have had a mix of positive experiences and less satisfactory ones. There is no one company I would say is a shining star and no one company who can never be trusted.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 08:40 AM
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I'm not sure where these reviews are, but there are some websites that exist solely to collect complaints, actually. I agree that when you have a bad experience, you are much more likely to want to complain and vent about it online. That explains some of it. I don't think that's true of hotel reviews for the most part on some sites like Tripadvisor, booking.com etc I review most of the hotels I stay in on such sites as I use them when vetting, so want to contribute. Most of my reviews are not that negative, some very positive.

But I also have never reviewed a rental car company and I do think those type of reviews would mainly be complaints. I also would not trust reviews on a website described as a "blog" as in the OP, although I've never seen such a thing. But it's clearly not any kind of broad sample.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 08:41 AM
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For the record, I have had the least problems with Europcar and the most with Avis.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 03:23 PM
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Thank you, guys! You put me at ease I will take look at AutoEurope and Europcar as well.
Bilboburgler, we are not public transport people, having a car seems more efficient.

I can relax with my car reservation now, and look into where we want to go, and accommodations. Hopefully, not too late to book for July.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 05:38 PM
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Try renting a car in Morocco! Three times as much as Europe and horror stories of old wrecks being delivered on the day etc. Even Sixt was unable to do any better - and they have been good to us in the past.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 02:22 AM
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>>Try renting a car in Morocco!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 02:30 AM
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We did rent a car in Marocco. We were quite young and inexperienced at the time yet it went quite smoothly.

It may have helped that we speak french, but I'not that sure.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 02:34 AM
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DW speaks French brilliantly and always has the last word (in any language).

I am pretty optimistic, but I am a hardy traveller (I have even survived BMIBaby despite of lousy reviews).
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 04:20 AM
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If one took the edict 'never rent from XXX' to heart in these times of consolidation and take-overs, one would have a hard time finding a car to rent. Avis owns Budget; Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty is owned by one company since 2012; a single parent owns Enterprise, National, Alamo, and (for longer arrangements) CarShare.

As far as I know Sixt is still just Sixt.

I've had good luck using autoEurope to broker the rental as well, although I have also rented directly from firms (as we did in Australia/New Zealand and in North America). I tend to go with recognized brands because I know I can always complain to head office if I feel there's been any mishandling of my rental. So far, so good, in every rental in over 9 countries.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 05:26 AM
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"It requires a certain amount of energy to write a review and most people do it only if things went wrong, not if everything went well."

I'm so glad I will never fit into the category of "most people." I'm far more interested in leading than following. I'm also glad I have tons of energy. I workout regularly and I don't eat junk. Judging by many of the waistlines I see at airports, can't say that covers most travelers.

I mostly write about positive experiences, and I've written a few articles on renting a car in Europe. You'd have to know my other name to find them though.

I'm also known for writing CEOs to praise an outstanding employee's service. Several people who have received a promotion have written to me with thanks.

I don't hold a cynical view of business. Many people in business care about what their customers are thinking. If you're too lazy to speak up, or if you don't care, then you get what you probably deserve.

"I have never had a problem with a rental."

LOL. Then you must never rent cars. LOL.

The rental car business is a service business run by human beings. Human beings make mistakes, and in a very competitive environment, some are capable of behaving without scruples.

I have my share of rental woe stories. If you rent a car as often as I do, things are bound to go wrong eventually. But, as far as I know, none of the things that went wrong with my rentals were caused by malice or evil intent. Some complainers on the internet see the devil, no matter what the circumstances are.

There is a ton of positive customer feedback on the internet about AutoEurope, and the feedback, originally in print, has lasted decades. For the life of me, as long as AutoEurope offers price-match marketing, I don't know know why anyone would use another service.

AutoEurope is not perfect. They could work harder to make all the costs associated with a rental easier to read, access, and comprehend. As with all rental car companies, there's too much profit in the insurance game, and there are a lot of bad drivers on the road. However, with AutoEurope, I've never had to endure the dreaded "up-sell."

Yes, I have rental car accounts with most brand names, but I'm not loyal to them because I've never found the benefits to be all that spectacular. I'm loyal to a great price-point that comes with great service.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 05:30 AM
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Glad to realize that workout has an impact on renting a car.
Would never have realized it myself.
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