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London Heathrow - Beware Congestion Fees & Europcar

London Heathrow - Beware Congestion Fees & Europcar

Old Aug 4th, 2014, 06:08 PM
  #1  
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London Heathrow - Beware Congestion Fees & Europcar

Beware EuropCar - LONDON CONGESTION - EXORBITANT FEES
WARNING! This company is making a fortune off of unknowing vacationers and getting away with it!!

My wife and I (from the US) landed in London Heathrow in July 2014. We rented (hired) a car from Europcar and were off to London. Little did we know we needed to pre-pay for the London Congestion fee before entering the city center. A simple £11.50 fee became instead nearly ten times that amount thanks to Europcar. Because we did not pre-pay, we were given a citation, which EuropCar paid to Transport of London on our behalf, and then EuropCar added another 40% charge for 'administration.'

I understand the common practice of ridiculous fares and governmental fees given by cities and counties for traffic violations; it is prevalent in the US as well. And as much as that perturbs me, I am not surprised by it.

What I did not expect, is a company-that is dependent on customer satisfaction to keep them in business-to [1] neglect to inform it's customer of the probability of this predicament upon arrival, [2] impose such an exorbitant fine for 'administration', and finally, [3] have such poor communication in customer service follow-up!

Europcar has been derelict of its duty in these ways and it will not go by unnoticed. How many others have been duped by their back-handed scheme?

Be forewarned of the implications of signing a contract with Europcar!
marksouder is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2014, 06:15 PM
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Welcome to Fodors. OK -- did Europcar know you intended to drive into central London? Probably 95+% of renters do not.

>>How many others have been duped by their back-handed scheme?
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Old Aug 4th, 2014, 06:36 PM
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Beware posts that begin with "Beware".
MmePerdu is online now  
Old Aug 4th, 2014, 08:17 PM
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He's bewaring on tripadvisor and tthorntree, too.
AJPeabody is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2014, 08:34 PM
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Oy vey.

Look, it's not a rental car agency's job to warn you away from making mistakes. You made a mistake. Because you made it while driving a rental, the agency charged a large fee for handling it: they paid the ticket FOR YOU, then came to you for reimbursement and a hefty surcharge. That sucks, but it's part of the agreement you made.

You can throw a lot of big words around and fly all over the Internet complaining, but all you're doing is revealing your inexperience. Europcar did not dupe you.

(I know, he won't be back.)
NewbE is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2014, 08:42 PM
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I wonder if, before bewaring Europcar, he researched every other car rental company in the vicinity of Heathrow and found Europcar was the only company that had fees for the mistake he made. Hmm, probably not.
MmePerdu is online now  
Old Aug 4th, 2014, 08:45 PM
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"bewaring" is a great term for this! AJ, did you coin it??
NewbE is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2014, 08:49 PM
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Certain posters should also be tagged beware.
IMDonehere is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2014, 09:02 PM
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He's new on all the sites where he posted his rant -- likely won't see any of the responses.
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Old Aug 4th, 2014, 10:18 PM
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Let's see what Europcar says in their UK specific terms and conditions.
http://www.europcar.com/EBE/module/r...sblocknewel-22
Fine & Charges
You are liable for the payment of all charges, fees & costs arising from any congestion charge, ... any charges/costs (or failure to pay) of the appropriate organisation if & when they ask for these payments and our £36 administration fee.


Was there an assumption made, without verifying, that driving environment in other countries are like the US?

There are many admin charge posts like this: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic...d_Kingdom.html

So how will this post help if there are already many warning posts?

Is Europcar unique about charges?

Hertz http://www.hertz247.com/UK/en-GB/Leg...sAndConditions
Any failure to pay the congestion charge applicable will mean that all associated costs and fines will be the responsibility of the renter.
d. If we are required to process any ... parking fines or any other fines relating to the time the vehicle was in your possession, you will be charged an administration charge for dealing with it.


Budget http://www.budget.co.uk/budget-UK/en...on-charge.html
Failure to pay the Congestion Charge fee
Transport for London will charge a penalty charge (per offence) for failure to purchase a Congestion Charge permit. This fee is currently GBP 130.00, but is reduced to GBP 65.00 if paid within 14 days. An additional admin fee of GBP 25.00 +VAT is payable if Budget handles the Penalty Charge Notice.


Avis www.avis.ie/congestion_charge
Failure to pay the Congestion Charge feeIf you fail to purchase a Congestion Charge permit, Transport for London will issue a penalty charge (per offence).
This fee is currently £130.00, but is reduced to £65.00 if paid within 14 days. An additional admin fee of £25.00 +VAT is payable if Avis handles the Penalty Charge Notice.
greg is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2014, 12:23 AM
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I guess the issue is the OP didn't know about the congestion charge
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Aug 5th, 2014, 01:05 AM
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Even if you don't know about the congestion charge at the time of picking up the rental car, you cannot (or shouldn't) fail to notice the road signs when entering London that advise drivers they are entering a congestion fee zone.
Odin is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2014, 01:14 AM
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Beware people who drive in foreign countries without doing the least bit of research.

And if he didn't notice all the signs for the congestion charge, it's a miracle that that is the only ticket he got.
Tulips is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2014, 01:49 AM
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I'm afraid this is what happens when you travel to another country without doing much (or any) research, and falsely presume it will be just the same as your home city. The fact alone that you chose to have a hire car in central London during your trip (as opposed to other modes of transport) is proof if it were needed of the lack of preparedness here.

The signs for the congestion charge are very visible on the street. Even if you'd not known about this in advance, you could still have asked someone at your hotel or checked online later that day and paid without receiving a penalty notice.
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Old Aug 5th, 2014, 03:25 AM
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WARNING, don't be unknowing!

I guess they wish they found out 'bout them internet thingy 'fore they left Arkansas.

Mark
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Old Aug 5th, 2014, 04:12 AM
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A fool and his money are soon parted. An impatient and entitled fool is parted more quickly from his money.

Fool: someone who picks up a car on arrival at Heathrow and drives into central London.
Ackislander is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2014, 05:21 AM
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Oh dear, how to make a show of yourself on the internet - some personal responsibility for your silly actions would be nice.
However, seems like our friend Mark is not alone. There's a poll on trip advisor at the moment that asks Europeans -
"Before taking to the roads in a foreign country, do you take the time to find out the local laws and customs?"
The responses are worrying -
Yes always - 49%
Yes when driving outside Europe - 9%
Sometimes when I remember to do so - 20%
No - 20%
Morgana is online now  
Old Aug 5th, 2014, 07:54 AM
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Saw a response to a first time poster on another forum said something like " Welcome to the forum, but please do not expect any sympathy if you have come here for a rant about something you was ill prepared for."
ribeirasacra is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2014, 07:56 AM
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Using the OP's figures and vague description, I'm guessing all the fuss is over maybe $225 US. I'd pay that much to avoid posting all over internet, especially if I'd done a dumb thing and my screen name might be my real name.

Clever Mark. I guess he showed Europcar!
MmePerdu is online now  
Old Aug 5th, 2014, 08:19 AM
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I suspect that the figures finding about local regulations mentioned by Morgana, if posed to Americans from the US, would be higher for "No research" category. About 4 out of 5 people I have talked to who traveled to Europe rent cars without checking local regulation.
"We always rent cars." California=yes, but London? Florence?
"It is our style."
"It is the cheapest and the fastest way."
"We rent car because we don't know how to get there by train."
"I don't want to waste time waiting for trains." etc, etc.
Of course, when they do this in Italy, they come back fuming about getting ZTL tickets. The same people curse drivers from other countries not familiar with the US traffic rules. "When they come to the US, they should study the US traffic laws."
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