Always prebook rental cars. In fact, if you know you’re driving somewhere else for the day to where you’re staying, say a day trip, reserve parking in a parkade as well.
When booking this trip awhile ago, we did our usual order of things (well, after checking out ArriveCAN & everything Covid related…)
- car rentals
It was a good thing we’re organized because there was literally ONE car left in London for us to have. For the first time we dealt with Green Motion. Do NOT deal with them. Turned out it was a nightmare for 3 days of our trip. Why?
Try to find their location – it’s inside a Holiday Inn but it doesn’t say that ANYWHERE.
The staff were very short on information & manners.
The vehicle was an electric VW & before we picked the vehicle up, someone must have set the vehicle to only charge up to 60% (why would that be an internal setting anyway & how would we know that could happen??) which made it impossible to charge it enough to go very far. Finding charging stations, let alone WORKING ones, proved to be frustrating & stressful.
We tried to call them to ask what the problem could be & there was no number to call to speak with someone. Each number we tried told us to email. We didn’t receive many email replies & when we did we were asked for the same information over and over. We sent videos of the exact issue multiple times.
There was no manual in the car nor could we access one online. We called emergency services who came & said they get calls like this all the time but didn’t know how to fix our issue. We even called a VW dealership to see if they could tell us why it would only charge up to 60%. They couldn’t.
Eventually we drove straight to another of the same company’s rental sites in Bristol, UK & with the help of a tech savvy brand new employee, the incorrect setting was found & reset. We still haven’t had a satisfactory resolution from Green Motion yet for our lost three days of holiday time but won’t let up until we have compensation. UPDATE: there have been 12+ emails back & forth so far, with no satisfactory result. Clearly, they’re hoping we give up & go away. Not happening. They gave $50 back & when we said that wasn’t the correct amount, the manager said “Oh well, you must understand, we have to pay our employees & bills first.” So YOU made a mistake but WE don’t get what is owed to us? Unacceptable.
In Albufeira, Portugal, we dealt with Avis & had the cutest little red topped, convertible Fiat (petrol fuelled & manual). The staff were efficient & friendly both picking up & dropping off the vehicle. The only thing… there was no SatNav but we luckily had data on our phones using the Airalo app so we could use Google Maps & that got us to Lisbon then Seville & back to the Algarve.
UPDATE: So much for efficiency & service – Avis overcharged our credit card by over $400! Now try to get that money back. It’s taken about 20 emails. Still no suitable result & we’ve been back over a week already. Another company that seems to be hoping we’ll just give up.
We’ve even tried reporting the overcharging on our credit card to Visa themselves since we hadn’t gotten a reply from Avis for at least four days. It’s taken 4.5 hours of sitting on the phone to Visa.
When we fly from YVR, we always use Vancouver Park n Fly Parking & Airport Shuttle Service. We book online when we know we’re travelling & get a coupon that significantly reduces the parking fee. When we got home the total was twice the amount we had been quoted & when we tried to explain that to the staff, one of them said very confidently that there were no discounts like that any longer… we said we literally have the discount right here from the Park n Fly online booking website. He said no, they just don’t do that anymore. We knew this wasn’t right but paid it & when we got home we called & explained the situation to another employee that kindly gave us an email to the store manager who took care of the overpayment. Yes, they do still do the online coupons so if an employee tries to tell you otherwise, hold your ground! Especially when you’re holding the official coupon with barcode *insert eye-roll here*
The total we were out of pocket between Avis, Green Motion & Park n Fly Vancouver for $750+! And currently chasing the companies to get the refunds.
What if that was all the money someone had on their credit card for their entire holiday & these companies overcharged them?!
Be aware of every price & quote before you leave for your trip & even though it’s so easy to have everything at hand on your phone… print out anything that is a discount to have a paper copy to show. Also, check your credit card daily for charges.
We reserved parking in both Lisbon & Seville using the Parkimeter website. It was simple to understand & easy to do. We found the parkade closest to where we wanted to tour, as we’d heard parking was tricky to find in both places. The Parkimeter confirmation email even contains a link with directions to find that parkade.
What we loved about these parkades was that upon entry we could easily see a numbered stall that was available by an overhead sign. For example, as we drove into the underground, the number 112 flashed above us as available & we drove straight to it. Also, there were red lights over full or reserved stalls & green lights over free stalls. The parkades have washrooms (WCs, toilets) which is great before or after a long drive.
Basically our best piece of advice is:
Don’t leave anything to chance.
It can be costly & very frustrating. We’ve also wasted a lot of time sorting out others’ errors while on holiday + since we’ve been home – we’re still trying to sort out the missteps. Our time is valuable when we finally get away & we don’t want to lose travel opportunity or time with family due to having to sort out issues that could be avoided with pre-planning. Having said that, we DID pre-plan & through no fault of our own, still had problems… but there would have been more had we not had our paperwork & tenacity.