The easycar car club 'company' is by far the most unprofessional and incompetent enterprise I've ever had the displeasure of dealing with. Having reserved and pre-paid for a car club vehicle well ahead of time (and after receiving 3 email 'confirmation contracts'!) I was hastily informed on the day prior to pick up that the car was no longer available, as the owner had decided to rescind its availability. Easycar club made no attempt whatsoever to uphold any of the terms of my supposed contract with them or the owner, leaving me to scramble to make alternate booking arrangements at the massive price hikes associated with last-minute Christmas period bookings. They are an absolute disgrace and should be shut down for their corrupt practices. For reference to the widespread nature of their near-criminality, see here, a link I certainly wish I had spotted prior to wasting my time dealing with these dodgy dirtbags: http://www.reviewcentre.com/reviews84479.html
I booked a car through Easycar for my son to use in Ireland. The terms and conditions stated that the car could be used in the UK, Ireland and Republic or Ireland. When he went to collect the car he had to sign a form saying that the car could not be driven outside of mainland UK. Luckily he was switched on enough to notice that detail. In the end he had to find an alternative at the airport which was ¬£100 more expensive. At no point during the booking process were we told that the car we were booking was with another hire company. Easycar's T&Cs were not in line with that third party's T&Cs. We got our money back but this caused considerable stress. In the future - deal with the organ grinder directly and not the Easycar monkeys.
Before hiring from easycar, I read many reviews which were mostly very negative! However I also read reviews for many other companies and every company seemed to have negative reviews so I decided to go ahead anyway.
I booked online and paid a small deposit (decided not to pay the full amount upfront in case of problems) and chose the smallest budget car available. From reading all the reviews before hand I was aware that despite the low cost quoted for 2 weeks hire (87 euros) that there would be additional costs on arrival for fuel/ additional drivers and maybe more. After ordering online, I received an email from easycar stating that the company hiring the car would be auriga crown.
On arrival at the auriga crown car hire desk in malaga airport, there were expecting me and had a car ready and explained that I would be cahrged for the fuel (42 euros) and 3 euros a day for additional driver. I was offered additional insurance at 4 euros a day (max of 50euros) which I decided not to take as this covered wheeels, glass and something else I cant remember now. Instead they took an additional 300 euro deposit from my credit card and explained that it would be refunded on return of the vehicle assuming wheels etc were fine! I was a little nervous about this but went along with it anyway.
We took several pictures on the car including wheels before leaving the airport in case there was any debate about it on return. The car was in pretty good condition... missing a trim on one door and a few scratches here and there but pretty new and completely clean.
we drove around happily in it for 2 weeks without any problems - I did notice that the car didnt have a spare wheel in it so if anything happened then I supposeI would have had to call them to get someone to come out to fix it, but that never happened so was all ok.
On return on the car, the man at the desk didnt even go look at the car. He just took my credit card and refunded the deposit! I have since checked my account and the correct amount was refunded ok.
We filled up the car with petrol while we had it, and seems the price we were charged to start with for the fuel wasnt too much of a rip off - seemed more or less accurate.
Overall, we had a very pleasant experience with easycar and auriga crown and would hire from them again in the future. The only reason I am not giving 5 stars in that I would have liked the security of a spare wheel in the vehicle!
SCAM!!! It takes a lot for me to start writing letters of complaint about services etc.. but easycar have stunned me with their scam.
I hired a car with them online. The booking was accepted, and I was due to pick the car up the next morning from their supplier Sixt, in Bow, London. Just before I was about to leave to pick up the car, I got a call from Sixt to say they had no cars available. I was gob smacked. They even blamed me for booking so late! I was assured that no money had been taken from my debit card, but a couple of days later, I saw that easycar had deducted ¬£98 from my card.
I spoke with easycar (after ages trying to get through) to be told that they could not refund me until they got confirmation that Sixt couldn't supply a car. Fair enough I thought, until they told me this could take a month!!! (while it sits in their bank accounts earning them interest) I asked why they could not just phone them and check (I even offered them the phone number) but all they would say is that "it doesn't work like that". I've since been in contact with easycar a few times since with no luck, and a unwillingness to help me.
Something else that shocked me when I was actually booking the car, was that I booked with a debit card, but AFTER you confirm (point of no return, money gone) they then inform you that when you pick up the car, you must have a CREDIT card in the drivers name, debit not accepted, to take the car. If you don't have one you have to cancel the car, and lose the whole fee!
Yes, these things are in their T&C's, but surely this is a scam to trick people into parting with money, and then making it difficult and a lot of the times impossible, in the case of the debit/credit rule, to get a refund.
I started reading a few websites about easycar, and found out I wasn't the only one that had been scammed. This is common practice with them it seems.
It doesn't take a month, sorry 21 WORKING days to confirm that I didn't get a car. This is a SCAM! Easycar are laughing at all of us.
Beware booking with EasyCar - cost us more than we thought!I booked with EasyCar because it was one of the cheapest quotes I could find and also a company I thought I could trust.But before booking with EasyCar I strongly recommend reading the Terms and Conditions. When we went to pick up our car we were told that we had to pay ¬£55 for the full tank of petrol in the car. We were also told to bring the car back almost empty, how many people are going to drive to the airport with minimal fuel??? We only ended up using a quarter of a tank. We also had to pay a 15 Euro airport surcharge which I think should have been added in to the cost (although it does mention this in the booking form).Wouldn't use again, feel scammed!
<a href="www.easycar.com">Easycar Car and Van Rental</a>Watch out for the <a href="https://www.easyvan.com/nossl/OurTandC.aspx/EN/terms/300">terms and conditions</a>Although they have no mention of needing a utility bill to rent a van you actually need two. After you have paid the money you are told you need them. At that point you are not able to get a refund. Apparently it's their policy! Pretty poor policy if you ask me....Dreadful customer service which is an 0906 number by the way (according to 118118).Had to rent another van in the end from <a href="www.btcvehiclerentals.co.uk">BTC vehicle hire (Wokingham)</a>. They were very helpful, told you up front what you needed and were even cheaper for the same size vechicle. It's not that hard to provide service really, Easycar could learn a lot from the little guys...
My advice is that you NEVER rent a car to Easycar. I rented a car for a week this summer in Geneve. When I reached the airport the instructions were to contact to Alamo Desk. When I reached Alamo desk, they told me that there were no reservation in their reservations system. I have to call back to Easycar in Spain, and after complaining, they gave me no solution. Alamo Desk stated clearly that was Easycar's error, they were also talking to Easycar and told them that no reservation was introduced in their system.
I had to find a car by my own going desk by desk to all car rentals companies in the airport, I had to pay for a new car rental again, and a more expensive one as they were no cars available.
But the problem didn't stop here. I was said by the Easycar rental phone support that all additional costs will be payed back. When I reached my office after my holidays, I found a mail in my box saying that there was a ticket open for the incident. I checked it in the easycar web, and the incident was closed. I reopened the ticket whit my complains and they started to ask for a lot of documentation that I had to send them to a postal address!!! Is was incredible for me that in 2008 an "internet company" (or something like that...) ask me to send something by postal mail. Also all the reservation process was in my mather tongue, but when I had to complain there were none talking Spanish. Even more, all extra costs that I had to pay for rental a new car in Geneve were not included (this was not stated by Easycar support), and were only explained by mail.... So, please NEVER NEVER NEVER do any business with Easycar: they are not a car rental company, they only contract services to a real car rental company, they can't provide solutions, they do not know how to support their customers and finally, they do not keep what they say in their customer support phone.
EasyCar would be great, IF YOU GOT THE CAR. Making a reservation online is too easy, picking up the car (from a supplier not associated with Easy Car) and/or getting your money back if there is no car made available is IMPOSSIBLE. Calls to customer service are 60-pence-per-minute. Their only remedy is to "send a letter." If no one replies? Call customer service again at 60 pence! The business model is a total scam.
We needed a car for our family of four (two adults and two long-legged teenage boys), plus a fair amount of luggage, for four weeks last September. Previously we'd used Ichthus Motors, a small firm in a rather inaccessible place in London which do cut-price rentals of donated cars for people in my husband's field, but a chance comment from a friend let us know about Easycar, a spin-off of Easyjet. (Easycar was known as EasyRentaCar until a couple of years ago.) After some research and much deliberation, we decided to go ahead and book a car with them. It turned out well: we drove a six-month old Renault Kangoo for the remarkable hire-charge of ¬£176 total for four weeks, including insurance. We were pleasantly surprised to find that we would have 70 'free' miles per day. While we knew that we would drive more than this on some days, we had calculated that we would probably do something in the region of 1800 miles in the four weeks when we wanted the car. As it happened, we did about 1750, so were well within our free allowance. Excess miles are charged at something like 20 pence per mile, which is not unreasonable at all. That's the summary for those who don't want to read a lengthy opinion - but for the details, and why I've only given it three stars, read on: * How Easycar works * Part of the reason that this is such an inexpensive firm is that they have minimal staff, who apparently do minimal work. The entire booking is done online (indeed, that's the only way an Easycar can be booked) and each depot - of which there are many, in London and other cities around the UK and Europe - has a portacabin with two young and not very knowledgeable staff who are probably not paid much, and who stick rigidly to what they know. When booking an Easycar, credit card details mus
t be entered online, and the booking confirmation must then be printed and taken to the depot when collecting the car, along with proof of identity, valid driver's license, and proof of address. There is an 'empty to empty' policy on petrol, meaning that the staff don't even have to check fuel levels. * The web site * We were pretty impressed with the web site, http://www.easycar.com, which loads quickly and looks professional, albeit featuring a rather garish shade of orange. Cars can be booked up to about three months in advance, and as prices increase nearer the time, it's a good idea to take advantage of early booking. The front page gives a simple selection of countries (UK, Spain, France, Netherlands or Switzerland) and of cities within the country (within the UK, it offers London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool or Manchester). When these are selected, a list of locations appears, of which one or more can be chosen to look at the cars available, once you've chosen start and end dates for your proposed rental. We found it well worth taking time to look at several different locations, particularly within London: some of the more popular depots, such as Hounslow, were significantly more expensive than others which were further away from Heathrow Airport. Once you've selected your dates and places, Easycar gives you quotations, and you can then choose one depot to explore further. If you only selected one place, it takes you directly to the detailed day-by-day charges, where you can adjust the dates if you prefer, or go back to look at another location. We found great variations in the costs - weekends are always a little higher priced than weekdays, and popular periods such as Christmas or school half-terms are also considerably more expensive than other times. Different cars an
d different depots also charge varying amounts, depending on popularity, so it's well worth spending time exploring as many options as possible to get the best deal. After you've chosen the car, period and depot you want, you have to choose the time of collection and delivery (note: allow extra time for returning the car since the fines for being late are excessive) and are then able to make the booking with your credit card. All this is done under a secure server, so should be safe. At the end you *must* print the booking page, as instructed. All very straightforward and reassuring. So what are the drawbacks? * Limited and basic styles of car * Most of the depots offered the Renault Clio or Corsa, which we're told are pretty small and would be cramped in the back for teenagers, besides having rather small boot space. Some offer other cars, and we were able to find one (Earl's Court in London) which had Renault Kangoos. We chose this make because, having checked its specifications online, we found it to be large with a good-sized boot, although we'd never heard of it before! A friend who knows about cars said that the Kangoo is basically a converted van. * Uncertain availability of the chosen car * When we arrived at Earl's Court via the Underground, we saw eight or nine Kangoos in the car park. We had the booking page, the credit card, proof of identify, and a driving license. So far, so good. One of the young men in the portakabin went to get the Kangoo which was allocated to us. We noticed that it had a warning light on the dashboard, and he said the mechanic should have fixed it, and it probably wasn't anything to worry about. We looked in the car manual, and it said that a car with this warning light showing should not be driven. 'OK,' w
e said, 'we'll have one of the others.' 'Ah,' said the other young man, 'unfortunately most of them are out of service.' He told us that there was one which was safe, but as the passenger side wing mirror was completely shattered, he wasn't sure if it would be legal to drive. All the others, apparently, had serious problems and could not be taken out. So there we were, potentially stranded in Earl's Court. There were dozens of small cars available, but that was no good. We asked what we could do. We were told that they would give us a full refund. We said we *needed* a car. They shrugged, and said there was nothing they could do about it. However the more intelligent of the young men checked his computer and said that there was a Kangoo due to be returned within the next half hour, so we could wait if we liked. We decided to wait, and thankfully this Kangoo did return - so we were able to take it. But the young man helping us said he had no idea what he was going to do, since there were several more bookings for that day, and no other cars available. He also said he was looking for a new job, as this kind of thing happened almost every day :-( * The Kangoo * Once we finally claimed the car and drove away, we were pleasantly surprised at its comfort. While the exterior does look much like a van, and is strictly utilitarian rather than attractive, the inside was like any middle-of-the-range car. There was indeed plenty of leg-room in the back seat for two tall teenage boys, and the front seats were easily adjustable, more comfortable than many other cars we've been in. The rear passenger doors opened sideways, like those of a van, but this was no problem at all: indeed it was, if anything, a benefit, since we didn't have to worry about doors bumping into another car in a car park! We were al
so delighted at the boot space, which was more than big enough for our luggage. The car was higher up from the ground than we're used to, but it wasn't a big step; when taking a couple of older people out in it, they commented that it was easier to get into than many cars which are low down and awkward. * Returning the car * This was no problem at all. We took it through a car-wash the night before, as it was looking fairly grubby after a month, and also gave it a good sweep inside. We actually got it back to the depot about half an hour early. Two different young men were in attendence; they noted the mileage and accepted that it was clean enough. We were pleased to note that there were only two other Kangoos in the car park this time, suggesting that the 'out-of-service' ones had been put right. * Accident waiver/insurance * When we first researched Easycar online (we didn't find it on Ciao - but I've since learned that the old name for this company was EasyRentaCar) we read that customers were generally pleased with them, but that there were potential enormous damages to pay in case of any accident, or even a minor bump or scrape. We also read of times when people had returned cars in good condition, and had later found their credit cards charged for hundreds of pounds, and that the company claimed that there had been scratches or dents. This was worrying - however it does seem that Easycar have taken note of such concerns, since there is now a compulsory damage waiver included with the insurance costs. They promise that there will be no unexpected extra costs due to damage - although they do still charge fines for certain items. * Huge potential fines * Here's where Easycar probably makes most of its money! Late return of any vehicle leads to a fine of - wait for it - ¬£70
. Yes, even if the car has only been rented for a couple of days, at a likely cost of about ¬£10-¬£15, and it's only five minutes late. The idea is to discourage late returns, since they lose money if cars are not returned on time, but we felt that this was unreasonably high as a flat fee. Still, it was easy enough to decide what time we planned to return the car, and add on an extra hour, so this wasn't actually a problem. Loss of keys also leads to a very high surcharge of ¬£100, although as they're remote unlocking keys I gather it's not unreasonable. Bringing back the car dirty leads to a surcharge of ¬£10 for cleaning, although as a car-wash costs around ¬£4 or more, this is fair enough. * Charging * We check our credit card online, about once a week, and I was a bit annoyed to discover that EasyCar had taken the fee for our car about three weeks before we actually took it - just a few days after we had made the booking, in fact. I had thought that companies were not supposed to charge credit cards until goods were actually dispatched. After we had been driving the car for about a week, we checked again and noticed that a further ¬£50 had been taken on the day of collection. Apparently this was some kind of extra deposit, something they introduced in September but which was not mentioned on the web-site. When we returned the car, we asked for this to be refunded, but the young men on duty said that they were unable to do this - we would have to claim it online. A day later my husband found several emails awaiting him, telling him to claim the refund, and he did so. Sure enough, the refund appeared eventually at the end of October. * Other potential problems * Although we were pleased with our car, we did hear of various possible problems from others who had used them. Apparently anyone who arrives without all the ne
cessary paperwork will not be allowed to take a car. More worryingly, the same credit card used for the booking must be shown when collecting the car; if it's expired since the booking, and cannot be used - even if shown along with the new one - then this also means that the car cannot be taken. Refunds are offered sometimes, and customers told to find an Internet caf√© and re-book the car - but on the date of collection it's considerably more expensive to do so. If a car breaks down while it's out on a rental, the customer is not liable for the cost of its repair, but will not be able to have another car as replacement. They say that partial refunds may be offered, and that if another car is available it can be booked instead, but this could be extremely inconvenient. However as the cars are mostly quite new, this shouldn't be a problem too often! We also heard from a friend (after we'd booked!) that when she used the company, she asked for a petrol-driven car; indeed, 'petrol' was marked on her booking form, but she was instead given a diesel car. The filling nozzle wasn't marked, and when she drove off after filling up with diesel, the engine died. When she contacted EasyCar, they told her that they could not replace the car; she would have to book another one online and pay another full fee. Fortunately she was in the AA, and was able to have a rental car from another company for the period she needed it. Moreover, after several weeks EasyCar did acknowledge their liability, and refunded her fee in full. Still, she was in a difficult situation - and knew that there were several cars available at the depot she had been to, and was unimpressed (as were we) with their genuine unwillingness to help where possible. One other niggle, albeit minor compared to the other possible problems: if you arrive earlier than you booked to collec
t a car, then even if it's available in the car park, the computer will not allow it to be taken. * Conclusion * It's hard to understand how this company can make a profit with the amount they charge. Our car was only six months old, and most of those in the car park looked almost as new - yet several were out of service, and many of the smaller cars were not being used. No doubt they save money by using untrained staff, and minimal facilities, but our feeling was that by next time we want a rental car they'll either have improved or gone out of business! Would we use them again? We're still undecided. Price-wise, they're excellent, and this may well be the deciding factor. But next time we'd try and have an alternative plan just in case things go wrong. Would we recommend Easycar? Only reservedly (and as I have to choose one below, I'm opting for 'no'), and only if you can cope with the possibility of your chosen car being unavailable. For a single day's rental - perhaps to visit some friends - or even for a couple of hours to go to the supermarket, then it's probably well worthwhile, particularly with one of the smaller cars, as there seem to be plenty of those available.
Residents of the UK will know Stelios Haji-Iannou...or simply "Stelios" very well. He's the man behind EasyJet, EasyCar, Easythis, Easythat and (the real thing) Easyeverything. Dot Com. He's deservervedly very rich, but he is also Captain Cheapo - or Mr Nice guy. He speaks good value, at any rate. We just tend to dislike EasyJet, however often we might tend to use it. Personally, I'm not guilty in that respect and, anyway....this is a review of his car rental business, which - in my humble opinion - is really superb. Read on! Having flown to Glasgow with baby Josh, we needed to hire a car. The best available rate was very clearly with EasyCar. We decided to give it a go. We're very glad we did. We booked on-line. That's what you do with EasyCar; you'll certainly pay more if you don't. If you're reading this review at Epinions.com, you've no excuse not to use the internet, anyway! EasyCar are cheap. Extraordinarily cheap! 5 days' hire of a Mercedes A-class (a really superb compact car) with fewer than 5,000 miles on the odometer surely ought to have cost more than UKP 48. A LOT more. (I guess that's about $70). I booked on-line. I blinked in utter disbelief, but it was true. We're talking about a very high-quality car at an absolutely unbelievably cheap price. I repeat. EasyCar are staggeringly cheap. So what is the catch? As long as you spend a few extra bucks on their extended insurance, there really isn't a catch - but you really MUST do this if you want to sleep at night. We'd booked our car and arrived at Glasgow International Airport. We caught a cheap bus direct to the pick-up point. Like most things in Stelios' Easy Empire, it's painted bright orange. We were 45 minutes early. There was apparently NO WAY we could pick up the car 45 minutes early. The car was sitting there, amidst hundreds of others, but the computer system just
wouldn't allow it to be released a minute early. Blame a combination of Stelios' business acumen and Bill Gates' technology. We were told to wait. Silly, really, but no great problem. We strolled around the compound with baby Josh in his stroller, where there were literally hundreds of clean Mercedes A-class cars of every description. Some of their bases offer rather cute "Smart cars", but otherwise you'll always get a Mercedes A-class of some type, and there's really nothing at all wrong with that! From the basic "Classic" to the up-market "Avant-Garde", petrol....diesel, red, green, blue, silver......every variant you could ever think of, they have it. What you actually get allocated is, however, something of a gamble. The A-class is a really nice, trendy car (OK, it once failed the infamous Scandinavian Elk-test but (a) that problem has since apparently been corrected and (b) we didn't even once encounter any wayward elks, even in the highlands of Scotland) and it's great fun to drive; it is extremely comfortable and it suits young children just fine. It's small on the outside and big (comparable to the C-class) on the inside. It's a driver's car...and a passenger's car. The access to the rear seat is at a high, easily accessible level and makes installing a baby-seat an absolute doddle. We had brought our own baby car seat - EasyCar simply don't supply them - take note if this is important to you. Far better than my own Peugeot 206 GTi as far as child-friendliness is concerned, if a lot less gutsy. Our booked pick-up time of 2.00pm finally arrived and the computer suddenly jumped into life. All systems go! I was asked for my driver's licence and credit card number. My 'photo was taken, digitally - and kept on record for future hires. All was suddenly tickety-boo. We were now ready to do business and pick up the car. Things moved quickly and we drove off towards the v
ery beautiful highlands of Scotland. There! I've said it! Scotland is beautiful. (I got married there...in a kilt. What Scotsmen wear underneath should be the subject of another epinion. I digress!). And what was the question they asked first in the allocation process? You'll NEVER guess! Well, here goes...."What colour would you like?" Ye Gads! I stuttered, disbelieving....."It really doesn't matter......no....green". I'd gazed through the window and seen one in green. It looked nice. The clerk in the bright orange shirt that typifies the Easy Empire typed this information into the computer and my fate was instantly sealed. "Could I possibly have an Avant-garde version with a reasonably large engine?" (translates as "please give me the best car you've got"), I whispered. Nope! The only car they had in green was the basic A140 Classic, and the computer had already allocated it. Lovely to look at, but seriously underpowered....as we soon found when we climbed up the beautiful, but steep, mountains in the highlands of Scotland at a snail's pace, en-route for baby Josh's great-grandparents' home. I don't really know what to advise fellow customers in this respect - once you define a colour (and how very, very silly is that?) your choice seems to be pre-determined. Try going for red! Or, maybe, silver. EasyCar like safe drivers. We all do, of course! They penalise people who do anything so much as remove a ghastly orange sticker from their car in a totally Draconian financial style; and we're talking HUGE sums of money here. Do NOT crash the car under any circumstances! Don't do anything to it other than drive it safely and return it with a full tank of fuel! And pay for their collision damage waiver in advance! You will, possibly, double your (very, very cheap) rental fee, but you will enjoy complete peace of mind by doing so. If you don't, you'll simply worr
y continuously. Return the car with a full tank of fuel, no scratches and no blemishes and life is sweet. A scratch of any size and (unless you've bought the insurance) you'll pay through the nose. It would cease to be a cheap deal very quickly and quite needlessly. EasyCar provided us with a clean, immaculately presented Mercedes for a silly price of less than $10 per day. It was a superb little vehicle at a ridiculously cheap price. The operation is somewhat idiosyncratic (but very efficient) but you really can't complain at the price - especially if you don't mind driving around in a car that has huge, bright orange stickers all over it. That didn't bother me at all. Bottom line: Great car. Clean car. Efficient, if slightly bizarre, business operation. Absolutely incredible price. If you intend to put a million miles on the clock, you'll pay through the nose; mileage allowances are certainly not generous. We had planned our tour carefully and got a great price for the convenience. As long as you pay extra for the insurance you'll have a great time in a fantastic, clean, new car. If you don't, you'll spend your time worrying about the huge expense of paying for a potential accident, whoever happens to be to blame. Remember that we drive on the left in the UK; all the more reason to insure yourself if you're not used to that! And - NO - I didn't crash the car; nor did I worry about it; I had insurance! Like everything in the EasyEmpire - it pays to book as early as you can. I am very happy to recommend EasyCar most highly. So is Josh. Visit them at www.easycar.com Andrew
the CHEAP car rental company. Yes, they're cheap, but their customer service reflects this fact. My car was being repaired after an accident, I rented from EasyCar. Dingy office at the top of a car park in a back street behind London Bridge station, unfriendly staff, long waiting time, car was OK. Later, I wanted to extend the booking, telephoned and chatted to a (Spanish sounding) operator. Don't ask me what went wrong, but looking at the web site the next day I had been hit with a ¬£75.00 late return charge. Could not get any 'human' assistance on the (premium rate...¬£0.60p/min) phone line, and absolutely no help on the web site. Returned the car in disgust. My solicitors now want a VAT receipt to claim the cost of the hire, EasyCar only offer a 'Print your own' from the web site. This is not acceptable to my solicitors. Messages left on the web site, no replies. Tried the telephone lines, but if you're not booking they're not interested. Gods knows how this company manages to run an airline as well... Come to that, a return flight to Belfast recently was quoted @ ¬£87.00 from Gatwick, EasyJet wanted something like ¬£200.00... and that, I think, sums up this company in a nutshell.
Most of the time, I'm fairly glad I don't have a car. I'm not a very good driver for one, especially worrying for me living in London, where I've been beeped more times than an Eminem single. I couldn't afford it in any case, what with insurance, petrol, road tax and parking, and our flat has nowhere to park within half a mile or so. Sometimes though, it is very inconvenient indeed. I've had to move house at short notice, visit family many miles from any train station, and last weekend, help a rather immobile elderly relative get along to a family gathering. Up until now, I'd been hiring a car from companies like Sixt or Budget, and whilst it worked very well, I'd managed to compile a list of my favourite narks about the car hire process: 1. It costs you... you'll generally pay ¬£80 or more for a weekend. Add in the fuel costs and it's not a cheap option, even with some of the silly. 2. It's not your car... This might sound obvious, but bear with me... If it were my car, I wouldn't worry about scuffing the hubcaps when parking, spilling coffee on the seats, or about leaving it outside at night, and getting it keyed. When I have a hire car, I'm in such a twitching state about messing it up that I can't relax, and can get quite grumpy with my long-suffering girlfriend and navigator. 3. You need to fit into their times Offices might not be open past 5, or 1 on a Sunday, so you have to be back in time to check it back in. Sometimes they do let you park & drop off a key, but this doesn't seem to be too common in city locations. Well, I thought of biting the bullet again, and renting one for the weekend, and whilst shopping around online, I looked at easycar.com. I'd never considered them before, as I didn't live in London (the only place they had outlets at the time), but instantly decided to choose them when I saw the price, at ¬£40, around
half the price of going to e-Sixt. Easycar.com is slightly different though. It's another brainchild of Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the millionnaire entrepreneur behind Easyjet and EasyInternetCafe. Easyjet was such a success, as he took a product which had been tied up so much by corporate use, that it was awkward for the private consumer to access. By stripping out the perks, removing the complexity of booking, and adding holiday destinations, he slashed the costs dramatically in a move so successful it's since been copied by many of the air-dinosaurs which he undercut. A whole new sector of customers started to access air travel, on terms which suited them a lot better. Car hire was another similar market, he felt, geared to long-term corporate use and executive tastes, rather than considering the individual market. Identifying urban people, who didn't want their own car, but wanted to make short term trips, at a low cost, to fairly close locations, he decided to tailor a no-frills, no-overheads car service to their needs. The result is Easycar.com (formerly EasyRentacar.com). How it works: Q: Can't decide on the Lexus or the Merc? A: Tough. You get one car, and like it or lump it (if you're lucky you can choose the colour!). They use either Mercedes A class or Vauxhall Corsa, depending on the location. This makes the booking process much cheaper, as they don't need to hold one of each class in reserve to book. We borrowed a Corsa, which was quite a nice car, well powered, and comfy (I'll skip over this bit and let you look for an op on Corsas, probably written by someone a lot more knowledgeable about cars than me). Suffice to say though, that you won't get much posing value in a small car, covered in orange stickers. Q: Want to talk to an operator? A: Talk to the hand... You need to book online only. The system's easy, and it keeps overheads down. Bad for jobs may
be, but cheap, even if it is a little impersonal. Q: Worried about damage? A: They can't stop you crashing, but they do have a very cheap extra insurance fee. ¬£10 brings the excess down to ¬£25 (from ¬£500). This is the first time I'd taken the extra insurance out, as it's generally about ¬£20 to reduce the excess to ¬£100, which is such a big excess that you'd end up paying full for much anyway. They're also quite upfront about damage, telling you exactly what they'd bill for (eg a scratch would cost you only if it's over 5cm) Q: Live outside London? A: Nothing south of the river at this time, guv! - many smaller branches in low-demand areas are more expensive to maintain than a small hut in a huge carpark in London. Other branches are opening in major cities, but this definitely isn't one for the countryside alliance. Q: Dirty stop out? A: Fine. They're open to 11pm every day. They give you a 1 hour return slot for it, charging you a bit more or a bit less depending on when in the day you choose. Not the most organised of people, I missed our slot by about 30 mins, and they luckily didn't fine me (can't be sure that this would always happen though!). In fact, rather than getting a rough quote for the duration, which gets confirmed later (like e-Sixt) you specify the days, and the hours in and out, and it calculates a flexible amount for you there & then, based on a transparent formula to help you plan. They aren't so keen on the 'dirty' bit though & will charge you a cleaning fee if they can't give it out again without a valet. Q: Any other questions? A: This one applies to me, as I often turn up at the rental place without the right proof of address, not knowing how to get there, or where the nearest petrol is, with the wrong credit card, or some other blunder. When you finish on the website with Easycar, you print off a full instructions document, with ma
ps and checklists. This also works as their sign in form, which cuts down on paperwork time at the branch. The website is nice and easy, and I worked out a quote very quickly, without any ambiguity in what I was getting, or what it'd cost. I like this. Far too many eCommerce sites have ambiguities in the transaction that have you skipping back & forward to double check what's going on, or having to make a common sense guess and hope you've bought the right thing. The staff (one guy only each time) at the location were very courteous, and booking in and out took only 5 mins each (I've heard it can get busier at peak times though). My ID and my face were snapped with a digital camera, and I was off on the road. The guy didn't leave his little hut, but told me the quirks of the car (lift the shift for reverse, petrol cap on driver's side etc) very clearly, and told me to come back only if the damage sheet didn't match the car. Some of the conditions are a little inconvenient for the punter, but you don't mind so much when you can see how they bring the cost down (eg: pick up and bring the car back empty, rather than full - cheaper for them not to have to refuel anything on site). Overall, I'd say this is the best option for the occasional driver in London and around on personal business. The costs could add up if you treat it like a normal hire car - leave it dirty, go over the 75 mile a day limit, and so on, but at ¬£40 and ¬£10 extra insurance, we thought it was a risk worth taking, and will be doing it again next time we hire. It could even become a viable alternative to car ownership for many people, more environmentally friendly, and less choking for our poor London Streets than lots of parked cars that no-one needs. Happy hiring! Final tips: 1. Book it early - prices are cheaper a few weeks in advance (weekdays start at around ¬£7 a day, and weekends around
¬£15) 2. Check all their locations in London before hiring - prices vary depending on how many cars are still available at each location, so one a mile up the road might save you a tenner.
BOOKING The booking process is very simple, and quite easy to use. You select the location, the dates you wish to hire and it will come back with a quotation on the next screen. This screen also allows you adjust the start and finish times of the rental, with an appropriate adjustment in the price. This is great, but it is worth knowing that Easycar locations in the same area (i.e. London) may have different prices for the period of rental you need, as their fleets are operated independently of other locations, and so are subject to local demand & supply pressures. Because of this, you may wish to check ALL locations in that area to ensure you are paying the best price! Once you have confirmed the period & location, you will be invited to enter your personal details (including address, Drivers Licence & Credit Card details). If you have booked previously, there is the option of bringing up the details you have already entered, taking about 10 minutes off the booking process. Once you have gone through this, you confirm your booking and print the agreement! PICKING UP THE CAR When you pick up the car from one of their locations (Which are usually located in Car Parks), be prepared for a wait. By the nature of low cost, they don't really have enough staff to see to you quickly. I have waited on average 30 minutes each time based on the four rentals I havve made with them. The staff are friendly and quite efficient. before you drive the car out of their location, you will need to complete a car inspection report. DONT JUST SIGN THIS!!!! This is your opportunity to check the car, and make sure that the damage they specift on the car is the only camage there. Any scratches, dents or chips you find should be noted on this report, so that you are not subsequently charged for them. Return this to their office and away you drive! DURING RENTAL Whilst you have the car, you are responsible for everything.
This will even include if the tyres blow, or the car is broken into. They have a national recovery organisation, Mobilo, who will provide assistance if you require it. RETURN This is essentially a copy of the pickup process, and it is recommended that you stay to undertake the inspection with their staff. the wait times will also apply, as everyone waits in the same queue, regardless of if you are picking up or returning the vehicle. AFTER RENTAL SERVICE Unfortunately, they fouled up the return of one of the vehicles I rented from them, and I was forced to go through their customer services. If you have a complaint, these MUST be emailed to them or inputted into their customer service system (The help button on the Easycar Home Page). Tracking the status is difficult, and the call centre staff are not responsible for complaint resolution, and refuse to call you with updates. I was mistakenly charged ¬£100 at the end of my rental, and it took 6 weeks to get this money back. OVERALL OPINION Easycar offer a good value car rental service which is easy to book with quality vehicles. their only problem is their after rental support, which has been designed to minimise their cost base, but not provide customers with a high level of service.
To add to my previous good experiences with EasyCar, I must report a bad experience. I booked a car from their Croydon location, which turns out to be a van parked in an NCP Car Park (!!) close to East Croydon railway station. I believe that EasyCar laid off a substantial number of staff members a few months back, and cut back their hours and close for an hour at lunch time. It rather looks as if most of their locations are now operated by just one person. If that person fails to turn up, you have a problem. On the day I was due to pick up my car, there was no-one at the Croydon location. Problem. Things are made worse by the fact that it is (deliberately?) very difficult to contact their customer service centre by phone. One customer eventually got through, and was assured that there was someone on their way, and promised they would be there within 20 minutes. Needless to say, this wasn't true. After about 2 hours, they admitted that no-one was coming and the office would be shut for the whole day. At this point, someone suggested that the customers returning cars should hand them to the customers collecting cars. Easycar readily agreed to this, and called people back to arrange this. Eventually, nearly 3 hours after I had arrived, I had a car. I have no idea what happened to customers returning or picking up cars later, but based on this experience I wouldn't use Easycar if I really needed a car and couldn't manage if it wasn't available. [I have no idea why the capital letters have disappeared from this review. Perhaps they'll come back!!] ===== I have twice hired cars from EasyCar at London Bridge, and have only very minor complaints. I booked over the Internet, a couple of weeks before I needed the car, and had no problems with the site. The price is shown for each day individually and you can play around with start dates and times to calculat
e the price (returning early on Friday can save you a lot of money). They take your money when you book, and you can 39;t cancel (but you can change the booking). I think you can book by phone, but they don't encourage it (and I think they use a premium rate number). If you have (or can get) Internet access then you should use it. This time I paid 60.00 for five days (Monday - Friday) including full insurance, which is very reasonable. Weekends are more expensive than weekdays (the reverse of most hire companies), and in fact for late bookings you can pay a lot more than from the bigger companies. There's no choice of cars, though you may be given the option of automatic or manual when you collect the vehicle. However, the Mercedes 'A' Class is a fine car (certainly compared to what you could get for the same price from anyone else). My only complaint was that I couldn't figure out how to tune the radio to Kiss 100! Everything else worked fine for me, and the high driving position is good in London traffic. When I hired a car in January I managed to exceed the daily allowance of 75 miles, but the additional charge was only a few pounds. If you want to drive a long distance then you would be better off with another company - and they don't do "one way" hires either. One intriguing thing about this company is that you can extend the hire period simply by logging on to the Internet (before or after you pick up the car, but before it is due back). However, the price changes on a daily basis, and the longer you wait the more it costs (I think it eventually reached 80.00 jus t for the Saturday). Last time I added a midweek day for only a few pounds, but this time I hesitated too long! Next time I'll probably book ahead and keep the car for longer. Small complaints: a long queue when picking up the car on Monday, and the location was inconvenient for me. Apart
from that it was excellent. In summary, if you can book ahead you can get a bargain, and for a midweek hire I do ubt they can be beaten on price.
My recent (June 2002) experience in renting an A-Class Mercedes from EasyCar Rental at Liverpool's John Lennon airport may be of interest, particularly if you're elderly or unfit or both. At Liverpool Airport, the EasyCar collection/return depot is outside the airport boundary and some ten minutes' walk from the terminal building. EasyCar don't offer a shuttle service and the local taxi-drivers aren't interested in such a short trip when there are loads of passengers wishing to be driven into the city at ¬£20 a time. Consequently one is forced to walk. This can be a problem if (1) you're unfit or infirm, (2) the weather's bad, or (3) you're not travelling with someone who can stay behind in the Arrivals Hall to take care of the luggage. A couple of points from the small print of EasyCar's A-Class Mercedes rental agreement: 1. The daily free mileage allowance is only 75 miles. Anything in excess is currently charged at 20p per mile, which soon adds up!. 2. The tank is full when you get the car and must be full when you return it. Be sure to fill up at the very last opportunity before you return the car. If EasyCar have to top it up they currently charge ¬£1.10 per litre. 3. EasyCar will charge a ¬£50 deposit against your card when you collect the car. This is refunded later (electronically) if the car is returned on time, in good nick and with a full tank - at least I hope it is! In short, if the restricted mileage allowance suits your requirements, and if the trek between the terminal building and the EasyCar depot is not a problem for you - go for it. Otherwise think carefully. In the right circumstances it's a very good deal. It costs only ¬£9 for each full day, plus a one-shot charge of ¬£5 for something or other, and if your first or last day is not a full one they'll reduce the daily rate accordingly. I collected my car at 11 a.m. on Saturday June 15th, retur
ned it at 10:30 am on the 22nd, and paid ¬£62. However, please think very carefully if you're planning to do a lot of miles, or if you're elderly or infirm. And regardless of your age, if you're travelling alone you could find yourself pushing a loaded luggage trolley out of the airport and half a mile down the dual carriageway in the pouring rain. Forewarned is fore-armed!