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Ancient Crete car rental - Europcar
Member Name: catsholiday
Date: 24/08/09, updated on 28/08/09 (201 review reads)
Advantages: They delivered two cars
Disadvantages: One car unroadworthy, no car seats for a day and half, late delivery and early collection
BEFORE ARRIVING IN CRETE:
I booked two cars with this company for our stay in Crete on the internet prior to our arrival in Crete.
I chose this company because on the website they offered:
A) Reasonable prices - no amazingly cheaper but competitively rated
B) No extra charge for 2 stage 3 car seats that we needed for the grandsons
C) They would deliver to and collect the cars from the place where we were staying.
I booked and gave my credit card details on site and waited for confirmation that I would be getting 2 cars and the two car seats too. I did get two emails with links which I saved but then the links did not work a second time so I had to email to check a week before we left and again got confirmation that indeed I had 2 cars with two stage 3 car seats booked for delivery to Camari Gardens at midday on stated date and they would be collected at midday on the collection day 10 days later.
THE DAY OF DELIVERY:
On the date that the cars were due to arrive we waited in the Reception area from 11.45 to 1.15 when after several phone calls and an email the cars finally turned up. They tried to say that they had come at 10 am but I was not convinced. They wrote down my credit card number and then left us with the cars. No car seats but a promise that they would be delivered by the evening.
Our car was an ancient Punto with 140,000 km on the clock, many dings and scratches, no hub caps and air conditioning that only worked if the sun wasn't shining in and the car was not going up a hill. The other car for my daughter and family was a newer Hyundai Getz with functioning air conditioning and a normal mileage - still quite high for a hire car about 45,000. We were not thrilled but if one of us had to have the c___ car then it was better that we had it as the boys would not have slept in the car as easily if they had had our hot box.
Our Punto has such crazed plastic over the headlights that even on full beam we struggled to see the road. The parcel shelf just floated around the car as all connectors were broken. We used it over the dashboard when we parked to keep the sun off the dashboard and steering wheel area.
When we were driving at night the windscreen was so scratched that even when washed fresh with soap and dried with paper tissue you still had major light dazzle which surely would fail an MOT over here. We managed to travel around as much as we wanted with these cars although we were really quite windswept and hot by the time we arrived at the end of some of our journeys with no air conditioning. Neither car broke down although we were overtaken by Seicentos on some hills with our ancient beast - a lorry even came past on one occasion and a man on a bike was keeping up with us on another hill.
THE CAR SEAT SAGA:
The car seats did not arrive that evening nor indeed had they arrived after several phone calls by about 3pm the next day. My son in law and I went to the Lidl we had been to the previous day and were going to buy two booster seats as we'd seen them for 10 Euros each but Lidl had sold out so we returned empty handed. At this stage we had no use out of one car as the boys could not legally travel without seats (or is it just in the UK that we obey these EU rulings?) The seats eventually turned up at 6pm the day after the cars were delivered at 1.15pm.
The seats were just two ancient booster seats with really grotty bits of fabric attached to the seats - no wonder they did not charge for them. Fortunately our two grandsons were 5 and 3 and although they have the proper stage 3 car seats here the boosters did work to raise them to the right height for the seat belt to fit and we put towels on the seats for comfort. I'm not sure what would have happened if we had had younger children as really these would not have been suitable at all.
THE CREDIT CARD SAGA:
The next problem was we had a phone call telling us that my credit card was oit of date or some problem and could we give them another. We always use my card as it does not charge extra for using it abroad AND I earn Airmiles too whereas my husband's Barclaycard does charge us. However we agreed to give the other number despite the fact that now two of our credit card numbers were floating around in Crete. This was the night before they were supposed to be collecting them at midday the next day.
After about four phone calls this was sorted to their satisfaction but then they also asked if we could do them a favour and allow them to collect the cars that night instead of midday the next day. By this time my husband lost all interest and said;
"Fine - we will lose another half day of our booked time and we lost a day at the other end because we had no car seats. We have had to give you two credit card numbers and there is nothing wrong with the first one and I can assure you I will be contacting both cards to ensure that no other money is taken from either card. I will also advise anyone I know visiting Crete to use a different car hire company"
I would not recommend this company. I'm not sure if this is typical of car hire in Crete but the service was appalling and our car was not really road worthy. Why is it that we are the only country in the EU that takes on board all the EU laws and directives and other countries totally ignore them and nothing happens? Surely one rule should apply to all. This car was NOT road worthy in my opinion and the car seats were NOT stage 3 car seats which are what is listed as available on the website.
Thanks for reading and hope this is of some use to someone. This review may be posted on other sites under my name.
Summary: Poor service and unroadworthy cars for less time than we booked