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Monday, July 18, 2016

How Europecar Ireland Cheats Tourists out of Money

I often rent a car with my US credit card which covers me for auto insurance. This is the main reason I do that versus paying in euros locally. On my recent visit to Europecar at the Dublin city center location the agent told me that I need to have a letter from the bank proving my insurance coverage.  I responded the way I always do when rental companies ask this, that it is covered by my credit card company. This is very common for card companies to do in the US. It is one of the perks they offer to get people using the cards for rentals. This time however the agent working at the counter didn't accept that as an answer. He told me that when I received the confirmation from the booking it said that I need to bring it. It didn't say anything about insurance proof as you can see by the screenshot here. 

europecar sucks
Nothing here about bringing proof of insurance


He also said it was in the terms and conditions. If you are interested in searching through the T&Cs here is the link https://www.europcar.com/terms-and-conditions I couldn't find any reference to that.

He then told me, "It's probably because you booked through the US europcar site not the Irish one." Well no shit dude! Since I booked through a different site, it is a different company, so the information provided is different and enforced as per whoever the agent is. 

 I had him pull up my rental record and he could see I rented there numerous times before and when I pointed out that I had never been asked for that letter before he couldn't answer why. Either way, he forced me to pay for the insurance even though I didn't need it and could pull up my credit card benefits website on my phone to show him that it's included as a benefit. He told me he needed an actual letter from the bank. The most recent visit I brought in an actual letter from my bank dated and everything, but the guy didn't like it because it didn't have an actual value amount covered on the letter. 

What I really think this comes down to is a business practice of intentionally hiding information so as to charge people more. The majority of the renters are tourists and by not clearly providing this information but making it a policy they can then say at the day of picking up the car it's needed and "well, it is there buried in the terms and conditions somewhere, so now you have to pay if you want a car for the rest of your vacation." What can a tourist do? They already have reservations, a route planned out for driving around the country, and because of a car company wanting to weasel people out of a little more money they have to pay for it. 

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