Saturday, November 15, 2003


November 10, 2003

We are having a small problem with the car rental agency. We returned the rental car last Friday when we (finally) picked up our own car. It was raining that day, and we had lots of stuff from the rental car to move to the new car. So…I stayed in the car while Art and Wendy went in to return the rental. A man came out to verify the mileage and that the gas tank was full. When Art and Wendy returned, I discovered that we had been charged the road tax twice…they had charged us for the car that was totaled, then charged us again when we returned the replacement. When we looked more carefully, we saw that the tax for the first car had been credited back, but the VAT (tax) had not.

We had the invoice at home, and planned to give it to Wendy so that she could fax it to the Perugia office and get the problem corrected. It wasn’t until the next day that Wendy asked us why they had charged us for a tank of gas. She had been with us when we filled the tank. I hadn’t seen the invoice from the return, so I had no idea that we had been charged. When we called to ask about this charge, we were told that it was for the car that had been totaled in October!!!!! Once again, I said a few of my favorite, colorful American words.

When we got home, I called AutoEurope to see if they could help with the gas charge, or if I would need to deal directly with Europcar. The first guy at AutoEurope was very sympathetic, and connected me to customer service. The guy in customer service said that basically, Europcar was within their rights. He explained that they were just trying to get paid for the tank of gas they lost. We felt that the second car was a replacement for the first, and since we received a full tank and returned a full tank, we shouldn’t owe any more. We also felt that if Europcar wanted someone to pay for the other tank of gas, they should go after the guy who hit us…he was assigned 100% of the blame for the accident. The AutoEurope guy said we could write a letter of complaint, but he gave us the impression that it would be a waste of time.

I called the Europcar office in Perugia and spoke with Pamela. She had talked to Wendy earlier about the double taxing, and also about the gas. She understood my point, but said that she wasn’t able to reverse those charges. She gave me the address for the main office in Rome.

So, I wrote a nice letter and emailed copies to AutoEurope, Europcar in the US and also Europcar in Italy. In it I said that if the tank of gas was not covered by the 100% deductible offered by AutoEurope, then it should be covered by the driver at fault. It seems unreasonable that we should have to be further inconvenienced due to some idiot’s lapse of attention. We will wait to see what happens.

We were told by some that we should contact a lawyer. Others have said it’s a waste of time. Italy is not sue crazy like the US is, but in this case, I think a small amount of compensation would be justified. We would like to pay Wendy for her time in taking us from the hospital to San Venanzo, and then for coming up to San Venanzo the next day and taking us in to Perugia to pick up the replacement. The fact that our injuries were minor is a miracle, but we were definitely inconvenienced for several days due to our aches and pains.

We’ll let you know when, or IF, we hear anything about this!

November 15, 2003

Not much to report, and what news there is isn’t good. So far the only response we have received was from Troy in Customer Service at AutoEurope. He basically said, “So sad, too bad”. End of story. We of course responded by saying how disappointed we were with AutoEurope. This was the first time we had ever asked for their help, and they aren’t even willing to intercede on our behalf.

Of course we don’t expect any good news for the people at Europecar either. They are the ones who initiated the charge, so it would be foolish to expect them to reverse it, especially when even AutoEurope thinks the charge is justified. As I have said repeatedly, in the phrase “innocent victim”, the key word is STILL victim


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