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Monday, 14 November 2016

This is a story of car hire.

Europcar Jersey

Perhaps the main disadvantage of flying to Jersey, is having to hire a car to use during your visit. On an island of only some 45 square miles, the bus services although frequent and plentiful, only cover the main road routes between points of interest.Should you wish to visit the more "remote" places, it is either a bicycle or on foot for many of the more hilly places, especially on the north coast, consequently a car is for us at least, an essential means of transport around the island,
I arranged car hire through an online broker, with Europcar,as they are a recognised leader in the car hire business and paid the hire charges on line to the broker. On arrival in Jersey, we went to the Europcar desk, paid another fee to them for petrol and additional insurance, collected the car keys and went out to the car park to find the Skoda Citigo.

Image result for skoda citigo red
The Skoda "Citigo".

On  getting into the car, the first thing I noticed was the rather unusual automatic selection box, which is nothing like anything that I have seen before in an automatic vehicle, However, I assumed that a regular Skoda owner would be used to the arrangement,

Image result for skoda citigo interior automatic

After some fiddling and muttering, I eventually got the car started and we moved off to collect a few bits from the supermarket and go to our accommodation which would be home for the next few days,
The journey from the airport and back to the airport the following morning was a nightmare which left my wife with a splitting headache and a bad state of nervous tension. It was not good for my nerves either, At first I thought that it might be my driving as I was not used to this particular vehicle but it would settle down after a short period. However I soon realised that this vehicle was/is dangerous and a potential death trap for anyone in it.
The slightest touch on the peddle would immediately lock the brakes, but on other occasions the peddle would have to be pushed down to the floor before the brakes took effect, Even then, there was a tendency for the brakes to lock suddenly. The gearbox would slip into neutral at odd times when the car was in motion and the revert to engaged after a few seconds or longer.

Image result for europcar jersey airport

On returning the vehicle to Europcar at Jersey airport, I pointed out these and other defects to the surly man behind the desk and was met with the reply that there is nothing wrong with the car because no one else had complained! I reiterated that the car was in a dangerous condition and that I was not prepared to drive it.
"That's up to you I do not have any other cars" he said.After a few more futile exchanges it became clear that this conversation was going nowhere and he was not going to authorise a refund or  find another car from an alternative source. For less than 24 hours hire, I had paid almost £250.00
(This dispute continues). The attitude of their desk clerk was arrogant, unhelpful and unacceptable.
Right next to the Europcar desk is the Hertz hire car desk where we found that they had an automatic for the rest of our stay at an all in price of £217.00. A ford which we found had a sensible select box, comfortable seats and is an altogether more satisfactory driving experience.

The moral of the story is that if you go to Jersey and you need a hire care, avoid Europcar and their dangerous Skoda Citigo. The colour of the car was even red!