Tuesday, August 20, 2013

SIXT Car Rental

As part of our preparation for the big trip we flew into Straubing on Sunday afternoon. I had made a car reservation with SIXT well in advance a week before. Unlike with other car rental firms, there was no confirmation email, even after several days. So, to make sure there wouldn't be any nasty surprises and to make arrangements for the delivery of the vehicle to Straubing airfield, I called SIXT on the central reservation number on the 15th, 3 days before rental start. I mentioned that I had not received e-mail confirmation and the lady said "no problem, I will send it now", which she did. I again confirmed the vehicle class (a Mercedes CLA) and I requested the phone umber of the local station in Sraubing, which would be responsible for the vehicle delivery. I was told that I wouldn't need that phone number and that I should be calling the central reservation number again when I arrived at the airfield, and everything would be handled from there. Not happy with that answer, I requested the local phone number two more times, to no avail, eventually accepting that I would call the central number on arrival.

When we arrived in Straubing, I immediately called the central number, which - after going through the usual menu selections etc. - eventually got me speaking to an agent who ultimately got me connected to the local station in Straubing. Speaking to the local lady, I was informed that the station did not have ANY cars of the selected group and instead would "upgrade" me to the next higher group, which happened to be an Opel Vectra. Besides not being happy with the "upgrade", there were some other issues with the lady telling me that they were actually closed and all sorts of issues which made a vehicle delivery difficult. At that point, the call was lost due to a poor cellphone connection. By that time I still had no local number to call and I expected the lady t call me back, as SIXT had all my contact details including cellphone and email address. I waited 10 minutes, but no luck.

I learned from the airport staff that car hire firms usually deliver their vehicles and leave the keys at the airport counter. Why this could not have been arranged in my case, I will never know. I also learned from the airport staff that a local car hire company was far more flexible and accommodating and I then contacted that company. Within 20 minutes, a vehicle was at the airport. There is no doubt in my mind that SIXT was in breach of contract, as they did not deliver the vehicle on time, nor did they even have the booked vehicle class available. Worse, they made no effort whatsoever to contact me to resolve the issue.

Imagine my surprise, when on Monday morning I saw a  notification that my credit card was debited with R 8736. As I still had no local telephone number, but an address, I paid the local office a visit in the afternoon. The lady in attendance clearly did not believe that there was anything wrong with how SIXT had handled this contract. I explained to her why I was upset and why I believed that the behaviour was not only unacceptable but may be construed as fraudulent. I also demanded the return of my money within the next hour. The lady's reaction was that she ordered me to leave, which, she pointed out, was quite entitled to do.

A check of my credit card statement on Tuesday morning showed no SIXT transaction, so hopefully the reported transaction was a "reserve" type transaction only.

The bottom line is that SIXT provided shocking service by

a) not confirming the reservation when it was made
b) not releasing the local station phone number when asked for it 3 times
c) not contacting me to make the necessary delivery arrangements
d) accepting a reservation for a vehicle group known not to be available at the station
e) not notifying me of the unavailability of the booked vehicle group
f) not having a clear plan of how to hand over the vehicle
g) not contacting me after the failed phone call
h) executing a credit card transaction after being in breach of agreement
i) not making ANY attempt to resolve the issue

I guess this now moves SIXT to the bottom of the list of car hire companies I will use in future.

1 comment:

  1. Hallo Vero, lasst Euch von diesem Unsinn nicht den Spass an der Reise verderben!
    Nimm Dir in Zukunft nicht einmal die Zeit, diese Firma zu ignorieren!
    Gruss, Hermann


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