Using a booking engine to find a car rental for my UK holiday this year, I made a 20% non-refundable payment to a company called Argus Car Hire (Argus). Argus is an agent which has a number of suppliers, one of which is Green Motion (GM).
Argus emailed a voucher which I provided to GM on arrival at Manchester Airport to hire the car. The voucher outlines the rental conditions and balance of the cost of hire.
GM said its practice was to take a Â£750.00 "security deposit" from the credit card in addition to the hire cost. I was not aware of this at the time of making my booking with Argus. I felt I was unable to refuse to make this payment (I would not have been given the car or if I did refuse would have then lost my initial 20%). I reluctantly paid the hire cost plus Â£750.00.
I returned the car on 13 August 2010, out of hours (pre-arranged/agreed). I had to leave the car key with another customer waiting for GM to open as it did not have a key drop off box.
On 14 August 2010 I emailed GM explaining my efforts to hand over the keys referencing the customer's name and number who I left the key with.
Later that day I received a phone call. GM said I would receive my deposit back less certain deductions; fuel (it claimed on the telephone that the fuel tank was empty) and a "valet charge".
The deduction was Â£112.65.
I argued that fuel tank was not short of fuel (GM later changed its "empty" claim to "19 litres short") as I had topped up the fuel tank twice at the airport and provided receipts to prove this. My obligation was to return the car with a quarter full tank. I checked the manufacturer's specification and a quarter tank would have been no more than 14 litres!
With regards to the valet charge, GM said the car was returned in an "unacceptable condition". It made no attempt to support this allegation, failed to provide a copy of the check-in report, failed to provide photographic evidence and failed to split the cost of what it considered to be a normal valet charge upon receiving a returned car and the extra over cost due to the "unacceptable condition".
It took four months to get the entire deposit back with the help of my credit card supplier.
In December I contacted Argus about this situation and it came back with the following response:
"Unfortunately, as per our terms and conditions, all customer queries and claims must be received within 30 days of the rental return date, and as such we are unable to process your issue."
I would not recommend either company. Argus due to not knowing which supplier you might get on making a booking and GM due to reasons stated above.
Product or Service Mentioned: Green Motion Car Rental Booking.