The car hire industry has come under some sustained attack over the least 6 months with countless stories of motorists being ripped off by unscrupulous companies – some of the bigger names are involved. The charges about refuelling costs, hiked insurance premiums, charges to “clean cars” that have been returned amongst others. With this in mind it was with some trepidation that I set about hiring a car for a section of our recent family trip to Florida. As you might expect my going in expectations were actually quite low..So how did it go!
The office was small but busy and just off the airport, directions to find it were fine and the sat nav directions actually took us to the offices not some random destination as so often happens when the location is around an airport ring road. The wait was about 3 minutes and the booking was all in order, the only problem was that I offered a debit card to secure the vehicle only to be told “we don’t accept then only credit cards”…what? Apparently it is much easier to recoup charges off a card that is credit based I guess that debit cards are limited to what you might have in your account – I can see the logic but this was not made clear at any point during the on-line booking process…not that I recall anyway. This caused panic as potentially we could not hire a car as I don’t carry credit cards…the guy behind the counter said “hold on let me get a Manager and see if we can sort this out”,,,that took a couple of minutes and the Manager agreed to waive the condition and accept the debit card…I guess we looked trustworthy!! The guy then advised us about the toll charges and sold the inclusive package, the return on empty, but did not try and sell us anything else, that was a pleasant surprise.
The car was ready 5 minutes later and not only was the considerable pile of luggage loaded in for us but he gave me a really helpful teach in on the things I really needed to know (the filler cap, lights, screen wipers, sat nav, etc they had clearly thought about what information a driver needs..and what they don’t need to know) and then we are on our way.
After a few days of trouble free motoring we retuned the car to Miami Airport to be met by a very friendly and efficient young lady who checked the car over and said “your good to go thanks for using Sixt”, in due course the deposit was refunded and our Sixt experience ended.
Bearing in mind the horror stories abounding about this industry the Sixt team far exceeded my expectations with the exception of the credit card issue …that could have been a disaster. But they did recover it and had a process in place to deal with the eventuality…so that cost the one mark deduction in my test. I trust that this experience is replicated every time if not but they are on the right road…WELL DONE!!