SIXT Rental Car.....big cost, BIGGER mistake...(Mea Culpa)

Discussion in 'Other Car Rental Programs' started by xhunter33x, Jan 8, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. xhunter33x

    xhunter33x Silver Member

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    A trip to Europe that started off wonderfully and took a terrible turn for reasons other than this posting, resulted in my needing to change the date I picked up my rental car in Minden, Germany from November 25 to the 26th. Simple enough....not quite... :-/
    I notified SIXT that I would be picking up the car the following day and since I had prepaid there wouldn't be any credit, but all was set.
    The day before I was going to pick up the car I was in the main train station in Hannover and went to the SIXT counter to verify that everything was all set for the following day. The gentleman who I spoke with could not have been nicer and although he tried diligently to locate the reservation, it was no where to be found. After exhausting all other avenues he decided he would call the SIXT location in Minden. Over the course of an hour he tried to contact the branch office and never was able to reach anyone. In any event, I never ended up with a rental car and with the other events that were taking place just chalked it up as a loss (for the good story look for my DB BAHN experience I'll be doing shorty...I could really use some help with that one).
    A few weeks after my return I was trying to get organized and checked my mileage balances and noticed that I didn't receive mileage credit for the 'car rental' although it had been paid. I emailed SIXT and receive notification that having not picked up the car I was not entitled to the US Airways miles associated with a rental.
    Normally I would just be disgusted and move on, but I really began to feel annoyed by the email itself which had a 'what, are you crazy and why are you wasting our time' charm about it. I emailed back and asked if they were able to pull up my reservation and see that there had been some difficulty in obtaining the rental. I got a response stating that they had the note that I would be picking up the car the following day, but that is the only thing 'in my file.'.
    Today I realized that we have exchanged roughly 15 emails over this situation and this is what I wake up to today:

    "I understand that you originally were inquiring about the credit for you miles, and one of my colleagues advised you that because the vehicle was never picked up, unfortunately we would not be able to credit this miles for you.
    However I am trying to understand what was the main reason for you not being able to pick up this reservation? I understand that your flight was delayed and that you contacted us advising that you would be picking up the vehicle on the 26th instead, and this information was also noted on your reservation."

    US $200 (for what would have been 2.5 days in something that wasn't much larger than a 'clown car'.), 15 emails, and no miles later I would like to offer what I hope is useful advice based upon my experience ..... when overseas rent with a car company that has a large presence in your home country, think twice before prepaying (apparently paying for a car is not sufficient when asking to be credited FF Miles from SIXT, which then makes me question how if this contract never was effective then why would they want to take my money. Had I picked the car up and driven it 10 feet would I then be getting my FF miles? I'd contact the pick up location, but even SIXT can't get in touch with them)
    I am just more put out by the idea that they had an office that's not able to be contacted, collected all the money for the rental, and somehow it is inconceivable that I would request the FF mileage???
    Living in Vegas makes you very aware of customer service issues, both good and bad.......this is just bizarre.... Happy and safe travels in 2014 my travel buddies.
     
  2. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    There is so much in this post I really don't know where to start.

    Is this your first trip overseas? Certainly it does appear you have limited experience with travel entities in general.

    I cannot address what might have happened to your reservation except that it appears you didn't pick up the car as originally booked and that (despite you calling in) may have triggered a cancellation.

    That said it seems your main beef is that you didn't get miles for a rental car you didn't actually use is that correct?
    The nonsense about a " clown car" is irrelevant. As one who has gotten, better service, better cars, better coverage from Europecar and Sixt in Europe as opposed to the NA majors (who often just sublets cars from Europercar etc, etc anyway) I suspect your concerns would be the same if you had rented from Avis or Hertz.

    The bottom line is there is no airline, hotel, rental car company in the world that I am aware of anyway that gives points for no shows ( or to be more precise non rentals)

    What are we talking about here? 200 miles??
     
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  3. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Did you not go to Minden to pick up the car? Don't quite understand the "never ended up with a rental car" part.

    Why did you not call the central SIXT reservations number if you had concerns about whether everything was set up?

    500 US Airways miles have a retail value of about $5. You wasted $200 on a prepaid car rental, so I can't quite understand why you're wasting more time (= $$) chasing after $5.
     
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  4. Menashe

    Menashe Silver Member

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    I'm with the OP. It's not the miles, it's the tone. They couldn't be contacted, so he's out $200.

    He asks if he could get mileage credit - maybe you're right and that's the wrong approach, but they ought to recognize that he's not actually asking for mileage credit specifically - he's asking them, in a somewhat roundabout way, if they could do right by him given that he lost out on a reservation because they couldn't be contacted.

    He gets back an email implying that they hadn't even bothered to look at the situation. I get that he's annoyed.

    That said, there's no guarantee that a larger company would be any better. They're local franchisees and quality varies greatly. A few I rented a car from Avis in Jerusalem. They were in an underground garage where they had to get the car for you. I inspected the running car and saw no damage, and went off to our rental apartment, a couple of miles away. Later that afternoon, leaving to a museum, I started the car and a warning light went on that a taillight was out. I checked and all the taillights (both main lights and the third high-mounted light) were out. I took the car back for a replacement. They said they'd have to charge me for not filling it up (around $20). I said that (a) I didn't drive it more than a few kms and they could check the odometer and (b) I only drove it back because they knowingly gave me a damaged car, they should compensate me for my time! After some time, the manager agreed, verbally, to charge me for 1/8 tank at the going rate rather than the inflated Avis rate, but would not give me anything in writing. Not happy, but I took the replacement, not wanting to lose half a day over a few dollars.

    I lost over an hour just in transit and replacing the car (new contracts, etc), missed out on a museum and then when I returned the car to the airport location, found that I was charged the full $20. Again, not the biggest deal, but I made my case to the manager, and he simply wasn't interested. With a flight to catch, I had no choice but to leave. This is pre-Twitter, no easy way for me to contact Avis at the time...

    When I got back to the US, I opened a complaint with Avis, but they never got back to me and I didn't have the appetite to chase on such a small sum. But I won't rent from Avis in Israel again. I've used Budget and Hertz with no issues, and stay away from Avis.
     
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  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    As a Presidents Club member with Avis, I booked a fullsize car in Dubai. Get to the airport to pick it up, they tell me all they have is a "clown car" (to use the term from the OP). Rental company with a major presence in my home country, high elite status, and still things go wrong at times.

    Have rented a few times from Sixt in Germany, never had a problem. Why Sixt? Because they have a ton of locations in Germany, which is usually more helpful than picking a major US company with a handful locations at major airports.

    How good is your German?
     
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  6. xhunter33x

    xhunter33x Silver Member

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    MomHospital.jpg MomSweden.jpg MomHospital.jpg Mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut. (My conversational German is very good while my written German I terrible. Which brings me to the gentleman who asked if I'd ever been overseas before. I am not a big one for traveling long distances unless it for something very unusual such as taking the Concorde or checking out a unique restaurant or hotel. My father was born in Germany and so we went over to Europe frequently. His work also took us to Europe frequently and we even relocated to Le Vésinet when I was in elementary school. I like Europe, but as an adult I chose to fly to an island and plop down on a beach for a week. This was an exception in that the village that my father was born in was installing a 'Stolpersteine' for each of his relatives that were hauled off to the East never to be seen or heard from again. My father was Jewish before he married my mother and I felt compelled to make the trip on behalf of his family. My mother, who is 89 also wanted to make the trip. The decision was made to fly to Copenhagen for several days and take the train to Minden. I bought two first class tickets and bought first class tickets on the ICE from Copenhagen- Hamburg-Hannover and then after spending the night in Hannover continuing on by train to Minden the next morning. The flight to Copenhagen went smoothly, the hotel in Malmö was wonderful for two nights and then everything began to fall apart. DB BAHN decided that the train from Copenhagen was going run a half hour ahead of schedule and since it was a Saturday and the offsite DB BAHN office was closed until Monday, they Danish rail workers didn't know what to do which was understandable. My mother and I then took a cab back over to Malmö and were able to get two rooms for two more nights at which time the DB BAHN office would be available. The ceremony was not until Wednesday and so all was fine other than that I had to pay US $1701.50 for the rooms when I had already paid for two rooms at a hotel in Hannover for that night and two rooms in two in Bad Pyrmont for the following night. Monday we head down to the train station. It took from 9 AM Monday until 11 PM on Tuesday to get from to what finally ended up to be Bückeburg. I again paid for two rooms, this time at Barceló Hamburg (very nice place) when I had two rooms paid for in Bad Pyrmont still. These delays were as a result of being told platform 21 when it was platform 12. Or the change of arrival platforms at literally the last minute. One train we made so closely, but at different cars that the DB BAHN conductor made me buy a new ticket because we couldn't find my mother. At one station I offered one of the employees $500 cash to help my mother with the bags. SHE IS 89 YEARS OLD and at one point we the placed her on a train platform outside and it took me four hours to find her. At the first class lounge they wouldn't even give me any suggestions as to who I could contact to try to locate her. Not once did we ever even see the first class section of a train and on the one into Bückeburg we actually had to sit on the steps. My mother was crying and I am only touching on a little bit of what happened. In any event, an awful incident occurred in Rinteln, the final destination, and we did not get to the ceremony. We had to take a cab to Hannover and I paid for two more rooms when two were already arranged somewhere else because my mother could not go on any further. On Thursday morning we got on the train to go back to Copenhagen for the flight back to Vegas the next morning. I have US $1404.11 worth of unused or partial tickets from DB BAHN for an experience that almost killed my mother. We didn't get there until 11 PM that night, but got to the Bella Sky Comwell (I could have spent the entire 'vacation' there) and were on a flight to Heathrow early in the morning. During our layover my mother was becoming sickish. When the BA flight to Vegas left she could barely board the plane. I have inserted a picture of my mother taken in Malmö and a picture of her less than a week later after we called 911 the night we got back to Vegas. The only irony is that I was so while everything was transpiring those days I was either on the phone with my best friend in Vegas (who is a newscaster) or with the city officials in Rinteln. I did not mind the huge cell bill at all, though. My mother went to the hospital on November 29th and was released on New Year's Eve and is still not well. I appreciate that most of you realize that SIXT got everything needed other than extra mileage put on their car that it would not have killed them to give me the miles and certainly would have made me feel better about something. For the gentleman who apparently thinks disappearing reservations are to be expected and then asks if I've ever been overseas???? My question to you is , how on earth do you travel that you would consider it, just another one of those things??? Now that is seriously disturbing. The post was not to ask if it's ok to get nothing for something...I'll never know SIXT couldn't even get their own office to answer the phone.....that was the point....should I just run down to the SIXT office here in Vegas and discuss my bill with them? Or better yet DB BAHN??? SIXT can't find reservations and then can't find any employees at their branches. You lash out at me over some airline miles and you would be ok with them losing the reservation? I said the SIXT thing is minor in the posting. The DB BAHN fiasco is not so minor. The only place I can deal with that appropriately is by letting the town of Rinteln deal with them or get back on a plane myself.
     
  7. xhunter33x

    xhunter33x Silver Member

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    You are right and really it was more just an annoyance vent. The guy with the no shows ....the office was a no show. Apparently I wasn't to clear on that.. :)
     
  8. xhunter33x

    xhunter33x Silver Member

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    My beef with SIXT is that they are a no show. They tried for hours to reach the Minden office and no one ever answered. SIXT is small potatoes and I really don't care since I had to pay for a cab to Hannover. Yes I was in that area and needless to say I would not have taken a cab to Hannover when I had already paid for a rental car. Maybe they wonderfully for you, but I have this thing about renting cars for pickup at unstaffed offices, being given a reservation at a restaurant that is closed that day of the week, or buying train tickets over and over because you are sent to the wrong station or car. I have to fly to Palm Springs tomorrow for one night and have rental car arranged....should my 20 minute flight land and I step off to find that Hertz has closed their airport location I will be just as mad at them. ;-)
     
  9. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    xhunter33x,

    first of all, hope your mother's recovery is going to be speedy.

    I would probably have avoided train travel, especially to a rural destination, with my 89-year old mother and what sounds like significant luggage, but it is what it is and probably not worth dwelling on now.

    Quite honestly, it's a bit hard to follow your story. It seems pretty much everything that could have gone wrong did in fact go wrong (or worse). It's hard to tell why the Hannover Sixt representative couldn't reach anyone in Minden. It's a relatively small city, so perhaps their staffing is limited. I noticed that Sixt doesn't publish local phone numbers for their Minden location, so they presumably don't get customer calls directly (goes to the central 180 number). Yes, it wouldn't have killed Sixt to grant you the 500 miles for the prepaid rental, but quite frankly it's not something I would worry about now. It's fairly common practice among loyalty programs, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes (here) without.

    I am not 100% sure what your goal is -- are you looking for help with reclaiming money from DB Bahn? I don't think they are going to compensate you for hotel charges, but your tickets seem rather expensive First Class tickets (refundable, I'd guess), so if you didn't use them, especially due to problems with their service, I would think you should be able to get (partial) refunds.
     
  10. AtoZ

    AtoZ Silver Member

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    I am sorry for the OP's experience.
    All I can say is, that I have rented from Sixt (mostly Germany & Switzerland) a few dozen times over the last few years and always had excellent experience. Just recently I had to extend the rental by one day upon pick-up and the Swiss rental agent changed it exactly in line with the lowest internet rate. All with a single stroke on the key board within seconds.
     
  11. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    This and some other countless threads is the reason why I never pre-pay my car rentals. You never know what can happen and for an extra few $$$, you have the flexibility. Having said that, I've never had any issues with Sixt. I've rented with them in Ireland, Germany, Italy, France & Spain and have never had any issues. If there was an extra charge, it was removed upon my request. A few things to consider when you rent form Sixt:

    1) Always get them to print your contract in English. In Spain, they printed the contract in Spanish and I requested an English copy. Know what you are signing.
    2) Upon pickup of the vehicle, walk thoroughly around your car to inspect. If you see even a scratch, have it noted on your English contract. If pick up in a garage, politely ask a rep to have the car in good light so you can observe with them.
    3) Double check everything before you vacate the premises
    4) Always post pay if possible; gives you a lot of freedom.
     
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  12. jonspencer

    jonspencer Silver Member

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    agree 100% on not paying rental cars in advance

    the entire contract is already grossly in favour of the rental car company, silly to give them any more leverage in what always seems to be a lop-sided deal (you would never agree to these terms for almost anything else)

    Sixt did burn me on a recent visit to Tanzania where they decided it was just inconvenient to meet me at the airport as agreed weeks in advance :mad:
     
  13. Thomask

    Thomask Silver Member

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    Sixt went from good to worse and are now milking you where ever they can. Recently I got a police ticket as as I was using one of their rental cars in Switzerland. Police forwarded it to Sixt and Sixt to me. Fine, no problem with that. But Sixt charged me 25 Euro for forwarding my address to police and me the e-mail. My advise, stay away from Sixt, they have a serious problem with greed.
     
  14. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Pretty normal that car rental agencies charge for the processing of tickets, as far as I know. A year or so ago I received a paper letter from Avis (Hertz?) in Germany advising me that they had been handing my contact information over to police in Germany for a speeding ticket, and that they would charge my credit card a certain fee. I never heard from the police about the actual ticket, and I don't recall how many the fee was.
     
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