Car rental agency

“I was not allowed to pick up my prepaid rental car when my flight was delayed”

Gill Charlton has been fighting for Telegraph readers and solving their travel problems for over 30 years, getting refunds, righting wrongs and suggesting solutions.

Here’s this week’s question…

Dear Gil,

Earlier this year I booked flights and car hire through easyJet to travel to Bari in southern Italy for my son’s wedding in May. Car hire cost £1382 for 13 days and I provided flight number and estimated time of arrival as requested by easyJet.

Due to a schedule change and being late in the day, I phoned the number on the voucher to alert Leasys in Bari that I would be a little late picking up the car. The number was not recognized so I gave up. However, when I arrived at the office several hours late, Leasys refused to release the car. He said I was considered a “no-show” – and because easyJet hadn’t informed him of my flight number, he canceled my booking (even though there’s only one single easyJet flight per day to Bari). I was told if I still wanted the car I would have to pay again.

I declined and hired at Hertz instead. I tried to recover the cost of the rental from easyJet but they forward the complaints to CarTrawler, the agency that handles their rental service. He says I was late, so he has the right to keep my money. Can you help ?

– GA

Dear GA,

CarTrawler works with 70 airlines to provide access to car rental deals worldwide. Since the pandemic, new companies like Leasys have popped up in Italy and it seems they are engaging in questionable practices, claiming that if you arrive at the counter more than an hour after the time on your voucher, you risk losing the entire rental.

This is patently unfair – especially since this time constraint is not spelled out in the seven-page T&Cs.

easyJet and CarTrawler vigorously defended their position saying Mr GA was clearly a non-presenter. When I asked for a clear definition of no-show, neither company responded. They also insisted that the contact number provided was correct.

It was wrong. I tried it several times and in Bari the agent Leasys had scribbled the correct number on the voucher.
When I reported this to CarTrawler, they capitulated and refunded the rental in full.

It infuriates me when car rental companies try this trick. If a customer reserves a prepaid car, it must be honored until the end of the business day. This is a practice that must be stopped and I would like the professional bodies to be firmer with offenders and refuse to deal with those who try to defraud customers by playing the no-show card.

– Gil

Gill supports a different case each week – so please send your issues to him for review at [email protected] Please state your full name and, if your dispute concerns a travel agency, your address, telephone number and any booking reference. Gill cannot answer all questions, but she will help where she can and all emails will be acknowledged.