Back in October, 2012, we had a less than satisfactory experience with National Car Rental, picking up a vehicle at Izmir airport. We reserved a Ford Focus or similar car through Auto Europe, to be dropped at Kayseri airport 11 days later. When we arrived at Izmir, we were told that our vehicle would be a Renault Kangoo. We did the paperwork, but when we saw the Kangoo, we knew it was not an equivalent to the Focus, but was a bare bones mini-SUV, not even close to similar to a Focus, so we insisted on another vehicle. Though there was a Focus in the lot, we were told we should take a Renault Symbol. The local agency did not even redo the paperwork, just scribbled the Symbol license number on the Kangoo contract, not very reassuring if we had problems later. I suppose I should have insisted on the better car, but when I am the paying customer, I do not feel I should have to fight for the type of vehicle I’ve paid for. I did call Auto Europe during the trip to complain and was told I had to wait for the rental to end.
Though the Symbol is roughly the same size as a Focus, it is not the same level of car, mainly because of the equipment and trim. The Symbol engine is smaller and less powerful; the seats in the Symbol are not as comfortable as the Focus. There is no carpeting, only rubber floor mats, so the car is not as quiet. The Symbol had wind-up rear windows instead of power windows.
In addition to the vehicle downgrade, at pickup there was no information provided about how to return our vehicle in Kayseri. We arrived at Kayseri airport to find there was no National desk, no sign. We had to go through an initial security scan to get into the terminal, find an information desk and have them call National, then wait for someone to arrive to receive the car. It would have been helpful to have had some instruction on the process.
We asked for compensation for the vehicle downgrade and were at first told that the Symbol is equivalent to the Focus. Several email exchanges later we were eventually refunded $75. I would not rule out working through Auto Europe, nor renting from National. I would just be aware that this sort of bait and switch might be tried. We didnt' want to waste time arguing with the rental staff, but ended up with bad feelings, should have stuck to our guns and gotten a manager involved. Not how we wanted to spend our time. . .
Feedback from travelers recently returned from Turkey: what's good, what's bad, what they found
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