Subject: Auto Europe(Greece) Warning
Hi friends! I want to tell you what happened during my recent vacation in Greece. I had been favorably impressed by the trust many ziners have in Auto Europe for their trips in european countries.So I decided to reserve with them a car for my three weeks in northern Greece. More, I could only find a Station Wagon at reasonable prices with them,and not with Avis or Hertz. The reason because I wanted a SW was to have my luggage covered and out of sight, especially for travelling from one hotel to the next. We arranged by fax for a Hyundai LAntra 1.6 SW at 18000 GRD a day, all inclusive. When we got to Thessaloniki airport we were met by Mr. Manos who made us sign a credit card form for the whole amount of the three eeks( 378000),gave us the car, and as we immediately noticed that the luggage trunk cover( excuse me for not knowing the exact names of auto parts in english)was not there,we requested that it would be looked for and given to us as soon as possible. He said that (listen...) he was flying back to Athens, FROM WHERE HE HAD DRIVEN THE CAR ,he was going to look for the cover, and send it to Thessaloniki with the first flight the next morning(a Sunday!).We would find it at the Thessaloniki branch of Auto Europe at 9 a.m.In case of any trouble we should call Athens(why didn't they give us a car from the Thessaloniki branch?)What an organization! A soon as we took our way into town, we noticed that: a) the car's inside was very dirty b)when you drove at more than 90 Km/h, the steering wheel would tremble ominously( a clear symptom that something was wrong with the tyres) c) The car had an Auto Europe sticker(generally in other countries Auto Europe has no cars of their own, but makes deals with real rental agencies. The next morning we found a girl at a bar near the office who told us that the plastic cover could not be found....maybe during the week.We said OK, next Saturday at 9 a.m. we will be here again and we want to have the tyres fixed,and the plastic cover in place. She said yes of course. On Monday to Wednesday mornings, when the engine was cold, it had some problems with starting.On Thursday morning,when we were in Kastoria, 200+ Kms from Thessaloniki, the engine definitely refused to start.We called Auto Europe central in Athens and they made a lot of problems,they said they would call us back in one hour(!), and they didn't, so with the help of a receptionist of the hotel (thanks God all our troubles happened outside our hotel and not on a mountain pass!),after three phone calls and after they told us that it was a problem because they had to send a mechanic from Athens ( 600 Kms away), we finally had their authorization to call the local mechanic who after some trials, replaced four sparks, and that seemed to solve the problem

On Saturday we went to the Thessaloniki branch and explained the wheel problem, the local head of office was very willing to help and obtained authorization to fix the problem at their expenses ( as soon as the tyre technician saw the tyres he called agin the office and evidently obtained the authorization to actually replace two tyres with new ones,they probably were dangerous). No plastic luggage cover had been sent for us, of course it will never appear.

On Sunday morning,ready for Holy Mass, we were going to leave our Panorama hotel for Thessaloniki, but the car's engine again failed to start.We had the big luck of finding a hotel receptionist whose grandfather was italian.He spoke god italian,so we could explain to him all the story that now I'm telling you.He was startled, and said that no rental agency,that he had ever worked with ,would behave this way.He had seen people getting their car changed because the didn' like the COLOR ! From 9,15 a.m to 2:30 p.m. he was our advocate in innnumerous phone calls to Athens, to Thessaloniki ,(the blonde girl we had known one week before came to us with a small car, very dirty, that she would give us for 6 hours, just to replace it with a similar one in the evening, and all this by opening a new contract with Thessaloniki Auto Europe, but she could not close the original agreement because she had nothing to do with Athens Auto Europe ! Of course we refused).At a point our friend the receptionist threatened to call the tourist police and this magic word had the effect (listen...) of having the very boss of Auto Europe, Athens FLY to Thessaloniki (on a Sunday morning!) ,come and take away the car.Do you guess who this great boss was? Yes, of course Mr. Manos, the same who had done the reverse trip one week bwfore! We shook our hands, he gave us a sheet of paper on which he had written that we guarantee to refund Mr. Scalfi the sum of 258000 GRD(actually a fax he had previously sent to Thessaloniki branch,and on which he added the amount with a pen),he walked out of the hotel and (listen...) he tried to start the car,it didn't start,he opened the front bonnet, touched here anf there, and the engine started !!! I think he knew well that car and its problems.Maybe it was his own personal old car,that he was going to give to the car destroyer when he received our reservation and thought this is the right car for this italian.... Of course I'm joking, but I think I'm not wrong if I say that Auto Europe(Greece) has given ample proof of having some problems,and I think you'd better choose some other renter for your greek travels.That's what we did: with the aid of the receptionist, who has a friend who works at Budget rent a car, we had a brand new Renault laguna,not a station wagon but a car with a large trunk and it worked perfectly for the two weeks left.The price was 18,300 GRD a Day ( while the official published weekly rate was 213,000 plus theft protection 1,700 a day). As yet, no charge and no refund has been registered on my credit card account, so I don't know how the whole story will end. I will tell you as soon as I know Have a nice day,

Leonardo from Italy