Questions of Cash: July 2016

Posted on August 25, 2016 · Posted in The Independent

Q. I hired a car on 7 July online through Rentalcars.com, for my holiday in Spain from 9 to 23 July. I advance paid the required amount of £298.59 to pick up the car from Malaga airport. On arrival at Malaga I had to wait two hours in a queue at the local care hire agency, Record Go.  When I got to the front I was told my original booking contained inadequate insurance and I was strongly advised to take out a local policy and in effect cancel the original policy.  I was under the impression, perhaps naively, that this second charge of €290.20 was instead of the earlier charge.  I only discovered this was an additional charge a few days later when I checked my credit card balance online.  I have contacted Rentalcars.com by phone, but they told me to file a complaint on my return.  Do I have a case of refund for the second charge?  I’d like to get it sorted out quickly.  MM, by email.

A. We have received previous complaints about car hire arrangements at Malaga airport, though not previously about Record Go. We emailed Record Go, but it did not respond.  We also contacted Rentalcars.com.  Its spokesman said: “Unfortunately, we are unable to comment on the specifics of what happened at the Record Go counter as we were not party to the conversation, or any additional agreement reached between [the reader] and Record Go during their conversation at pick-up.  We take customer care very seriously.  Therefore, whenever a customer raises an issue or complaint about their car hire experience, we deal with the supplier on our customer’s behalf in order to negotiate an acceptable outcome. We are currently following the same dispute resolution process on [the reader’s] behalf, and we hope to agree a suitable outcome with Record Go, as soon as possible.”  Rentalcars.com then contacted you directly to refund the additional charge.

Q. My partner surprised me with an impromptu trip to Gothenberg, including a Bruce Springsteen concert. He gave me the tickets on the plane – and I saw they were for the 27 June, after we returned, even though his booking ticket from the ticket agency Viagogo showed that he had booked them for 25 June.  Unfortunately, he didn’t check his tickets before we flew.  He was extremely upset.  We emailed Viagogo on arrival at our hotel on 24 June and, as requested by them, forwarded a photo of the incorrect tickets.  He received an email by return, promising that Viagogo would provide tickets for the correct date.  Reassured by this, we went out and anxiously awaited an email from Viagogo with replacement tickets. Sadly, we then heard nothing further and did not see Springsteen on 25 June, so rendering our weekend in Gothenberg pointless and expensive.  Since then, I have phoned Viagogo at least twice daily.  Initially I spoke to someone who seemed efficient and assured me that my partner would be reimbursed  for a  ‘lost weekend  in Sweden’ and a ‘case’ was opened.  Since then, I have been unable to speak to anyone and every time I phone I am thwarted by an automated menu that doesn’t allow me to speak to anyone.   I’m not only very frustrated, but feel very sorry for my partner who’s giving himself a hard time for not checking the tickets before he gave them to me!  LB, by email.

A. By coincidence, the ticket agency Viagogo resolved your problem just over an hour before we contacted them – so we can claim no credit for this. A spokeswoman for Viagogo comments: “Certainly, I am of the view that you should receive what you purchase, and shouldn’t be expected to double check tickets you have received. Viagogo is a marketplace, and it is the seller’s responsibility to provide the tickets purchased by their buyer. In this instance, I am very sorry that this did not happen.  As per our guarantee, had [the reader’s partner] alerted us to this issue when he initially received the tickets on 15 June, we would have located comparable replacements for the correct date, at no extra cost to him. Unfortunately, as he did not notice until 24 June, the evening before the concert, our customer services team were unfortunately not able to assist.  I can confirm that a full refund has been initiated. In addition to this, a compensatory voucher worth £100 was sent to [the reader’s partner].”