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Europcar Portugal: Questionable and Costly Billing Practice

Toronto, Canada
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Europcar Portugal: Questionable and Costly Billing Practice

In February of 2015, I rented a car from Europcar at Lisbon airport for drop off at Porto airport 7 weeks later. As part of the rental, I paid for an electronic transponder to cover the cost of electronic tolling on Portuguese tollroads. As a result, I expected to get some follow-up charges for these tolls after turning in the car but I was shocked by the questionable and costly manner is which those charges were applied to my credit card.

Instead of simply charging the cost of the outstanding toll to my credit card, Europcar Portugal credited the entire cost of the rental to my card and then charged the total cost of the rental plus the outstanding toll to my card. So, by the time American Express levied their charges for currency conversions, the charge for the toll was grossly inflated. And Europcar did this twice for two different tolls. So those two tolls...one for 6.7 euros and one for 5.4 euros (about $16.60 Canadian) cost me $102.39.

When I contacted Europcar to complain about this billing procedure they told me that it was part of the fine print in the rental agreement I signed. That might be so but it's the first time I've encountered this practice after renting cars in more than 20 countries. So beware Europcar Portugal.

Douglas CN51

When I contacted Europcar Portugal to complain about this bizarre billing practice, they simply said it was part of the fine print in the rental agreement I signed. That might be the case but in t

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29 replies to this topic
Toronto, Canada
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1. Re: Europcar Portugal: Questionable and Costly Billing Practice

Dear DouglasCN51, I recently travelled to Portugal(Aug 2015) and also used Europcar and had the same experience. The currency hit to my Visa transaction was over $150 for . I have emailed their customer support and have not heard back. I also did not understand why they would not just charge the toll charges separately to my Visa card. Ridiculous practice so for those travelling to Portugal, consider your options.

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Dunstable...
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2. Re: Europcar Portugal: Questionable and Costly Billing Practice

Interesting. I have used Europcar the last three times we have been in Portugal and I haven't had this problem. Then again, I didn't get transponder but I wasn't in the Porto or Algarve region where they are infamous for not having toll collectors or booths were you can pay via credit card.

As repeat traveler, I knew pretty much where there were actual humans that collected the tolls or toll booths that took my credit card. I have also used both my TomTom GPS and my phone with Google Maps to reroute without paying tolls in questionable/new areas. In many cases, rerouting only took me a few extra minutes.

Glad you have mentioned this since we are going to new for us area in Portugal and I guess I will be staying away from toll roads... Thanks for this heads up.

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Porto
Porto
Porto District, Portugal
Algarve
Algarve
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Lisbon, Portugal
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3. Re: Europcar Portugal: Questionable and Costly Billing Practice

Had so many problems with Europcar...they will not catch me ever again. TOURISTS SCAMMERS!!

Portugal
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4. Re: Europcar Portugal: Questionable and Costly Billing Practice

Personally never had problems with Europcar. In my opinion it is one of the most reliable companies with transparent procedures in Portugal and in other European countries. But I rent directly, not through intermediary companies...

worldtravelawards.com/profile-628-europcar

Edited: 15 June 2016, 18:54
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Lisbon, Portugal
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5. Re: Europcar Portugal: Questionable and Costly Billing Practice

Claudia you might exercise some caution about knowing where the toll booths are.

On the stretches of road with tolls but no toll booths you must pay at the post office. It is (just about) possible to know that you are on such a stretch of road even without local knowledge because there are girders across the road carrying the cameras which record number plates so that the charge can be applied. But there are lots of girders across motorways which have nothing to do with tolls (signage for example) so the ones with the cameras do not stand out.

If you take a hire car without a transponder and don't pay at the post office the tolls will reach the hire company (with a bit added for late payment) and they will no doubt deduct money using your card details.

Europcar is a franchise operation so the practices in one franchise may well differ marginally from that in others. If those suffering from this poor practice complain to the owners, EURAZEO, and they don't like the practice (and who could) conceivably they might tell the Portuguese or Lisbon franchisee to clean up their act.

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Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon District, Portugal
new york
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6. Re: Europcar Portugal: Questionable and Costly Billing Practice

I agree with John. The best way to defeat their system is to pay at the post office. Saves you the cost of the transponder rental too!

Montreal, Canada
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7. Re: Europcar Portugal: Questionable and Costly Billing Practice

The same happened to me last summer. It cost me an additional $200 Can for the stupidity of Europcar's billing policies. Why credit the full amount and re-invoice? Why not just invoice the additional tolls? Going back to Portugal again this summer and rented with Sixt. Not only they lost me as a customer they lost all my Portuguese friends and family's business "forever". I had no poblems with the service or car but can't accept their billing policies. We always lose on the exchange rate.

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Fort St. John
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8. Re: Europcar Portugal: Questionable and Costly Billing Practice

Did you end up renting with Sixt this summer? We are flying into Faro in March and after reading of all the scams I am a little nervous about who to use. I have also read about Zitauto...do you know anything about them?

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Faro
Faro
Faro District, Portugal
Montreal, Canada
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9. Re: Europcar Portugal: Questionable and Costly Billing Practice

Hi Shannon, yes I did rent from Sixt in July. Great service, great car (Audi A3 Diesel) and no billing issues.

FYI, the Europcar counter was right in front of Sixt's counter and my sister did go talk to them about the billing issues and they assured her that they changed their billing policy. I cant confirm if they did or not.

Cheers

Canada
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10. Re: Europcar Portugal: Questionable and Costly Billing Practice

We have booked a Europcar for Portugal (Lisbon Downtown) in May. Has anyone else come back recently from Portugal and rented with Europcar and did not have this costly and inefficient billing procedure for tolls - that is - refunding the rental cost, then recharging it with individual toll charges, repeatedly?

Edited: 23 January 2017, 00:10
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Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon District, Portugal
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