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Avoid First Car Rental

London, United...
2 posts
Avoid First Car Rental

I would just like to warn all holiday makers to avoid First Car Rental all cost. They are very bad at communicating with you when you have an issue, but very quick to take money form youre credit card. We were double charged apon arrival and 2 MONTHS later I am still waiting to be refunded the correct amount and we are quickly approaching the 1 MONTH line for my deposit to be returned.We were charged over R2000 for E-Toll use in Johannesburg, we drove through Johannesburg 3x on our holiday. we are still waiting for a clear invoice on that amount. No e-mails are being answered, and once again we received an invoice yesterday for R250 for handling fees due to a fine we received......OUTRAGEOUS!!!

155 replies to this topic
Johannesburg, South...
Level Contributor
43 posts
2 reviews
121. Re: Avoid First Car Rental

Thank you so much MT Chandler.

Johannesburg, South...
Level Contributor
43 posts
2 reviews
122. Re: Avoid First Car Rental

Dear Xelas, the only way to know if a vehicle petrol tank is full is to fill it up until you cant fit anymore petrol in it, not when the gauge shows full. Petrol splash-back often cuts the nozzle off and renters take this as being full, and more often than not, tell the attendant to stop. This is a daily problem we face. This is why we ask that renters let us fill the tank. This is only fair to the next renter, which could be you.

Thanks for allowing us to explain.

Cheers FCR_VQ

Cape Town, South...
3 posts
1 review
123. Re: Avoid First Car Rental

First Car Rental is dishonest and unethical. You charge for fuel irrespective of how full the tank is when the car returned. And when the customer complains, you simply say the fuel charge corresponds to the kilometres driven and the customer has to prove otherwise. Defrauding the customer for a few rands extra

Cape Town, South...
3 posts
1 review
124. Re: Avoid First Car Rental

This response from First Car rental is simply dishonest rubbish. If you actually tried to refill the tank for the next customer you would immediately realise that the tank is full - but then you still charge as if you had to refill an empty tank.

Cape Town, South...
3 posts
1 review
125. Re: Avoid First Car Rental

This is nonsense. If you take the car to be filled up to the brim, then how do you manage to charge for half a tank petrol if the tank was already full. You obviously don't take it to be filled or maybe your attendants drive it around for a day before refueling. If you actually just refueled the vehicle you would be able to get at most 1 or 2 litres of fuel in - not half a tank.

Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
2 posts
9 reviews
126. Re: Avoid First Car Rental

I have also just returned from South Africa and had the same experience with First Rental on both my Cape Town hire and Johannesburg.

Both rentals were charged refueling despite me returning the car full in both instances. They even had the audacity to send me a text prior to returning the Cape Town hire advising that this was a courtesy service they provided !!

When I challenged, they refunded the Cape Town charge,

Being aware of the experience in Cape Town, when I returned the car to Johannesburg, I specifically mentioned that I had fueled, and showed the attendant the receipt, who made a note on his copy - unfortunately i didn't get a copy! - but still got hit with the charge

Despite following the same complaints procedure, they are adamant about the Johannesburg charge - blaming a 14 km journey from the petrol station to the airport to justify the need to refuel 3.5 liters !!

I agree with other posters that these are sharp practises

London, United...
Level Contributor
1,499 posts
2 reviews
127. Re: Avoid First Car Rental

Steve P, I do not use First Car Rental however it seems to me that they getting a lot of flack because people have not bothered to read the procedure on their website for returning rentals where it actually tells people not to return the car with a "full tank":

firstcarrental.co.za/about-us/faqs/car-hire-…

Other rental companies say the same thing. For example Europcar's Europcar's FAQ's also say that you do not need to return a vehicle with a full tank

https:/…faq

I use Avis and never return a vehicle with a full fuel tank. I have always let Avis top-up the fuel to show the tank is full. They only charge for the fuel.

London, United...
Level Contributor
1,499 posts
2 reviews
128. Re: Avoid First Car Rental

I've just realized that the links don't work.

Here is the one for First Car Rentals: firstcarrental.co.za/about-us/faqs/car-hire-…

and here is the link for Europcar: https:/…faq

Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
2 posts
9 reviews
129. Re: Avoid First Car Rental

Thanks MTChandler, appreciate the comments

However as a frequent traveler - around 40+ business trips per year - I always look for a "full to full" policy . I get really frustrated with a "same to same" policy as you never know how much fuel to put back in !!

The issue I have with First is that despite showing the receipt - usually on required if you have driven few miles - they still insisted on charging the cost, and I'm no stuck with a pedantic "customer services" member who refuses to see the logic of the situation or escalate it to their mgr.

Really frustrating

Coventry, United...
6 posts
130. Re: Avoid First Car Rental

Had a terrible time with First Rental and would advise anyone to avoid at all costs.

Hired a 4x4 vehicle in Johannesburg specifically for the type of terrain we would be driving over and the fact there was only two of us. This was booked 10 months in advance. Got to the reception desk, told that they had "ran out" of our specified vehicle and offered an alternative. After travelling for the best part of 24 hours and with a 3 hour drive ahead, I had no idea what the make of car the chap said to me was and when asked if it was suitable, was told "it as lots of boot space". You're telling me! I took the keys and went into the car park to find they had given us practically a mini bus. A totally unsuitable and not booked people carrier. Due to being tired, annoyed and wanting to just get to my accommodation plus the long walk back to the desk didn't appeal to me, we took that vehicle and felt like idiots for the first half of a our holiday. Not suitable to drive where we went and glad to not be in it for too long! Queried when we got back, told this was in the same category as what we ordered and a load of other wafty nonsense. On route back to Johannesberg airport, I discover there is absolutely no washer fluid in the tank (had not used this up until this point) and the engine oil light came on - looks like they really maintain their vehicles!

Fast forward to our connection to Port Elizabeth, unfortunately I found we had hired with them again. This time, I meet possibly the rudest receptionist I have ever come across. Tells me she wants to take the best part of 10,000R off my credit card as deposit. I try to explain to her that I've just rented with the same company in Johannesberg and they only took 3000R deposit and she basically just keeps shouting at me "you're wrong". I had to walk off as I was getting so irate and left my mother to deal with this uncouth person. Finally we give in to her demands as it seems the only way to ever get to our accommodation that evening. I tell her I want the oil and washer fluid checked before I go anywhere to ensure it's correct. I ask if she can provide a tissue to allow me to check the oil level. She says no and stands there as if I'm the problem. Eventually I find my own and manage to conduct checks I shouldn't have to (and never have with any other company) and we go on our way - luckily this time in a car we did order

Fast track to arriving home and awaiting refund of our deposit minus fuel charges. Johannesberg one arrives in a timely manner but Port Elizabeth one no where to be seen. I give it a sufficient amount of time and then email the company asking for an explanation. Their excuse? The card I had given had expired. Absolute rubbish - firstly my card did not expire (no matter what the "paperwork" they have states as I know which card I paid my deposit with). Secondly, not one email or attempt to contact me to rectify this mistake. So if I had not been vigilant in checking, the company would have kept £150+ of deposit they were not entitled to. Brilliant.

Both refunds were a lot smaller than I imagined they would be - lord knows where they buy their fuel from but they must charge more than the service stations in England for it!

Would never use again, money grabbing scam artists who care nothing about customer service or satisfaction. Teaches us the lesson of never go with the cheapest option - they're cheap for a reason

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