Camper Van Hire Spain – our hire problems ...

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by Taupo, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. Taupo

    Taupo Read Only Funster

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    ... with Autocaravan Express S.A. - aka Spaincamper.com

    We would never use this company again. Reasons follow. Am happy to e-mail detailed photographs of our campervans problems to anyone interested.
    Pick–up was from Madrid. Length of Hire 6 weeks May – June 2012.
    The booking process was wonderful – every question answered; every e-mail attended to. Since we finished the hire and sent a list of our problems we have not even had the courtesy of a reply. Disappointing. It seems these guys are all about the money.
    The Problems:
    · The van we SPECIFICALLY booked and were promised (Hymer 312 chosen for back road driving in Spain, France and Italy) was not available when we arrived from New Zealand due to a crash 2 days earlier!
    · We were refused a refund and were contractually obligated to accept an ‘Upgrade’
    · The Manager Frank Ooms showed us around and offered us an ‘Upgrade’ (Hymer Excis WAY bigger than we wanted)which turned out to be over 4 years old with over 140,000 kms. But their web site states “Our vehicles range from a month to 18 months old and have a mileage of up to 40,000 kms”.
    · No English speaker available to demonstrate van features – another broken promise with severe repercussions.
    · Shock absorbers were worn out. Van handled like a 4 ton waterbed.
    · On the first night the roof mounted overhead second bed broke free of its top restraints and fell down. If this had happened while we were driving it could have killed us. On the last day the bottom screwed-in support handle gave way – again if driving this could have killed us.
    · Tyres were nearly bald. We had to replace 3 during the journey.
    · Fellow motorists kept stopping us warning us the wheel was wobbling and about to fall off .. tyre was so unevenly worn it would have appeared to be oscillating – that was the first replacement. Spare was so bad garage refused to fit it so had to buy a new one.
    · The rear tyre EXPLODED when we were doing 115 kph on a motorway viaduct. We swerved terrifyingly before eventually coming to rest on the hard shoulder … right next to the one steel barrier separating us from a 15 meter drop.
    · Water pump failed on day 2 – fortunately next door camper was an engineer and motorhome expert and fixed it for us.
    · Water tank continually leaked soaking bedding which was stored under spare seat until we discovered it and moved it
    · Driver’s seat suspension nonexistent. Husband had permanently bruised spine.
    · Power cable too short for most power outlets on campsites
    · No 2 pin adaptor provided for the most common power outlets so had to buy one. Could only use their 3 pin one twice in 6 weeks.
    · Hosepipe for water tank had no fittings for taps had to buy our own
    · Other problems; several windows, one roof lights, the table and drawers all failed.
    · Rear bed ladder dangerously loose; vehicle jack unable to raise campervan for tyre changes; no mosquito netting on rear roof lights;
    · Kitchen pack laughable. No cutting board; no mugs; unusable army-style tin opener.
    There’s more – but this is long enough already! Let us know if you want photos or more details.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2012
  2. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Doesn't say much for the relatively new Hymers does it :Eeek:.
     
  3. old-mo

    old-mo Funster Extra Special Life Member

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    If the tyres were "Bald"....

    Why did you accept the vehicle in such a state.. the tyres haven`t got bald all of a sudden.. :Sad:
     
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  4. Pikey Pete

    Pikey Pete Read Only Funster

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    No introduction just a straight launch into a scathing criticism of this hire company.

    I just don't believe any if this.

    Drivers seat suspension on a Eurobox, when did they start fitting that?





    Pete:Cool:
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2012
  5. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    and i use an army style tin opener ever day ,if opening tins best tin openers i know . and most campers its far better to ride up a few wooden blocks if you have a puncture . dont think there are many coachbuilts that the original jack lifts high enough from a flat tyre .
    as to the leccy lead its called move closer . sounds like a moaning mini to me .
     
  6. gordoncbrown

    gordoncbrown Funster

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    Perhaps posting some pictures may clarify the points raised. Admittedly accepting a vehicle with bald tyres makes it sound iffy. Will wait til I see the pics.
     
  7. chatter

    chatter Read Only Funster

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    bald tyres on hire vehicles is not that uncommon in spain, I have picked a vehicle up from an evening flight and not noticed a bald tyre before now - and that was from a major player in the car hire business - when i noticed took it back to their nearest place for them to deal with and they gave me another vehicle rather than change the tyre and then tried to charge me for returning a vehicle with a nearly empty tank - to take my brother in laws name in vain it was a case of - no way Jose
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2012
  8. Roryboys Dad

    Roryboys Dad Read Only Funster

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    Taupo - please post as many pictures as possible to confirm your experiences of the hire vehicle.

    Just a couple of questions -

    How far from the Hire depot were you when it became obvious that you were hiring a defective vehicle?

    You say the Exsis was much 'bigger' than the 312 and therefore not what you wanted for 'back road driving' in Spain, France and Italy - but isn't the Exsis only 5cms longer than the 312?

    :france::france::france:
     
  9. motorhomelover

    motorhomelover

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    interesting to see more details on this :Eeek:
     
  10. ukbill

    ukbill Funster

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    it is ok to name and shame poor service but please don't use this site to take out your grievance regarding maybe a small poor service you may have had, i am not saying what you said isn't true but none of it add's up
    why accept something you didn't book in the 1st place and surely even though the you didn't have a english speaking person dealing with you surely you don't need a translator to tell you the tires are defective or that the kitchen didn't have all that you needed you needed sorry if im wrong but some pics would help
     
  11. rangitira

    rangitira Funster

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    Hate to say this:Sad: But!!

    Mate! you bloody green or something! Everything is not "Grouse mate" over here! As in NZ there are rip off merchants all over this great world!

    So! your O E has been spoiled, as others have pointed out, YOU accepted the vehicle! so the fault lies entirely with you!

    This is not "the Quart Flagon Quarter Acre Paradise" you are used to, 22000kms from the real World,

    Mate! Honestly! Quit bloody moaning, AND in the true KIWI way put it down to experience!

    I've never been afraid of speaking out! nor should you! And I've been here since 2000!

    Tene Koe e hoa! Kia kara:thumb:
     
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  12. Taupo

    Taupo Read Only Funster

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    More explanation obviously needed!

    Firstly - sorry for not introducing myself. Where are my manners ?!?? Was so fixated on making the post as short as possible did not use any niceties... we are a mature couple ex-uk now living in NZ. We don't own a mobile home. We hired our first campervan in Madrid after planning a European trip of a lifetime - (6 weeks touring Spain, France and Italy) - took us 15 years to realise it!

    So - to your comments and queries ...- we first noticed the tyre problem when we were three days into the trip.

    Yes - our bad for not checking them first - but in our defence we had just got off a 30 hour flight from NZ, had a huge disappointment that the vehicle we had booked 5 months earlier was not available, had a long discussion about why we couldn't cancel right then and there and get our money back (1800 euros deposit made 3 months prior) because the Spanish contract insisted we HAD to take an upgrade. So - lose 1800 Euros we could ill afford - or try and get it back through the courts or try and make the best of it? We were then talked into the only possible replacement vehicle by the Manager who assured us we'd be more than happy with it.

    The Hymer 312 is 5.4 x 2.08 x 2.55 m. the Hymer Excis is 6.15 x 2.72 x 2.14 m. - thus an "upgrade'. That extra width was a total pain on the narrow back roads we had planned - especially sharing the the hairpins with oncoming buses on the road to Cadaquez! The extra length meant there was practically nowhere we could park in many Italian towns and most villages around the Italian Lakes.

    Every couple of days we contacted the company and asked for a replacement - even offering to go from Venice to their depot in Malaga - but (when they bothered to call us back) they consistently said they had nothing else available.

    Tin opener comment - fair enough, That WAS a moan too far. Think I was just getting to the last straw stage by then!


    Photos ... I have loads and have attached one of all the tyres. Also a shot of the bed fixings (which had clearly already failed and been mended once before.)

    Left to right: (Tyres) We drove 7,033 km on the left hand tyre before it burst. The one on its right was the oscillating tyre and lasted 1,977 km before we had to replace it. (I have a great shot of its profile - unbelievable!) The next one lasted 4,669 km. The next one lasted 7,088 and the one on the vehicle is a new replacement.(we did 8,000 km overall.)

    I still firmly believe that this vehicle was a disaster waiting to happen. Ok the tyres could possibly have been replaced if we'd noticed them and if they'd been willing and if we'd waited around a couple of days- but the bed dropping down on our heads was really scary. And no, we didn't think to check that as we had already decided to use only the back bed.


    To be honest I don't think any of you that have replied will actually be looking at hiring a camper in Spain. The post was designed to warn people - especially first timers - to choose their supplier with care AND check the vehicle thoroughly. I'm not looking for sympathy (which is just as well given the scathing nature of some of the comments!) But when I was researching I tried to check every forum out there, (including this one) using tags like 'camper van problems' in an effort to make sure we chose the best supplier. If this means other people have a less stressful trip of a liftetime then I have achieved what I set out to do.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
  13. ukbill

    ukbill Funster

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    thanks for the pics reckon them tyres have at least another 20k in em lol
    yes they are disgusting and also yes your post will now stop lots of people from hiring from this company again but i do hope you haven't let the matter die you need to try to follow up your complaint and let us know if possible the outcome
    bill
     
  14. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Putting it that way I think your complaints valid. If the photos had been posted earlier some funsters would have been more sympathetic. Am not surprised the bed fell down if the only thing holding it up was that curtain hook. Hymer quality is obviously not what it used to be.
     
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  15. Carol

    Carol Funster Life Member

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    Hello and welcome to fun, on reading your explanation can quite see why you were so upset as I am sure any one would be, and if you as you say it stops one other person having to go through the distress of a ruined holiday it will be worth it. Thank you and better luck with future holidays.
     
  16. Pikey Pete

    Pikey Pete Read Only Funster

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    We weren't having a go at you specifically, but we do get postings like yours, from time to time that are deliberately malicious, the poster then vanishes without trace.

    I am sorry to hear of your problems with this company and I hope you can get some satisfaction.

    To those who don't know, the bed fixing you show is not meant to carry the weight of the bed that is done by the gas struts, which had obviously failed. If the vehicle had been checked at all by the hire company, they should have known the struts had failed and how dangerous it is to drive the vehicle with the whole weight of the bed hanging on the retaining strap..

    That is just gross negligence.

    Pete:Cool:
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
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  17. Taupo

    Taupo Read Only Funster

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    Thankyou

    Thanks for all your feedback.
    I’ve taken it all on board and when I post on the other sites I have lined up I will concentrate on the bed; the tyres; the contract with no get out clause; the refusal to replace the vehicle – and their lack of care.
    We have not asked Autocaravans SA for compensation – in fact we are still waiting for them to answer our e-mails where we listed the problems in the first place. So, we have written this off as a bad experience. Pursuing them for compensation would be practicably difficult from NZ and probably prohibitively expensive.
    I have loaded a couple of other shots from the campervan – the one where the second of the two bed mounts – the BOTTOM one fails; the jury rig we fixed up to get us back to the depot (using a swivel metal TV stand arm and the ladder from the back bed as a prop); the profile of the oscillating tyre and the state of the campervan after the blowout which took off the wheel arch trim (and, incidentally, damaged the water tank pipes so that for the last 5 days we were unable to use any water in the van without flooding the floor of the vehicle!)
    I must confess that I will probably be a 'hit and run' forum member (perhaps not the best metaphor!) as we won't be taking any holidays in a campervan for a few years - and possibly never ...
    I'm going to concentrate on posting my warnings in a few other forums (I have 25 to go!) and then will try to find time to come back and share our favourite campsites with you. The 6 weeks we spent in France, Spain and Italy were scenically stunning, full of lovely people - and in a different vehicle it would have been perfect.

    Thanks again, and all the very best, Taupo.
     

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  18. Rob e Lee

    Rob e Lee Funster

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    Good Luck

    Hi,

    I've been reading all the posts and I feel annoyed at all the 'posters' who seem so very quick to doubt your story. I for one am prepared to read though and make up my own mind but will not automatically presume posts such as these to be 'made up'.

    Sorry you received such negativity when using this forum.

    Rob
     
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  19. martin1485

    martin1485 Funster

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    Just a couple of comments:

    It is strongly advisable to thoroughly check any hire vehicle at the point of collection for both safety and damage. Either way, if anything is wrong, once it has been accepted, the hirer is likely to be held responsible. I had to reject 2 hire cars in Portugal because the tyres were so badly worn. I also went over the entire third vehicle for damage and ensured that all scratches and stains etc were noted before I accepted it.

    I get very frustrated when companies fail to respond to my e mails but have come to accept that they do not carry the same weight, or seemingly, importance that a letter does - particularly one that details complaints. In your case, I would write to them and send it with a recorded delivery. I would include all of the photographic evidence together with a very clear demand of what you expect to resolve the issue. It may also be that there is a member with a good knowledge of the Spanish system for legal small claims that could advise of any options to take it further.

    Until all of these options have been explored, I would advise against posting on numerous other forums as the chances of an amicable resolution may be reduced.

    Hope you get it resolved.
     
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