I had to put up my dukes again today with National Car Rental, BV. The sh** just continues to pile up.
Here's what has happened since my last post:
First, I took the advice of Rob, and went to the juridisch loket. This agency is interesting, but not very helpful for a person in my situation. They are simply an advisory board, and they can point you to resources. They do not intervene for you, do not act as advocate, and do not hear any cases for arbitration either. They were a handy legal referral, though. After reviewing my documents and listening to my story, they suggested I would be best served by an attorney, or that I should simply drop the matter.
I made an appointment with an attorney in Utrecht, but was disappointed with the fact that there is no free initial consultation. It would cost 50 euro just to talk for a half hour about the case. I guess I am spoiled by the US civil legal system. With the appointment and name of the attorney in hand, I made a final attempt to give National an out. There is only about 500 euro at stake for me, so it would definitely be preferable for them to make some kind of compromise.
Calling the office and getting transferred a couple of times, I finally found an employee in the rental car mechanical failure department (or whatever they call themselves), who listened and admitted that national had failed somewhat to handle this properly. He negotiated with me, and we worked out an arrangement where I would essentially cover my travel interruption cost and phone charges, but the rest of the rental would be refunded. He said they would send me papers to sign, so I could get the sum of approximately 200 euro refunded, and they would pay Hertz rental car directly for the overages invoice.
I went on my trip to MFF, fully expecting this refund to be handled in my absence. Well, it was, sort of. I received a credit to my card in the amount of 97 us dollars, about one third of the total I was expecting. Not good!
Finally back from London and now able to handle this some more, I called again today. Mr. van Ziel, who had been handling this, sent me over to another department to see what refunds had been issued, because he did not have a record of it easily accessible. I confirmed with them that the 97 was all they had sent, and intended to send. I then argued with him for about 10 minutes about the figures, he kept telling me the matter was properly resolved. I told him it was not, and that I might need to make a new legal appointment if he could not work this out, or find a colleague capable of making the decision to refund the remaining charges to my card. There is now about 205 us dollars on my card that has not been refunded from the initial transaction, plus my 200 euro in actual travel expenses, due to the failure. All this for a rental that was contracted to cost 213 euro. I will reply in this post when I find out what happens later this week. I gave Mr. van Ziel until wednesday to contact me with an update, and until friday to make a payment for it.
What a disorganized company, bleh.