James DiProspero’s rental car is getting him lost. Is the company responsible for hours of missed vacation time?
Question: I am not happy with the car I rented through the Renault Eurodrive buy-back lease program. My wife and I recently rented a Dacia Duster in Milan, but the car only had GPS maps for Western Europe. It had not been updated for Eastern Europe. We didn’t discover this until we left Italy.
We were driving to Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. We’ve lost so many hours trying to determine where we were going. In the end, we bought a country map of Turkey, but still could not find our hotels. We drove around for hours, asking for help to find our hotels.
I do not know what to do. We have a second Renault rental later this summer. Renault offered a $150 credit to buy a new GPS; I think a fair resolution would be for it to offer 50 percent off the next rental. Can you help? — James DiProspero, Clermont, Fla.
Answer: If you ordered a car with a navigation system that works in Europe, you should have received one. I can’t imagine anything worse than stumbling around in a foreign country with no idea where you are, or where you’re headed.
Before I get to what happened to you and to the resolution, let me state what should be obvious to you and anyone reading this problem: Don’t rely solely on a GPS. Redundancy, either with a smartphone that has GPS or with an old-fashioned atlas, is essential, particularly when you’re in another country.
But Renault Eurodrive goofed here, too. For readers not familiar with its buy-back lease program, here’s how it works: The program lets you select a new Renault vehicle, drive it for an extended period of time — usually a month or more — and then return it. For long-term rentals, you can save some money over a traditional rental car, so it’s definitely worth checking out. I like the fact that there are no hidden charges when you book online through its site.
According to Renault, it did “make some changes” to the car you were renting, and it didn’t notify you of the GPS changes. In other words, you thought you were getting a car with the right guidance system, but you didn’t. Worse, there wasn’t a way to know your GPS wouldn’t work in Eastern Europe until you crossed the border, by which time it was too late.
Renault says it acted quickly, refunding you $150 so you could buy a new GPS system. But you were not happy with that offer, since it arrived by email 11 days into your trip, by which time it was too late. You’ve asked for a 50 percent discount on your next car rental, an $800 value.
In addition to the refund, Renault offered you an upgrade to a Renault Kadjar, a $300 value and a 5 percent discount on your next rental, which you accepted.