Auckland: rental car debacle

by | Dec 19, 2016 | International Travel, Travel

Unfortunately, the good vibes we had been feeling on the South Island left us after landing in Auckland.

We had a pre-paid reservation for a ‘meet and greet’ agreement so I was hoping to see someone holding a sign in the terminal when we exited. Nothing.

While we were waiting for our checked bags, I realized that I had accidentally booked an 8pm pickup and it was only 7pm, so we connected to the airport wi-fi and called the number listed on the reservation. This went straight to voicemail, so I left a message stating that we had arrived and to please send someone as soon as possible. We waited until about 7:30pm and then I used a pay phone to call the number collect. Still no answer.

After wandering the domestic terminal looking for a sign with my name on it, at 8:15pm (after someone should have originally met us), I called the number again and finally got a human who told me the airport rental office closed at 7pm and they don’t do pickups after that.

Excuse me?

Never mind that I had a PAID reservation for 8pm; no one was ever planning to come get us?

Semi-furious, we walked over to the domestic terminal rental car facilities to see if we could hunt down a rental. The best Thrifty could do for us was $235 for essentially a 40-hour rental. Undeterred we tried booking a cheaper rate online through Orbitz. For some reason the Orbitz reservation was not showing up in their system, so we also booked direct through their website. We waited a while for it to show up in their system and still no luck. After nearly an hour, it became clear this was not going to work, so at 9:30pm we decided to take an Uber to the hotel and try to pick up a car in the city the next day.

While waiting I had called the hotel to let them know not to give up on us, and thankfully someone was waiting with our key when we arrived. We were assigned the exact same room as our last visit 20 months ago (pretty cool)! After dropping off our luggage we walked across the street to Dida’s Wine bar where we got a glass of wine each and the bartender took pity on our dejected moods by giving us an on-the-house bowl of their tasty spiced nut/seed mix. Very nice.

After returning to the States, I got in touch of, the rental car reseller, who refunded our money after a brief investigation. I would NEVER rent from Right Rental Cars in Auckland. Ever.

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