It seems that at Sixt in Germany the customer is not No. 1 and that they do not try any harder either!
Arrived at Sixt in Aachen on 23rd Dec. to pick up a car to a few unhappy surprises. Although Germany has never been famous for customer service, hear this:
After I presented my papers they acknowledged that they had the car, they however immediatley added: ''I pressume you will be taking winter tires?" as if the car wasnt fitted with those. That was going to cost me EUR 100 (USD 140!) extra. For tires that were already fixed on the car for months of course!
To prevent people from refusing to pay, they have 1 car available fitted without the tires. 'Sneaky' seems to be Sixt' corporate motto.
Consequently there was nobody to show us to the car (find it youself...), we had to dig it out of the snow ourselves and that was about 25 cm of snow.
With nobody there to explain how the car worked, the fact that the wiper fluid reservoir was empty was not helpful, also given the winter conditions.
Eventually we got out of there and will bring the car back, never to return as a customer to this organisation.
I will of course also write to Sixt Germany, but we already know where that leads us......
Firstly I’d like to thank you for your objective comments about Sixt.
Please accept my sincerest apologies that the vehicle was not ready at the start of your rental. I too would expect that the car would be cleared of snow and ready for you, I have made the Branch Manager aware of our mutual disappointment.
In extremely cold conditions the motor on the wind screen wash can freeze, this of course prevents the screen wash from working even though anti freeze is added to the screen wash. There is little that can be done to prevent the motor from freezing. You may find that if the weather has warmed up a little that the screen wash is working. However, in your post you mentioned that the screen wash reservoir was empty, if this is the case and you have checked this then I apologise unreservedly for the oversight. All our vehicles are thoroughly checked before each rental, the water level if low should have been topped up. I would appreciate it if you could confirm that the water reservoir was empty or whether it was a frozen wind screen wash motor that caused the problem.
I think it is fair to say that the main thrust of your post was in relation to winter tyres, I can certainly understand your annoyance with the additional cost that you have had to pay for equipment that you consider to be fitted at this time of year as standard. The law in principle has not changed, whilst the fines have doubled the winter tyres are not mandatory throughout the whole of winter. The way the law is written means that there is a requirement that correct tyres are fitted according to the conditions.
If a vehicle does not have tyres suitable to the conditions then a fine can be issued and in cases where an obstruction is caused on the road and unsuitable tyres are fitted then this fine can be doubled.
Car hire services and pricing vary in different destinations and source markets. Car hire in Germany, Austria and Switzerland include usually only a basic product. The majority of extras such as additional waivers and winter tyres are excluded from our standard rate. Local customers are often looking for the cheapest possible option and only want to pay for services they actually requested.
The winter tyres is an additional cost to Sixt and we like other car rental companies, unfortunately have to pass this on to the customer. We do not feel that it is fair to apply a flat charge throughout the whole year to all customers for the winter tyres, as the customer should only be charged for a service that they have received. There are many occasions throughout the winter months where conditions do not require winter tyres as well as throughout Spring, Summer and the Autumnal months.
During the on line booking process we recommend the use of winter tyres at three separate stages of the booking, if selected the total price includes the charge for winter tyres. If the booking is confirmed without winter tyres we have an additional pop up box that informs the customer that although there may be wintry conditions you have booked your vehicle without winter tyres, would you like to add them, the cost will be ****
I am confident that we are extremely transparent about the winter tyre charges, and we give several nudges to encourage the customer to book them. We don't want our winter tyre charge to be a surprise for the customer when he/she arrives at the location to collect the vehicle.
I do hope you will choose Sixt for your next rental and I will remain at your disposal should you require any support arranging your next trip.
sorry, Gary, but couldn't stop smiling about your reply.
I assume this is the translated version of the German standard email, if customers complain regarding the charge of winter tires.
1. the winter tires are not even winter tires. They are 4 season tires.
2. the tires are fitted to the car when they come into the fleet. Some rare exceptions may apply. But there is no cost for changing tires or something like that. Besides 4 season tires are not much more expensive than summer tires.
3. if transparency is a clear goal, then
- why was the winter tire charge increased from 16 to 19€ per day on the first day of xmas vacation 2010 in Germany?
- why are customers charged 19€ per day, when they made a reservation in November when the price was 16€ per day?
- why is the winter tire charge for business customer almost nothing compared to the 19€ for privat customers?
4. why are winter tires only charged during winter time when it is outside below 3 degrees at the moment of the rental?
Finally regarding the screen wash: the screen wash water will not freeze if there would not only be plain water in the screen wash tank.
I can only recommend you not to defend German practices of the whole winter drama. It applies to all major german rental companies in Germany and cannot be compard to the quality standard and service level in the UK.
Therefore I do not even want to have an answer to the questions above.