Renting a BMW in Europe Be Very Careful; - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 7 Old May 30th, 2006, 7:26 pm Thread Starter
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Thumbs down Renting a BMW in Europe Be Very Careful;

OK as a dumb American Tourist (almost) Im relating my experience to this forum with the hopes that none of you subject yourself to the same misery I did. My wife Ginie and I decide to take a 3 week trip to Europe and ride the Alps, Italy and Corsica. We spent lots of time researching and planning this trip, securing our vacation saving money, etc. like we all do prior to a major trip. I looked at 4 rental companies and chose one located in Italy. It seemed like a convenient place to rent a GS for the trip. They have a rather crude web site, but it allowed me to book a bike via the internet, so we booked our 3 weeks on January 31st 2006, gave our credit card number and waited for a confirmation. No confirmation, but after several e-mails and a phone call, I received an e-mail confirmation two weeks after the credit card charge (BTW, the deposit on the 3 week rental was ($919.00 US).

The rental company charged my credit card on January 31st for a June 3rd pick-up of the R1200GS. They have no policy information on their website about cancellation and I received no rental contract from them after they charged my credit card. The only Terms and Conditions posted on their web site protect them from the renter damaging the bike or hurting someone.

Well as life happens we had to cancel the trip. My wife could no longer get the time off and our income tax bill took more of a bite out of us than we were expecting. So, on April 20th I sent an E-mail to the rental company asking to cancel the reservation on the GS (this is 45 days before the pick-up date and 79 days after the credit card transaction). After several phone calls and several e-mails the last e-mail telling them my credit card company was sending them a letter of cancellation, finally on May 24th I get this e-mail from the rental company;

------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Joe,
as per Italian Law and our rental term and conditions (also published in our web site) the reservation deposit is not refundable.
Anywy, as you have cancelled in advance, we give you a bonus: we'll deduct the 80% of the amount of the reservation deposit from the blance of another bike rental, if any, within Year 2007.
Regards,

------------------------------------------------------------------

BS: The do not have any information about a non refundable reservation deposit on their web site, nor was that communicated to me verbally or via written document. Oh but nice bonus If I reserve another bike at a later date I can only use 80% of my existing deposit on the next bike. OK, at this point Im pissed. This Italian dude has had my $919 for 115 days and now tells me hes keeping it all and its 45 days before the pick-up.

So, if any of you decide to tour the Alps, make sure you do a better job of checking out the company. I'm sure there are many reputable rental companies out there, but based on my experience here I have found one that is not. If you would like some details, send me a PM.

Joe Buttress
Plain Washington
2003 LTE
IBA SS
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post #2 of 7 Old May 30th, 2006, 8:06 pm
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I would play it through my CC company. If you haven't gotten the goods(MC) and you informed the agency 'in time' They usually immediately side with you and pull the money back.

If they (the agency) DO make trouble you can ask them for a paper where you acknowledge(with your signature) that they can keep the money.

Generally that works
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post #3 of 7 Old May 31st, 2006, 8:44 am
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Joe,
I think you should title the thread "in italy" as I am sure that most companies who rent BMWs in Europe are mostly honest and have good customer care polices.
It wouldnt be a bad idea to post the company in question web details.
I also agree with Andreas that if you get in touch with your CC company, they should be able to solve the problem for you.
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post #4 of 7 Old May 31st, 2006, 9:56 am
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Not going to help with your problem, but on the topic of riding in Europe on a BMW, I had a great experience with Beach Motorcycle Tours. They provided a BMW (they had R's and GS's) for two weeks, guided/supported tour (lot's of time for personal side trips) all accomodations (top class) and 2 meals a day (great food), with about twenty bikes. Bikes were in great condition. We toured the Alps through Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. Lots of companionship with other riders. I rode in 1996 and it cost a lot, like $4K for rider, $3k for passenger, including the bike and all above. They book up early. While it seems like a lot, if you add up the rental, room and board for 2 in Europe for two weeks I think it is competitive with a "roll your own" trip.

Laurence Hendrick

2008 K1200GT, Dark Graphite (Oh my, so fast!)
2005 LT Ocean Blue (Sold and comfort will be missed, but not the weight)
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post #5 of 7 Old May 31st, 2006, 11:04 am
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The Other Side

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovetomotor
Dear Joe,
as per Italian Law and our rental term and conditions (also published in our web site) the reservation deposit is not refundable.
Anywy, as you have cancelled in advance, we give you a bonus: we'll deduct the 80% of the amount of the reservation deposit from the blance of another bike rental, if any, within Year 2007.
Regards,
Their English is obviously lacking; let me try a more accurate translation from the original Italian idea: "We done spent all your money on wine and women already, so there's no way we can give it back. Just come ride one of our bikes instead."

I think there's a serious question as to whether Italian law governs this contract. See Article 5 of the Rome Convention. Nor should you be held to contractual terms that were never presented to you. Nevertheless, rules of international sales suggest that this Italian company has done nothing wrong in declining your invitation to cancel the contract. See Articles 49 and 60 of the UN Convention on Contracts for the Sale of Goods, as well as Articles 65, 68 & 70 of the Convention Relating to a Uniform Law on the International Sale of Goods. Same result in wholly domestic US transactions, except our customary expectations prompt most rental companies to include contractual provisions for early termination or cancellation of the contract.

If I may rephrase the thrust of your post, it sounds like you're saying, "I'm upset because the seller will not let me breach a contract that is no longer convenient for me to honor." While I sympathize with your situation, I have to wonder if this Italian company is merely impolite, and not necessarily "disreputable."

Either way, I do hope you get your money back. And because I'm curious, it would be nice if you update this thread when this is resolved.
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post #6 of 7 Old May 31st, 2006, 11:12 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhendrick
They provided a BMW (they had R's and GS's) for two weeks, guided/supported tour (lot's of time for personal side trips) all accomodations (top class) and 2 meals a day (great food), with about twenty bikes. Bikes were in great condition. We toured the Alps through Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland.
That sounds like an awesome trip. Definitely food for thought....
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post #7 of 7 Old May 31st, 2006, 3:00 pm
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Too bad you had to cancel. It sounded like a great trip.
I had a situation with a third party booking company,I think it was Hotwire. I booked a last minute flight from So Cal to Phoenix for my mom's heart attack and bypass. The Hotwire people crossed info and booked me to an Orange County airport and the airline booked me at Los Angeles. Needless to say by the time I was checking in there was no time to get across town and the flight left. I drove to Phoenix. Even though I had documentation in writing both the airline and Hotwire blamed each other and offered some lame fix like you are offered. Once I contacted American Express they got a 50% reimbursement and they ate the difference and gave me a full refund. I don't know which card you used but Amex always sides with the customer within reason.

Tony 05
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