May 142007
 

Just don’t.  Did I say don’t hire a campervan from Apollo Campervans in New Zealand?  I’ll get to that later.

With a bit of hangover I got up and headed to the airport with no breakfast inside.  A recipe for prolonging the pain if ever I’ve heard one.

I was all excited by picking up the campervan.  A mere $200 for 6 days.  Bargain.  I even extended it by a day.

It was all great until……..

On the phone to the call centre I said ‘Are there any extra charges?’

‘No.  That’s it.  Unlimited kilometres and only more if you take out extra insurance’

Fantastic.  That was until I sat there at the desk going through the formalities and the guy on the counter explained that if you don’t take extra insurance they take $5000 off your credit card, and by the way there’s a 1.5% surcharge for credit cards.

‘That’s ridiculous, is there any way I can avoid it or pay by cash?’

‘No.’

Even if you take out extra insurance they still take a bond, albeit smaller, off your card, and you still get charged for the credit card fee.  I was just lucky I didn’t have American Express as that was 4%.  So here I was with a $200 rental, having to pay a non refundable charge of $75 for something I would hopefully never use.  If I had an American Express card, by credit card fee would have been $100 more than my rental.  Absolutely outrageous.

It is my mission to get the $75 back but I know I’ve got no chance.  Basically I was sitting there, got by the goolies as I only had 6 days, wanted to rent from elsewhere, but never had time to sort it out without eating into my limited time.

I’m going to email the tourism authorities responsible for giving these idiots a New Zealand Tourism Qualmark award indicating their great service to tourists.  By the way they also operate ‘Cheap Camper’ vans.

I felt sorry for the guy serving me as it wasn’t his fault, but to be honest it took all the excitement of renting a camper from them.

Anyway, I got on my way, pleased to have a fridge on the move so my purchases consisted of a 6 pack of Monteith’s Golden lager, a bottle of Feijoa white(!) wine, bread, meat filled pasta, nacho kit, guacamole, sour cream, onion, cheese, biscuits (I still had some wine left), cereal, chocolate, milk and feijoas.  A truly balanced diet.

I purchased some karma points by giving away my duvet and pillows to the hostel, and my cooking set of gas stove, gas bottles, plates and pans to a Taiwanese couple in the hostel that had missed out purchasing my car.  It was interesting to see how easily they were taken when free compared to the $30 (£11) asking price on the hostel noticeboard the night before…..maybe it wasn’t noticed but it felt better giving it other travellers anyway.

 Posted by at 1:48 am

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