During early February 2012, I applied for a quotation for vehicle hire via the website www.budget-van-hire.co.uk, and subsequently received a quotation for 900. For reasons that became clear much later, it did not confirm the dates of the hire; just the cost. The price was great, but the hire wasnt until August 2012 and there was, apparently, an early bird discount.
On the 2nd of February, I replied to that quotation, including the original text, which contained the quoted figure of 900. I confirmed the dates and asked to confirm the price. The reply, dated the 3rd of February, confirmed the dates as requested, but made no mention of the price. I therefore presumed, quite reasonably I think, that the price was confirmed.
Just to be clear; had there been any alteration to the quoted price of 900, this would have been the generally accepted time to highlight itI specifically requested this.
No detailed order acknowledgement or confirmation followed, which I found slightly odd as I deal with a lot of large companies on a daily basis, and its normally standard practice. I was asked in the email to call a representative, Simon, on 0844 292 0872, who took a deposit, via bank transfer, of 349, and confirmed that the balance of 551 would be debited from my credit card on the delivery day.
As the delivery date approached, I felt that I should check that everything was OK so I sent an email containing some queries to firstname.lastname@example.org; the email was returned undelivered the email address was no longer valid and neither was the URL; I was slightly concerned.
I used the original telephone number and BACS reference to find the LCT group and called them. The person I spoke to was aware of the booking, knew my postcode, and was able to answer my queries. I asked why there had been no detailed order acknowledgement or other paper work; I was told the hire agreement would be presented on delivery.
On the day of delivery, I received a phone call, at around 8:30am, from the hire company, informing me that my credit card had been declined and they werent able to take payment of the balance. I called my credit card company who told me that a transaction of 2166.98, not the expected 551, had been attempted so the card had been blocked.
Its worth clarifying at this point that nowhere, in any email or telephone conversation, had a figure other than 900 appeared; the figure of 2166.98 had never been spoken of or written until this moment. Its also worth bearing in mind that my credit limit on the card was 3000, so had it been clear of all other transactions, they would have been able to deduct over 2000 without my permission.
I called Capital Hire, as they were now calling themselves, to discuss this point and was told that the quote had, all along, been in excess of 2166.98, with a 500 deposit. I explained that I had an email quoting 900; I was told that the dates on the original quote were different to the subsequently requested dates, and that I couldnt expect to hire a van, for a week, for that amount. I explained that at no point, in almost six months, had I had received a communication explaining this, or detailing the new figure; I was told that this was the price, and if I didnt want to pay it, Id get no vehicle.
So, it seems that their somewhat obtuse understanding of the situation was this; I asked for a quote, which was calculated at 900, I then booked a vehicle for a different period of time, which was calculated at 2166.98. They didnt feel that Id ever need to know the new price, despite the fact that I was clearly under the impression that it hadnt changed. The original quote detailed the price but not the dates, and the later quote detailed the dates but not the pricebrilliant, really!
I now see that the whole series of events was orchestrated to place the customer in a position, on the day, where he was so desperate to hire the vehicle that he would have no choice but to pay the grossly inflated cost. As it happens, I managed to hire a vehicle locally for 1250.
Everyone that I spoke to at the company; one called Tony, another called Simon, and another called Jake, were clearly used to this kind of situation as they handled it with a practiced insolence. They quite simply couldnt have cared less. I am still waiting to get my deposit back; Ive had loads of failed promises and the same pig-ignorant attitude. Tony, without a doubt, is the most ignorant human being I have ever spoken to its almost comical how arrogant he is. Their credit controller is called Paul Murray
Ive since done some research into this company and its a real rats nest. Their phone number is related to several websites including; www.car-hire-van-rental.co.uk , www.cheapvan-hire.co.uk, www.minibus-hire-uk.co.uk.and www.airport-car-rental.co.uk. There are several business names attached to these numbers and sites; LCT group, BCH Hire, CVH Group, and they answer the telephone as Capital Hire. If you drill down into their web site, a company appears called DCH Hire, which is based at 73a Heath St London, NW3 6UG. The visit website link of this companys listings goes straight to www.airport-car-rental.co.uk.
Their main phone numbers are: 0844 292 0872 or 0208 045 1179, and the advertised correspondence address is: Conference House, 152 Morrison Street, The Exchange, Edinburgh, EH3 8EB. This address is bogus. I have uncovered several other addresses related to their business names or phone numbers; whether they be previous or current, I dont know, but they are;
Gunnery House, Cornwallis Road, London, SE18 6SW
Unit 1, Rippleside Commercial Estate, Ripple Road IG11 0RG,
25 and also 25a Orsett Road, Grays RM17 5DS
1 Hadar Close, London N20 8TL
271 273 King Street, London, W6 9LZ
80 Tooting Hight Street, London, SW17 0RN.
I have also discovered that I am not the only person to have had trouble with these clowns. You will find several similar stories at http:// (((REDACTED))) and http://www.phonespamfilter.co.uk/search.php/08442920872.
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