I arrived from my hometown of Houston, Texas, USA, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Monday, Feb. 18, 2013. I had no reservations for a rental car. At Sixt Budget Rental Cars at Schiphol airport, they had a Hyndai I10 available. I had never seen this particular model. The next available bigger car would have been a significantly bigger model that would have costed $50 more per day. I indicated that I would not want to travel in the smallest car for safety reasons and that I would be travelling
to Germany. The sales representative assured me that the Hyndai he was offering was not the smallest model. Sixt did not have a picture chart at their sales desk available with photos of similar models. I trusted the sales representative and accepted. - When I picked up the car in the parking garage, I saw the model for the first time. By the way, they also did not provide me with a basic map. - Standard at other car rental agencies.
After seeing the car, I voiced my concern and they showed me the other bigger model that was available. It was a minivan, I don't remember the model but it way too big for me.
I drove from Amsterdam to Germany the same day without incident. On Wednesday, Feb. 20, it started snowing in Germany. I tealized that I had no winter tires after slipping on an icy road on Thursday. I had to leave the car at a restaurant overnight and picked it up the next day.
On Saturday, the situation got worse and I called Sixt Budget to discuss the situation. The customer service representative in Germany was sympathetic and connected me with a representative in Amsterdam. Here I was treated very poorly.
First of all, the representative claimed that requesting winter tires would be my responsiblity.
I live in Texas. I expect to be advised on the current local conditions and if I rent at an international airport such as Schipol, I expect to be advised about potential street conditions beyond The Netherlands and legal requirements that concern the automobile directly.
This is what happened: They knew I would be travelling to Germany in February and that I would have needed winter tires. If I would have asked, they would have told me about that requirement. But my mistake was that I simply did not
know and did not ask. So, they simply pushed the risk over to my side.They knew I would be violating German law but they did not care as long as they could make a sale.
Irresponsible. Reckless and abusive. At the very least, this was very poor customer service. It got worse.
They claimed I never told them that I would drive to Germany. That is a stark lie.
We discussed this specifically when they asked me about the distance I would be traveling.
It is legally required in Germany to drive with winter tires in February. They knew.They should have told me. On the phone the lady actually said to me, 'Oh, yes, you need winter tires if you are driving in Germany, that is too bad. You cannot drive the car.'
When I called Sixt Budget, the customer service representative in Amsterdam told me to drive back to Amsterdam - under violation of German law - to exchange the car. That would have been a three hours drive each way and the loss of a whole
day at least, not to mention the risk. How cynical is that? - Only after inquiring about another solution, the representative suggested that I could exchange the car locally against a $120 fee.
But this was not all. It was 11:00 am when I called her in Amsterdam. She told me she would call me back right away. She did not. She had my number on her caller id. When I finally called back at 1:30, I was told that now, all local Sixt locations would
be closed that sales representative in Amsterdam had tried to call me back but that I had given her the wrong number. Another lie because my number was on her call id. She had let time pass until all local stations were closed for the weekend. - What a b*tch. - I was stuck with a car that I could only use under violation of German law for the whole weekend.
Sixt Budget? - Never again.