Let me paint the picture. We as a family have been holidaying in Europe for over a couple of decades and we usually book flights and car hire seperate. We buy annual travel insurance and car insurance excess policies.
I generally book car hire early and usually go with Firefly or Goldcar, popular in Spain.
So this time I'd booked flight with Easyjet and the car hire through them too which turned out to be Firefly, a good choice.
This morning I landed in Alicante, came straight off the plane and headed for the Firefly desk, all papers, driving license etc to hand. It's a very simple process. They offer excess insurance, I decline as I have my own policy, they then put a block amount on your card in case if any accidents etc. I sign, they give me the keys and I'm done in a few minutes. But not today. I get to the point where they put a block on my card, I insert the card, it's says remove it, I insert the card, it says remove it...
I swipe the card, it throws an error.
We start the exercise again with the same output.
The firefly representative days sorry there is something wrong with your card. I only used it at LGW two hours earlier I said.
You cannot use this card, I cannot give you the car. My wife has the same card but because my name is down on the car hire document she can't pay. I only have a debit card but that can't be used to block a payment. The only way I can get the car is to use my debit card and they charge me for the excess through them at their rate.
I come away very annoyed obviously so I ring the number on the back of the card.
After a 10min wait I speak to a chap, we muddle through the security questions and I explain the situation. The card is ok, the credit limit is ok? He puts me in hold for a few minutes.
He now comes back to be and tells me the reason my card won't work is that the company putting the block on my card is one that has been listed by someone in Tesco finance as being of dubious nature and therefore no transactions are allowed to be carried out through them.
Boll***s, I said. I used them last September at this very desk and had no issue then so someone somewhere has ****** up.
He basically calls me a liar, won't accept accountability and asks me whether I'd like to complain. Oh yes I said and I also expect you to refund me the excess that they are now going to charge me due to your mistake. I'm not sure they'll do that he said. Yes, they will I said. We then said goodbye.
To cut a long story short, I coughed up €137 so I could get my car else I'd of been stung even more for cancellations etc and then rehiring a car.
And to top it off, last week I booked and paid for another car hire through the same company at the same location and with my Tesco MasterCard and it took the booking. So will I be in the same position again come June? Will I need a new credit card issuer?
Firefly is Owned by Hertz, so how can they be dubious in any way?
My question is, am I the only one to whom this has happened?