I would like to share an extremely frustrating and disappointing experience with the Ace office in Cairns, Australia, and warn anyone to seriously think twice about renting from this office. Based on the experience that we had, I would very wary of what other issues might surface during a rental with this agency/branch.
We booked a car for a day with Ace on the recommendation of the hotel we were staying at, partly because they would pick-up and drop-off. We received the car, and went on our business, returning late the same day. Realizing we weren't told about a night drop-off box for the keys, we kept the car overnight (still well within our 24 hour booking). We were scheduled to go out on a tour the next morning, so had the hotel call Ace and see if they could just come collect the car when it was convenient for them (again, they offer pick-up/drop-off service, and the hotel was all of one block from the office). As I listened to the hotel manager talk with the Ace representative, it was clear from the 3rd person perspective that this was no problem at all. After hanging up, the hotel manager confirmed....no problem....they would come pick the car up; no worries (please note that at this time, we still had enough time to return the car to their office, although we would be rushing).
Upon our return from our tour we were surprised to still see the rental car in front of the hotel that evening, and again the next morning. The hotel manager called the office, and they indicated that they just hadn't had the staff available to come get it. Well, our flight out wasn't until the afternoon, so I figured I would take the car back as it was on our way to town anyway. Imagine my surprise and disgust as I was informed at the office that I was being billed a $65 vehicle recovery.
I informed the clerk, Sara, that we had called to make arrangements for the vehicle to be picked up and told that it was "not a problem". She indicated that it wasn't a problem, but it was an extra charge (first mention of this!). During none of the conversations were we ever informed that there would be a charge for having them come pick up the vehicle (remember that we had time and could have dropped it off the morning before). Despite having Sara talk to the hotel manager to reconfirm the conversation they had, and trying to talk to the branch manager Ben Staddon, the office was unwilling to drop this charge. Finally, after over 1/2 hour or more of discussion, they said they would refund the pickup charge, but would charge me an additional days rental of $35.
Obviously, neither the desk clerk nor the branch manager were interested in customer satisfaction. They admitted that they had not quoted a pick up charge, admitted that they did not try to contact me (they had my mobile), and admitted that they were not short on cars and would not in fact have rented the car had it been back in their office. They were simply unwilling to refund the charge, saying they didn't have anyone in the office to pick up the car (it was a 5-minute walk from hotel to office [Ace rental to Tropical Heritage Hotel….Google it], and they in fact have a shuttle driver in the office all day that is available for airport pick-ups), and that it didn’t matter that we had called them. Sara, in fact, initially wasn’t even willing to get the manager on the phone (Saturday, his day off) and suggested that I call him on Monday, even though I informed her I would be in the United States by then.
Given this level of dis-information and deceipt, along with a general lack of caring about customer satisfaction, I would caution any potential patrons to be wary of this location, and as a minimum to get all arrangements (no matter how trivial and straightforward they may seem, and how often you are told ‘no worries’) in writing and witnessed.