When travelling around Byron Bay, we did what most people do and hired a car from the Gold Coast and drove south. Seeing as we were only spending three days in Byron, we decided to book with the cheapest company we could find online. That happened to be Atlas Car Rental.
Atlas are one of the car rental companies not located at the airport, so they provided us with a free shuttle to their depot, no more than five-minute’s drive down the road. When we arrived they ran through our booking details; we’d booked the smallest car they had, a Toyota Yaris or similar. As it happened, they were out of small cars so we were upgraded to a Nissan Pulsar sedan at no extra charge.
Unfortunately, we needed to have a credit card to hold the booking under and they wouldn’t accept debit cards. Because of this I had to freeze $1,000 in my bank account in case something happened to the car. It took five days after our holiday for this to be unfrozen. It would have been nice to know that was going to be the case at the time of booking!
The car we were given was clean, comfortable and everything we needed for the weekend. Nothing too special about it. As with all car hire companies, we were asked to fill the tank before returning it.
Now this is where things got more frustrating.
When picking up the car on Friday morning, we were advised that it be returned by 4:30pm on Sunday if we wanted to catch the final complimentary shuttle bus to the airport. Seeing as we needed to be at the airport by 6pm, that worked well for us. We filled up the car, and dropped it off. When we got to the depot however, we were told that the last shuttle left the depot hours ago because no one was working in the afternoon. We were also told that we didn’t actually have to fill the car up.
That meant that, not only had we paid extra for the petrol, but we also had to pay for an Uber to the airport, despite having been told the free shuttle was included. It was a frustrating end to our trip to say the least.
We also felt as though we’d wasted time that we could have spent on the Gold Coast instead of returning the car so early to make the final shuttle. It’s such a shame because when we picked up the car, staff seemed so nice and accommodating.
If you’re hiring a car on the Gold Coast, pay a little extra so you can pick it up and drop it off at the airport, it’s worth it!
I give Atlas Car Rental three stars.
What issues have you had when hiring a car? Let me know in the comments below!