Day One: Picking up a camper from Apollo Campers
The first of June! After a quick call to Murrays I am on the eight o'clock express bus to Sydney. As always, cheap, on time, and a smooth ride. I love Murrays! I mean, I really love Murrays! It a cheap, simple service which gets you from Sydney to Canberra, or Canberra to Sydney. It's flexible, reliable, convenient, and cheap to boot.
I've made it to Apollo in Mascot at 11:15 to pick up the camper. We've booked a Euro Deluxe, which has three double beds, and six seats with seatbelts - giving us the advantage of a bigger vehicle, separate beds for each of the kids, and a choice of seating positions. The four travelling positions in the back have a view of the TV/DVD player, a table, and a choice between forward and backward facing seats.
Once seated at a desk with a friendly Christina (with a German accent), we get down to the paperwork.
Here we hit the first snag. Christina asks me for my license..... and Anna's license. Having travelled to Sydney by myself, the plan was to drive the empty camper back to Canberra, then load up and go! So Anna is just not there. Christina also mentions that Anna must sign the rental agreement too, or she will not be permitted to drive.
Christina refers the matter to her supervisor. The supervisor - who will remain nameless - comes over and repeats the requirements of having Anna present for the pick up. She is incredulous that one person would pick up the camper without the other drivers. I counter by outlining that I had read the terms and conditions, and completed their pre-registration online, yet nowhere did it mention a requirement for all drivers to personally attend when picking the vehicle up. Supervisor lady then spends the next three or four minutes scrolling through the terms and conditions. I suggest to her that we might find a way to resolve the issue rather than her mucking around finding where in the terms and conditions I am wrong.
Her response was to ignore me, pick up the phone to head office and recruit another person in the search to prove that I had broken the rules. With another ten minutes wasted, she leaves without another word, and Christina returns. She relays to me that they couldn't find the terms and conditions which require all drivers to attend, and that my situation is unique. She asks if we are able to have Anna's license and signed agreement faxed or a scan emailed to the office.
Wow! Fifteen minutes; just to finally decide that we could use the fax to complete the paperwork.
In the paperwork is a requirement for a $7500 bond, which is refundable. I've got no problem with this - until Christina tells me that a 2% *non-refundable* fee will apply for paying the bond with a credit card. That's $150.
Christina cordially explains that this fee is not levied by Apollo, but is instead levied by the Commonwealth Bank who provide the card facility.
To me, this is suss, the merchant services which I have taken up include Westpac, NAB, American Express, and Diners, and in every case any refunds also included the refund of the merchant service fee.
I carefully explain that I will be blogging this holiday, and that I don't believe that the bank retains the service fee.
EFTPOS carries a $1000 payment limit. Cheques, BPay and bank transfer are not accepted.
Resigned, I pay a touch over $400 for the excess reduction down to a $250 excess. I figure if I am going to be screwed over, I may as well get something for my money.
Finally, I am provided the keys, given a tour of the vehicle, and I am on my way!
Hopefully this is the worst part of the holiday over with.....