In May 2017 right after we arrived in New Zealand we got lucky in Instagram competition by Jucy campers and won a voucher – 3 days free rental of JUCY campervan. We were planning to stay in New Zealand for almost a year and thought we would use the voucher before buying our own car. Lucky for us we bought a minivan and converted it to a campervan very quickly. So we thought we would never use the voucher.
As our time in New Zealand was coming to an end, we sold our own campervan few days before our flight from New Zealand. It was the perfect time to use the voucher in New Zealand and explore few more places around Auckland and Coromandel.
Issue #1 – minimum hire period
Before booking a campervan Maya contacted Jucy over live chat, send them the voucher and asked about minimum hire period conditions mentioned on the voucher. Jucy replied there are no special conditions and we can have the campervan for only 3 days for free.
As we found out later, there are conditions on minimum hire period. The minimum is 5 days and our voucher was for 3 days so we would need to pay additional 2 days. So if you think about it, the voucher is not for free rental, it’s a 60% discount for a campervan rental for a minimum 5 days.
Issue #2 – wrongly booked campervan by Jucy agent
A few days later Maya contacted Jucy again and asked what type of campervan we can have and we would ideally like a self-contained campervan (so we could stay outside of campgrounds for free). We thought it would be limited to only cheaper and smaller campervans. To our surprise, Benn from Jucy replied that we can use the voucher for any campervan and the only campervan available in Auckland is Jucy Chaser (the biggest one).
These are rebuilt Toyota Hiace vans, they are fully self-contained (which means you can sleep almost anywhere in New Zealand without paying for a campsite) and have a folding table, bed, cooking utensils and a toilet.
Bingo! We booked the campervan and they sent us a confirmation email.
Our own fault was not checking the confirmation properly. Who would have thought about checking the confirmation email when they tell you they only have one type of campervan available?
As we later found out, the campervan on the confirmation email was the smallest car they have which is not self-contained.
Issue #3 – opening hours for picking up the van
During phone booking, Maya was told that pick-ups are only available until 5 pm. The Auckland airport is their biggest and most important location since international travelers arrive here first. This alone was quite shocking information, but we learnt by now that New Zealand doesn’t offer the standards that western countries do, they have their own.
After asking several times if it’s possible to pick up later (because we would go to Auckland by bus and delays are very common here), the agent hesitantly said that the branch is open till 6 pm, but pick-up is only available until 5 pm. So we booked campervan from Friday 5 pm until Sunday 5 pm because they don’t allow after-hours pick-up.
We were looking forward to exploring Auckland and Coromandel in their green and purple Jucy van – New Zealand roads, parking lots and campgrounds are filled with their campervans. According to the plan, our bus should arrive at Auckland airport around 4:30 pm (unfortunately there was no bus to Auckland arriving earlier).
We started stressing out a bit when our bus to Auckland was late by 45 minutes. To make sure we can get our van, we called the branch shortly before 5 pm that we will be late and hope they will wait for us. Luckily the call center agent said not to worry and that we can pick-up the campervan till 6 pm. Great, we were excited again that in the end, everything will work out just fine. But nope.
As we found out on our way to the Auckland airport hustling to get there by 5 pm, from the phone call it was obvious that pick-up is possible even after 5 pm. Knowing that before, it would have saved us a few stressful moments. And when we arrived at the Jucy branch, we saw that many pick-ups (and drop-offs) are done after 5 pm.
I’m not sure why initially I was told that I absolutely have to pick-up the van by 5 pm. Maybe because people are usually late so it leaves a time gap for them but what it actually does is stressing people out when it’s 5 pm and they are not at the branch (which was our case).
Issue #4 – insurance
Once we finally arrived at the branch at the airport, there was nobody inside. After about 5 minutes, a girl from Jucy showed up. We quickly filled the contract and asked about the insurance. When you rent a car in many countries around the world for 48 hours (even if it’s 3 calendar days), you pay insurance for that exact period – 48 hours.
And this is what I meant by saying New Zealand has its own standards: renting a car at Jucy (and I suppose other places in New Zealand) for 48 hours spreading over 3 days means you will be charged for 3 days (Fri, Sa, Su).
The insurance also doesn’t cover roof or chassis damage. There are many reviews online that clearly say if you don’t obey the New Zealand road rules, you won’t be covered even if you paid Jucy “stress-free insurance”.
This is a New Zealand issue and not Jucy’s issue but it’s worth mentioning because many people are expecting the same service as they get in Europe or US.
Issue #5 – checking out the car
We paid for the insurance and went outside to check out the campervan. The girl explained extremely fast how to store and fold things, how to use the cooker, etc. There wasn’t a split second when we could ask something. A very important part though was left out – when you’re renting a car or a campervan, the agent should go with you around the car and point out (+write down) any scratches it has so you’re not charged for them afterward. And because Jucy cars are all painted in green/purple colour, it is difficult to see any scratches.
After her brief instructions finished, we pointed out that this campervan is not the one we booked. As we tried to explain to her that we booked a different campervan, she was constantly repeating, this is what they have on paper and the one we claim we booked is not ready and won’t be ready that day. She kept repeating that we didn’t check the reservation and that’s our mistake. Strike #2 for Jucy girl and her “exceptional” customer service.
Issue #6 – dealing with the manager
Once the manager came and we explained the situation that the agent told us he booked a big campervan for us but the confirmation says something else, even more accusations kept pouring our way. She said that Jucy car rental made an exception about renting us a campervan for only 3 days because the minimum rental period is 5 days. I guess she expected us to be thankful or something..but that’s not how correcting a mistake with booking a campervan and customer service work.
Nobody told us during the booking process that their minimal rental period is 5 days. More accusation and blame came from her, even after we showed her the email from a Jucy agent where he is explaining he is booking for us the only available campervan Jucy Chaser.
Definitely not a way to solve things by a manager!
After this, we couldn’t stand more blame coming our way and not even one attempt at resolving the situation and correcting their mistake. We canceled our contract and left their branch.
Issue #7 – fees
And bonus for us – later we found out that our credit card was already charged for insurance fee, which is standard but instead of reversing the transaction, Jucy gave us a refund. Because of that little detail they overlooked, we received less money back, 8 dollars less to be exact because of currency fees.
I did some more digging online and read tons of reviews about this company. To sum up all the reviews:
- Really bad customer service, thanks to the remoteness of New Zealand it might be acceptable only for KIWIs
- They provide old beaten cars from Japan that live their last days on the road (most cars have more than 200 000 km)
- Insurance doesn’t cover much
- Understaffed branches and improperly trained staff
- Smaller campervans have not enough room for taller people
- They have ads all over the internet that makes you hate green and purple colors (said by many people)
Moral of the story
Before you make a decision to rent a campervan in New Zealand, do your research, there are many of them! After this ordeal, we do not recommend using Jucy and will never rent their campervan anywhere. If you’re planning to rent a campervan for a month, consider buying a used car as it might be cheaper. Many people we’ve met did it and were beyond happy with their decision.
Did you have similar experience with Jucy?