"Review of my Cheapa-Campa-Australia hire"
Did surprisingly well off-road
Did surprisingly well off-road
For the price you can't go wrong. I did Sydney to Cairns in a Cheap Hightop and had all the essentials in the vehicle. A microwave, fridge, gas cooker and double bed. That's all you need
We rented one of your 2bearth vans last weekend the vehicle was great ,
its all the extra charges that you don't know about and they don"t tell you until you
pick it up was a extra $236.00 more what a rip off. Never again will be telling our friends and
family never to rent one of these.
We - a couple 68/69 years old - rented a Cheapa 4WD campervan (Toyota Hitop) for 3 weeks in feb 2017 travelling from Perth to Adelaide. We are returning customers with Apollo and Cheapa, also having rented from Britz, Maui and several others. Having read many comments, here is my advise for future rentals and our experience with Cheapa this time.
1. Many users complain about additional costs when collecting the vehicle and unforeseen additions. Yes, they may try to convince you that you really need all these extras and additional insurance-options (which are ridiculously overpriced: to further reduce your liability you will pay 25% of the risk!). And yes, they do charge for everything extra. And yes, you will know that in advance if you care to read their terms and conditions, rental agreement and the information on their website. Nobody will force you to buy additional cover or services on the spot. We didn't, apart from a 140 AUD cover for tires, windscreen and towing assistance which we found useful and worth the money.
2. If you wish to avoid paying creditcard fees, book through one of the many intermediary companies: we paid our rental costs - on request - by bank transfer. Unfortunately when collecting the vehicle you can only pay your bond - in our case 5000 AUD - by creditcard; however this procedure is followed by all major rental companies. Cheapa charges a 2% non-refundable (!) handling fee over this bond which is very customer-unfriendly. Again, we knew this in advance and we took this additional payment of 100 AUD into account when calculating the total rental costs. You should do the same (with Cheapa).
3. Our bond was refunded two days after car return.
Rental experience and advise:
1. Inventory of these Cheapa campers is poor. It seems they do not wish to spend one dollar more than needed. No camping gear but standard cheap and breakable household items. Don't break a glass when camping in the bush because you will have to share the remaining one for some time. Incomplete and non matching items. Two knives so blunt you cannot cut butter with it. Washing line was a short piece of thin and frayed rope, Etcetera, This is a weak point with all rental companies but certainly with Cheapa. Advise: bring items such as sharp knives and be prepared to shop for some items such as small boxes, wineglasses and a simple coffee perculator. It's no major thing, just be prepared.
2. The vehicle exterior was reasonably clean, inside it was reasonably dirty. Floor is ok but when you open a cupboard to refill the water container, put on some plastic gloves because it has never been cleaned. Yak. So be prepared and don't expect too much. Problem is, when you collect the vehicle, are you going to refuse it because it's not too clean? You want to be on your way, don't you...
3. When explaining the vehicle functions (our staff member in Perth was very friendly and certainly helpful), they do not use a check list. Result: things are forgotten. Advise: don't rush this and ask all the questions you need. Make your own checklist in advance! They will take the time for you, but only if you ask for it.
4. Pre-check of these vehicles is poor and I do not think they use checklists, but rely mainly on customer comments. Strong advise: check everything and have all main items demonstrated. You will no doubt find some defects or missing items. Check the spare wheel, you may need it! Make sure there is a jack. Check the vehicle tools (there were some essentials missing!) We asked to demonstrate the awning and it appeared it was broken on one end, which was invisible from the outside. You dont't want to find out when camping the next day. Battery meter was not working. The popup roof was very hard to pull down at the front (we had to live with that). On previous occasions we had broken chairs, a defective table etc. etc. You get the point.
5. Don't rent chairs for 20 AUD or more, but visit Bunnings on your first day and buy camping chairs for 7 AUD. Much cheaper and you get new stuff. We also bought a step-up and some buckets. Useful. Leave the chairs on your last camping.
6. Don't ask for a Cheapa welcome package. We did, but it failed to make us feel welcome. Two small coffee and tea strips and a dishwashing fluid sample. No cleaning towels, even matches were not included.
7. When renting an Apollo/Cheapa 4WD camper, don't expect any recovery tools. This is basically very strange, because in a 4WD you may be bogged down. The only item was a (way too small) folding shovel. We brought our own compressor - you will need it when on sandy tracks! Good point: they did provide an emergency GPS beacon.
8. A basic medical kit was thrown in, which is certainly helpful if you fail to bring your own. However they may not tell you that opening the kit will cost you!
8. Before you go, take pictures of your vehicle, especially from the outside, and make sure you date/time stamp the pictures. This also serves as a reminder that you adjust your date/time settings. In case of damage-claims when returning the vehicle this will save you al lot of trouble (unless you really did cause the damage of course).
Problems when travelling:
When renting a cheaper vehicle, which is usually a bit older, chances of problems and break downs are obviously a bit higher. If you don't want to run the risk, go for Britz and pay a lot more. That being said, the rental should be reliable. in this respect we did not have problems with Cheapa, our vehicle was in good mechanical condition and we did not have any problems apart from a not too good windscreen wiper. When you need something repaired or replaced when travelling, in our experience they will be accommodating (though not always very knowledgable).
Yes, we did have a very nice vacation!
The vehicle was fine apart from one or two minor niggles, the worst of which was a non-functioning CD player. However I was very disappointed with Cheaper Campa/Apollo's requirement that I buy a $2700 insurance bond using my credit card with a 2% surcharge that applies even for debit cards. I chose them largely on the basis of the price and calculate that this opaque extra charge has added 11% to my bill. I have rented vehicles around the world for nearly 40 years and have never had this experience before. Even if it is really necessary to buy such a bond, which they justified by saying that "customers have cancelled their credit cards so that they are protected against deductions for damage", then why can't you pay either in cash or by electronic banking transfer in advance? I will not be using them again and would warn others to check the total expected cost before making a booking.
TV did not work due to issues with the antenna
due to issues with engine, max speed limited to app 50 KM/hr during the last 200 KM
welcome pack not issued
We were given the wrong model that we booked (an "upgrade")
returned early because of breakdowns and were given no aplogies, or refund for returning early.
My partner and I were on our honeymoon, and this left a sour taste in our mouth. We will tell everyone we every meet thinking about hiring a camper van to avoid Star/Apollo/Cheapa like the plague.
First and only time... Staff horrible from onset, unhelpful!! And the hidden charges are a nightmare! Don't bother paying for better insurance cover options you end up paying anyway! If you want to travel buy a cheap van or jeep!!
Just be mindful Apollo trades under different names but still the same terrible company, misleading and a waste of money!! Never again!!
I definitely DO NOT recommend Cheapa. They are part of Apollo for a start, although they advertise as a separate company. This seems misleading from the outset. The whole concept is a rip-off, because you have to pay for every single item such as bedding. Imagine going to a hotel and having to pay for bedding! Bu you are there to pick up your van and they have you over a barrel. What an annoying start. The staff are too rushed and don't take time. I think they need more staff but they are probably trying to save money there. The van was not clean and everything seemed worn and old. Not a nice feeling. The toilet didn't work and we didn't notice until we were too far away. Calls for assistance were largely ignored and the people on the phone did not seem to have a solution to offer. Steer clear of this company, go elsewhere. The whole thing leaves a really bad taste and is not what a holiday should be about. ihatecheapacampa.com
Stay away from Cheapa camper!
Making a few bucks on all the little things you need , like extra driver $40, credit card use <$100 for 2 weeks rental etc.
the van we got had 247K on the clock but was just under 5 years old, very noisy, auto transmission worn out and sometimes took awhile to get into any gear . However it ran ok and did not let us down. First evening I was made aware that one headlight did not work . Did I drive away from Depo with only one light??
The light bulb was incorrectly fitted .
Still have not received my security deposit yet, after 5 days .
When I asked I was told it may take to 15 days depending on your Bank ( visa via ANZ). Funny that, only took one day to get it out
Expect no luxuries like BBQ tongs or a plastic wine glass, you have to buy your own tea towels if you want to dry your dishes etc. In short - go elsewhere to hire.
DO NOT, repeat DO NOT hire your van from this company. The hidden charges are an absolute rip-off! It will leave you feeling bitter and ruin your holiday, as happened to me using Cheapa Campas.
I cannot stress enough to avoid this company, there are much better options available.
Hired a motorhome in Adelaide and dropped it back to Perth.
Purpose of the trip was to play in the Annual Chasing the Sun Tournament on the Nullarbor Links Golf Course.
Was a Cheapa unit; no problems, clean. and practical for a pair of seniors.
WOULD HAVE TO COMPLIMENT THE APOLLO STAFF AT BOTH THE ADELAIDE AND PERTH DEPOTS FOR JOBS WELL DONE.
Would recommend Apollo.
When I picked up the motorhome there were many faults. The van was dirty including dirty cutlery and crockery. The cutlery drawer was broken, the shower did not work, one of the gas rings on the hob did not work, the toilet did not flush, the dining table was broken. They forgot to give me sheets and the baby seat I had booked. They apologised for the dirty van and the lack of booked equipment. They gave some new cutlery, extra sheets and fixed the table for free but could not replace the van or fix the other broken things. It took 4 hours before I eventually got away from the depot and my wife and two small children were extremely tired waiting for me. I was advised to phone in a few days to see if they could arrange a replacement campervan. I phoned several times and they never returned my calls despite me leaving messages. Each time I phoned, the people who had dealt with me were never available and the person I spoke to could not help me but told me they would phone me back. They never did. The brakes on the camper van were also very weak. I reported this to the company. When I returned the vehicle I explained all the problems and gave all of the information you read here. The representative shrugged his shoulders and had nothing to say by way of explanation. Not even an apology! I feel they should not be renting out this vehicle as it is in breech of the description of goods as advertised. They said they didn’t have another vehicle to offer as they were so busy.
We rented a 4D camper van for about a month. The camper van was just perfect for our purposes, an extended trip to the Outback. The cooking facilities are great, and A/C is an added bonus.
The problems started after returning the camper van. After 2 weeks we got an email from Apollo, that there’s a traffic infringement and Apollo will charge 100 dollar admin fee for that, which they will refund provided e prove the infringement is not valid. My credit card was promptly charged by Apollo. After a lot of hassle with Eastlink, we got email from them confirming that the infringement was invalid since we had a valid Melbourne Pass on the alleged day of the traffic infringement. That done, I sent the confirmation to Apollo and expected to have the refund swifty paid, given that I had already had to spent hours of my holiday sorting out a mess that was not even our fault. It has been now 6 weeks and I still have not been refunded by Apollo, basically we have been ripped off by Apollo and thanks to them our honeymoon in Australia has a bitter stain.
I wanted to share this experience so you will be aware what to expect from them.
Great price-quality value, camper was 100% o.k!
Although it was a little bit of an older van, that’s fine with us -since they are really cheap- we didn’t had any troubles with it at all.
We had a great time on our trip and the camper was pretty comfortable and well equipped.
Cheapa Campa? crapa campa would be a better name. we got 400kms into a planned 2000km journey when the camper we rented had a major engine failure caused by lack of long term servicing according the the RACV man who came out. we were then told by chepa campa that it would take them 5 days to replace the van and whatever we did until then was down to us. once we agreed that we had no choice but to cancel our trip cheapa said they’d refund us all but our 1/2 days use we had out of the camper at about $90, instead they kept over $400. AVOID these shysters like the plauge and also I’d avoid APOLLO too as it the same company under a different name.
Prices are reasonable, but they charge you a lot for the insurance- i.e. if you only want the standard insurance you still have to pay credit card fees & transaction fees etc. quite a few hidden costs.
Good service, but cars can be better checked before giving them away.
we know the van are 3 years or older so they were in good condition for us no problem.