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Picking a mobi: our first calamity.

June 17th, 2009

Belgian Boyfriend: “Tom, you better pick a mobi.  They’re going fast.  I found one you might like. I asked them to hold it until Thursday.”

This was in May, when we were hearing that most summer mobi rentals are lined up six months in advance. Yikes!

Boyfriend sent me the online links with photos and layout diagram of the mobi he had found.  It looked nice. A big van: the two captain’s chairs up front; a café table and bench seat (that convert into a bed for Daughter); an efficient galley with two-burner range, sink and a large refrigerator; a bathroom with a separate, small shower stall, and a bed in the back for us. The base price: 3,620 euro, plus a security deposit of 2,200 euro – a kind of deductable before insurance would kick in for any mishaps.  Not wanting to waste any time and risk losing what I assumed was the last available mobi in all of Europe, I wired 5,820 euro to the company’s bank. I held off, however, on signing the actual contract until Boyfriend could read the fine print in Dutch.

And good that he did. We wanted vacation-cancellation insurance but the RV company’s insurance carrier said it could not provide it to Americans.

We asked for our money back. Saleslady said sorry, she had the money.  We said we had not yet signed the contract because she couldn’t provide vacation-cancellation insurance. Saleslady then found a company that would provide us with vacation cancellation insurance. There goes that argument.

But in the meantime, Boyfriend found another RV dealer who had the exact same model mobi who would rent it to us for – gasp! — 2,790 euro. And, unlike Saleslady’s mobi, this one would come fully equipped with linen, towels and kitchen utensils. A much better deal!

We told Saleslady we would not sign the contract and without one, there was no deal, and we wanted our money back. She held her position, and why not? Boyfriend’s lawyer intervened on our behalf. But his conclusion was that sending the money, and our series of e-mails, showed clear intent to rent the vehicle. At best we could ask to cancel the deal, and pay the penalty.

We played out that request, knowing we could get the other mobi by June 15. Saleslady dragged her heals and, finally on June 15, told us we could pay a 750-euro penalty. Ouch.  And it was a moot issue: Boyfriend said the other mobi was rented that morning. We had no choice. We kept the original one and are paying more for it than we needed to. Sigh.

To view all of the dealer’s photos of the RV we are renting, go here.

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