Right after leaving the Spaceship office in Cairns we started smelling fuel. Our campervan in New Zealand had a strong fuel odor sometimes after starting it, so we thought nothing of it. However once we got just down the road to our camp for the night and were still smelling fuel, we were a little concerned. We left the following morning heading north for a few days in Port Douglas. While driving up north we continued to smell fuel on and off, then the van started overheating and signaling with a buzzing noise. The gauge would go to hot and then drop to cool. When we arrived at our camp for the night we called Spaceships to let them know the issues we were having. We told them that we would return to Cairns on Monday and they said that they would have another vehicle for us.
After talking it over we decided that we really didn’t feel safe in a Spaceship since we would be driving such a vast distance and without cell phones for over 30 days. We were told when we picked up our Spaceship that it had just came from the shop and then were told the same thing about the new one that they were offering us. We had several other issues with the Spaceship, none warranted returning the vehicle, but we knew right away that we would never rent another Spaceship. These included the interior of the vehicle and the fridge smelling absolutely awful, the sliding door was messed up causing a metal on metal noise every time you tried to open it, and the vehicle was overall a piece of junk!
We left early on Monday morning and made the drive back down to Cairns. We had checked on a few other rental companies online and found that most were sold out for the dates that we needed a vehicle. We did find a couple that appeared to have vehicles available and we stopped into them on our way back to the Spaceship depot. After several companies telling us they were sold out we found one vehicle, which was double the cost of our Spaceship and that wouldn’t be available until Thursday.
When we arrived at the Spaceship office we had a nice long wait while the manager finished up with another client. Once he was ready for us, he explained that our new vehicle wasn’t there yet, but that it was on it’s way from the shop. We told him that we really didn’t feel safe in their vehicles and explained that we were told the same things about the previous van and that we weren’t interested in getting another one. He was very rude and condescending, basically becoming very defensive and implying that were making up the issues with the van. When he went to check the vehicle himself he found that there was a temporary gas cap on and said that was why we were smelling gas. WHY was there a temporary gas cap on!?!?! He drove the vehicle down the street and it didn’t overheat (of course not!) again saying that the new van would be fine. We again said were weren’t interested in another van. This back and forth went on for about an hour, finally he called the head office about refunding our money and we were told that this was not an option since we had another vehicle waiting for us. At this time the manager said maybe we should try going through our travel insurance company, why or how we would do that we couldn’t quite figure out! Jason asked to talk with the head office and after some protests the manager got us on the line with the head office (we think). Jason was told the same thing, that basically we took the other Spaceship or walked away with nothing but a 2 day refund out of 33 days! We were so frustrated! Ultimately we decided to stand by our decision, go with our gut and walked away. A huge blow to our budget and hard earned money possibly thrown away. The manager didn’t even have the decency to offer to pay for our cab ride into town! After clearing our all our stuff (we had just been grocery shopping so our stuff had multiplied!) we secured our new van with a different company and were forced to spend three nights in Cairns before picking it up. We plan to write the company and file a complaint. Any other advice or suggestions are appreciated! Whatever you do, STAY AWAY FROM SPACESHIPS!