Do NOT(!) rent a van from Indie Campers

I wanted to try out a camper van for a vacation to see what it was like to van life it. I found a pet-friendly local option in my area (Seattle) called Indie Campers that rented out vans. They were pretty pricey, but a lot cheaper than like, buying a van. So I went for it. I wish I had paid more attention to the negative reviews of Indie Campers before doing so. Here’s an explanation of our negative experience with Indie Campers.

Pickup location bait and switch: 2 hours away

At first, it said the pickup location is at the Seattle Tacoma airport. Great. There’s public transit to there, and it’s just 15 mins down the road. As the time for the vacation got closer, I got more concerned about details about where exactly at the airport to pick it up. I kept following their FAQ to get details and it said to go to the center of the passenger terminal. That’s suspicious. Then, a few hours before pickup (right when the cancellation deadline moves into “no money back no matter what” category) they reveal that ope the location is actually in Enumclaw, a full 1-hour drive beyond the airport, in good traffic. 2 hours in bad traffic. And that’s one way, so this adds between 2 and 4 hours to your pickup plans all of a sudden. Slap in the face.

When we got there, there were 5 other customers there, and they all thought the pickup location was at the airport. They flew in and had to spend an ungodly amount of money on an Uber to get there. Super deceitful. After this, we added the spot to the google maps for the next person. You’re welcome.

2.5 hour duration to pickup

At the pickup spot, no one greeted us or said anything. We arrived at 2:41pm for our 2:30pm pickup appointment. I just stood there awkwardly for like 20 mins before asking someone else how long they had been waiting. 2.5 hours, they told me. They were missing the show they had expensive tickets to. After 1 hour, the person in charge said hello and said they’d be with us soon. After 2 hours, we got our van. They had run out of linens though, so we didn’t get them, though we paid for the linen kit. They were also out of utensils in the kits, but could run somewhere and find some (this pickup location is just someone’s house with like 15 camper vans in the yard). We passed on waiting longer for this, we can find our own forks. We hit the road at 4:51pm.

On the plus side, the people working the checkout, while about 10 people understaffed, are certainly nice people and I feel badly for them for how understaffed they are.

Wait here forever

Unhelpful roadside assistance

On the highway, we ran over a bolt. It happens, nbd. We noticed because it was making a noise and vibration until the head broke off. Fortunately, we were close to a tire shop and our first night stop, so we drove 10 more miles. Unfortunately, it was Saturday night and most things were closed on Sunday in the small town.

In the morning, we went to the one open tire place in town and contacted the roadside assistance number. The Indie Camper roadside assistance people told us to get on Whatsapp and text a random whatsapp number. So we did. Meanwhile, the tire people evaluated it and said they couldn’t safely patch it and couldn’t safely just replace one tire because of how unevenly they were worn. The tire people said the alignment must be way off due to the uneven wear pattern. The whatsapp Indie Camper people told us to use the spare tire. Well there’s no spare tire on the van we were given, so that was out. We said the tire people could replace the front tires. They said that they’d only cover replacement of one tire and that we’d have to pay for the second tire. Nice. So we decided that since air wasn’t leaking too fast to just risk it and continue on our way. We bought fix a flat and there was at least a compressor in the van.

Broken van equipment

At one point we went to use the hose to spray off the dog. Oops the trigger was broken and it wouldn’t work.

Under the sink had some janky wood:

And the drawer was a bit dirty

Other than that, the van was in reasonably ok condition.

Drop-off

We e-mailed the depot asking for an early drop off since the tire was leaking more and the low pressure light kept coming on. We got no reply.

Update 24 hours later (Sunday): They charged us an extra $158 with no explanation and no receipt (later it was explained that this is due to exceeding our pre-paid mileage, which was true, but we didn’t budget in the extra 50 miles due to the distant drop-off location). I put in a ticket to get my linen pack refunded (we got no linens). I got a reply 24 hours later, and they offered a partial refund, which is fair since we got some of the travel essentials kit. Ok, so that was nice.

Update 48 hours later (June 19): They challenged my review on TrustPilot and asked for more information, including my reference number, full name, and phone number. TrustPilot said they’d take down the review unless I added the info. I added it. I also edited the review to be less negative after getting the partial refund on the linens.

I did just reach out to the chatbot and they said that final documents/reports take 1 week to be sent actually, so I’ll get that next Friday.

14 thoughts on “Do NOT(!) rent a van from Indie Campers”

  1. I was at Indie Camper on that same day (I’m actually in one of your pictures above), we talked to you a bit. What a hot mess. The manager (Jade) at the Seattle location promised us we would be reimbursed for the $100+ Uber rides each way to the remote location as you mentioned. After submitting the receipts to Indie, they basically said they wouldn’t reimburse anything related to transportation to/from their location.

    They should definitely not be charging you extra mileage after they lied about the location and basically caused you to burn additional miles and time.

    Definitely won’t be using Indie Camper again.

    1. Hi Jeff,

      I booked with Indiecampers from Seattle just 2 hours ago and stumbled across this review.

      I would be eager to learn if it’s still worthwhile renting with them or you would recommend other wise. I would love to understand what was the condition of the RV.

      Really would appreciate the feedback as I am traveling with a 10 month old baby.

      Regards
      Talhah

      1. Could you please share the experience? I just booked the motorhome after my cabana Van canceled due to company shutdown . I’m so worried by seeing the review.

  2. Had the exact same experience with them. Here is the review I left on Trust Pilot:

    Zero Star Rating: A Nightmarish Camper Van Rental Experience
    Our experience with Indie Campers can only be described as a distressing and frustrating journey that we hope no other travelers have to endure. The litany of disappointments we encountered paints a grim picture of this company’s unprofessionalism and lack of consideration for its customers.
    To begin, Indie Campers deceived us from the outset by advertising SEATAC airport as the pickup location, only to change it to Enumclaw, an inconveniently distant location without any prior notice. This resulted in a difficult journey, wasting precious time and setting the tone for the debacle that followed.
    Upon reaching the pickup location, we were greeted by a private residence bereft of any amenities. The absence of restrooms and basic accommodation forced us to leave our belongings exposed to the scorching sun while we waited for service. Adding insult to injury, the location was severely understaffed, with a single individual handling cleaning, dispatch, and customer support. This person even appeared to be residing in one of the vans on the property, casting doubts on the company’s professionalism and standards.
    Moreover, the lack of a wifi connection at the pickup site made it nearly impossible to complete essential digital paperwork promptly, causing further delays and frustration.
    Our dismay continued as we found the camper van in a deplorable state, unclean and neglected. Without any recourse, we had to invest our time and effort into cleaning the vehicle, including the unsanitary toilet and shower, before embarking on our trip. Furthermore, the provided bedding kit was taken from a pile of laundry stored in another camper and the kitchen kit was also filthy and lacking some of the advertised items.
    After waiting nearly three hours to complete pickup, we were unable to reach our planned destination due to the delays and the mental exhaustion from dealing with their gross incompetence. As a result, we opted to get a hotel for the first night of our trip, incurring additional costs and a disappointing start to our adventure.
    During our trip, we encountered yet another unwelcome surprise when we received an email notifying us of a drop-off location change. Upon contacting customer service to reschedule our drop-off, we were assured that our new scheduled time was 11 am. However, upon arriving at the return location—a sketchy, unmarked warehouse—we found no staff present, leaving us stranded and frustrated. Customer service revealed that our drop-off time was not updated in the system, causing yet another unnecessary inconvenience.
    Our ordeal did not conclude there. Despite receiving confirmation of a smooth return, we were charged an exorbitant amount of $1,200.00 on our credit card, allegedly for driving an extra 1,200 miles.
    Sadly, our distressing experience with Indie Campers is not an isolated incident. At first glance their reviews look good, but numerous online accounts of similar stories and accusations of scams and fraud emerge when researching the company more deeply, revealing a pattern of deceit and negligence.
    In summary, Indie Campers proved to be an appalling company, lacking integrity, honesty, and respect for its customers. AVOID INDIE CAMPERS AT ALL COSTS! Would give a zero-star review if possible.

  3. Hello I’m actually in the same process trying to get my money back from being overcharged and stolen money from my account for reasons I do not even know when I rented one of their vans in Ireland this summer. I have a terrible experience of also arriving at a place that was not welcoming the sign was broken no one was there we had no idea if we were even in the right place. We were dropped off in the middle of nowhere by a taxi and it was terrible it took us about 45 minutes to find the location even though we were at the right place nobody was there when it went

    The van was broken the engine light was on the entire time, there were things broken on the outside of the van, the bathroom was mouldy we couldn’t use the water or the bathroom because we were getting headaches from the mouldy smells.

    We told them when we picked up the van that we didn’t want to use the propane and they still charged us for two propane tanks saying they would take it off when we return the van which they never did

    The bed was dirty the kitchen was dirty

    So many things were wrong we asked for assistance on the road many times and they said they would call us back and they never called us back once. Since returning the van I’m trying to get my deposit back which they never gave back to me and they also took off more money off of my credit card when I return the van to this I don’t even know why

    I have emailed the support system about 30 times and no one has replied to me properly I have received one person that said she was going to reply to me and she keeps asking me for more information each single time we talk

    Supposedly they returned hundred euros for the engine light being on but I forgot to tell you that the table was broken as well

    Meanwhile I spent about $5000 Canadian on this fan for 10 days which is absolutely crazy and 2000 of it was basically stolen from me. I’m asking for money back and they’re not giving it to me and now I’m not really sure what to do. If you have any information please let me know
    Joy through music @shaw . ( ca)

  4. I recently rented a campervan from IndieCampers with the explicit assurance of having functional heating for a silent retreat. Unfortunately, not only did the heating not work due to a low gas bottle level, but the company also failed to provide a viable solution, leaving us in 0-degree weather without heating.

    Despite multiple communications and seeking a fair resolution, the company’s response was deeply unsatisfactory. They offered minimal compensation that did not come close to covering the discomfort, additional expenses, and stress we incurred. When we insisted on a fairer refund reflective of the actual hardships endured, IndieCampers hid behind their policies and offered a mere 5% voucher for future travel — an option that is of no use to us given our experience.

    The entire ordeal was not just about the lack of heating; it was about the company’s inability to take proper responsibility for a significant service failure and their disregard for the impact this had on our trip. A company’s true measure is shown in how they handle issues and care for their customers. Based on our experience, IndieCampers has shown a lack of genuine customer care and accountability.

    I am making this matter public to inform potential customers of the risks and to urge IndieCampers to reconsider their approach to customer service and compensation. No customer should have to go through what we did, nor should they have to fight this hard to have their valid complaints acknowledged and adequately addressed.

    I hope this review helps others make informed decisions and encourages IndieCampers to improve their services and customer care practices.

  5. They are the absolute worst! Not only is the customer service bad, they sent us out with bald tires and expired tags. What a waste of money.

  6. From the moment you take the van out of the parking, the only thing this company cares about is your money. They will take your whole credit card deposit upon the most minimal scratch you make to the van. The methodology they use to calculate the costs of repairing any damage is through an internal software they have – but it is not stated explicitly in the contract – there’s a whole community of people who have been ripped off by Indie Campers on Facebook and as far as I’ve managed to inform myself, this robbing maneuver they perform is on the edge of legal boundaries in the UE.

  7. Wow. Wish I had seen this before our trip! They sent us out with a fire hazard. Essentially, our battery was boiling for the entire week unbeknownst to us. We had to find a mechanic shop on day 5 of our trip, leaving the Grand Canyon, losing a ton of money based on our itinerary. It was such a headache, not to mention any road assistance was incredibly unhelpful. If you’re looking for a company that scams, book with them.

  8. Hello I had a similar experience from my trip to Alaska last week.
    We paid for early pickup at 9:00am.
    Arrived to pickup location per the email and website (3209 Spencer Rd). Waited there 20min with no sign of people or camper. Called customer support they said they will call me back, waited another hour, no response called back customer support, they said they were still investigating. Chatted with the BOT online and gave me pickup location (5050 Cordova St). Decided to head there. A person from another business said Indie Campers wouldn’t be moving there until mid May. They got in contact with the regional manager Jake who texted me and said the camper was on the way. At the end the camper arrived 2.5hrs late without a single apology.
    The camper also missed all the add-ons I prepaid for and missed an adapter to empty the grey water tank.

    Up until this date I am waiting for that customer call back. I created a claim near the end of my trip explaining everything that happened just to get this response “Regrettably, sometimes, due to unforeseen circumstances and the high volume of bookings we have to manage, things might not go as planned.”

    The next day I got an email asking for my rating to the closed case.

    On the day of return Jake asked to return the Van to a different address (5050 Cordova St)

    My booking shows as pending closure 5 days after the vehicle was returned.

  9. We also had a horrible experience with Indie Campers.

    We booked for our honeymoon, so we were very excited. However, the booking dates turned out to be incorrect, and when we contacted customer support they told us they would cancel our booking without any costs. Based on this, we rebooked for the correct dates (although it was now much more expensive).

    However, we never got our refund, and when we contacted customer service about it, they said they were charging us the full amount of more than 1500 EUR! Even though we never used any of the services. They even charged us VAT, and als for all the extras that we never got to use such as a barbecue, travelkit, gas cylinder, and bikes.

    We explained this was money we needed for our wedding & honeymoon, but they didn’t care. They just hide behind their policies. So really avoid them at all costs, they’re a heartless company that WILL SCAM YOU.

  10. Rented camper ac went out day 2 of 10 was instructed to take 2 hours away to repair and pay for the repairs then submitt a claim to possibly be reimbursed!!!!!

    REALLY!!!!!

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