/ Motoring

Do car hire companies drive you round the bend?

Car hire

A holiday should be a relaxing time away from the stresses of everyday life. But for some their holiday starts with unexpected stress and expense at the hire car collection desk. Sound familiar?

We’ve written before about the tricks of the car hire trade: damage charges, excess waiver fees and fuel options; and you didn’t hold back with your stories of being ripped off. Eric told us:

‘I rented a car on the net at a quoted cost of £88 for 7 days. When I got to the airport they loaded me with another charge of £100 for a full tank of petrol in case I returned the car empty (which would of course be impossible?)’

Chris said:

‘A couple of years ago I booked a car with “Zero Excess”. On picking up the car I was told that “Zero Excess” did not cover tires or the windscreen and if I wanted to cover those there was a 60 Euro additional insurance that I needed to pay.

‘Like many people with tired/excited children who just want to get out of the airport and on the way to the pool my ability to push-back was limited so I ended up paying for the peace of mind.’

Your car hire stories

Spain is the most popular foreign destination for British holidaymakers, with 13 million people flocking to the Spanish sun each year. So we’ve been working with our colleagues in Madrid at the Spanish consumer body Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios (OCU) to plan what we can do to stop British holidaymakers getting ripped off when they should be relaxing.

OCU are particularly concerned by full-empty fuel policies where you have to return the car empty or face wasting fuel you had to pay for upfront. M agrees:

‘Why do the hire contracts allow them to impose charges for fuel that might be due, rather than for fuel actually used?’

Have you been caught out by this car hire trick or any others? Tell us what happened and your story might help us with a new campaign…

Comments
Guest
Dibdob says:
3 June 2014

Check the standard excess on their insurance carefully – it can be 1000 Euros! And then they will try to sell you excess insurance to cover that for £20 a day. Before you go, for about £25 total, you can take out a policy (not with the car hire people) that covers that excess. Worth doing, just for peace of mind. And I once got caught by upselling – “upgrade your car – we’ve got a lovely Audi”. It was the size of a tank and was not exactly suitable for small lanes or packed car parks. I stick to the smaller cars now and resist their siren calls to get a posher vehicle.

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Guest

Useful to know – can you say who sells the £25k excess insurance?

Guest
Dibdob says:
3 June 2014

They are called Questor – it was actually just under £21 now I’ve checked and covered you up to £5000 excess. I never had to claim, so I can’t vouch for their customer service. There seem to be others available (such as icarhireinsurance) via comparison sites, so might be worth looking for a name you’re familiar with and checking reviews.

Guest
Sue says:
29 June 2014

Just hired a car from Gold Car at Malaga airport. We too took out the excess insurance in the UK after seeing Martin Lewis recommend it on TV. The guy at the Gold Car desk was quite aggressive when we refused to buy theirs and told us this meant we wouldn’t get any roadside assistance. As it turns out the Opel Muriva we hired had faulty and had very dangerous steering. On calling their helpline I was told that they would collect the car but if we wanted another one we would either have to drive the car to the airport or make our own way by taxi because we hadn’t taken out their extra insurance. It is totally wrong and should be illegal for them to deny us roadside assistance and refuse to bring us another car when the car we hired was faulty but they have you by the short and curly’s. I daresay that the insurance we took out would have reimbursed us but if we had been in an accident I doubt that would be much comfort. I don’t see why we should be browbeaten into taking out this ludicrously priced insurance and then denied what should be our legal rights when we don’t. Roadside assistance should be included as statutory.

Guest
George Kirton says:
6 June 2014

I hired cars on the last two years’ holidays in Mallorca, from Budget. The cars and service were excellent, however payment for a full tank was obligatory. Using a full tank in a week would have involved driving all over the island every day – not likely on a family holiday! The next holiday was for two weeks and despite driving almost 500 miles in a diesel Passat there was still a significant amount in the tank, again to Budget’s benefit. I have hired cars in other places from USA to Australia and usually on a “return almost empty” basis. More power to the Pay as you Drive campaign!

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Guest

Glad you got a good car from Budget. Hopefully they have improved over the years.

We have rented from Budget in Norway and Madeira at least 10 years ago with bad experiences on both occasions.

The first car offered in Madeira had no brakes, bald tyres, no door handle and was a complete wreck. Having paid up front, we settled for a car with brakes but totally unsatisfactory.

The Norwegian car (mid-size) made the passenger feel car sick so tried to swap it in Bergen after picking it up in Oslo. You wouldn’t think it would be a problem when the holiday season hadn’t really started but they would only let us have the smallest size car or we had to drive back to Oslo for a replacement.

Both times Budget gave us vouchers towards next hire when we complained. The second time we refused and did get some monetary refund eventually.

Guest
Dave Gibson says:
6 June 2014

Just returned from a week driving around Andalucia. Picked up a car I hired on Avios from AVIS and they urned it into a hard sell, unpleasant experience. First was the upgrade “offer” of an Audi A4 instead of a SEAT LEON , but at 44 euros a day they have to be joking. Then the excess waver to cope with the risk of 1000 euros, which I was not aware of at time of booking ( could have been in the small print) . I declined based on having not had an accident since my youth, but still felt uncomfortable with it. Then the full tank of petrol trick…… just give me the car please.

Are there any companies that don’t go through all of this BS ?

Guest
Sue says:
29 June 2014

not in my experience

Profile photo of alfa
Guest

Car hire is not a simple process. Insurance is not straightforward and too many companies try to rip you off one way or another.

There needs to be a register maybe with Abta that car rental companies can apply to be a member of providing they adhere to a strict code of practice.

Holiday companies have reps in many destinations and could promote it to the car hire companies. It could improve standards if companies lost out to their competitors.

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Guest

Good idea alfa, a potential solution to stop holidaymakers getting ripped off. I’ve made a note for campaign planning!

Guest
Watty says:
6 June 2014

Pay a bit more per day and reduce the angst. Hertz ask for car back full of gas in the traditional manner.

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Guest

Full-full fuel policies is what we like to see Watty – it can look like more upfront but at least you can compare the prices and you don’t face unexpectedly paying for a full tank of fuel which you can’t use up on a short holiday.

Guest
Never Easy says:
6 June 2014

Beware of ALAMO at Heathrow. Demanded my credit card details even though I had paid cash.
Later discovered my details had been sold on to third parties. Informed the Information Commissioner who ruled they had breached the data protection act and imposed a fine. Watch out for this scam.

Guest
Mike Penny says:
6 June 2014

We frequently hire cars in Spain and twice found ourselves caught by the bring it back empty scam. You can protect yourself against that by always going to the detailed conditions of the company actually renting the car and checking whether they offer the prepaid or bring it back full options. If they don’t then avoid them. Avis and Hertz may be slightly more expensive than say Goldcar but they do offer fuel options. In March we used a new [to us] company called Firefly who were not only cheap but also offered fuel options. I know most people probably rent through brokers like Auto Europe or Holiday Autos but remember the cars come from traditional rental companies and you need to go to the latter’s conditions to find the fuel and excess policies. On the latter we have an annual excess insurance which costs about £40.

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Guest

Hi Mike, great to hear you’re now avoiding the scams but sorry to hear you got caught out twice – thanks for sharing your experience and tips 🙂

Guest
Gordon says:
6 June 2014

I used to travel to Munich on business on a regular basis. Avis occupied probably the darkest corner of the multi-storey car park as their rental car pick-up area, a fair walk from the desk – however their car return area was extremely well lit with 20/20 vision staff able to spot the smallest blemish and bill accordingly. We quickly got used to taking a torch with us as it was the only way to inspect the car for damage prior to driving off, followed by the long walk back to the queue at the desk to get the ‘no damage’ statement updated, which they were always pleased to do, but it took considerable extra time and many of my colleagues didn’t bother. My company was eventually able to catch them out because they billed the same person for the same windscreen chip on the same car hired on two separate occasions. On another occasion, the Hertz rental desk at Athens Airport told me that the car I was collecting and signing for (unseen) was brand new with only 5,000 km on the clock – when we got to the car park, every single panel on the vehicle, including the roof was dented or badly scratched and, like Avis the contract said that any unreported damage would be charged. I wonder how many people got stung for that one! It took over an hour to find someone from the rental company to amend the paperwork, but was obviously worth it. Moral of the storey, always check the car carefully and photograph any damage, and join the queue back at the desk to get the paperwork updated, otherwise it could cost you dearly! Unexpected post hire additional bills for damage have stopped since I started taking photos of the cars in full view of the return staff on handover. And then there’s the ‘return with an empty tank’ policy – just don’t start me on that one . . . . .

Guest
PC of London says:
7 June 2014

I hired a car for the weekend from Europcar Marble Arch branch. It was a condition that it be returned before 6pm on Sunday evening. They did not tell me they closed at midday on Sunday and shut the garage. I had to park it on the ramp and keep my fingers crossed. They then charged me for Monday so I wrote to their HQ after researching the name of their UK CEO to get a refund of the extra charge. I am sure that it was only the fact that I used a corporate scheme from my employer that got me the refund.

Guest
Jyacinth says:
7 June 2014

We’ve used Econorent through Hire Cars in Spain at Alicante airport for last 3 years. Have full to full option. Office is off site but they pick you up outside terminal and they have always been waiting for us so we miss the queues.
Go round car with you checking for dents etc
Would def recommend.

Guest
Chris says:
7 June 2014

I hired a car from Firefly at Reus airport earlier this year. I had prebooked via a comparison website. I know they rip off customers with excess insurance so I took out independent cover before leaving the UK. The latest scam is if you do this you still have to pay for breakdown insurance in case THEIR car breaks down and has to be recovered. I also had to pay for a “full” tank of petrol. They obviously rip you off with the cost of fuel because at normal pump prices I was charged more than the car can hold.

Guest
David Prosser says:
7 June 2014

I recently hired a car from Doyouspain, paid for the car and full comprehensive insurance through the internet they then farmed my order to Centauro Car Hire Co. Seven days prior to me leaving the U K Doyouspain contacted me again offering me an improved insurance covering any under car damage, damage to wheel and tyres, replacement glass and lost keys which I paid a further £48. When I arrived at the Centauro office to collect the car, They would NOT accept Doyouspain’s insurance so I had to pay extra for their insurance, I am now in the process trying to reclaim the insurance money I paid to Doyouspain from 4 E Mails I have had 1 reply saying I should have claimed on the day I collected the car, I rang 2 different telephone numbers that day with out a reply so I sent my first E Mail a day later. Which legal team are dealing with this for me but I do not hold up any hope of seeing my money back ………ANOTHER SCAM.

Guest
JOHN KEMP says:
7 June 2014

For good value and peace of mind

Go to http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-car-hire

Guest
Alan says:
7 June 2014

If only I could find a car hire company who will rent one to me for a few days in Shetland (or for that matter anywhere in the UK). I have many many years experience and a spotlessly clean driving licence and the highest available NCB for my own car. BUT I am of a “certain age”and no firm seems to keen to take my money – not even if I am prepared to accept a higher excess clause. It takes me far too much time and effort to drive there myself via Aberdeen and the overnight ferries, and although the airfares to Sunburgh are pretty extortionate, that is the only way to go if only a hire car was available. Has can anyone help me?

Guest
Peter says:
6 July 2015

Try indigocarhire.co.uk tel.+44 (0)113 28 99 279
I think that they will solve your problem 🙂

good luck Alan

Guest
David Stalker says:
7 June 2014

I hired a car with Green Motion at Heathrow through Holiday Autos. After booking and paying for the car, I received from Holiday Autos an offer to insure the excess insurance for the hire period with a policy from Allianz Global Assistance. I took up the offer and paid the premium. On returning the car a minute dent was ‘found’ on the bonnet, which I feel sure had likely been there when I picked up the car. However, I was deducted £500 pounds excess and was eventually, after several emails, reimbursed £341.60, leaving me with a claim for £158.40. I duly claimed and provided the many documents requested to verify the claim. No mention was made in the requested documents about accommodation but I was told that the claim would not be met as I had not booked two nights accommodation in the UK. I was not aware that this was a condition of the insurance and there was nothing to suggest that this was a requirement. I spent the week at my house in the UK and consider that to offer car hire excess to anyone renting a car, should if it is a requirement to also hire accommodation, make that clear. I am taking the matter up with The Allianz appeal procedure and also notifying Holiday Autos.

Guest
mike says:
8 June 2014

Hired a car from Malaga Airport in March on Monarch Website via a company called Cartrawler paid in full via card prior to arrival to find on arrival and contacting local agent in airport for Delpaso that my car hire agreement had been cancelled. On querying this was told to contact the agent in Uk whos number was not on the paperwork. I had to hire another car locally at a much higher rate and on return tried to claim back my cancelled rental charges. This sparked a response that i was liable for three days rental allthough i did not cancel the rental, on asking how that was possible was told i did not meet the local car hire rep at the airport. I replied this was not true but got no further reply to any e mails sent.
Please avoid this rental agent Monarch take no reponsibility for there dealings via there website.

Guest
Alan says:
8 June 2014

Hired a car from Record (pre-booked via AutoEurope) at Alicante airport in February. Hire charges seemed reasonable, but we got caught by the full-to-empty trap. This ploy results in 3 additional costs. First there’s the unreasonably high charge per litre for the full tank. Second there’s the cost of the unused fuel left in the tank, and the third is the bank charge on my UK credit card for currency conversion. (They wouldn’t accept my preloaded euro currency card.) Needless to say, I’ll be more careful next time!

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Guest

Sorry to hear you got caught out Alan, this is exactly what we’re hoping to take on with the Spanish consumers association because we’re hearing this same story from lots of people who hire in Spain.

Guest
Richard Hughson says:
9 June 2014

I’ve not been impressed by the slightly threatening tone of the sales pitch for excess insurance at most UK firms. They imply for example that a scratch on the car or a puncture would cost £600 to put right which is clearly unreasonable. I’ve taken out a third party policy to cover car hire excess charges which costs £40 a year – you could easily pay that amount for one hire. Hire firms are ripping customers off trying to justify ridiculous charges with “peace of mind” arguments. Don’t fall for it.

Guest
Helen Watkins says:
9 June 2014

We hired a car from Avis at Innsbruck airport, Austria. We got a free upgrade to a Mercedes when we arrived. We were super careful with it! When we returned it to the airport there was a notice on the desk to post the key through the letterbox. We then noticed another driver returning a car taking photos of it, and we decided to do the same with ours, taking close-ups all round both in and out of the car, as there was no-one to check it over with us. It was in perfect condition. Two days after we returned home we received notification that our card had been charged 300 Euros for damage to the car. We asked for evidence and received only a diagram with ‘X marks the spot’. So we sent them the appropriate photo showing no damage but they insisted it was badly scratched and had to be sent to Vienna for repairs. We were suspicious of a scam. After several more letters we sent the whole lot to the credit card company – who refunded the money immediately, and we never heard another word from Avis.

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Guest

Any car hire scheme that invites people to return a car with an empty fuel tank seems very unwise because it encourages drivers to risk running out of fuel. Obviously this could be hazardous if the engine stops unexpectedly. I wonder if this has led to any accidents.

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Guest

Exactly wavechange! Not only are people paying for fuel they don’t use if anyone did actually try to return a car completely empty they would potentially get very stuck. That could even lead to a missed flight – not a good end to a holiday 🙁

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Guest

As I see it, Sam, it is the customer’s fault if they run out of fuel and miss their flight, though obviously the daft policy of the car hire company has caused the problem. What concerns me is the possibility that someone could have an accident because a car has unexpectedly lost power. I am thinking of minor accidents, but motorway pile-ups can be the result of a vehicle stopping.

Guest
ROB says:
11 June 2014

I go to Tenerife every year. In the past I have used Auto Reisen who are great on details such as petrol but the cars are not in a great state (hence they don’t worry about a few dents or scratches.

I used Gold Cars once and got done on paying for a full tank of overpriced petrol. They also charged me in Sterling rather than Euros. I filled out their compliant book but nothing happened.

I now use Cigar who are great and let you bring the car back with same amount of petrol that was in it when you started your hire period. Also they have people who will check your car going out and are happy to mark up on the pick up forms any damage you spot that they have missed.

Guest
ROB says:
11 June 2014

I have used Alamo in the US a number of times and they are very good. However you should book via the UK website since they include all the extras you need. The only thing they can sell you when you arrive in the US is breakdown cover.

Guest
Rob Gillespie says:
12 June 2014

Hi Guys, I work at Indigo car hire and we have seen lots of issues with fuel policies and additional insurance products. Especially in Spain.

Most suppliers now are going down the route of ‘pay for a tank of fuel and get a refund on whats left’ sounds better but, you pay above pump prices for the tank in the first place and then the refund is less an ‘administration fee’ of which the amount is not noted.

Someone mentioned before that its not always best to go with the cheaper upfront quote and I back that 100%. always go with the supplier that offers what you are looking for, wether it be better fuel options, lower insurance, smaller queues at the desk, pay with a debit card or even if you are over 75 or under 25, there are companies out there that play ball, you just have to know which ones to go to.

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Guest

I assume that most people hiring a car are aware that they can save money by filling up prior to return of the vehicle. I have hired cars from a variety of companies and can only remember once when someone had the courtesy to warn me of the high refuelling charges when collecting a hire car.

Guest
Rob Gillespie says:
12 June 2014

Hi Wavechange, some companies only work on the ‘full to empty’ basis so filling up the tank will just cost you even more money. My suggestion is just to know what you are getting into when booking a car. Full to empty may work for some people but in my experience, full to full or half to half with a refundable deposit works better.

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Guest

Thanks Rob. I have only hired in the UK and my experience is rather dated.

I have mentioned my concerns about the possible dangers of a full to empty policy. As someone who used to hire cars mainly for short distances (my employer was not keen on staff using their own cars) I soon became aware that full does not necessarily mean full, thanks to inaccurate fuel gauges. 🙁

Guest
Rob Gillespie says:
12 June 2014

Oh yes thats another issue. we have a customer that leaves the hire depot and heads straight for the petrol station, and although the gauge says full he can squeeze about another 10 euros in, he keeps the receipt and he has always been given a refund for it by this pariticular supplier. Goes to show that not all suppliers are out to con you, but you should always be on your guard.

Guest
George says:
16 June 2014

I have hired a car in at Sofia Airport the car was clean full of fuel and delivered on time. Ideas for how to save money. Always prepay the excess in the uk there are many companies that are on line which will cover the excess this saves the insurance costs if something happens. I rented with Savoy car rents In Sofia, although the cars may be older than the new cars always confirm the damage before taking the car get the rep to sign the receipt stating the damage before you drive off. Confirm the fuel level and very important check the Spare to make sure there is one and it is legal.
Deal with the company direct not through a broker. Confirm the fuel level too. Take time this saves you money. I used to work for Avis in both the UK and the States, Never go for an upgrade always book an economy car. Pay with Cash too if that is possibe check on line first.

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Guest

This last 12 months there has emerged a fresh scam, which appears to be prevalent when refusing the hire firm’s rip off excess insurance cover. (I have my own at £40 a year).

I’m talking about Dickmanns who operate from a van in Murcia airport car park. Several people I know have returned cars exactly as presented at collection, only to see their 600 euro deposit taken from their Visa on account of “damage”. One in particular had 300 stopped because the car had “no wipers”. Photos proved otherwise, but in any case Visa kicked that one into touch.

Dickmanns frequently have no operative to accept and check the returned car (put keys in van slot), which opens it to potential damage AFTER you return the car and take the now necessary photos.

I regularly hire cars at Murcia airport and have experienced problems with Dickmanns and Firefly. Obviously I avoid them like the plague now, but continue to hear from many property owners I know in the region that their deception and theft continue.

Doyouspain (broker) are still pushing Dickmanns, despite knowing full well about their antics. I can only draw one conclusion!
===
Firefly charged me 103 euros last year for 60 litres diesel and then added 21% IVA on top! The bottom line finished way over the Doyouspain quote, but like Dickmanns, they would rather lose a rental entirely than release the car if you refuse to pay the small unquoted amount. I know!
===

Last time out I hired from Centauro. Although the tank of fuel cost above pump it wasn’t nearly as bad as most others, but the operative refused to leave the desk to check and record the car’s damage. As I mentioned it wasn’t acceptable to take an unchecked car, she then began to note it on the form. I said that I’d be back in 10 minutes if I find different. She said she’d add any other damage I find to the form.

On inspecting the car and photographing ALL angles I found the clerk’s notes were astonishingly 100% accurate!

Conclusion: It’s a lottery and keeping ahead (or predicting) scams is not so easy, but those of us who hire several times a yearf, all over Europe have learned to be extremely suspicious and distrusting.

Guest
Chris Patmore says:
8 July 2014

I have supported many of the campaigns raised by Which, but reading through some of the horror stories about the rip off tactics and defective cars supplied by car hire companies, isn’t this a matter that Which could take up and perhaps persuade the EU to take on board?
After all, you are generally tired when you arrive at a foreign airport and why should you then have to deal with rip off merchants like these?

Guest
Dave says:
21 July 2014

Hired a Fiat Panda car from Europcar at Faro airport in June, 2014 on basis collect full tank of fuel and return empty.
On return, was charged Euro 80 for fuel on my pre-authorised credit card. Queried this amount for a small car and was told it was for 47 litres at Euro 1.74 per litre. During our drive around Portugal, no price over Euro 1.70 was noted (NB = Euro 78.30), but had to accept this amount.
However, on return home, contact with Fiat revealed Panda fuel tank is only 37 litre.
I am not trying to reclaim unused fuel but Europcar were economical with truth and will now try to obtain a rebate from them.
I hope this provides further ammunition for campaign for start full tank/return full.

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Guest

As a young family with one child in an extended rear-facing car seat and usually travelling with a couple of suitcases and pushchair as well as taking our own car seats with us (hire costs for these are prohibitive and the seat quality seems to be variable at best) space in both the boot and rear seat are critical. We know that we can fit everything comfortably in a medium-sized family hatchback, but that anything smaller becomes very difficult.

Therefore, when booking a hire car, we always book a car described as a VW Golf / Vauxhall Astra / Ford Focus “or similar” as we know that pretty much anything in this class will be able to accommodate our family and luggage. However, hire car firms seem to have a very odd idea as to what constitutes ‘similar’ and on the last five rentals when arriving at the airport and proceeding to collect our hire car we have been presented with a Nissan Juke, a Hyundai ix20, a Renault Captur, a Citroen C3 Picasso and Renault Clio estate. None of these cars are in the same class as those specified at the time of booking and none is remotely similar either in terms of size or performance.

On each occasion when challenging the representative – usually in a foreign language or limited English – we have been assured that we have been given a similar car to that which we have paid for because it has been put in the same ‘group’ by the hire company. They always dig out their group lists and highlight them as proof that they haven’t done anything wrong. It’s not the poor reps’ fault, but the people higher up who are deciding what cars go in which group. They don’t seem to bare any resemblance to conventional classes of car and there seems to be no comeback to the statement that the hire company has put them in the same group so they must be comparable, even though these lists are rarely available at the time of booking.

On several occasions I have written and complained to the UK customer services once returning home, but with no greater success – they merely repeat the same arguments. I once spent half an hour on the telephone talking to a customer services person with apparently very little knowledge of individual car models and their sizes arguing that a Hyundai ix20 1.3 was in no way ‘similar’ to a VW Golf 1.6 and that whilst a Hyundai i30 would have been a valid alternative, an ix20 has more in common with a VW Polo-sized i20. But because the car hire firm put them in the same group, i must be mistaken.

When we questioned the provision of a Nissan Juke, we were told that we should be grateful as this represented an ‘upgrade’ to booked car, despite being significantly smaller in both boot space and rear seat room. We had a long argument over the Hyundai ix20 but to no avail and had to make several long journeys with luggage on the back seat which wouldn’t fit in the small boot. On the most recent occasion we spent over an hour arguing with a rep over the Renault Clio estate which he was adamant was a bigger car than a Golf, despite the fact that we couldn’t physically fit the rear facing child seat behind the driver or front passenger. Being an estate there was plenty of room in the boot, but the cabin was the same (smaller) size as a regular Clio supermini – a whole class size below the car we booked. Eventually he relented and gave us an Alfa Romeo Gulietta which he swore was smaller, even after we’d successfully loaded in all of our luggage and car seats.

All of this makes what is often an already tiring and frustrating experience only more so and there seems to be no easy way around it other than to hire the class of car bigger than we really need, incurring further expense.

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Guest

I recently hired a car at Green Motion Gatwick. On arrival I found out it was a car with an electronic handbrake. After driving for 24 years I had never seen one before let alone used one. I just assumed it would work similar to a conventional one. Big mistake, and 3 days later I was faced with a bill of 500 pounds for rolling down the hill with the faulty handbrake.
Now my point is surely with an appliance so rare as an electronic handbrake the company should at the very least have someone on site to explain the process, They didn’t have anyone on site who could explain the workings of it and, even worse did not see the need to do so. as at least 70% of their fleet has an EB I think they are being disingenuous at best, downright disregard to customer’s ( or in my case ex customer ) needs at worst.

Guest
Andrew Whitehouse says:
28 October 2014

I hired a Fiat Panda in Menorca, from Hiper – who were very good – however despite assurances on returning the vehicle that everything was ok and my card now “couldn’t” be charged, after a few days an amount of 24 Euros appeared on my card.

I queried this and was told that a top-up of fuel was required, before the car could be re-hired. The amount stated was 7.61 litres so I emailed a photo showing the tank full on return, pointing out that a tank capacity of 35 to 37 litres, would be unlikely to show full if down by about 20%.

I have my refund and – taking normal precautions – would use Hiper again.

Guest

i hired a car on the 04/10/14 from torrenova rent a car magaluf for one day,the tank was half full they siad to bring it back half full,i used a quarter of a tank, and the attendant filled it up so had to pay 29.50 euro i tried to get a refund but noway would they do this so i think this is a ripoff

Guest
James Culbert says:
27 November 2014

Hertz car hired from Weeze for two days last weekend. £166+ taken from my car for ally wheel damage that we definitely didn’t do.Damage was severe enough to be unmistakable if I had kerbed the car. It was never near a kerb and the photo showed no tyre rub or damage.
Previously the so called full tank wasn’t and I was enroute and late for a relatives funeral so I couldn’t go back. This was also Hertz at Weeze. The fight begins now.

Guest
martin says:
19 July 2015

I also rented from Hertz Weeze and they claimed the tank was full but the meter showed less. They said the meter (of this quite new car) malfunctioned. When refilling the meter showed nicely it was full. But if it indeed was full then the car used a ridiculous amount of fuel – in other words, the tank was not full when I picked it up. About 10 liters of fuel must have been missing. I complained about it when returning the car and they did not care. Send an email to Herz and they did not even bother responding. First and last time Hertz. I’ve used many rental companies and never had this before.

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Guest

I have just read 3 links. are there any companies or locations where they have had a satisfactory car hire experience, or dare I ask, an excellent experience? I am interested in arriving in Barcelona or Valencia. I already noticed that minimum rental costs are twice as much in Valencia City, as opposed to the airport.

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Guest

My experience with Goldcar company in Lisbon, Portugal. Goldcar seems to be on a verge of a FRAUDLENT activity. If you think you have found a bargain because of cheap car rental referred by various rent-a-car search engines, then you are totally fooled. Just an example for 5 day rental and a small car: your base price is 35 euro. Then you will learn, if you are not very lucky, after about 3-4 hours of waiting, that you have to pay the fuel (about 90 euro) and 87 euro of insurance. No insurance? OK, we will block you 1200 euro on your cc. No toll road device – let us better listen, we can persuade you to take it with you (and pay). This is still nothing.

You returned a car and you think your nightmare with this company is over. But no – they suddenly charge your credit card for some hundreds of euro and… nobody answers phone calls, nobody replies to e-mails, they tell you to wait for the explanation on their FB profile. And yes, they hide a real car condition before the customer (like damages you are not able to spot during your inspection)!!! This is insane but they act like this.

To give you the complete picture, I can tell you my story.

In my case, during the car return the “damage” to the door lock was noticed by a service man – but I was advised to go to the office to check if it was not registered earlier. I went to the office and presented my contract. At the top of the contract there is a statement “check broken lock”. The lady at the office checked and reported to me that this damage HAD BEEN registered EARLIER and said that “everything is all right and I do not need to worry”. I had no chance to spot it during the car inspection at the check-out since that “damage” is in fact a slight dent near the car lock (the lock itself was working properly all the time). Despite that fact Goldcar took 350 euros from my credit card just a day later. I had to wait 15 days for their “comment” on the reason of charging and the reason was a “broken lock”.

In other words, they charged me for the pre-existing damage and most possibly, they will not hesitate to repeat the “trick” with the next customer if he/she does not buy their expensive insurance.

Horrible and unbelievable? Just read the others opinions!!! My advice: if you, by chance, have made a reservation with them, just cancel it even losing some money. It will be much less than you will lose if you go with them! I repeat: AVOID THEM AT ALL COST !!!

Guest
mike says:
8 November 2015

I plan on starting a peaceful protest outside Dickmanns rent a car in Murcia, keen on joining me.
We need to sort out car hire, government’s wont do a thing about it, why, tax money off course.

Profile photo of NigelHall
Guest

In August I picked up a Europcar vehicle from Limoges airport when I was told that if I didn’t return the car with a full tank of petrol, they would fill it at normal forecourt prices. I thought OK. and said yes. I hadn’t realised until later that at the time they had then charged me for a full tank, and that although I only used half on return I wasn’t entitled to a refund. I’m sure they will point to terms and conditions, but my issue is that the lady at the desk never explained these to me – basically she pulled the wool over my eyes. I will never use Europcar again. Thieves.

Guest
tom says:
19 June 2016

I have booked a hire car with broker DoyouSpain and they advertised free extra driver and a choice of fuel policy if i booked with them. I feel that the actual hire company OKRentacar will contest this at the time i pickup the car though. How can I get confirmation that this is included when the DYS website doesnt have a contact point? Any help much appreciated.

Guest
peter powell says:
29 May 2017

Hired a car from Dickmans in Alicante, returned 13th April , had to pay 950 euros as a bond because l didn’t take out their insurance cover, car past ok when l returned got the paper work to show so, the 950euros was still taken and every time l email to ask why, they just say it as been past to customer service , its now 29th May, l am 950 euros lost from my bank account, l have asked my Spanish law firm to sort it out.
Why is there just talk and no action from the powers that, this practice from the car hire companies tantamounts to extortion and theft

Guest
Nick Barr-Hamilton says:
4 June 2017

Well. I think we were had by staff in Malaga Airport. After a 2 hour wait, my wife because the electronic system was up the creek my wife who was the named driver went to the ‘premium’ queue and pointed out me in a wheelchair and two small kids. Things began to move. The estate car we had booked and paid for was unavailable so in theory we were ‘upgraded’ to an Audi – on arrival to the car park the key we had been given opened what i think was a Vauxhall Corsa parked where we were told to go.

So we went to the office in the car park and after another long wait we were offered the keys to a VW Touran 7 seater. Not being fluent in spanish it appears she had now also accidentally agreed to pay for the fuel in the tank in full thinking she was agreeing to return the car with a full tank. On return to England and checking paperwork it also appears we have paid for the upgrade!

It was dark, it was getting late we were all very tired, thirsty and hungry (best part of 4 hours after landing at Malaga now) and in all the fluster we did not scan every inch of the car for damage but on inspection it looked o.k. On return, the receiver within 20 seconds had found the most minor of scratches on the front bumper (like he almost knew where it was going to be) that was obviously old damage but we had no way to prove it – at least we had bought insurance back in the UK that I hope will cover the Euro 255 charge for damage that I will bet never gets repaired, as it is barely noticeable.

On return to the UK we received photo’s by e-mail – He had taken a photo of the fuel gauge – which must have been with the engine power off to make it look empty – it was off the bottom of the red line! (We had just filled the tank to the brim). Incompetent at best, criminally corrupt at worst. We will no doubt have little recourse with Avis as we have little proof of the whole thing, but next time will pay more with Hertz or anyone else to avoid this company.

Guest
Susan Taylor says:
30 June 2017

Avoid EASYRENT Bulgaria at Sofia airport. No desk, all paperwork done in car, try to get you to have their excess insurance by taking it from your credit card without asking. If you don’t agree they argue and try to charge an admin fee to refund it. On return, they get you to put your pin no. into their card terminal, but then pretend to process it, as the terminal doesn’t produce a receipt and surprise surprise your 209 euro deposit doesn’t go back into your account. Numerous similar complaints.

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