Hiring a car on holiday should be stress free and easy, and for most of us it is. But all too often unexpected charges when we pick the car up or drop it off at the airport can turn this into a nightmare.
This happened to my sister-in-law last month. She returned her car in the same state that she’d hired it in, apart from a miniscule pockmark on the wing caused by the road surface which she explained to the hire company.
On returning home, she was faced with a £300 charge for the damage. After disputing this with her credit card company, she managed to get the money back. But it would’ve been much better if she hadn’t been charged in the first place.
Car hire scams and rip-offs
Whether they’re scams or not, car hire firms have plenty of ways to extract extra money from us once we’re at the point of picking up our hire car.
Which? members have told us about the unauthorised and unexplained payments in the hundreds of pounds appearing on their statements once they return home. We’ve also heard from people who’ve been forced to buy extra insurance or breakdown cover even though they’re already covered.
We’ve had stories sent to us about the fictional damage people have been unexpectedly charged for when the car was already covered in scratches when it was picked up.
We’ve seen 25% mark-ups in the price of fuel, when compared to the local price. And we all know about the expensive nightmare of the ‘pick it up full’ and ‘drop it off empty’ fuel policy.
Tell us about your car hire nightmares
We’ll be featuring car hire in the March edition of Which? Travel, so do tell us about the car hire nightmares you’ve had.
Have you been hit by dubious practices and money making rip offs by car hire companies? How have you avoided being scammed out of your money? And if you were faced with unauthorised charges, what did you do to get your money back?