/ Motoring, Travel & Leisure

Have you had a car hire nightmare?

Car hire sign

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?

Comments

I had a hire car when mine was being repaired in the garage after someone reversed into me. The hire firm took a £70 deposit by cheque, which I have never stopped regretting as normally I pay by credit card. After return I discovered they had shaved off £25 for a fule surcharge alleging that I had returned the car with less fuel than I took delivery of it. Although I had the visual record of the fuel gauge before and after (I always take pictures on my phone in case of later disputes), they refused to engage with me and after almost 3 years I have been waiting for my money to be returned.

Stephen Baxter says:
21 December 2013

Fuel gauge readings are subjective. The company should have given you the opportunity to agree the reading before you left the premises. Your photographic evidence is useful.
You still have time to write a letter before action and if no payment after 2 weeks take it to the Small Claims court.
Good luck.

I don’t hire vehicles very often these days but have had success every time I have complained about a fuel fiddle. On one occasion I had not paid attention to the gauge readings but argued that on the basis of the refuelling charge, there must have been something wrong with the engine to use so much fuel.

Tackling the fuel fiddle could be a quick win for Which? because it is so easy to find evidence.

I am registered disabled and was not well I hired a car when on holiday in Spain when I got to the airport a day latecas ivwas not well I was informed that I could not have the car I ordered as the contract had been cancelled by the company I hired it through I was a woman travelling on my own in a foriegn country and registered disabled and was left stranded when I got home I checked with the company I hired the car from and theybinformed me that they had not cancelled my car hire I will never use gold car again their customer service was disgusting
Has anyone any advise on how I can get this complaint taken seriously so it does not happen to anyone again

Peter says:
20 December 2013

Hertz Madeira. Prepaid hire and have annual excess insurance. Still had 1/2 hour sales pitch to which I said no to everything. Told promotion on petrol price on return at competitive price on fuel used. At last someone being sensible on petrol! On return with 3/4 full petrol tank charged for a full tank, for personal insurance and cleaning clean car. Complaints and 3 e-mails produced nothing. Cost more than the original hire fee.
DON’T USE HERTZ
CBR Kefalonia Excellent friendly service, no probs, and didn’t charge me for a dink on the back!

Janet Maughan says:
20 December 2013

Hertz, Belfast. Lousy experience with a defective vehicle that, once they had it back, they declared it was fine and billed us for the towing and for filling the tank. I’ve been reminding myself that HERTZ HURTS ever since, and haven’t used them again.

Nic Weeks says:
20 December 2013

What about the Great Motability car lease Rip-off? Nothing charitable about them! You can get better deals from the better dealers without the hassle when things go horribly wrong! I was left in Ukraine for almost 5 months without support and a great big bill. A week in Hungary before BMW stepped in to save me and two weeks of wasted time in Russia while they tried to fix a puncture. My trip of a lifetime almost took a lifetime with Motability! Can we have a full Which? examination of this awful outfit? An organisation who told me: We are not a Charity you know… we are just a Limited Company who works for one… And dam right too! I am sure they have helped thousands but do they have a dark side? Members! If you are disabled or a carer and have had a bad experience please be heard and write in to Which? please.

Peter Hogan says:
20 December 2013

I returned a car to Budget car hire at Belfast airport, where as soon as I parked the car a member of staff immediately pointed to a chip on the windscreen and said that I would have to sign a accident report form. I was taken aback and told him I thought that this was a scam because he did not check the rest of the car and I refused to sign any paperwork. Upon reaching home I searched the internet for any evidence of this being a scam, my very first hit described the exact same thing happening at Budget care hire in Vancouver airport and the guy who owned the Budget franchise also owned a windscreen replacement company. I wrote describing the above incident in full detail. After a number of emails between myself and Budget car hire company their interest in this incident was closed. Don’t let these bully boys force you into signing anything.

My worst story of car hire is with Europcar in Spain.

I hired a car from the Europcar office at Madrid Airport in January 2012. There were many problems which I reported by email to Europcar within 24 hours of hire – adding a few more a few days later – but they did not answer my emails until after the car went off hire. Emails went back and forwards for two months until Europcar offered me 2 vouchers. I replied asked for the value of the vouchers and did not receive a reply. I have sent 7 reminders since and have not received just one reply. And yesterday, two years after the initial complaint and just days before the peak Christmas hiring period, I learned at the same Madrid office to collect a prepaid car that Europcar has blacklisted me!! (My next problem is how to get the prepaid sum back.)

So, Europcar make a mistake, the customer complains and Europcar then blacklists them. This is a new and innovative approach to customer care – one which I imagine is not sustainable in the long term!

Do not focus just on the car hire companies – the car hire aggregators can be even more dishonest, deceitful and devious than the car hire companies.

It is they who introduced the idea of charging high prices for an obligatory full tank of fuel, adding excess cover that the customer does not need or scarring customers with ludicrously high excess figures, cancelling unprofitable contracts etc.

And, the best of course to last, they collect the customer’s fees up front and in full but pay the car hire companies 30+ days after the car goes off hire creating a nice and large cashflow upon which to earn interest for nothing.

Geordyedwards says:
20 December 2013

Flitting between London and Malaga regularly for anything between a few days and a few months I hire for a total of 5/6 months a year and every hire is a different experience ranging from OK to companies I would avoid at all costs.
This is what I have learnt and experienced
(1) There will be four desk positions but only one will be manned
(2) If there are two people or groups in front of you be prepared to be there for an hour
(3) If you protest at the pick up point you will be dealing with counter staff who are case hardened and depending on the individual across that counter the reaction will range from complete indifference through to being lucky in getting someone listening as they are practicing their English but the result will be the same. What they told you in the first place!
(4) Be prepared to get ripped off on a return empty hire. On my last hire I was resigned to getting charged 85 euros for a tank of fuel in a car that I knew would be pushed to hold 60 euros anyway.
(5) Be prepared for a hard sell on extra insurance. Even if you have your own excess insurance cover you will not be listened to as you are denying your new friend the opportunity of earning extra commission. If you succumb it will probably cost you more than your hire. My last frustrated counter hand wrote across my rental contract “no relax insurance” to make his point
(6) Another posture if you did not take their extra insurance, be prepared to be treated like a second class customer from here on in. This will be demonstrated by taking the key of the car he was about to give you back to the key pool and make out the selection is changed to a lesser car
(7) Of all the extras thrust upon you the extra insurance for tyres, glass and under body has evolved into a problem area for customers because car hirers are not going to change that, as it is profitable. But it leaves such a bat taste!
(8) Don’t expect anyone to be around when you take your car back. They have your credit card details and therefor the upper hand. After all, as a bonus for the car hire company you are going to be their banker for the next two months until you sort it out!

Stephen Baxter says:
22 December 2013

I recommend Enterprise. I have hired from them several times both in the UK and North America.
If they get something wrong I find they will correct it if asked. My last hire was a Seat Leon with Sat Nav. The vehicle was clean, fuel efficient and very comfortable. I,ll get 10pc off my next hire because
I returned with more fuel than supplied at the beginning of the hire.

I’ve currently as problem with Enterprise UK. At the end of the hire I foolishly told them I’d put air into one of the tyres and they later charged me for replacing the type. They say my walk by inspection at the start of the hire should have seen a fault with the tyre, even though it was entirely invisible to visual inspection (either at the start or end of hire) and barely noticeable when driving. It is possible the puncture happened during the hire, and the cost might not be much bigger than the inflated insurance (that we didn’t pay), but dealing with their staff has really raised my temper!

J R Rozmanowski says:
20 December 2013

I was astonished to find on 12 November 2013 that my credit card had 3 identical debits for over £35 each from Avis in Pisa. I had not been advised of these debits and have contested them as they relate to car Hire from Avis (2 to 8 June 2013) paid to BA along with airline tickets and hotel.

I have since found out that these are Avis’s administration charges for advising the Italian authorities of my name as it appears traffic offences had been committed. I have asked Avis for proof and have written twice to BA to complain and await their response. I have not heard from the Italian authorities and have been advised that it can take a year to process. “Manana” takes on a new meaning in Italy!

The car that Avis in Pisa provided was the worst car I have ever hired – minor dents and scratches but it was sound mechanically so we persevered.

I have nearly 50 years of driving experience many of them as a sales executive and have driven hire vehicles, own cars and vans in most countries of Europe and this FIASCO in Pisa is the first time I have had a problem. Both of my brothers in law experienced similar problems in 2012 in the Pisa area with the BA/Avis package.

Generally I find car hire business to be run by “Mafia” types who failed their dentistry exams so they try to “extract” as much dosh as possible from their helpless customers.

I found Wroclaw in Poland the cheapest place in Europe although the models are not the latest but Poland’s roads are now very busy unlike the Iberian peninsula.

Last September we took our Honda CRV on a Ferry from Portsmouth to Santander and drove to Lisbon, Seville, Malaga, Almeria, Barcelona, over the Pyrenees thru’ Paris and tunnel – No problems – after nearly 3K miles and nearly 3 months we no hidden charges or mysterious debits.

David Crocker says:
20 December 2013

I find many of the comments to be exaggerated and often due to people who don’t read the small-print. If they did and they searched around they would get far better service but I’m afraid many people are too lazy or too naive or just want premium service at rock-bottom prices. I have hired cars in Spain and Mallorca around 8-9 times now with different companies and my biggest gripe as often mentioned is having to pay for a full tank at collection and having to return it empty or lose out. With the best will in the world I am not going to drive 700+ km in a week in Mallorca and usually return a half-full tank. I won’t accept this any more and I’m now using Sixt and getting first class service but admittedly at slightly higher prices.

There is another common problem especially at Palma Airport where external radio aerials are often missing – and often removed by other drivers to replace their own. So it’s not always the rental company trying it on. What you must do is to check the car thoroughly and make sure any defects are noted on the documents or go and report it before you drive away.

There is another point which I have made before and that is that the hire charges are generally much lower than in the UK and it’s hardly surprising that you will be charged for extras to boost any profit. Taking out the renter’s insurance for windscreen and tyres makes huge sense as far as I’m concerned because I don’t want any hassle when I’m away on holiday.

Of course renting cars abroad can be stressful and you have to have your wits about you, but I do find that at least 50% of the blame lies with the person renting the car.

In September we booked a car in Majorca through Travel Republic. They used a car broker called Cartrawler.com who booked the car with a local company (OK Rent a Car). Having stood for two hours in the boiling sun we were told the car had been cancelled and no other car was available. I immediately called Travel Republic who said they would get back to me. Having heard nothing after an hour we went back to Palma airport on the shuttle bus (OK Rent a Car were off airport). No other rental company had a spare car so we had to pay 65 euros for a taxi to our hotel.

Three days later Travel republic phoned to say they did not know why our car had been cancelled, but they could arrange another car if we went back to the airport. Having lost half our holiday we decided it was not worth losing more time collecting another car, so we ended up without a car and had to get a taxi back to the airport at the end of our holiday. They never explained why are car booking had been cancelled.

Travel Republic refunded our car hire charge, and after two months our taxi fares, but despite our request to pay a reasonable sum for loss of enjoyment (having no car) this request was just ignored.

Moral of this story:

1. Never use Travel Republic
2. Never hire a car via Cartrawler.com

When I checked the latter, they had the worst review of any car broker (1* out of 5) and Travel Republic were still using them.

Stephen Baxter says:
21 December 2013

I only use the major car hire companies like Enterprise , Hertz or Europcar.
You could write a letter before action and if no payment after 2 weeks
start a small claims case.

We booked a hire car on the Isle of Man on the Easyjet website which is supplied by Europcar in April 2013 at Ronaldsway Airport. On collecting the car the first problem I encountered was when I was advised that the hire car was a 2 door car yet I firmly believe I had booked a minimum of 4 doors. As the booking form stated 2/4 I assumed that it was a ‘cover all’ type statement. How wrong I was, in the event the Hirecar Company (Europcar) only had 2 door cars available and I could not upgrade even if I wanted to! My wife and I are OAP’s and we have had back and leg surgery over the years and find it very difficult to get in and out of the back of a two door car. As there were three of us and our Son was the main driver this made for a most unsatisfactory Holiday in the Isle of Man in terms of the motoring.

The second problem was that I was required to pay an additional amount of £8 for petrol! This is unusual nowadays for the cars I have hired in Europe including with Europcar in England several times since May. Here you are asked to return the car full as it was when you collected it. The system on the Isle of Man seems to be that they put only £8 worth of petrol in the car and expect you to make your first port of call a garage for petrol – the £8 had not even moved the petrol gauge off empty. You are then asked to return the car empty! Now short of letting the car run out of petrol and pushing it into the return bay, how does one do that? Again, a most unsatisfactory situation.

It is now 8 months since the hire and I have been corresponding with Easyjet and Europcar over this time. Easyjet have abdicated their responsibilities and say we have to deal with Europcar. Europcar are so slow in replying and can not even be bothered to get my name right and called me Ms, so we are ‘getting nowhere fast’. The crux is that neither Company is prepared to take responsibility for not advising me that I would have this ludicrous petrol situation and would be charged the £8 on arrival. They have just effectively ignored the 2 or 4 door car situation – it is just down to our stupidity to have booked the wrong car! This needs to be rectified. Apart from the fact that the terms should be alerted to the hirer that you would be expected to pay for any petrol in the car on pick up, surely the booking site Easyjet should be responsible for their Associate Company giving a fair service and displaying the correct booking conditions at the time of booking.

Stephen Baxter says:
21 December 2013

I agree this idea of returning a vehicle without fuel is nonsense.
It’s likely your contract is with Easyjet so perhaps seek compensation
from them.

Running out of fuel at can cause accidents, so it is foolish to encourage hirers to risk running out of fuel.

Stephen Baxter says:
22 December 2013

Equally to supply a car with very little fuel is irresponsible – the car should be fuelled up ready
for customer use.

Absolutely. But fuel gauges are not very helpful. Mine will sometimes do 140 miles before the gauge moves off the full mark, and I have found some very inaccurate gauges on some hire cars. I expect a tank filled to the mark and to return it in that condition, irrespective of how full the tank is.

Stephen Baxter says:
22 December 2013

Van hire can be even more problematic than car hire.
One needs to match up capacity with the load to be carried.
My nightmare was several years ago with a local company – they did not know
the load capacity of their vehicles even when challenged. I had to hire a professional
to transport some building materials after the hire company let me down badly.

I recommend Europcar who have supplied me a drop tail vehicle a number of times.
For a house removal this vehicle is excellent.

my daughter and her boyfriend hired a car from Sixt at Rome airport. All seemed ok on pickup and for the two weeks they had the car. On return the check in guy didn’t look for any dents but went straight to the passenger door and showed the key would not turn in the lock, he said somebody had tried to break in and broken the lock. My daughter and boyfriend had never used the key as remote locking worked fine. It was pretty obvious Sixt knew there was a problem with the lock before they returned the car but wanted to find somebody to pay for it. They charged £250 to her credit card, she is still arguing the case……

The golden rule when collecting your car is to spend a good 5mns checking for minor scratches or chips in addition to any obvious damage that has not been recorded on the handover sheet, plus check that the fuel gauge is showing full. I find that when tell the staff that there is unrecorded damage they will often add it to the sheet and initial it without even inspecting.
On return, I have had ridiculously over zealous inspections by staff (particulary one by Europecar Geneva French sector) but fought that on the spot and won. The bigger players like Hertz and Avis tend to be more lax – usually just a quick walk round and a check on the fuel.
I have an annual excess policy which is very much cheaper than taking the excess waiver insurance offered by the car hirers. Even if you are just hiring once a year it is much cheaper to go online before you go and buy a one-off policy from a separate insurer for the duration of your rental. That way your are covered for all and any damage regardless of blame.

Hello everyone on this thread and others who read it. I posted my initial comment on 21st December 2013, re being charged £8 by Europcar for the fuel put in the car and return it empty policy on the Isle of Man. It seems from the Which legal service that I may have a case but it would cost too much in time and money to take Europcar to court. This is the crutch these companies rely on! So after 9 months I have just received my fourth refusal to compensate me or do anything about changing their policies, from Euuopcar and easyJet and so these are the Ads (on a green Europcar background which does not transfer onto here) I am still receiving from easyJet re carhire from their partner Europcar:-

We’ll always have the best price – or we’ll refund double the difference

We’ll always provide your car at the airport and serve you 24/7 – even if your easyJet flight is unexpectedly delayed
We’ll never hit you with unexpected extra charges when you arrive

So how does that square with paying for a 3 door car (when we believed we had hired a 4/5 door but apparently due to unavailability we could not upgrade) plus the £8 surcharge at the car collection desk on the Isle of Man, when I could have hired a 5 door car from a smaller local company for less and without a fuel surcharge? They (easyJet and Europcar) will not budge.

We use both companies frequently, 4 or 5 times a year, for various trips but it seems that it does not mean anything to them to preserve good customer relations – it appears that there are plenty more people to literally be taken for a ride!!? We will now aim to take our business elsewhere whenever possible!

Any suggestions on where else I can expose these advertising tricks?

A new post for you: https://conversation.which.co.uk/transport-travel/car-hire-holiday-problems/

Here we expose the top three tricks of the car hire trade to avoid – and thanks to you for bringing some of these to our attention!

Fraiser says:
10 September 2014

I recently booked a hired car through Holiday Autos, with Alamo to be picked up at Orlando with a family of 5. When I got to the Rental desk of Alamo I was told that the car was for 4 people. I showed the voucher from holiday autos and said it clearly states for 5 people ….they said the category is for 4 people, but accept the voucher says 5 but there is nothing they can do. Either I pay a supplement of several hundred dollars for a 5 seater , or else they cannot offer me the car. I tired to ring holiday autos but could not get through, and Alamo said they could not make international phone calls. They said I would have to take it up with Holiday autos. I reluctantly paid the extra amount, as I had no choice and then once at the hotel rang Holida autos in the uk to make them aware and open a complalint. I was told by Holiday Autos, thanks for letting them know, and they had opened a complaint and when I return to the uk to progress and let them know the full details. I did and now couple of weeks I have been told that there is nothing they can do…as looking at the agreement , I had signed at the desk for the car and decided to pay for an upgrade ….totally forgetting the fact that there was no choice but to accept car …..so beware that using a car broker just adds another layer in any dispute …..and each side and blame the other,!!

David Smythe says:
23 September 2014

Europcar 2-day rental from Bristol Airport, September 2014

Europcar has charged me for pre-existing trivial damage. The damage report charging me £203.75 (including a £27 admin fee) was prepared 40 minutes before I returned the car!

Note also the lack of recorded starting mileage, and the fact that the Assessors and Valuers company which supplied the premature damage report has the same legal and postal address as Europcar Group UK Ltd.

I have also reported this to the UK police. Here is my report to that website:

Europcar Rental no. 138058177

Charge of £203.75 has been made (but not yet taken from my debit card) for trivial paintwork damage to hired car at Bristol Airport, 18 September.

Supposedly an independent damage report was prepared and printed out some 40 minutes before I returned the car. (see documentary evidence below). This report is from ‘Provincial Assessors’ of Leicester; but this company has the same legal and postal address as Europcar Group UK Ltd.

1. Alleged damage

Four minor paint chips, for repair of which I am being charged, were already there when I picked up the car. Unfortunately I assumed that the recorded minor pre-existing damage (recorded in French) referred to these chip marks; in fact it refers to a wheel. Nevertheless, the description of the location of this wheel damage on the rental sheet is inconsistent because it only makes sense if the car were a left-hand drive.

2. Nature of the disputed damage

Europcar description of disputed new damage is completely inaccurate, referring to a 5 cm bumper scratch, but the 4 separate small paint chips lie in a line (zone 12 in Europcar rental contract diagram, not zone 13; photo available]. Damage description is therefore inaccurate.

4. Timings

Damage report date/time 18 September 2014 – 10:38.
Car refilled at Congresbury, 7 miles from airport (debit card proof) – 11:05.
Arrival airport hire (approx.) – 11:20
Invoice time – 11:37.
Mobile phone photo (with date/time) of car when I left the hire office – 11:39.

Therefore the damage report for which Europcar is charging me £203.75 was evidently prepared and printed off while I was between Weston-Super-Mare and Congresbury – 40 minutes before agent could possibly have seen the car on its return.

[This comment has been edited by mods to align with the Which? Conversation guidelines]

This rings true in respect of Europcar. I had an experience with them in the French sector at Geneva airport a couple of years ago. On returning the car their man approached from the rear of the car, produced a cigarette lighter and dived on his back under the front bumper (parked against the wall) where he showed me some damage to the skirt that could only be seen from that position. I had a very serious discussion with the chap at the desk some 30 minutes later which resulted in his deciding to do nothing. I have never been back to Europcar.

It looks like that it is a kind of business model for Europcar.
I booked and paid a car over a car booking agent.

And as I arrived the nightmare began.
I get the message I am blacklisted. Well I never had a rental car with Europcar UK before.
First I am new in the country and came here for a huge project.

Well I ask why and told them, that the car is paid so they have no reason not to give it back.

They told me then someone with my name and a UK license is blacklisted. Well fine I have no Uk license. their answer was I am a criminal and could have 2 licenses. Of course someone who is less than a week in the country.

So i ask why I am blacklisted and now the answer where I was laughing. “You are not this person therefore we are not allowed to tell you the reason because of data protection.”
To clarify they tell me I am not that person.
So I stated well then I can get the car. “No youa re blacklisted.”

Now I am confused. I will not get the reason because I am not the blacklisted person but I do not get the car because I am blacklisted. Am I the only person that sees here a logical error?

Ok so I took out the big card. If we discuss about data protection, let us use the data protection. So I put in writing to them and they faxed it to their head office. That I think the datas are wrong and must be deleted or blocked.
Why doing this? Well companies are only allowed to use correct datas and must delete or correct the datas. they have to prove that their datas are right. Until then they are not allowed to use them. If they violate this they will be finde.
Okay from the moment they have the statement they have to follow it. Now the funny thing. They was after thsi mail unavailable but notr willingly to fullfill the contract.
I have not get the money back from them till today. So for me they are only criminals.

And the blacklist are illegal since March 2014 in the EU.

So maybe someone has an idea how to get really deleted the datas. I can say for someone who gets never a fine and never had any debts or such things is this not a good experience in a country.

in the end I must cancel the weekend trip to the Alps. Who is paying for this damage and whcih butt should I kick personally to get satisfaction.

Bajul Shah says:
1 August 2016

Another Europcar horror story: – while returning the car to Malaga Airport, the lady at the desk suggested I was responsible for damage to the key lock of the vehicle which would cost Euro 120 to fix there. Otherwise she would refer the matter ‘higher up’ and the amount may be more. I could not admit liability to the terms of my excess insurance and therefore they then proceeded to charge my credit card with £184.80 worth of additional charges. It looks like a case of a new revenue raising opportunity for them.

It is all too easy to neglect an inspection of your hire car when you collect it, ready and keen to start your holiday. As a matter of routine, I have always taken a camera phone video tour of the outside of the car and then the inside. Taken a close-up picture of any damage showing and note all of it in a notebook. I have been known to return to the desk and insist that small damage I have discovered but which wasn’t noted by the rental agent, is then marked on the rental agreement. Filling up at the nearest filling station with receipted proof of bought fuel and a complete video tour of the car inside and out before I get the car checked in. I always insist that a member of staff check the car in front of me before I officially return it. All of this performance is a nuisance but unfortunately essential. Twice long ago, I had damage pointed out to me as my doing but production of the video and still picture, with of course the camera date stamp, blew that out of the water! All of the people who have had difficulty with car hire companies in Europe should pepper their MEP with emails. Let all of them know the rip-offs and frankly, extortion being perpetrated on customers needing to leave on time to catch a flight. If this is done by everyone with a complaint, the extent of this scandal will become clear to our MEPs who should be fighting our corner for us. I now always use a family-run car hire company and have none of this trouble and only a pleasant experience at the start and finish of my holiday. I count myself very lucky when I read of everyone’s troubles.

Stephen Baxter says:
30 September 2014

I agree that this type of inspection is often necessary to ensure that one is not charged for damage that existed before the rental.
I would like to see automatic inspection equipment developed for the bodywork to avoid missed defects and provide clear documentation of all defects.