Our investigation into car hire sites uncovered sneaky charges that could catch you out. You’ve been sharing the highs and lows of your car hire experiences.
Some car hire websites make it very difficult for you to work out the actual cost of renting a vehicle. We asked you if you’d been caught out by hidden charges. John Reynolds feels that car hire sites are more confusing than they used to be:
‘In recent years the broker car sites seem much more apt to mislead on prices and what’s included and what’s not. A few years back I found it much more straightforward than it is now.’
Johnb had tyre trouble with his one-way hire car trip:
‘I had paid extra to reduce my excess in the event of damage. I had possession of the vehicle for less than 24 hours and returned it to the office in Southampton. After an inspection, I was told there was tyre damage and I would be charged the maximum £100. I disputed this and without signing for any damage, or actually being shown the damage, I left the vehicle with the company and expected my deposit to be refunded to my card. I discovered that the £100 excess charge had been deducted from my refund. I immediately contacted the company who followed up on my complaint and ultimately the £100 was refunded to my card. My view is that if I hadn’t checked on this they would have banked the money and left me out of pocket.’
Paying extra for petrol
Tony Sharpe feels short-changed by a fuel charge:
‘We hired a little Fiat Picanto for two weeks that we picked up from a company called Marbesol at Malaga Airport. We were happy in relation to the basic hire cost for the two weeks, but when we got to the hire desk on arrival with our credit card to pay up front, we were told that we’d need to pay for the full tank of petrol there and then and return the car empty of fuel. Sounded fine until they said that the fuel charge would be an additional 90 euros! We were staggered by this cost, but were told, in effect, either agree to it or go elsewhere for another car. After a week we needed to fill the car up with fuel (which I’d allowed to get to as near ‘empty’ as I dare)…and found that it cost us just 52 euros to fill to the brim! This gave them a ‘profit of around 40 euros for each tank!’
John Dover has been more fortunate when hiring cars:
‘I have only ever hired a car on three occasions, all in Italy. I have followed what appears to be the best advice from the cognoscenti on your site and purchased excess waiver insurance separately at very much lower cost. I appear to have been very lucky and found a hirer with good local agents who have supplied me with a full tank of fuel and allowed me to return it in the same condition, thereby avoiding that particular problem. I used 6T through their internet site and was very impressed with their service.’
Mike Birchall stuck to his guns in Barcelona, earning him our Comment of the Week:
‘I used Argus Car Hire from the airport at Barcelona. They don’t actually have an office there, you have to pick your car up in the main carpark near to the flag posts. About four blokes arrived all at the same time with cars for new arrivals. They were all sharing the same payment machine from the back of a van that a fifth bloke had arrived in; it had a laptop, printer and payment machine. I had printed out my proposal offer and had it with me.
‘The guy who dealt with me spoke good English and tried adding on some other items. I refused to pay for these other items showing him my offer and telling him that was all I was going to pay. He tried it on, saying I had to have these extras or he couldn’t release the car. I told him I would go and hire one from inside the terminal and started to walk away. He called me back saying I could have the car at the price on the proposal, but I had to keep it to myself.’
Have you been lucky with car hire websites or have you been stung with charges you weren’t expecting?