Holidays are something that most of us look forward to all year – you splash the cash desperate to enjoy some peaceful relaxation, a different environment and the chance to just unwind whether you’re a partygoer, a beach lover or a culture vulture.
However, that experience we work so hard to enjoy can quickly turn into a bitter one: if you fall on the wrong side of a car hire company. Unfortunately, cases of holidaymakers stung by hidden charges and extras from car hire firms, appears to be on the rise. So how can you ensure your driving experience goes without a hitch?
Be aware of the tricks
There are a number of tricks that cheap car hire firms employ to bulk up charges. For example, you may have reserved a specific model of car only to find it is not available when you arrive – and because you have a large family you need to book two vehicles; you may be charged for an upgrade to the type of car you booked; charged for using a debit or credit card; and, of course, you must be aware of the fuel related charges: make sure you know exactly how fuel fees are calculated. Another persistent problem is alleged damage to the vehicle – with you footing the bill for scratches and marks that may have been there in the first place.
So what can you do?
To avoid these issues, make sure you are well prepared before renting a car. For example, if you are booking with an online agent rather than the rental company itself, remember that the agent is only liable for the admin fee if something goes wrong and your contract is with the rental company.
When checking for prices online, don’t be lured in by ultra-cheap deals – always check the terms and conditions carefully so you know exactly what is included in the final quote. For example, check the price of extras such as: insurance, collision damage waiver, excess, location surcharges and child seats. Also pay special attention to the fuel policy so you know exactly what is expected when you book. For example: “collect full, return full” means you will be expected to fill the car up before you return it.
Also make sure you are meticulous when collecting the car. Insist that an inspection of the vehicle is carried out BEFORE you drive it: and make a note of any scratches and bumps, getting a company representative to sign and confirm that these marks already existed so you can’t be charged for a problem you didn’t cause.
Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash