It is not always easy to rent a car. Before, during, or after the rental, things can go wrong. Here are some of the most popular car rental issues and what you can do to avoid them.
When you make a reservation for damage charges
Damage charges are the most common source of grievances. Taking the following measures will help you avoid having to pay high damage charges:
Examine the surplus and deposit amounts when selecting a rental vehicle. If the vehicle is destroyed, the additional cost is the most you’ll have to pay. The deposit is the amount you would put down on your credit card to convince the rental company that you have enough money to cover the excess. You won’t be able to use the money on anything else during the time it’s ring-fenced on your wallet.
Think about whether you’d be willing and able to pay the excess if your car was destroyed. The excess and deposit on some deals, especially those that are less expensive, can be very substantial. You might choose a different offer with a higher premium but a lower excess and deposit.
If you can’t afford the deposit (or don’t want to leave one), the rental company will almost always require you to purchase additional insurance. The excess and deposit will be reduced to a small amount (or even zero), but the premiums will be very costly. Examine if this is the right deal for you once more.
Take a look at the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). This is the ‘insurance’ that is normally included in the rental price. It normally doesn’t cover anything, and things like tyre or glass damage are often excluded.
Take out insurance before you fly to cover any excess claims for added security and peace of mind. This insurance does not have to be purchased from the rental company, so look around for the best price. Purchasing insurance from a third-party insurer is often less expensive. You may also be able to get better coverage.
Even if you have your own insurance, the rental company can always need you to put down a deposit. If there is harm, the rental company will subtract the cost of repairs from your refund, which you will have to recover from your insurance company.
Charges that were not intended
Customers have long been irritated by unexpected charges. Keep an eye out for these:
Some rental companies will require you to purchase a tank of fuel from them, often at exorbitant rates – make sure you understand the fuel policy.
Some services restrict the amount of miles you can drive and charge extra if you exceed that limit. Check the policies for car seats and snow chains if you intend on doing a lot of driving. These things will be required by law in your destination, and you will be charged to rent them from the rental company.
Be wary of bargains that are too good to be true. If an offer seems to be too good to be true, it most likely is.
When you pick up the car
When they arrive to pick up the car, several people complain about salespeople pressuring them to buy insurance. If this happens to you, here’s what you should do:
If you feel compelled to buy insurance you don’t like, see if you can walk away and hire a car from a different company.
If walking away isn’t an option, pay for the extra insurance (so you can get the car you reserved), but make a note on the contract that you object to the charge and reserve the right to appeal and request a refund. If at all possible, pay with a credit card so that you can file a claim with your credit card company later.
Request the employee’s name and file a complaint with the rental company’s headquarters right away. Request the ‘Hoja de Reclamacion’ while picking up a car in Spain. The car company is expected to provide you with this official complaint form.
Some customers discover that the car they wanted is not the sort or quality they expected (for example, it is a smaller car or one with fewer features than the car they booked). They are either not adequately compensated for this or must pay extra for an update to obtain the main features they need.
Maintain your place. The car you reserved should be provided by the rental company (or a similar one). If it is unable to do so, you should be refunded the difference in order to downgrade or get a free upgrade.
Bring a copy of your reservation confirmation with you so you can show the rental desk exactly what you’ve reserved.
Create a formal report if you are not handled equally
You should take additional precautions at pick-up to prevent conflicts about damage charges:
If you have the time, check the vehicle for any dents, bruises, or other flaws. take photographs or video of the vehicle’s condition immediately and while you’re still on the rental company’s premises report any defects, no matter how minor, make sure that all defects are reported on the pre-rental inspection form, that the form is signed by both the rental company and you, and that you keep your own copy
When you get back
Make contact with the car rental company to follow up on your complaint. If you disagree with a damage fee, request proof of the damage as well as an invoice for the repair bill.
Make a claim with the insurance provider if you have taken out insurance and the terms of the policy cover the issue.
If you paid for your rental with a credit card and something went wrong, particularly if there was a misrepresentation or breach of contract, file a claim with your credit card company under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
Check if a corporation belongs to an arbitration or conciliation service if you have an unresolved conflict with them. If it does, take advantage of this service. Here are some examples:
BVRLA Conciliation Service, operated by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), for car rental disputes originating in the UK European Car Rental Conciliation Service, operated by the BVRLA on behalf of Leaseurope, for cross-border car rental disputes within the EU ABTA Alternative Conflict Resolution Service, operated by ABTA Ltd, the Travel Association This service includes several booking agents.
Go to a customer advisory service to file a complaint and/or get practical assistance with a consumer problem:
Citizens Advice, 03454 04 05 06, for customers in England, Scotland, and Wales who are considering making a purchase in the United Kingdom.
Consumerline, 0300 123 6262, is for customers in Northern Ireland who have questions about transactions made in the United Kingdom.
For UK consumers making transactions in another EU country, call the UK European Consumer Centre at 01268 886 690.
You can create a free account here on Consumer-Rights.org and get access to our expert advisors.
The preceding material is not intended to be legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.