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6 Car Hire Rip-offs to Look Out For When Hiring a Car?

Aug 17, 2007
Your holiday package includes a hire car to use whilst you are on your holiday and "the car only cost me an extra $50 for the entire 7 days hire". And, then the unexpected happens such as a scratch on the bonnet, windscreen damage caused by flying debris or the worst case is that the car is hit by another motorists. "We are covered says Jamie because the insurance will take care of it".

You bring the car back to the garage and the hirer hands you an unexpected repair bill of $600. You are shocked with bewilderment and the car hire people point you to the finer points of the hire contract which you duly signed when you collected the car. Below is a list of tricks car hire companies use to siphon money from you:-

1)Hidden costs.

Hire companies advertise hire charges that are inclusive of insurance but they fail to disclose the high excess charges before you sign the hire contract. If you own a car you may choose to have a small access of say $200 added to the policy to lower your premium but the access on a hire car can be as high as a $1,000. In case of a small damage say a scratch, the rental company can, if it chooses to, send you a bill for the entire access amount ($1,000.00) even if the repair costs are mush less.

2)The repairs con.

Customers are billed huge amount as much as a $1,000 for superficial repairs and hire companies don't actually carry out the repairs. It is reported that cars are actually handed to other unsuspecting hirers before repairs are done on them. Therefore, these large access charges in respect of the repairs are income extra income that the company earns from unsuspecting customers. Ask them for a copy of the repairs bill? Well, you will have to wait a long time. If repairs are not carried out then the bills can never be produced. Can they?

3)Hire vehicles not properly maintained.

Imagine having a package holiday with a hire car thrown in as a bonus. You did not really want a car but it is there so you decide to use it. You take is for drive, it breaks down because it is not really road worthy and when you finally get it back to the garage you are landed with a repair bill. Being in a foreign country and not knowing the law you are more likely to hand over the money but you've just been conned.

4)Can we inspect the vehicle sir/madam?

You return a car after your holiday. The hire company staff inspect the car and find something wrong. You have no idea what is under the bonnet or even on the under floor of the car. The hire staff produce a list of three mechanical problems and then hand you a bill. Those three mechanical problems could have been paid a 1000 times a year. It is just another revenue generating scam.

5)Hire company fuel will cost you an earth

A tank full of fuel can cost you double what you will pay at the pumps. If you bring a car back to the hire company then expect a big fuel bill. This situation can be avoided by filling up the tank before you arrive at the hire depot to return your hire car.

6)Filled up tank with the wrong fuel? Big mistake

Putting wrong fuel in your car tank is a mistake easily made. Particularly, if your normal car at home runs on diesel fuel and your hire car uses petrol. If you were unfortunate enough to make such an error you will incur exorbitant costs running into $500 to $1500 to have your error put right.

Which car hire companies are operating their businesses in this unscrupulous manner?

From the sound of things, you will conclude that these are cowboy outfits out there to rip off unsuspecting customers. They cannot be large well established brands names that we recognise. Here is the shocking news, these car hire companies are national and international chains:-

Bad hire Company 1: Avis car hire charged 87% more for fuel and argued that they were right.

Bad hire Company 2: Hertz car hire charged a customer nearly $1,500 for filling the tank with the wrong fuel.

Bad hire company 3: Alamo car hire conceded that they charge customers for repairs which are never carried out.

Bad car hire company 4: Europcar; according to their representative, cars are returned back to the manufacturers having had all the repairs carried out first. It would appear that Eruopcar is no different than the other suppliers in the market place.

Finally, if you need to hire a car ask the hire company about the hidden costs; matters relating to insurance and excess charges before hiring your rental car. If you come across unethical practices/conduct please report your hire company to the authorities as a matter of course.
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