Car Hire has a bad reputation from car rental companies policies of charging your credit card once the rental is finished with additional costs for damage and fuel. This practice in itself is legitimate but it leaves the opportunity open for less reputable car rental suppliers to scam their customers.
With this in mind here’s a quick list of some things you should be alert for when hiring a car:
- Damage, what damage?
This scam involves charging you for damage that was already on the vehicle. It’s relatively simple to avoid by checking the car out before you drive away, but taking photos when you collect and return the car should protect you.
- Getting all Fuelled up!
Most companies rent their cars out with a full tank of fuel and charge you for the difference between what’s left and refilling the tank. Often the price per litre of this charge is higher than the pump price and it’s very difficult to prove how much or little was in the car when you returned it. Avoid this by filling the car at the nearest garage just before you take it back. Hold onto the receipt just in case and if they try and charge you, you’ve got some pretty good evidence on your side.
- Hang on a minute, all these extras cost more than the rental!
Check the cost of your rental as car hire as an industry is notorious for it’s extras charging. You can get charged at the counter for extras like additional drivers, child seats, insurance upgrades, young driver surcharges, and more. To avoid this make sure you read the rental terms when booking, and make sure your quotes are like for like. A company that appears cheaper may not always be the lowest cost option.
Car Hire And Children
If you’re hiring a car and are travelling with young children, some car rental companies (and a legal requirement in some countries) will insist that you provide the kids with a suitable car seat. Of course, this is an extra that the rental company will charge you for so make sure you find out about this cost in advance.
When booking a child’s car seat make sure that you’re getting the right seat for the job, e.g. forward facing, backward facing, etc, etc. You need to specify this at the time of ordering to make sure that they will have one when you arrive.
When you actually arrive to collect your hire car make sure that the seat you’re provided with is in good condition and fits securely in the vehicle. If you’re unsure or it doesn’t look right, ask them to have a look and see if either you’re doing something wrong or whether the seat doesn’t fit correctly in the car you’re hiring (in some cases they might even change the car as they have more of them than car seats).
If you’re child is a little older and only requires a booster seat this might not be available from the rental company so you’ll have to make separate provision by either bringing your own, or buying one locally when you arrive.