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hire car scams and aharp practice - any tales to tell?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by nizebaby, Sep 21, 2018.

  1. nizebaby

    nizebaby Star commenter

    Just asking.
  2. nizebaby

    nizebaby Star commenter

    sharp practice - whoops, sorry
  3. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    One year we did not take the extra insurance and as we collected our car at the airport in the French town I came from,it happened to be parked facing into the space. We were tired, just got into the car and reversed out of the space. A few days later,I noticed that there was some damage on the front of the car,the bit we had not seen when we collected it. We debated going back to the agency to tell them but as we did not have the extra insurance,we came to the conclusion it was pretty pointless to spoil our holiday by having an argument with the car rental company. The situation was: either they knew about it and they would charge us or they did not know and might not notice.

    Funny enough,when we brought back the car,an employee "just happened" to be in the car park, "just happened" to signal us to reverse into the space and "just happened" to spot the damage as we were parking.Clearly,they had given us this car because we did not have the extra insurance and we were British tourists (car was booked under husband's name). It was parked in a way to insure we would probably not notice the damage and they made us park so they would notice said damage.I wonder how many times they repeated that trick that summer? When the bill came,it was nearly £500. We put it down to experience and have never booked with them ever again. Big company, name starts with E and ends with car.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
    FrankWolley likes this.
  4. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    Yes the damage thing is a biggy.

    I've only ever hired a van recently and there was no problem on return but the stories about car hire are horrific.
    I just wonder what the one that advertises the Beemers are like.
  5. nizebaby

    nizebaby Star commenter

    Of course, you should always take a comprehensive set of photos of a hire car (in front of their rep) before driving off.

    Ditto at the point of return - always assuming you can find a rep!
  6. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    I have an annual top up policy to avoid the extra insurance scam. It had never been questioned by rental firms until it it was refused point blank in UK (I live in Spain) a couple of years ago by a firm which insisted on my paying the extra insurance. As I had prepaid the hire they had me over a barrel. These days I don't prepay and I don't use that gang of crooks.
  7. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    I always film the car with the phone all the way around at the start. The phone time stamps the video.

    They check under the middle of the front bumper for high kerb scrapes from parking. Check there!

    You need to be on the forums for the area you are travelling to, to know which companies are fine and which make their money from ripping people off. The hyper-cheap companies can be counterproductive.

    Finally, if you spend £30 a year you can buy an insurance which pays out if a company does sting you for an excess. See Martin Lewis site for ideas of best ones.
  8. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Always go round car with employee and make them write down all scratches/dents etc. when you collect car. If no-one is there to do this (dodgy!), take photos of all the scratches.

    Oh, and make sure you fill tank yourself (if car is hired 'full to full') as they will charge £££ to fill tank!

    PS And follow advice in previous post about buying an excess policy - we always do!
  9. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    We recently had to return our hire car at the airport in the wee hours before the rental office opened. They said to park it and drop the keys through the letter box. We took loads of photos as we were sure they would con us and we hadn't put a mark on the car but this was not so. I was relieved. A company starting with A and ending with O. I will definitely use them again.
  10. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Yes,that is what we do now after the experience we had a few years ago. We always check the car as well before driving off. Lesson learnt!
  11. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    You can find reviews on the interweb. Top of the list in the UK is the mob named after Captain Kirk's starship.
  12. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    Remember too that if a company takes money from your card - any company or trader - you can file a dispute along the lines of not accepting it but I am not sure how successful that will be.

    In theory you should win as these deductions are never authorized by you, more accepted by the card company due to you not challenging them.

    Some banks and traders will say it is not the case as you accepted them marking the card for payment at will (these awful recurring payment marks) but I am sure that does not hold up against a disputed payment.

    Maybe someone has been through this process?
  13. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    Yes, you can raise a debit or credit dispute dependent on the type of card you used. More legal protection with a credit card but you have the potential to be covered under the Visa charge back scheme with a debit card.
    The most likely successful debit dispute would be under the Visa reason code 13.5 "misrepresentation". Do all of the filming, photo taking and getting forms signed that you can. Robust evidence ups your chances of a successful chargeback.
    One other scam to watch out for, in addition to the damage and fuel ones posted by other people, is having additional costs levied for traffic offences. Some naughty companies send fake evidence of speeding or parking violations to customers and you have to pay the fine plus admin costs.

    Oh, make sure you get and retain the T&Cs - you'll need them to raise a card dispute.
    dumpty likes this.
  14. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Can't prove anything but a few years back we hired a car from a local firm in Spain. On the first morning we went down to it and one of the wing mirrors had disappeared. Not the whole mirror, just the glass part. Realising this would be expensive we popped into the local Renault dealer and bought a new mirror for E16. The guy there even fitted it for us, no charge. When we returned the car a couple of days later the guy there looked surprised that there was nothing missing that he could charge us for. I suspect the mirror was in his desk drawer.
    FrankWolley likes this.
  15. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Taking this thread on a tangent...we'll be hiring a car from Malaga for a week next March (getting a cheeky holiday in just before Brexit...;)) - anyone have a recommendation for a car firm operating from Malaga Airport? Preferably one that doesn't indulge in underhand tricks!

  16. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

  17. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    I have hired a car in Guernsey twice. There you would struggle to use much petrol, as there is a low speed limit and the island is TINY. The car hire firms both insisted that they would fill the tank with petrol and charge me for the full tank. Both times, I used less than half a tank in a fortnight. No refund. I have heard this is not uncommon in other places too, but as it seemed to be a part of their T&Cs, I don't know how it could be avoided.
  18. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Parking a car in an odd position so that the driver does not see any damage is a very old trick, @catmother. Years ago, my mother used to have an 1100, which she took to a garage. When she went to collect it, she found that it had been parked with the offside right up against a wall, so that she had to get in through the passenger door. When she got home, she discovered the dent in the drivers door, about which the garage knew nothing!
  19. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    We flew into LA middle of the night after a long delay and went to the Dollar desk to collect our car. The guy asked us if we wanted this or that and we said no. He printed off a very long receipt and I queried it. He said it was stuff relating to our policy. My husband blearily examined it and the guy had basically added all the stuff we said we didn't want on and the charge miraculously came to the same amount the hire had cost. People look at the bottom line and don't realise it's additional.

    I would have put that down to an error had not the exact same thing happened to our son a year later.

    It's a commission-based scam, and the airy way Dollar dealt with our complaint suggested we were by no means the first to complain. We never used them again and slagged them off online everywhere we could think of.

    And don't even get me started on harp practice.
    FrankWolley likes this.
  20. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    We used to hire cars 2-3 times a year, both at home and abroad. We have never had a specific problem, but you do need to be on your toes.

    I always check the car - how it is parked shouldn’t matter - just move it so you can get all round. If it is raining or dark, I always state that I can’t inspect the car properly and ask what I should do - usually the answer is check in the morning and phone in any additional damage, which I have need to once or twice. I aleays check the marked damage and challenge if it seems greater to mee (large stain instead of ‘mark’ deep scratch instead of ‘scraped’ etc).

    I always try to get a return inspection and reciept.

    For excess insurance we used insurance4carhire for years - the idea is that you are insured against the hire company’s excess charges; that is you pay the excess and then claim it back through insurance4carhire, so you do need to be able to afford it on credit card to start with. We have never had to claim, so can’t advise how that goes, but feedback seems ok. £42 annual EU coverage, or £80 for two drivers - about the same as one week of hire company charges. Hire companies have tried to counter by ramping up excess charges that you pay up front if you don’t accept theirs - up to about £1200 at times - but on an interest free credit card it makes no odds to me.

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