Friday 28 October 2022

An Upgrade on a car rental is not always a benefit

 Over the years like many people reading this will have been offered an upgrade on a car rental. There are many reasons, loyalty of customers or lack of a suitable vehicle to the vehicle the renter has booked are just a couple of examples.

In February 2022, I booked via an UK car hire broker a small car for a two week visit to Corfu in September and October. The illustration that came back was of a Fiat Panda a small compact 4 door manual drive car. We had one of these via the same brokers in Naxos in 2018. This had proved easy to drive around small towns and mountainous roads with lack of safety barriers. The car hire company way AutoUnion Car Rental. 

Personally with narrow roads and steep terrain in places like Sardinia, Corsica and the Greek Islands you don’t need a large car.

We arrived mid-morning and we had flown out with friends who also use the same broker to hire a Seat via Hertz. They went straight into the booking system at Corfu Airport and we waited a very long time for the AutoUnion Car Rental transport to take us to their depot outside the airport. They are in fact based about a seven minute walk from the terminal building but we did not know they were so close. After a four minute drive we arrived at their premises that did not appear to have many cars, but a lot of customers waiting.

We joined the long  AutoUnion Car Rental queue and soon our friends arrived and said they would head to the supermarket. The car park was all but empty by this stage and we eventually got into the office that only had one person processing the car hire orders. We had been waiting about an hour and a half. One of our friends wanted to be added as the third driver that would have to be paid for and we declined their excess insurance as I had taken out an annual policy from Questor Insurance.

We went outside and there was a two month old Peugeot a very large vehicle. As there were no more cars in the carpark and we had a very long wait I had to take this car. We set off found the supermarket and headed to where we were staying. The other two listed drivers (one who had paid extra thinking it was a small car we were hiring) refused to get anywhere the steering wheel. We were not happy with this large vehicle on very narrow Corfu roads.

I emailed the brokers who came back to me saying they would contact AutoUnion Car Rental. They received a reply saying we could bring it back and I said no way was I going back, have a long delay at their depot and waste half a day and that they could bring a smaller car to us. The problem was sorted with two very helpful ladies from  AutoUnion Car Rental replacing the large Peugeot with a Nissan Micra. This was fortunate as we were on a two stop accommodation location. The second place had an incredibly steep driveway and parking place and there would not have been room for the Seat from Hertz and the Peugeot. 

The UK based car brokers were very helpful and in the end the problem resolved but we were inconvenienced a great deal by this upgrade. 

Monday 28 March 2022

Interesting article in The Guardian Saturday 26 March about Car hire

 Although Covid problems are still with the travelling public as most restrictions have been removed now people are off on their holidays like they were back in 2019 and of course renting cars.

On Saturday 26th March there was an article in The Guardian by the consumer affairs correspondent Miles Brignall - Money hacks  - How to save on car hire - and avoid getting ripped off.

This was almost like reading something from 10 years ago with numerous warnings. Don't book direct First of all he was suggesting not to book directly with a car rental company as you can normally get a better deal by using a well known established broker. It is easy to do going straight to the brand you have used before or a well known name. 

A member of by family did this booking car hire at London Gatwick on a two week visit from France earlier this month. Although she had car hire excess insurance, she was told it was not acceptable to them and she must buy their expensive product for which they earn good commission. The world as we used to know it exposing itself again.

For third part brokers, one of the recommendations by Guardian Money is Zestcarrental 

The article also mentioned that age can make the costs higher. 

It was suggested take an unlimited mileage option - Always collect the car from an airport terminal if possible opposed to an off airport site miles and miles away.

Always opt for full-to-full fuel deal and make sure you get the car filled up again before dropping it off. It can be very expensive to get the car hire company to fill it up for you.

Extra insurance - This is still an area where the car rental companies can make extra money from their commission. You might encounter the franchise for a well known brand like my family member did this month saying they would not accept a policy from XYZ. There are a lot of providers selling daily and annual policies and a selection can be found at the insurance4carrental site  

Check the car at collection and have it checked when you return it: Finally check the car thoroughly when you collect it and have any damage noted and take photos too. On your return make sure you have plenty of time to have it checked over again.

The article can be found here


Monday 8 July 2019

Renting a car abroad? Plan ahead and keep costs down says RTÉ article

RTÉ the Irish state broadcaster ran an article on their website news over the 6-7 July 19 weekend - Renting a car abroad? Plan ahead and keep costs down - It is summer holiday time again and like a fair amount of the media at this time of year they are reminding consumers of problems when they hire a car.

Some of the basic reminders we have talked about on this blog and on the insurance4carrental.com website for some years now - Paying for fuel "Always opt for the 'full to full' policy", Returning the car "Always aim to return the car during business hours so that a rental agent can inspect it. Make sure to get a copy of the paperwork confirming that the vehicle was returned in a satisfactory condition." and...

How insured do you need to be?  "Collision damage waiver insurance is the main hard sell. The European Consumer Centre (ECC) in Ireland says the car rental sector continues to be one of the top areas of complaints lodged here every year and a sizeable quantity of those relate to insurance products .Excess insurance at the rental desk will generally cost in excess of €20 per day - adding €140 to your car rental bill for a week" So it is much better value to buy it in advance from an independent insurance specialist. In Ireland you have a great  choice - carhireexcess.com part of Blue Insurance who also offer Travel insurance                 

There is also Questor Insurance and Worldwide insure Details can be found here

The full RTÉ article can be found here

Monday 18 February 2019

No Deal Brexit could see car hire prices rising in Ireland

With all the Brexit uncertainty in particular if there is a No Deal by the time the UK leaves the EU on the 29th March 2019 on area of concern are increased car hire costs in Ireland.

There are concerns in the insurance and travel industry about "Green Cards" for drivers taking their vehicles in and out of the UX and this includes Northern Ireland. I remember was back in the late 60s / early 70s before the UK joined what was the EEC - Common Market. I had to contact my insurance company for "insurance cover" to take my car to France and other continental European countries. A document printed on green paper was sent out by the insurance company.

I remember earlier family holidays with my late father getting these documents and it was very common, however in the 1960s and even early 1970s there was not the volume of vehicles crossing the channel as there is in 2019.  

In Ireland many of these Green Card documents have been printed and templates sent to individual insurance companies. If the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal then anyone and this includes the thousands and thousands of trucks and other commercial visitors entering the UK will need a Green Card plus the UK registered vehicles going to mainland Europe and Republic of Ireland.

If you need to add an additional driver to your vehicle and contact your insurance company, in most cases your insurance company will make an administration charge for this. So if that insurance company is going to have to issue a Green Card then it is more than likely they will have to make an admin charge. With regards to commercial vehicle operators this charge is going to be passed onto the consumer most likely.

If an insurance company says they will absorb these admin charges, I reckon that when the annual vehicle insurance is up for renewal the premium will rise.

Getting back to the heading in this article, as Northern Ireland is part of the UK then owners of vehicles wanting to cross the border (however soft or hard) from the Republic into Northern Ireland or vica versa will need the appropriate insurance cover.

Someone who works in Northern Ireland, but lives in another county of Northern Ireland County Donegal for example which is in the Republic will need Green Card cover. The driver might cross the border a couple of times on his / her  route to and from work.

At the moment when you hire a car in the Republic or Northern Ireland and want to take it over the border you will find that some car hire companies make an additional charge - often to do with breakdown rescue charges. (AA breakdown for an UK registered car travelling in the Republic could come under  AA Europe via Calais in France for example).

Other car hire companies allow their vehicles to cross the border with no additional cost for the hirer. However look at the Green Card situation. If the hire car rental company has to have these and somewhere along the line they have to pay either in an administration charge to their insurance company or by higher premiums, they will have to pass on these costs and of course we know who will pay.....the person hiring the car.


Monday 14 January 2019

How car rental firms gouge customers for minor damages

How car rental firms gouge customers for minor damages That was the headline in an article in "The Irish Independent" on Saturday January 12 - 19.
The article by Amy Molloy was highlighting the problems of some customers of car hire companies in Ireland. The paper had reported on this subject previously, however no names of offending car hire companies were quoted. It was purely customers who had been charged amounts like €700 for scuff marks and another €1,205 for a dent in a drivers door.

The article went on to highlight how quite often multiple customers are charged for the same damage on a vehicle.

Paul Redmond, the chief executive of the Car Rental Council of Ireland said "customers were advised to inspect the car and agree details of any other defects".   

At the insurance4carrental website for years we have had advise on line for hiring a vehicle - Visit the page here

Today nearly everyone hiring a vehicle will have a mobile phone with a camera. Even if it is a dark wet night spend a couple of minutes checking that vehicle and take photos of any signs of damage before you drive away. If a member of staff is about have your comments noted on the hire agreement.

Thursday 10 January 2019

insurance4carhire products now being marketed at jml Insurance websites once again

jml insurance / insurance4carrental are delighted to announce that once again insurance4carhire car hire excess waiver insurance products are being promoted on their sites.

Back in 2004 jml Property Services started to promote insurance4carhire car hire excess products becoming an early affiliate of founder Larry Ursich. Up until October 2017 over £190,827 income was generated for the company behind insurance4carhire.

Then in 2017 new underwriters were appointed and the affiliate system ended for jml Property Services.

In early December 2018 a letter was received advising that jml Property Services had worked with them in the past (some 13 years in fact) and invited them to apply under the affiliate agency they now used.

Just before Christmas insurance4carhire banners and links went back to the insurance4carrental site and feeder links at jml-insurance.co.uk, euro-rentals.com and cotedazurrental.com.

To find out more go to http://www.insurance4carrental.com/insurance4carhire.htm

Monday 11 December 2017

Questor Insurance Services 10 per cent discount

Christmas and New Year holidays are now just days away so it is vitally important that you have the right Travel and Car Hire Excess insurance arranged and buy it now.
At this time of year it can be very costly with presents, decorations, food and drink and other seasonal fayre so if you can save some money then that is so much better.

If you buy your Questor Insurance product via a link at the euro-rentals, jml-insurance or insurance4carrental websites you can save money  - 10% off the cost.

Questor offers a great range of products -
Car Hire Excess Insurance
Motor Home - Camper Van Hire Excess Insurance
Minibus Hire Excess Insurance
Van Hire Excess Insurance
Car Club Excess Insurance
LifeStyle-Lite Excess Insurance
Motor Excess Insurance
Motor Fleet Excess Insurance
Golfing Travel Insurance
Gadget Insurance
Standard Travel Insurance
Winter Sports Travel Insurance
Back Packers Travel Insurance
Gadget Insurance

To find out more follow this link http://www.insurance4carrental.com/questor.htm#Discount

Thursday 31 August 2017

Fines For car hire damage trigger numerous complaints to EU watchdog

The 30th August 17 edition of The Irish Independent had an article saying that rental car companies have been accused of imposing supplementary charges on consumers for alleged damage to vehicles. The report said that disputes around car hire charges are the second biggest issue for The European Consumer Centre (ECC) in Dublin, Ireland has to deal with every year in it's annual report.

A press release was published on the 29th August by the organisation saying that it had published its annual report 2016 which shows that air travel is once again the most common area of cross-border consumer complaint. Also in the top five consumer complaints for 2016 are car rental, electronic products, furniture, hotels and accommodation.

In 2016, ECC Ireland dealt with 4,337 total contacts from consumers (cross-border complaints and requests for information) which represents a significant increase of almost 24% on the number of contacts handled in 2015. Complaints actively pursued by ECC Ireland and requiring further assistance from the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) came to 719.

Air passenger rights, which accounted for 338 cases (47% of cases), was the most popular area of complaint. This category has held on to the top spot year-after-year. With 78 cases (11% of cases) car rental came in second and was followed by electronic products with 57 cases (7.9% of cases), furniture with 49 cases (6.8% of cases) and in fifth position was the hotels and accommodation category with 39 cases (5.4% of cases).

Of the 719 complaints requiring direct intervention on behalf of consumers, 167 involved Irish consumers against traders based in other European countries while 552 cases related to complaints by consumers from other European countries against traders based in Ireland.  Full report here

Car rental
  • There were 78 cases dealt with by ECC Ireland, 59 originating from consumers based in other EU/EEA countries complaining about car rental traders in Ireland, whilst a further 19 cases were pursued on behalf of Irish consumers.
  • Supplementary charges imposed when returning the vehicle was the most problematic area of complaint, followed by problems with the booking process, and hard-selling techniques for additional products such as insurance.

Recently the usual summer holiday bad experiences of car hire have been in various  consumer complaint columns in newspapers in Britain and Ireland.

Yesterday (30th August) BBC Radio 4  "You and Yours" programme featured complaints on same subject including complaints about a car hire company that is very cheap to hire from, however when they include the extras you don't realise you are signing for, can be very expensive.

At the insurance4carrental.com we put together a very useful guide about hiring a car - Visit the page here   

Wednesday 19 July 2017

Holiday warnings about Car Hire Scams are everywhere

You can tell that schools break up for the summer holidays in England and Wales in the next couple of days by the amount of media coverage given to Car Hire scams and rip-offs.

Last Saturday(15th July 17) iCarhireinsurance PR people had been very successful in getting their latest research in car hire onto the front page of the Daily Mail. The same report was carried over to the online edition of The Sun.

They had researched how car hire companies increase their charges during the busy holiday periods, particularly at popular destinations. Nothing new in this as it does appear to happen on an annual basis.

Meanwhile Simon Calder travel writer for The Independent and The I featured "The ultimate guide to hiring a vehicle without scams and shocks".

Finally The Europcar story was featured in The Daily Mail yesterday - 17 July. "Car hire industry is thrown into crisis as major firm faces police probe into 'fraudulent' repair costs
Half a million Europcar customers could have been overcharged for repairs- Company is facing criminal inquiry over bill inflated by up to 300 per cent Hire firm has admitted customers may have been overcharged £30million"
No doubt more of this will follow.

Enjoy the summer holidays, but do take care.

Tuesday 4 July 2017

CritAir anti-pollution sticker on cars in France

Riviera Radio News e-newsletter has advised motorists that as from  Saturday July 1st motorists, including foreign ones, will be subject to a €68 fine if they don’t display their “CritAir” anti-pollution sticker on their cars, whilst driving in certain parts of France.

For the moment the stickers are obligatory in Paris and most of the French capital’s surrounding suburbs, Lyon and Villeurbanne in central France and Grenoble in the south east.

Signs on the road side will let you know you are in a Zone of restricted Circulation (ZCR). By 2020 they will be obligatory in some 22 towns and cities across the country. (Source Riviera Radio News)

No doubt the car hire companies operating in France will be geared up for this, but do check if you are hiring a car. If you bring your hired car across the border from another European country it is advisable to check on the situation if you are likely to drive in one of the Zones. 

If you are taking your own car to France, you can apply on line and visit their website here Classifications are based on age of vehicle, there are quite a lot of restrictions for older vehicles.

Want to hire a car in France - Visit Zest Car Rental Here