Tuesday 22 September 2009

Hiring a car can be more expensive than you Budgeted for

Renting a car in Dublin can be a lot more expensive than you thought. That car advertised at £35 per day suddenly becomes nearly £60 per day. It can’t help the tourist market at the moment so look out for the hidden charges.

Fortunately I only rent a car approximately four times a year, as taking a city break, the beauty of such a trip is not having to drive, find your way about or park.

There are however times when my wife and I have to rent a car, although our recent experiences have just been in France and Ireland.

Renting a car in France has always proved very straightforward apart from one occasion in 2000 renting an easyCar Mercedes in the south of France. We normally book on line , pay and know that we won’t be paying any additional charges that could come out of the blue when we go to the check in desk of the car hire company.

Following on from the incident in 2000, when we heard about Larry Dale Ursich’s company insurance4carhire being publicised one Saturday a few years ago were quick to buy the annual excess insurance policy.

Since then our company jml Property Services has become an introducer agent and through various web sits in the jml Group including http://www.insurance4carrental.com/ has generated over £87,000 worth of business for them. We therefore don’t buy the product from the car hire company as it is normally more expensive that way.

We quite often visit Dublin, Ireland and if we don’t make a long drive and sea crossing, take a short flight from the greater London area. Unfortunately the rental experience is never the same as it is in France.

The impression is that although you have made your booking, paid for it there will suddenly be little extras when you go to collect a car. One of these little extras is a €28 airport charge. We have discovered that some rental companies even make this charge if you collect the car from a city centre depot and go nowhere near the airport!

Another charge is a credit card charge, admittedly only €5.29, however it would nice to have these charges included in the “estimate price” and not added on for when you go to collect the car.

Airlines had the habit of offering very cheap flights that attracted you to fly and then when you went to book found the price had trebled because of all the fees and local taxes. We consumers like to know how we stand so we can budget accordingly. You would not be very pleased going to the local supermarket or petrol station and then just before you paid told you had to pay a compulsory charge.

In late August we made a mistake with a booking on a five day rental in Dublin. The booking was made on line and we did not accept the CDW Insurance. Collision damage waiver (CDW), sometimes confusingly also called loss damage waiver (LDW), is essentially a form of insurance that may or may not come included in the rental price of a hired car. It exists to provide cover for damage that occurs to the rented vehicle itself.

It appears that if you are paying with some American credit cards they may allow you to waive this charge. The actual daily rental quoted with the CDW was not much more than with, however going through at least three car hire providers websites for comparative pricing got somewhat confusing. We paid £167.39 on line for the five days rental .

When my wife went to collect the car, she was told as we had declined the CDW we would have to pay an additional amount of £14 a day which is more than the price would have been for an inclusive daily rate, but obviously the car hire company would want an admin fee.

She was asked to pay a further £191.39 that included a full tank of petrol. (In France we have always found that the car comes with a full tank of fuel, the car hire company swipes the credit card, but does not debit it and at the end of the rental, provided the car comes back full there is no further activity on the card) We have always been charged for fuel straightaway at Dublin.

After the car was returned full of fuel and the next credit card statement came in there was a refund of £68.80. This means that an additional amount of £122.59 was added to the rental price of £167.39 making the total rental for 5 days £289.98 ( or £57.99 per day) for the lowest price card.

My wife was told she was given a free upgrade, but it looks like she had to pay for it!. When we emailed the car hire company about the charges they simply stated they were correct.
It is most important that whenever you book a car rental that you check thoroughly to see if the price is inclusive of collection, road tax, credit cards etc.

Some car rental companies charge for additional drivers, some only charge for more than one additional driver. Most car hire companies charge for car hire excess insurance unless you have arranged this yourself and of course you could be paying more for roof racks and child seats.

The cheapest car rental price, may not in fact be the cheapest one by the time the add ons arrive.

There are airport fees at Dublin, it would be interesting to hear from other people if many other airports have these and which ones. If you can help we would like to compile a list and what they charge.

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