Sunday 6 December 2009

Being hit with excessive hire car charges

Going through Paul Gosling's "A Question of Cash" column in The Independent on Saturday 5th December 09, I came across this.

'I have been hit with excessive hire car charges'...
Question: I hired a car from Europcar. Afterwards I had to pay two extra charges. One was for €2.50 and the other €75 (£68), plus 20 per cent VAT, which were taken from my credit card without authorisation. Yet I had paid an extra premium so that I didn't have to pay any insurance excess.

There were a couple of scratches on the car when returned. But I did not have any accidents and if these happened during the time of hire, they must have been caused by other cars whilst the hired vehicle was parked.

I made a declaration at the time of returning the vehicle that the car had not been in any accidents. I have been unable to get Europcar to make a refund and I regard the charges as excessive. KB, by email.

Answer: Europcar has confirmed that €75 was charged as "a damage processing administration fee" imposed by Europcar Italy. "This is a standard fee with Europcar Italy, as stated in the terms and conditions of the rental agreement," says the company and is not affected by your payment of a premium to cover the insurance excess. You were unaware of any damage to the car while it was your responsibility.

There are two explanations for this: it may have been damaged while parked, or it may have been there before you rented it, but was not noted on the rental agreement. Europcar is not prepared to waive the charge and we can only suggest that next time you hire a car that you park carefully and check the surface of the hire car carefully before you rent it.

Have you had any similar experiences? Reply via this blog or via this contact page.

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