Friday 19 August 2016

Car hire rental desk very busy in Dublin, Ireland yesterday

We had to come over to Dublin for a few days and instead of a 4.5 hour drive and 3.5 hour ferry crossing flew instead. Unfortunately the Aer Lingus flight from London Heathrow did not take off till 30 minutes after scheduled departure. As Heathrow is so busy, this probably happens regularly.

Only having hand luggage meant no further delays after passport control and headed out of Terminal 2 to the waiting Avis / Budget / Pay Less Car hire courtesy bus that takes you to the car hire depot on the outside of Dublin Airport.

There were only 4 other people on the bus so thought it would be fairly quick to collect the car. That is where it all changed upon arrival. It was packed. Organised chaos! A long queue for the Budget / Pay Less side and a slightly shorter one for the Avis side. All the time more buses arrived with more travellers arriving.

The long desk / counter shared by the companies was full staffed who were looking exhausted, but were polite, calm and efficient.

Eventually our turn arrived to present our car hire voucher bought on line earlier in the week from the re-branded Economy Car Hire now called Zest Car Rental.

As normal said I did not want excess insurance as we had an annual policy purchased through one of the providers on the insurance4carrental site. We were told (as advised in the Zest booking) that by providing your own excess waiver insurance a £1,500 deposit (€1,600) would be required via credit card.

I explained we did not want an automatic as a year ago with the same company, because of the busy summer period there were a lot of cars in the car park with Northern Ireland registration plates and we were provided with an automatic that I could not get into forward or reverse and it had to be changed for a manual model.

We were told there would be a fifteen minute wait. It was a very long 15 minutes. In fact by this time it was nearer to 1.20 and had we driven to Holyhead would just about be loading onto the car ferry!

Anyway eventually the car arrived and they highlighted the two areas of minor damage as several people had to come back to get their paperwork verified as these cars had additional damage.

It looked like if we had wanted to rent an expensive BMW, Audi or Mercedes there were plenty parked outside, but it looks like there were just not enough smaller cars like the Nissan Micra we had.

Although the staff were so helpful and stretched it was not a good welcome to Ireland. The car rental base has several companies operating from there and one person from Northern Ireland went and looked at the competition and said that in other ones there were no crowds. Maybe these companies were charging more - no idea. But with Canadians and other visitors waiting patiently in a queue it is not a good start to a visit to Ireland.

The Zest Car rental broker site offers several companies and you can check their individual terms of business. One area I always look for is the fuel policy and cross border policy. It is no good renting a car with a full tank of fuel and being told you bring it back empty if you are only driving 100 km in the rental, thereby the car hire company makes some extra money at the renter's expense.

We would use Budget / Avis again in Dublin, however if it is in the holiday season, hope they actually have more vehicles ready for collection when the customer arrives.

Sunday 21st August - Made sure hire car was refilled and returned early to airport. A queue for returns to get fuel deposit back of about 8 minutes so not so bad. No great long queues in the collection point, however if any staff took a break or a lot of flights came in chaos of the previous Thursday could return.

Monday 15 August 2016

Car rental companies still make renters pay for excess insurance if credit on card not sufficient

My niece and family were visiting Ireland from France in July. They were flying to Belfast and hiring a car at the airport.  

I bought on her behalf a European car hire excess insurance policy from Questor Insurance. She printed off the details for the holiday. First of all she had to find a car rental company that allowed the driver to take it in the Republic of Ireland and then find one that did not charge a hefty fee for cross border use.

She booked the car online from France and they arrived at Belfast Airport. They went to collect the car and although she showed them the Questor Insurance policy document, as she was providing her own independently purchased excess insurance she fell down on a common financial problem.

Yes she could use the Questor Insurance, however they wanted to debit her French debit card immediately with some £800. This would have meant this amount of money (around €1,000 at that time has the value of the pound had not fallen post Brexit). She could not afford this so they sold her excess insurance costing some £125.00 for ten days cover.

So she had two lots of insurance cover. On costing £39.99 from Questor Insurance and the Car Hire company's product (for which they earn a lot of commission) costing £125.00 for ten days.

This is totally unfair. They should have the right naturally to hold a credit card deposit, but to actually take it off the driver at the time of hire is not right. This means the car rental company has additional funds in the form of cash flow and  if the hirer is not in the Sterling  zone they have to pay currency conversion costs to their bank.

I have hired cars over the years in similar circumstances, however most of the companies used have "swiped" the card and had the right to deduct the amount if there was a problem on returning the car, but funds were not immediately withdrawn.

This type of incident once again does not help tourism and only benefits the car hire company trying to make up income from competition by making a lot of money from car hire commission.

If you are looking for Questor Insurance products, excess, travel + and want to save even more money collect a discount of !0% when you buy from the insurance4carrrental.com / jml-insurance web sites at   http://www.insurance4carrental.com/questor.htm#Discount