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Rental Hire Car Scams to Watch Out For

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Hiring a rental car to travel during your vacation is the best way to explore the destination. However, you must beware of the tricks that many rental car companies do to take more of your money. You should always use reliable, well known and cheap car hire companies.

Using a rental car abroad can be scary considering the amount of bills you may have if things go wrong. There is damage to the car that is unavoidable such as car park dings or vandalism. However, rental car companies are more sneakier.

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Missing or Broken Car Parts from Rental Cars

You have just come from the airport and you are lacking sleep but you need to pick up the hire car. The last thing you are going to be doing is looking for missing car parts. However, I cannot stress how important this is to avoid costly replacements.

A common “missing” part is the car floor jack, which is the last thing you are going to look for. However, when dropping your car back to them, they will check for this (As well as the spare wheel). They will of course ask where this is and demand up to $10o for the replacement.

Another good example for missing car parts are the rear carpet mats of the car. Parts that are often overlooked are usually the ones that will be missing when using a dodgy hire car company.

To avoid falling victim to this fraud, be sure to check the spec list for missing parts and then carrying out a search yourself. All cars should be supplied as a new car unless otherwise stated, so be sure to thoroughly check another person. Don’t be afraid to query the employees of the hire car company.

Full Empty Fuel Rip Off Policy

A well known method that hire car companies are carrying out is asking you to pre-pay for fuel. There are two problems with this policy for us as the customers. The hire car company are of course going to charge and inflated price for each gallon of fuel. Secondly, you might not use all this fuel and you certainly won’t be leaving a drop of fuel in the tank before you hand it back.

Never accept the offer of pre-paid fuel, always fill the car up at the end of hire.

High Insurance Excess for Hire Car Damage

Your car insurance is covered when hiring a car but don’t expect the charges to be similar to your usually insurance. To claim for damage to your rental car could be in the high thousands, which many people will not be able to pay.

However, luckily there is an insurance service so that you can avoid this cost. For up to £3 a day you can reduce this risk so that the excess is zero.

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Expensive Car Hire Over the Desk

Do not wait until the day to go to a car hire company and request a car on the day. They will have dollar signs in their eyes when they see you walk in. When you order on the day, they know that you need a car right this second and will often inflate the prices accordingly.

Expensive Valet of Hire Car

You will need to ensure you bring the car back the way you got it. However, the hire car will more than likely get dirty from holiday usage such as sand from a beach. Do not think for one second that the rental company will clean this for free.

The valet fees from the car hire company will more than likely be extortionate, anywhere in the range of 100$ to 200$. Before dropping the car to the hire company, visit a petrol station or shopping center to have your car valeted there for around 50 dollars maximum.

Stains on leather interior can be cleaned with car leather interior cleaner products that will remove defect before giving it back to the hire company. If you notice scratches from driving that you caused, a strong car polish can reduce the scratches to look like they were never there.

Hidden or Small Print Extra Charges

Always read the car hire contract multiple times with friends or family. There are small but costly hidden charges applicable that car hire companies like to include. Examples include drivers with limited experience (i.e. less than 3 years on the road) as well as big charges for secondary drivers.

Be sure to check the “Admin Fee” because changes happen all the time, from a change of driver to a change of dates. Admin fees can become very expensive, therefore check what you are allowed to change for free and how much each change will cost.

Best Tips for Stress Free Car Rental

Car hire can be very stressful and leave you feeling anxious when you should be relaxing on holiday. Planning for every single outcome is the best way to have a stress free holiday. Having a rental car is essential so that you are able to explore. So what tips do I suggest?

  1. Inspect the car thoroughly before you drive away.
    The worst possible thing you can do is just take the car and drive away when you arrive. How do you know that the previous holidaymaker didn’t take any parts that weren’t picked up on?
    When you get there, start by reading the print out of known defects and confirm that they are present on the car. Next, with a friend or family member, inspect the car for any damage or missing parts (including the car jack!). I always try and make sure employees are watching me doing this so that they know not to try funny business with myself! Finish by taking plenty of photos.
  2. Avoid cramped car parks.
    The most common form of damage is most probably going to be caused from car park dings. Try to park cautiously by parking far away from other cars and aiming for the “end” car parking spots. Paying for damage that you didn’t even cause is more painful.
  3. Car hire excess insurance.
    For the small payment of £3 a day, the insurance to cover the car hire insurance excess is worth every penny. Predicting a car crash is impossible but if the worst comes to happen, you will have the trauma and the big bill at the end.
  4. Stick to what you know.
    If you or family/friends have previously had a good experience with a rental company, stay with them. Saving a few dollars going elsewhere could turn out to be very costly and stressful.

Also stick to recommended car hire companies by your friends or family. Anyone is able to submit hundreds of good reviews about a car hire company to make it look as if they are legitimate and highly rated.

We highly recommended using CarRental8 who work with a selected well known companies worldwide and have lots of cheap car hire deals from as little as 8 dollars a day.

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Written By Dan

About the Author

Dan is an automotive journalist and owner of over 10 cars ranging from supercars, tuned cars, classics and your good old beater cars. He always likes to get his hands dirty with nut and bolt restorations or detailing sessions using the best products on the market.

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