Car rental remind me of the world of politics – there’s a haze of public mistrust around both and a shared lack of transparency. Worse still, car rental goes hand in hand with car insurance, as murky a combination as a politician say… and a developer! When you’re renting a car, you think you’ve booked and paid for everything, but actually when you arrive at the car hire desk, there’s always a little surprise waiting! In the interest of ‘Buyer Beware’ we’ve put together the 8 most common problems we’ve witnessed at car rental companies.
- The numero uno ‘surprise’ our customers experience.. meet the evil twins insurance and excess. We’ve had sooooo many customers who bought insurance prior to travel but on arrival found the car rental company wouldn’t accept it, and you know what that means…no insurance, no car. Apparently most car rental companies themselves don’t offer insurance on-line, they want you to buy at the desk. So the problem really depends on where you originally booked – an airline, a booking aggregator, your hotel? CarTrawler , for example who power the bookings for their partners such as Aer Lingus and Ryanair, is one that car rental companies will accept, but there are many they won’t so best check directly with the car rental company before purchasing any insurance.You will need a credit card with credit on it! The car rental companies basically freeze the excess amount on your credit card (it has to be a credit card) so make sure you’ve enough to cover it. We’ve seen customers trying to transfer funds from accounts because they are €10 short – it’s ridiculous, but there you go. Car rentals don’t take cash generally, so best to be prepared.
- I’ve asked staff at the desk what they do when they rent cars abroad, and they all say they get full insurance cover… if there are any scratches or dints, or any damage at all, you will pay premium for it.
- Book online, it’s generally cheaper than booking at the desk.
- It is well worth signing up as an ‘Avis Prefered’ customer ( http://www.avis.ie/apsignup.aspx) – I haven’t read all the benefits (or small print for that matter) but you can collect your car from the terminal car park – as opposed to taking the shuttle bus to the car depot.
- Avis and Budget are owned by the same company at Dublin Airport – if two people book the same car for the same day, the Avis customer will get the newer car and the Budget customer will have to wait.
- Hertz offer a similar programme https://www.hertz.ie/rentacar/member/enrollment, again, I haven’t read the t&c’s so you might want to before signing up!
- If you are coming from America – our big cars, are not as big as yours! We often see visitors having to upgrade when they arrive because the car isn’t big enough.