Hire-car high jinks

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

car scratches that can be probably just polished out but are drivers being charged for repairs by some hire-car companies?

According to a new Opinium survey, commissioned by iCarhireinsurance.com, 21% of hirers have found damage on a hire car which was not highlighted on the checkout sheet.

However, if damage isn’t noted before you depart, drivers could be held liable and have to pay as happened to me some years ago when I hadn’t checked a hire car in Ireland closely enough before I took it away. Regardless of how much I argued I couldn’t prove that it was there when I took the car away. Luckily – or unluckily depending on your point-of-view – I only had to pay a small amount but others may not be so fortunate. Needless to say I have never used that hire-car company again!

Just over a tenth of hire-car drivers were also told by the car-hire branch that they didn’t need to jot down small scratches. Dismiss that advice and jot everything down because sometimes I feel as though those checking the cars when you return them are more eagle-eyed than those checking them out!

With most drivers having smart phones, it makes sense to take quite detailed images of the car before you leave the branch especially places like bumpers, one of the more obvious areas for scratches.

iCarhireinsurance.com has an app called iCarhire which records images that are date and time-stamped. It is free to all travellers and not just customers of iCarhireinsurance.com.

The more cynical amongst us might think that this is one way for companies to get more money from us. They then pocket the money and don’t do the repairs leaving the next hirer as another target! Not that I am suggesting this is widespread or something that the major companies would do. But smaller companies that you might find near a holiday hotel in certain destinations might see this as an opportunity to fleece holidaymakers.

According to the research, many travellers have felt in danger of being ripped off by the rental companies with 51% believing that rental companies will charge for damage already on a vehicle and 14% have worried the whole holiday about scratching or damaging the car.


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