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How To Avoid Common Car Hire Rip-Offs

Car hire rip-offsAccording to Which? an incredible 63% of car hire customers fear being ripped off when renting a vehicle.  With hidden fees, pushy sales staff and numerous reports of unscrupulous practices, holidaymakers need to do their research before they hire.

But what do they need to watch out for? Here are a few of the main contenders…


There are several types of fuel policies that are offered by car hire firms, so you need to know what to look for and what to avoid.

Full-empty Fuel Policy

This is where you hire the car with a full tank and return it empty – offers no value as you’ll be charged a premium for the petrol you’re given.

On top of that, it’s near impossible to return the car with a completely empty tank, so they’ll always be some fuel that is paid for and not used.

Full-full Fuel Policy

Instead, a full-full policy is often considered to be the cheapest option as you only ever pay for the fuel you use.

However, note that some rental firms will charge if the tank is not full when the car is returned, while others will want proof that you refilled within a set distance of the car hire desk.

Extra mileage

Check the terms and conditions on your rental as you may have a mileage limit and be charged extra if you exceed that.

Limits tend to vary by rental company and by location, but it can make the hire more expensive if you intend to drive a lot and regularly go over any limit that is in place.

It’s important to check before booking if you want a rental with long distance options or that offers unlimited mileage.

Think cleanliness

If a rental company considers a car to be exceptionally dirty, they may say it requires a ‘special clean’ which comes at a high price.

Which? points to the examples of Europcar, Goldcar and Firefly, who charge anything between £85 and £215 for the service.

Holidaymakers will therefore want to ensure that the car is returned in a clean state and should take pictures of the vehicle to document that in case of a dispute.

Shop around for excess insurance

Car hire excess insurance that is sold by rental companies might be cheaper elsewhere so it’s best to shop around.

Most rentals include basic insurance, but the excess – which could amount to thousands of pounds – is not covered, leaving you liable to cover the costs if the vehicle is damaged or stolen.

Car hire firms will tend to offer a super collision damage waiver that reduces a driver’s liability to zero or near to zero, but this costs much more than alternatives that are available online and elsewhere.

Furthermore, it’s also important to check what a super collision damage waiver covers, as tyres, wheels and windscreens are often excluded.

Which? reports that what is offered at the rental desk can be 10 times more expensive, or an even greater amount.

Car hire excess insurance is available to cover a period of one-day, several days, a week, or even a year, so you can find affordable cover that best suits your situation.

Date Created: 29/03/2019

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