Published On: Mon, Jan 6th, 2020

Holiday car rental: Check every charge before you sign a contract | The Crusader | Finance

But his experience does underline that, no matter how smooth and clear the booking process is, just as crucial are the agreements made on the ground, when collecting the vehicle. Double checks then can save travellers much grief later on. Alessandro hired his vehicle in June from Avis, picking it up at Sicily’s Palermo airport for a family break on the island. 

He had sorted out insurance with a third party already so did not need that.

“It was added, however. But I spotted it almost immediately when the cost was more expensive than I was and I had it removed,” he recalls.

++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on ++

Initially he also declined another offer of either a free sat nav or plug-in WiFi. 

“We all had a lot of data on our phones and didn’t need it,” he adds. 

“But they seemed very keen to promote it and, as it was free, I agreed.”

Alessandro paid £242, which covered the £100 hire plus the deposit, and then signed the contract. He returned the car in perfect condition, but again when he saw the final charges they were more expensive.

“I’d been charged 47 Euros (£40) for the sat nav hire,” he explains. “There was also a further £20 for its case, listed as a ‘TPR counter product’. This was despite being reassured several times it was on promotion and free.”

Alessandro complained several times but then asked Crusader for help after he was told he had requested the charges.

Following our request highlighting the circumstances Avis agreed to reconsider the matter and has now refunded the additional charges as a goodwill gesture, a fair move that has delighted Alessandro.

A company spokesman said: “Customer service and transparency of fees is of paramount importance to us and we apologise that Mr Firetto did not have a swifter resolution to his case. 

“We have investigated the booking with our customer services team and can confirm the charges are correct and agreed to by the customer on the signed rental agreement. 

“However after looking into Mr Firetto’s experience, as a gesture of goodwill, we have refunded the additional charges. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”


Complaints from UK consumers about car hire in the EU have risen over 35 per cent in the past couple of years. 

Avis, however, is among the top five rental operators that pledged four years ago to deliver clearer contracts with regard to refuelling options and insurance, greater price transparency and fairer handling of damages.

The UK branch of the European Consumer Centre can help people with their disputes with EU-based operators. 

Hirers make sure before signing: all charges are clear and in writing, the details of any insurance (note tyres and windscreen), consider cheaper separate excess hire car cover, watch for any age restrictions and refuelling terms, take before and after photos of the vehicle, and get it checked with an employee.  

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