Beware the hidden costs of holiday car hire

Car hire firms can chase you for money long after you thought you had paid for your holiday.

Family of four on holiday with hire car © Alamy

Will a big bill be waiting when they get home?

Family of four on holiday with hire car © Alamy

The summer holidays are over. But you may not have finished paying for them if you hired a car during your trip. Kate Palmer in The Sunday Times tells the story of Peter and Lynne Darker, who found themselves chased for a car-hire payment 15 months after their journey. To make matters worse the charge was for damage and breakdown cover after the tyre exploded on the vehicle on a motorway just 15 minutes after they hired it. This shows that "rental companies can charge for alleged damage to vehicles long after customers have returned home", says Palmer. They can do so because they store your financial details when you hire the car and it is in the terms and conditions that they don't have to seek your permission to take a payment. In a case covered in The Daily Telegraph, a "highly experienced police driver was accused of burning out the clutch and billed £1,235 five months later".

Keep an eye on your card statement

Try to book with a firm that has a UK office so if there is a problem you aren't trying to communicate across a language barrier. You also have additional support when dealing with UK firms. "If you cannot resolve a dispute with a car-rental company in the UK, use the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association's conciliation service (bvrla.co.uk)," says Nick Trend in The Daily Telegraph.

Finally, avoid hiring a car through InterRent, Goldcar, or their parent company Europcar. In a survey by Which? Travel, an independent consumers' organisation, these firms were ranked the worst. Almost half of those who hired with InterRent, and four in ten Goldcar customers, had a problem, says Guy Hobbs on which.co.uk.

Recommended

Calculate your personal inflation rate
Personal finance

Calculate your personal inflation rate

This useful calculator lets you see the effect of price rises on your budget, to calculate your own personal inflation rate.
12 May 2022
How to make your child a financial whizz
Personal finance

How to make your child a financial whizz

Money skills aren’t always taught at school. You need to take matters into your own hands, says Ruth Jackson-Kirby.
11 May 2022
Should you fix your mortgage? Interest rates have hit a five-year high
Mortgages

Should you fix your mortgage? Interest rates have hit a five-year high

Mortgage interest rates hit a five-year high last month. So should you fix your mortgage rate? And if so, how long should you fix for? Ruth Jackson in…
4 May 2022
Should you buy pet insurance or “self insure” your pet?
Insurance

Should you buy pet insurance or “self insure” your pet?

Veterinary costs are soaring, but many pet insurance policies provide a poor level of cover, says Ruth Jackson-Kirby.
27 Apr 2022

Most Popular

Get set for another debt binge as real interest rates fall
UK Economy

Get set for another debt binge as real interest rates fall

Despite the fuss about rising interest rates, they’re falling in real terms. That will blow up a wild bubble, says Matthew Lynn.
15 May 2022
High inflation will fade – here’s why
Inflation

High inflation will fade – here’s why

Many people expect high inflation to persist for a long time. But that might not be true, says Max King. Inflation may fall faster than expected – and…
13 May 2022
What the Ukraine crisis might mean for ESG investing
Advertisement Feature

What the Ukraine crisis might mean for ESG investing

The Ukraine crisis has brought many of the issues around ESG investing into sharper focus. Where does the sector go from here?
3 May 2022