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Negotiating car rental prices in Europe-- success stories?

San Jose, California
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Negotiating car rental prices in Europe-- success stories?

Has anyone had any luck negotiating a better rate with the broker or rental company?

I see a couple areas that stand out....

* Reservation web sites are including CDW coverage, with know way to deselect. I know theft insurance is mandatory in Italy, but we have already CDW through our own insurance.

* The charge for a second driver is another 30-40% of the daily rate! That's crazy high..especially if we're driving same amount, just splitting the miles.

We'll be doing a fair amount of driving, so this will be a major expense for us. Any help would be great.

Thanks!

Lewes, United...
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for Road Trips
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1. Re: Negotiating car rental prices in Europe-- success stories?

Hi Joe

Welcome to the Road Trips forum.

My first question to you would be how long do you plan to rent a car for to explore Europe? And where in Europe?

If it is 17 days or longer, then frequent advice offered on this forum is to look at car leasing with the 3 major French car manufacturers instead of renting. This is cheapest if you return the car to where you start from, but different drop off locations are allowed. If, for example, the pick up and drop off locations are both within France, the cost is not too high, if it's in other European countries, it can be noticeably higher, but you need to do a dummy booking to see what the impact is.

However, any international one way rental in Europe will always be eye-wateringly expensive, if you are struggling with the kind of costs most foreign visitors are prepared to accept for the privilege of road tripping in Europe. Don't forget, gas is hugely more expensive in all European countries compared to the USA. To which I'd also comment that you should consider a diesel vehicle, especially for a leasing deal.

CDW coverage is mandatory in several European countries as part of the rental package because there have been many tales of under or not insured foreign drivers suffering horribly expensive and unfortunate consequences. While I know many US based credit cards and other insurance packages include foreign CDW cover, my understanding is that this might only be secondary cover, if you check the fine print, so you'll still need other, primary insurance cover. Some rental companies, if you provide genuine written proof that you already have existing cover for their vehicle (possibly translated to the appropriate language at your expense!) may well allow you to not have to pay the daily CDW fee. Instead, they may take a much higher deposit against your credit car on collection of the vehicle, only returning it days or weeks after you hand back an undamaged vehicle at the end of the rental period. I've seen reports that this has eaten up the whole credit limit of some travellers, meaning they are unable to add hotel charges, meal charges, etc to their credit card, unless they have additional ones or very high credit limits.

Second driver fees with some USA rental companies work out at the same percentage of the daily rate, so this problem is not unique to Europe! The only workaround I know to that conundrum is to join the loyalty scheme of some of the car rental companies before booking, and only rent with them, as they give free second driver coverage to spouses if they have the same family name on DLs and/or passports. Hertz does this, for example (as do others) but are often so much more expensive than their competitors, that adding the additional driver fee can be still cheaper for other, perhaps lesser know or local rental companies.

Which brokers or rental companies have you already looked at?

SWT

Leeds
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634 posts
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2. Re: Negotiating car rental prices in Europe-- success stories?

In Europe, well at least in Spain and Italy, there are a few things that you should look out for.

When using a comparison site (here in the UK I use travelsupermarket.com), be aware that what you see isn't always what you get.

The most common scam is the fuel policy. Having booked and paid for your bargain car, when you go collect it you are charged for a full tank of fuel at a high rate ( this may be up to 100 euros). You are told to bring the car back empty and of course this is extremely unlikely given that some cars can do well over 500 miles on a tank. There is no refund for brining back part full.

Next scam is on the insurance. You may think that you have full insurance, but when picking up the car told it does not cover wheels, glass, keys, roof, underside etc. and you are asked to pay extra. If you decline a very large deposit is secured on your credit card.

Here is an interesting thread

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g1-i12290-k54964…

Lewes, United...
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3. Re: Negotiating car rental prices in Europe-- success stories?

bestyman - I think you've highlighted 2 different additional aspects for anybody to look out for with regard to making car rental bookings from the internet without doing due diligence and taking enough time to ensure you, if you are the person making the online booking, understands and has read enough of the Ts and Cs to be aware of what you have agreed to by ticking boxes and hitting the confirm button.

However, neither of these are a scam as they are mentioned in the fine print. A scam would be something that was underhand or not disclosed at all in any way. The full tank issue applies to lots of rentals in the USA and other parts of the world, from my own personal experience. It's not restricted to Spain and/or Italy. In fact, neither of my recent rentals in Spain or Italy had those clauses, so they are also avoidable.

Again, that the insurance doesn't include the underbody and other area is again not unique to certain European countries. We encountered the same clauses in South Africa and New Zealand. The cheapest way of getting round this last issue is to buy separate top up insurance, rather than adding the car rental's version as that is charged per day.

As to that link. All it has is a ton of moaning minnies who failed to read their Ts &Cs, ticked boxes without thinking of the consequences as they only wanted the cheapest deal they could see and book in less than 5 minutes with no due diligence, and were not happy or prepared to take the consequences when their own failures cost them more money. This forum is full of similar types of moans for rentals all over the world!

SWT

Leeds
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634 posts
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4. Re: Negotiating car rental prices in Europe-- success stories?

I agree that some people simply don't read the terms and conditions. However from personal experience of hiring cars abroad a few times a year it is not clear at all about the fuel policy. In fact when I am looking for the fuel policy cannot find it easily and sometimes it is even hidden away in a separate .pdf document that must be downloaded, magnified and then if you have the know how its CTRL and F to find the bit about fuel.

The website is designed in such a way that the average person will not realise that there are additional charges in some cases costing much more than the cost of the car hire. I stand by its a scam- Google the meaning and you will see.

Los Angeles
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for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
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5. Re: Negotiating car rental prices in Europe-- success stories?

Google the meaning of "scam"? I prefer a dictionary.

a confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit;

I don't think requiring people to pay for the gas they use is a scam. It's just common sense that a rental agency is going to charge you more per gallon (as it takes someone some time to do it) than if you did it yourself. Web page designers are in trouble no matter how they lay things out (I like Hertz's attempts at this, btw) because the "average person" will simply stop reading if there's too much complexity and variables.

At any rate, all rental agencies (unless they specify otherwise) are going to charge you for any fuel you used.

Leeds
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6. Re: Negotiating car rental prices in Europe-- success stories?

Missed the point.

1. Google does have an online dictionary.

2. Of course paying for the gas that you use is not a scam.

The point is that you are charged for a full tank regardless. Most people will not do 500+ miles on a short holiday and no one will take the car back empty- unless of course they push it back.

San Jose, California
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7. Re: Negotiating car rental prices in Europe-- success stories?

HI-- OP here. Thanks much to all for the advice.

We were able to get a decent price working with Hertz directly. Our AAA knocked over $100 off the price. We elected to return full instead of paying for a full tank up front.

Still checking w credit card company and insurance provider to see how we're covered for CDW.

Aubrey, Texas
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8. Re: Negotiating car rental prices in Europe-- success stories?

Amex Premium insurance is $25 per rental, not per day, up to around 30 days or so. I've never needed a rental car that long so I'm not sure of the maximum length. It is first dollar cover for the vehicle, no deductible. The reports I've read say that Amex handles claims well.

I've always booked directly with the rental car company after comparison shopping. In pre-internet days I would call around. Now it's much easier to do online. On our most recent trips Thrifty and Hertz at Heathrow have had the best deals. They don't push CDW when I mention Amex Premium. And they don't care whether you fill the tank yourself or buy from them. AAA membership has saved me a bundle on car rentals with US companies.

9. Re: Negotiating car rental prices in Europe-- success stories?

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