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Rental car dilemma

South Melbourne...
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Rental car dilemma

Hello all

I'm travelling solo to Paris then England in May 2014, with part of my planned itinerary being Southwest England.

I am travelling mostly by train, but would like to drive around to see the white horses of Wiltshire, Lacock, stay in Devizes,(booked) then on to Salisbury for a couple of days before heading down to Cornwall.

I thought I would rent a car in Bath, do a big circle and return the car to Salisbury, then catch a train to London. My time frame for this is is 8-9 days.

In the US, I booked online, arrived, was sent out to the car park to pick a car, any car, and off I went, dropping it off days later and handing in keys at the office. NO extra charges or drama except for me going through the wrong toll gate in Boston, and being charged later (which I was advised about).

After many hours poring over websites and English TA forums, I am totally flummoxed.

I can rent through a third party (eg travelsupermarket, carrentals) for AUD 240 but not know who I'm actually renting with until I pick up the car.

I can book with a particular company (eg Thrifty ) for GBP 240 which is almost double the amount. Yes, really.

I can even book with a third party that puts me onto another third party which then farms out a car, so it would be conveniently difficult to follow the trail if I had an insurance claim. ( and they may not even have a car for me when I go to pick it up)

I've read about green motion, argus, national, alamo and more.

I'm ready to take photos of every tiny scratch, demand a spare tyre and take out independant insurance.

So my question is - is there any particular car rental company in England that is reliable, not too expensive and will not charge me for the( previous person's) supposed scratches on wheel rims?

I don't mean to sound whiny, but I have spent hours on this, trying to do it on my own. I think it may be easier to go with a bigger well known company and save up to pay the extra dosh.

Any ideas, suggestions would be welcome.

Thank you

Sydney, Australia
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for Train Travel
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1. Re: Rental car dilemma

Two reputable Australian companies that arrange cheap rentals with the major companies are www.autoeurope.com.au and www.driveaway.com.au

With both of them, you fill out a form saying where and when you want to rent, and the next screen lists available cars, prices, and the actual rental company.

With any rental company, the only way of being sure you will not be charged for damage (real or not) is to take out zero-excess insurance. The rental companies offer this, although it can be expensive. The alternative is to have your own insurance for the excess. Many travel insurance policies include such cover, including some of those attached to a credit car. However, if you have your own insurance and the car is damaged, the excess will be charged to your credit card and you will have to claim it back from your insurer.

Amsterdam, The...
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2. Re: Rental car dilemma

Actually AutoEurope are an American company not Australian but are good. I use them a lot. I would not worry too much about using a broker. I am just about to pick a car up from Budget in Glasgow airport and I booked that through Holidayautos.com (owned by Expedia). I also use them a lot but it is true that they don't tell you who their deal is with until you complete the booking whereas autoeurope do.

Nothing wrong with just booking direct with Alamo or so. I have also done that lots.

London
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3. Re: Rental car dilemma

I really would caution against a "blind" booking. You could (a) end up with a company with a terrible reputation (search on this forum for traveller's comments on Green Motion...) and/or (b) find that the rental company has different terms and conditions from what you expected when you reserved. If you book direct with a "major name" you won't have that confusion.

A few other thoughts. Are you comparing like for like? There are many insurance options - make sure you're comparing deals with comparible cover. Do you have to do a one-way hire? Sometimes it is the only sensible answer for your itinerary - but all UK rental companies will charge extra for a one-way - very rare to find a deal with free one-way.

The "pick any car in the lot" approach is almost unheard of in the UK - don't expect to find that. When you go to collect you'll be allocated a car of the class you've reserved - though not necessarily the exact model quoted on the booking.

All UK firms are very strict about damage control - you must inspect the car carefully before you drive off and check pre-exsiting damage - but in my experience Avis and Hertz are very fair in their approach.

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Rental car dilemma

>>Actually AutoEurope are an American company<<

I think that AutoEurope Australia are Australian, operating a franchise. Just like all the companies operating as "Avis" are actually under local ownership operating a franchise.

Chester
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5. Re: Rental car dilemma

HI,

the company I work for use Hertz or Avis and you should be able to hire a car at Bath.

Sorry don't know how they compare on price.

Keith.

South Melbourne...
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6. Re: Rental car dilemma

Thanks for the responses and advice.

I will look again at the companies mentioned here. I will be taking out extra cover from a private insurer too.

Yes, rcspeirs, I did compare on a par, and actually the cost for returning the car to Bath was the same in some cases.

Interestingly, I am a loyalty member with Alamo, and yet no matter where I try to book with them, there are no cars available.Tried Bath, Oxford,Salisbury, London, then gave up.

I just don't understand how the brokers can offer the same cars for the same time for amost half the price.

Back to google (sigh)......................

7. Re: Rental car dilemma

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