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Car rental in Ireland - BEWARE !

Wicklow, Ireland
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Car rental in Ireland - BEWARE !

I am posting a feature from the 'Irish Independent' 9-04-06.

Shock in store for motorists as car hire costs rocket

PEOPLE hiring cars over the Easter break could be in for an unwelcome surprise - paying almost double what they were quoted.

Consumer experts are warning those hiring cars to be aware of a slew of hidden charges that, in one case, almost doubled the price of renting a car.

Despite being branded as "all-inclusive" on car hire websites, many customers have been stung by stealth charges such as airport pick-up fees, child seat fees and additional driver fees.

But it's often only once a person arrives at the hire firm's office laden down with luggage that they discover the true cost of their car hire.

Hiring a small economy car for the Easter break might seem worthwhile at €155 for three days. But a variety of additional costs can push that up to over €307 - almost double the price initially quoted.

Choosing to collect the car from Dublin airport or the city centre will add on an extra €25. Customers are, in some cases, also expected to chip in towards the cost of car tax, so that's a further €1.14 a day.

Despite already taking out insurance on the car, customers are told that they are still liable for the first few hundred euros worth of damage before the insurance kicks in. Therefore they are urged to take out the "excess waiver" - a snip at €11.35 a day.

Customers are also persuaded to buy personal accident insurance, €6.81 a day, despite the fact that many are already covered for this under their travel insurance policy.

It also costs extra to secure an infant in a child seat (€45.50) and if you have the temerity to want a break from the wheel and let someone else do the driving that will set you back another €7.94 a day.

What initially started out at €155 has now rocketed to over €307.

But the headache doesn't stop there. Still flushed with a holiday tan, many consumers have been left pale-faced on opening their credit card bill to find they have been charged even more for minor scratches or returning the car with a not-quite-full tank of petrol.

"One British driver who hired a car in Ireland noticed a minor scratch before he took the car out. About a month later he was told he had caused the scratch and was charged €300 to repair it," said Mary Denise O'Reilly, spokeswoman with the European Consumer Centre (EDC). The ECC secured a partial refund for the driver after it argued that because the rental company did not complete a damage report it could not apply the charge.

However, Ms O'Reilly urged tourists to start taking their holiday snaps as soon as they arrive at the airport.

"Before you take the car out you should give it a quick look over . . . for any signs of damage but even better than that is to take photographs."

She also warned drivers to check if their insurance policy will cover them should they leave the jurisdiction, particularly in those parts of continental Europe where visitors make day trips to neighbouring countries.

"The best advice is to be wary of all-inclusive packages and to be clear in what you are looking for."

Brisbane, Australia
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1. Re: Car rental in Ireland - BEWARE !

That insurance excess waiver is something no one should refuse, IMO. I hired a car in England and took it out because it was only an extra £10 or something. I'd parked the car in a service station and a truck backed into me. Completely not my fault, but if I hadn't taken out that insurance, I'd be £250 out of pocket!

Newbridge, Ireland
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2. Re: Car rental in Ireland - BEWARE !

Actually gk, without the cover you would have had your solicitor contact him/his solicitor and then in the normal course of events you should have received that £250 you would have been out of pocket plus more for inconvenience, any other expenses as a result of the crash...but perhaps you didn't want the hassle.

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3. Re: Car rental in Ireland - BEWARE !

Thanks I actually have some friends coming who will find this very helpful

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4. Re: Car rental in Ireland - BEWARE !

Does anyone have any advice on what car rental company to use?

I am arriving in 3 days.

lookout, mountain!
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5. Re: Car rental in Ireland - BEWARE !

shirley, we're using nova

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6. Re: Car rental in Ireland - BEWARE !

I can't grasp why people get mad at the car rental companies when they are held responsible for damage that occured during their rental. If you borrowed the car from a friend and someone scratched it, you'd pay for the damage. If it was your car, you'd probably skip the repair but lose a bit off the resale. The rental car companies also lose money if they don't repair minor body damage when they go to sell the car. It's irritating, but when you're borrowing a €20,000+ asset, you have to assume responsibility for it when it's in your possession. You'd also be wise to take the extra minute at check-in and really pay attention when you're examining the car with the rental agent so you both don't miss any exisiting damage!

We travel a lot and I'd always take the CDW (or LDW or whatever they call it) unless I was renting the car long term. Why deal with insurance hassles in a foreign country? I'm not so worried about getting in an accident myself as I am about getting a chip in the windscreen or having some genius back into me in a carpark.

The petrol complaint is weak as well. Car hire companies don't run fuel charities...why should they have to pay for a quarter tank here or there because the customer couldn't be bothered to stop at the petrol station on the way back?? It also costs the car hire company time and money to have an employee drive the car out to get refuelled. I hardly think this is a 'stealth' charge.

At any rate, the smart thing to do in Dublin is catch public transport or a hotel shuttle out of the airport and then rent the car in town. We usually recommend Enterprise since they'll pick people up for free at their hotels (and their rates seem to usually be lower) but I know there's a Hertz and Avis location in the city as well.

Most governments in Europe and North America have come up with that ingenious 'airport tax' on car hire...most places you go, it's cheaper to get off airport property before picking up your car.

One last thought about car hire insurance...some people think that their insurance companies or credit card companies will automatically offer them rental car insurance coverage when they travel. This is NOT TRUE in many, many cases. Many credit card companies in particular still won't cover Ireland (Republic or North) because of the 'political conflict'. Pitiful but true! Be sure to check your existing coverage and have it in writing before you decide whether to sign for the extra coverage or not!

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7. Re: Car rental in Ireland - BEWARE !

Did you get copyright clearance for this post?

Co. Kildare
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for Ireland
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8. Re: Car rental in Ireland - BEWARE !

kinbute, I thought I had the monopoly for being narky on this forum until I saw both your posts today. Brighten up, dear!

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9. Re: Car rental in Ireland - BEWARE !

I can vouch for the "sticker shock" with car rentals in Ireland. I haad booked an intermediate size car through one of the major firms online at 140 euro including insurance for a week. By the time I had upgraded to an automatic transmission, paid the airport surcharge, etc. my final cost for the week was almost 400 euros (which did include 60 euro worth of gasoline). None of my credit cards would pick up the insurance for driving in Israel or Ireland and with the narrow roads and left hand shifting, I think I would still opt for the automatic even at the extra cost. Truth be told, Ireland is worth it at any cost!!

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10. Re: Car rental in Ireland - BEWARE !

Im lost here sorry. Whats the problem?

Thats the way every company in the world operates. You pay your Inclusive rates and when you arrive at your destination you sort out Child seats, Sat Nav, additional drivers etc. This has always been the same worldwide.

You must organise these things directly as EVERY website says.

I think this has opened another "can of worms" that need not be opened.

This is common practice people!!!