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Car hire beware. Prices have dropped but insurance has rocketed.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
For those not aware there is a European Car Rental Conciliation Service (ECRCS) setup to assist EU residents who have rented a car from another EU with disputes. I have read somewhere on Snowheads that car rental companies tend to back down if an unfair (ripoff) demand is taken this service for adjudication which is binding. Only applies to rental companies that have signed up (ie all the majors) and does not apply for cars rented in GVA Swiss side.

https://www.ecrcs.eu/
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Ozboy wrote:
For those not aware there is a European Car Rental Conciliation Service (ECRCS) setup to assist EU residents who have rented a car from another EU with disputes. I have read somewhere on Snowheads that car rental companies tend to back down if an unfair (ripoff) demand is taken this service for adjudication which is binding. Only applies to rental companies that have signed up (ie all the majors) and does not apply for cars rented in GVA Swiss side.

https://www.ecrcs.eu/


Very useful to know. I didnt know about this. I see apart from the usual suspects that Firefly are also members. Would be interesting to know how often they come down on the side of the consumer in their findings.

A pity Switzerland isnt party to it as a lot of rentals for skiing would go via Geneva.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@ster, They publish their activity report online.

https://bvrla-sslstaging5.pixl8.london/uploads/assets/uploaded/07ddc5cd-5547-4e4d-b22411bf4c71b243.pdf

They processed 1700 complaints in a year of which 56% sided with the rental companies and 43% with the complainant. 33% of complaints related to damage and over 50% related to charges. I think the key takeaway is that 4 out of 10 charges are in fact wrong and favours the renters.
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Ozboy wrote:
@ster, They publish their activity report online.

https://bvrla-sslstaging5.pixl8.london/uploads/assets/uploaded/07ddc5cd-5547-4e4d-b22411bf4c71b243.pdf

They processed 1700 complaints in a year of which 56% sided with the rental companies and 43% with the complainant. 33% of complaints related to damage and over 50% related to charges. I think the key takeaway is that 4 out of 10 charges are in fact wrong and favours the renters.


Indeed. And those are just the ones complained about. I wonder how many people just take them on the chin. Especially those sneaky ones demanded at the start ptherwise you arent getting the car and theres not much choice left when you are standing at the desk.
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philwig wrote:

Quote:
...you now have to pay extra for roadside assistance

That sounds like it may be mis-selling, in that if the car they are renting breaks down, it's
fairly likely to be their fault.


A bit o a grey area I'm sure. After all if your washing machine breaks down, Currys (for example), or the manufacturer, won't have a replacement round your house in an hour. Nor will they offer to do your laundry for you until a replacement arrives.
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My mate and I were over a barrel last year in Swiss GVA with our two boys. Had a "C-Max or similar" booked for about £220 for the week through one of the UK screen scrapers, to be offered the very smallest in that category and then told we had to pay a EUR 3k deposit or take the insurance. We only both had "foreign" CC's with us with £3k limits - enough for the holiday each so ended up paying the insurance after negotiating it down from 160 to 120 euros. They then "upgraded" us to a top of the range grand C-Max all of a sudden! I try and avoid hire cars at all costs now!
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Not sure where you lot have been searching for your car rental but certainly in Italy and spain, you're looking about a tenner a day for compact 'Golf' typre thing/

https://www.skyscanner.net/carhire/results/95565075/95565075/2019-03-11T10:00/2019-03-15T10:00/30
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
https://www.skyscanner.net/carhire/results/95673493/95673493/2019-03-11T14:30/2019-03-14T10:00/30

So basically similar to the prices I was talking about . More than Ive ever paid. Sorry I pasted the compact size, but it looks its pasted every type. But compact circa £140 plus
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Agreed. The roadside assistance charging is quite bizarre. If I were sending my precious capital equipment out, I'd want it to have breakdown insurance. Just to prove the point, I have free AA cover for me on my bank account, but I pay for AA cover for my car for when people want to borrow it.

Drop off in Munich airport on a Sunday night recently was extraordinary. Cars were arriving maybe 10-20 per MINUTE. Lots of different hire companies, all stacked up in the same carpark, 'just leave the keys in the car please'.

OTOH, I hired from Goldcar last summer (I had no choice), and they were absolutely fine. Relaxed as anything, in fact. Quite surprised.
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dsoutar wrote:
... After all if your washing machine breaks down, Currys (for example), or the manufacturer, won't have a replacement round your house in an hour. Nor will they offer to do your laundry for you until a replacement arrives.

(politely...) Actually if my car breaks down then the manufacturer will come and fix it.

But they are renting you a car, and I think a court would have little trouble in concluding that they have to rent you one which actually works.
If they fail to do that, they would be in breach of the contract reasonable people would think you entered into.
The bills would be their problem. Anything they manage to sell you to "insure" against that would be used by them to reduce their costs, I'm sure.
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here is the guide form rentalcars.com on breakdowns. The way I see it if they make it clear on the agreement that breakdowns are not covered then it is indeed a user pay issue. I would think that most breakdowns are due to user error (eg misfueling, flat battery from parking in very cold temps, losing keys etc) or misfortune such as a flat tyre. The majors operating from Geneva already include breakdown cover.

https://www.rentalcars.com/en/guides/insuring-your-rental/breakdow-cover/

AA most common breakdown causes: https://www.theaa.com/breakdown-cover/advice/top-ten-breakdown-causes
Most of the mechanical issues are age related and would not apply on newish cars normally rented to go skiing.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I once questioned the extra charge for cross border from Germany to Austria. Initially it was for Insurance. Then I noticed the registration was Slovakian, so that couldn't be true. Then it was for full breakdown cover outside Germany. A lecture from the salesperson on the desk how they had themselves broken down and had no cover and it cost them 400 euros to get recovered. It soon wears you down.
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@Ozboy,

Be careful that some of the subbrands of the majors renting out of GVA swiss side charge breakdown cover in France as an extra. I just take the risk but....

BTW I just paid for annual excess insurance for ~ £40 from icarhireinsurance. Seems like a great proposition.

I used not to insure the excess. I managed to get very minor scrape (no dent, not to bare metal) on a crappy punto and was facing a CHF800 excess. Turned out that my wife had - against my urging - insured the excess. I beat a hasty red-faced retreat and have paid for insurance (generally via rental cars) ever since! The annual cover pays for itself on one hire.

@philwig, may well be right that you could challenge this kind of excess which seems too high in the courts but the cost and hassle of doing so would be uneconomic I'd think. And I suspect that the courts would consider that the rental firms admin costs and lost sales would be legitimate costs of repair.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@jafa,

You seem to be able to get better rates than me for car hire - are you hiring winterised cars from GVA swiss side during the ski season? I have used aggregator price comparison sites so I'm not blindly paying what Hertz ask.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@jedster, Swiss side at GVA are always winterised in winter...there is no other option. Swiss law.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I don't rent cars from GVA. I only ever use Munich, Salzburg or Innsbruck . I use www.carrentals.co.uk
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@rungsp,
@jedster, Swiss side at GVA are always winterised in winter...there is no other option. Swiss law.

yeah I know - I was just trying to find out what jafa was getting for his money
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@jafa,

Ah OK - I'm sure GVA is more expensive during ski season. Switzerland likely has higher costs too. Think we need to compare like for like
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@jedster, Yes I do recall having been offered out of territory breakdown service from GVA CH but not from Dollar or Budget who are part of Hertz and Avis. I didn't bother with it as we are in Chatel which is only about 3km in France.

I try to rent from the Hertz group when I can as found them to be the most upfront. I found Avis charging for chains on a winterised 2WD even though all the 2WD cars already include chains in the boot. Hertz no longer provide chains for winterized 4WD and not available as an option. Note also that the winterisation period ends 31 March. Don't know what happens in April.
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Ozboy wrote:
Don't know what happens in April.
the snow falls as rain
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@BergenBergen, lets hope you are wrong and our screwed up climate delivers white powdery rain Smile
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so how does this annual (or shorter) excess insurance work when you turn up at the check in desk? Do you just tell them that you don't need to buy additional insurance as you already have your own? Do they ask for proof before handing over the keys?
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@mikeycharlton, I've always told them that I have excess insurance and they have never asked for proof or tried a hard sell.
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don't even tell them that
when they ask if you want the additional insurance to reduce the excess to 0, just decline and accept that you'll have to pay the first £1000 or whatever, which they'll handle as a card pre-auth. you don't pay a deposit if it's a credit card.

no need to tell them you have any 3rd party insurance or anything. it's none of their business.

I pre-pay the full and final amount. If they try to offer anything I decline and say no, I'm perfectly happy with exactly what I pre-paid.
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T Bar wrote:
@mikeycharlton, I've always told them that I have excess insurance and they have never asked for proof or tried a hard sell.

Do they still "reserve" a few thousand on your credit card then ?
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@andy, OK answered in advance Laughing
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Couple of points about car hire excess insurance.

1. You must take out the CDW insurance from the car hire company, the separate excess insurance covers you for the excess that you will have to pay for a CDW claim.

2. The car hire company will still 'reserve' on your credit card, as if you do have a crash / scratch / whatever they will take the excess fee off you, and you then claim it back from your insurers.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Matt1959, I always thought CDW was always included as the standard insurance package with the bigger excess? From experience they charge the lower of the repair costs or excess if there is damage.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Ozboy, CDW is normally included, but I've seen cheap deals where there is no insurance included at all.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
philwig wrote:
The huge deposit thing feels like a sales scare tactic: they're still trying to sell high-profit-margin extras, and that's a lever they're using on you.
They don't need to do that as they have your card on file already.

If they tried to charge me €700 for a small scratch I'd see if I couldn't get my bank to charge it back, otherwise I'd take them to court for fraud.
They are large commercial organisations with very efficient (so cheap) repair shops. And very large legal departments (so it costs them a lot to fight back).


They don't take the €2,000, they merely pre-authorise the transaction to reserve the transaction if they need to.

If you were to attempt a clawback, they won't fight you but you will very quickly find yourself blacklisted by every major car hire company, across the globe. I know, as I know someone who is in this exact position, much to his regret.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Matt1959, I've seen insurance-free deals too. Much as I don't believe in regulation, I think there should be greater clarity as nobody wants to read the small print, nor indeed is it necessarily simple to understand the differences between the different levels of insurance.
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@James the Last, True that!

One of the developments in recent years (and maybe an unintended consequence of the internet and price comparison sites) is that businesses increasingly make their money out of the extras. We fly from airports that make their money from parking and retail as much as landing charges, using airlines who sell the flights at a low price but then charge £££ for reserved seats and baggage, and then hire a car from a rental company that makes its money selling the top up insurance and charging lots of people for scratches.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
If you were to attempt a clawback, they won't fight you but you will very quickly find yourself blacklisted by every major car hire company, across the globe. I know, as I know someone who is in this exact position, much to his regret.[/quote]

As much as I don't disagree with what you are saying, surely that's illegal. How can one Company inform anyone else without breaking data protection laws? That's more sour grapes than anything.
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One "workaround" if you have a small scratch,

Use a local garage to repair the scratch , before you return the car
local garage charge perhaps 100E , Hire car company, charge several hundred Euro
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jafa wrote:
... surely that's illegal. How can one Company inform anyone else without breaking data protection laws? That's more sour grapes than anything.

Good point, that would make a fine GDPR action.
Not only would they be sharing personal data without consent or approval, but they're doing it out of spite because they lost (failed to oppose) an action against them for attempted fraud.
I think that may well be fun to chase down.

--
On scratches, it's interesting if you think about their business model.

They can't honestly pick on one driver who didn't pay their excess (me) to pay for all the scratches caused the people who did pay their excess.
They let the chips and scratches build up, my guess would be that they only fix them when "retiring" the car.

Perhaps in practice they never attempt to charge in that circumstance. The "excess insurance" (which likely isn't "insurance") covers that cost.
Has anyone ever been charged for one scratch amongst a host of existing ones?
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You cant do repairs or paintwork to a hire car without the authorisation of the hire company - its in the the Ts and Cs.
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@ropetow, Well I once bought & fitted a mirror that had been smashed by a third party & got the third party to pay for it.....must have forgotten to tell the car hire company. Toofy Grin
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
andy wrote:
don't even tell them that
when they ask if you want the additional insurance to reduce the excess to 0, just decline and accept that you'll have to pay the first £1000 or whatever, which they'll handle as a card pre-auth. you don't pay a deposit if it's a credit card.

no need to tell them you have any 3rd party insurance or anything. it's none of their business.

I pre-pay the full and final amount. If they try to offer anything I decline and say no, I'm perfectly happy with exactly what I pre-paid.


Its worth making sure they know you have 3rd party excess insurance. It discourages them from making opportunistic claims if they know it will just end up with you passing this on - and the possibility that your insurers may start a paper chase asking for proof of the repair etc etc.
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@ropetow, it doesn't, they don't note it anywhere
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Quote:

my guess would be that they only fix them when "retiring" the car

they won't even do that. it'll go straight to auction as is. those that cough up for scratches effectively offset any lower value of the car in the auction.

if they know you have insurance to cover potential excess, my feeling is they'd more likely be tempted to find you at fault for scratches, because they know someone else will pick up the tab.
you have the choice of paying them a fee to reduce to excess to £0, or accept the excess. how you decide to cover that possible excess is 100% up to you.
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