Posts Tagged ‘Booking’

Holiday car rental: words of warning

Posted on April 12th, 2011 by David Williams MBE

Holiday car rental: words of warningIf you’re planning to hire a car on holiday this year, it might be helpful to know some of the common difficulties other holidaymakers have experienced, so that you can avoid similar problems when you’re away.

John Sansom, a travel trade journalist, says it’s damage to or theft from vehicles that have historically formed most of the complaints to hire firms, as well as endless queues at rental desks after long flights.

“The absolute classic was low cost holidaymakers pouring off night flights to Florida in the early hours of the morning and joining a huge queue for car rental,” he said.

“Many of the classic ‘condo’ (self-catering luxury house) holidays out there were based on the fly/drive model. Somewhat exhausted, often with fractious young children in tow, holidaymakers would be pressure sold into buying more insurance than they probably needed.

“If they wanted to check the fine print, they could, in theory do so. But if they tried to read the back of the rental form, they were confronted by paragraphs of tiny, light grey type that was completely unreadable in the circumstances, particularly with another 100 fellow holidaymakers behind them, all desperate to get out of the airport,” he explained.

Getting out of Miami was an adventure in itself, especially if you managed to take a wrong direction. “You would suddenly find yourself in a dodgy part of Miami very quickly,” warned John. “One firm, Holiday Autos, actually hired a local police car at a particularly tricky junction, to direct people the right way towards their holiday destination, and away from trouble.”

Thousands of holidaymakers have suffered from being oversold insurance and thus have ended up paying too much. The answer here, of course, is to buy online before you go, when you have a chance to examine all the terms and conditions and decide what level of cover you want. Then it should, in theory, be a quick pick up and go.

GEM has some good advice for making sure the hire package you choose is the right one: