Annual Car Hire Excess InsuranceBack to Forum
Like many of the others I’ve had insurance4carhire for a number of years with no quibble on paying the claims, including a £600 bill from Avis when I inadvertently (at the end of a long trip, well that’s my excuse) put diesel into a petrol car.16 Aug 2019
I’ve just had two Avis rentals in SA. As usual they have helped themselves to my money.
I returned the car absolutely full of fuel at DUR. They added £4 for fuel.
I returned another car to CPT and they helped themselves to £309 for “damage”….lying thieving gits! But Amex are brilliant as usual with Avis SA rentals and are fighting Avis…yet again.
Why do I continue using Avis? Better the devil you know!
I sent a protest email to the U.K. ceo Nina Bell and various managers in SA. Needless to say three weeks later I haven’t had a reply or the courtesy of an acknowledgment. Are we surprised? Nah…that’s Avis.16 Aug 2019
I returned the car absolutely full of fuel at DUR. They added £4 for fuel.
A couple of years ago I refuelled a car to the brim in Pinelands and drove slowly to CPT airport – 12km – in a car that had averaged 4.5lt/100km, so maximum fuel burn would have been maybe 0.5 litre.
They charged me for 5 litres. When I rang them to challenge they said it was a ‘minimum charge’. When I disputed and asked them who pocketed the cost of the extra 4.5 litres of fuel they backed down and took it off.
I have just been charged £18 ‘refuelling surcharge’ by Europcar LGW for a car which I returned (intentionally as I was in a hurry) half full. I appreciate that there is a cost to them for this service, which possibly saved me missing my flight, but £18 seems a bit steep. That said, I was happy not to have a mad rush through the airport.
1 user thanked author for this post.16 Aug 2019
I too use insurance4carhire. Have recently been charged a minimal amount for fuel, which when queried was removed. I ow take a pic of the fuel gave on collection and return.
I take pictures of the fuel and mileage in and upon return, and the inside and outside of the car, date stamping them all by emailing them all to myself.
Is there any other industry that has become so untrustworthy that one has to do that?19 Aug 2019
They rely on a number of things to perpetuate these scams.
When you drop a car off after a rental, you are usually on the way to catch a flight and don’t have time to hang around.
Unless you know that you filled the car to the brim at a fuel station more or less on the airport perimeter, and even then they may try it on, it’s hard to argue about how much fuel you used. This week Europcar charged me for 33 litres for 304 miles in a Mercedes 200SE, which is 41.28 mpg (petrol) or 6.75 lt/100km. I can’t argue with that, but I certainly could argue with 5 litres for 12 km.
They can ‘find’ a new/imaginary scratch on the undercarriage or on one of those stupid front spoiler/lips which can easily scrape on kerbs when you park angled in.
A friend was charged for a new tyre because when he took the car back, they inspected the spare and found it was an old worn one and accused him of switching it.
Another friend was charged for a clutch on a van he’d driven about 20km doing a local move. He was just unlucky that the clutch chose to start slipping while he was in charge of the vehicle. It’s normal wear and tear.
A couple of other scams different companies have tried unsuccessfully on me :
“You haven’t brought the car back.” (National/Alamo, Heathrow)
“You left the handbrake off and it rolled forward into another car …..” (Avis, Bristol)
I was pleased to read that Interrent and GoldCar, two of the very worst offenders, are closing down. Now they need to wipe out Easirent (the worst of all and no connection with easyJet)19 Aug 2019
…..Unless you know that you filled the car to the brim at a fuel station more or less on the airport perimeter, and even then they may try it on, it’s hard to argue about how much fuel you used…..
What I liked about Avis at Heathrow years ago was  they had a petrol pump right there on their car return ramp; as you drove in, they filled the tank to the brim and then (in front of you) wrote the petrol amount and cost down on the return form. No disagreement was therefore possible.  They had a car inspection person right there on their car return ramp – as you drove in, they thoroughly checked the car inside and out and then, in front of you, signed the car off on the return form.
I am not associated with Avis and have almost always had good experiences with them, this is my story.19 Aug 2019
Years ago …… many companies did this. It’s simply too labour intensive now with the huge number of renters and fast turnover. In many ways a return to the slower and more courteous pace of life would be very welcome.
1 user thanked author for this post.19 Aug 2019
Within minutes of leaving AVIS CPT I noticed that the fuel quantity had dropped below Full. So I drove straight to their downtown location where they have a fuel pump. They filled it up with 14 litres!! I had only driven 10 miles!19 Aug 2019
I was pleased to read that Interrent and GoldCar, two of the very worst offenders, are closing down. Now they need to wipe out Easirent (the worst of all and no connection with easyJet)
Hi Capetonian, where did you read that Interrent and Goldcar are closing down? I hope it’s true.21 Aug 2019
Two of the car hire firms often cited by holidaymakers as the worst for customer service are to close all but one of their outlets in the UK amid rumours they are “haemorrhaging money”.
Interrent, which received the most complaints in a roster of well-known car hire firms in a recent analysis by Which? for Telegraph Travel; and Goldcar, which received the second most, will shut offices permanently from August 21 at four locations: London Stansted, London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Glasgow Airport. Customers will not be able to hire cars from August 7.
I’ve never rented from either so can’t comment, but by far my worst car rental experience was with Easirent at LGW some years ago when we needed a MPV for a family event. Shocking service, staff rude, aggressive, bullying, and the car was in poor condition too.21 Aug 2019
I was recently a “victim” of AVIS but was reimbursed by my Car hire excess insurer.
Despite being almost a Zealot in terms of inspecting cars before and after rentals and following all guidance on these topics, I’ve just become a victim of Avis in a European rental location where I rent maybe 6-7 times per year and have developed a relationship with the counter staff at the location.
I don’t buy their daily “super cover” but instead have an excess reimbursement policy from a UK insurer (as is the case for the last 5-6 years).
In this location, the Avis Preferred Customers can collect their car “In-Terminal” rather than on the remote Depot and can return the car to the terminal after the hire albeit with an un-supervised hand over. On this basis, I always not only take lots of pictures but also a full 360 video of the Car.
My 23-hour rental was uneventful and I returned the car taking all of the above precautions. As far as I was concerned it was in 100% shape. I dropped the car key back to my ‘Friend’ at the terminal counter and we have a brief chat about some family matters etc.
4 days later my credit card was debited €400+ and 7 days later I received a letter from Avis referring to “the damage to the vehicle” and an enclosed accident report form which I was asked to fill in. The letter was dated 1 day after my credit card was debited. There was no detailing of the damage or reference to the fact that any money had already been charged to my card. I only found this out by checking my card online on receipt of this letter.
I asked via email as to what damage I had caused to the vehicle since my Video and pictures did not reflect any damage.
After a few emails, they produced an image of a chip to the windscreen and an estimate for repair. My video and pictures were not detailed enough to say if this chip was there or not when I returned the car. It seems that I would have had to do a micro level film of the windscreen to be able to prove that it was not existing damage or not there at all.
I called my ‘Friend’ at the Counter and explained the situation. Largely he did not want to know.
I submitted a claim to my UK based car hire excess insurers and they reimbursed the full amount. The process took 2-3 weeks but was not too extreme. I needed to provide all the documents and photos etc.
I now know to perform a detailed examination of the windscreen before accepting a car at the start of a rental and also a detailed photo and video recording in any unsupervised handover situation.
I returned to the location recently and approached my ‘Friend’. I thanked him for the service over the last 4-5 years but showed him my Hertz reservation document and indicated that our relationship was now at an end.21 Aug 2019
I seem to be an outlier as I use a different provider – icarhireinsurance.com. They have been excellent, cover people who are not resident in the UK (not all of them do), and have paid out on several claims (bodywork damage due to a pothole, a scratch caused by a careless parker, and a punctured tyre which (since there was no spare and I had to use the kit for inflating punctured tyres filling them with goo, which apparently means they can’t then be repaired) had to be replaced, among others. Paid for itself many times over.
I also have had many run-ins with car hire companies. Thrifty are dreadful at Heathrow and we have simply stopped using them – long queues, surly staff, and the most aggressive attempts to charge for anything and everything that I have ever seen. We most often use Europcar nowadays as they seem to offer the best value, but we have twice now paid for a full tank of fuel and discovered that it wasn’t, so checking the fuel gauge is now part of my standard pick-up routine. We also photograph and video the car, but that doesn’t always show damage particularly in overly bright light.
The most outrageous claim I have ever had from a car company was in Majorca (IIRC) where we returned the car and they tried to charge us hundreds of euros for a missing luggage compartment cover. We argued and argued, saying that it didn’t have one when we picked it up – they asked us to prove it, but of course we couldn’t because it had never occurred to us to take a photograph of something that wasn’t there! Eventually a more senior person came out from the office behind to do something-or-other and happened to overhear our (by now quite heated) conversation, at which point he broke stride, turned back, asked what the problem was, and curtly told the numpty behind the desk that none of their cars had luggage compartment covers. That fixed that, but there was no apology from the numpty and of course by this stage we were absolutely fuming.
Mind you, it isn’t always the rental companies that are at fault. I do recall, a while back, filling up a car at a petrol station on the outskirts of Heathrow. On the way to the rental return station, the car started misfiring. Much coughing and spluttering from the engine later, I returned the car and explained that there seemed to be some mechanical problem that had just recently become apparent. The staff member tried to start the car, which took a number of attempts, but it eventually started so he said that was ok and let me go. Thinking about it later, I am fairly sure I filled it with the wrong type of fuel (cringe).
I am reminded of a US court case I read some years back where (IIRC) some Mexican gentlemen hired a diesel vehicle on the basis that it would be returned with the tank empty. It ran completely out of fuel a distance from the rental return centre so they pushed it the rest of the way. For those who don’t know, if a diesel engine runs out of fuel you can’t just fill it up and crank the starter until it runs again (as you can with a petrol engine) – the entire fuel system has to be bled of air and primed with fuel, which requires a mechanic and quite a bit of time. The rental company took them to court and…. lost. The judge, admirably, said that a company that tells its customers they can return the vehicle empty can’t complain if they do precisely that. Justice prevailed! (Which reminds me of a legal anecdote – sorry for going OT – from back in the day when people communicated by telegraph and kept words to a minimum to reduce cost. After obtaining a successful judgement the lawyer telegraphed his client saying “Justice has prevailed!”. Shortly afterwards he got his reply: “Appeal at once!”).23 Aug 2019