BIG Tourist TRAP – London Congestion Charge

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Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)

  • Anonymous


    Please inform all your foreign tourists who are not familiar with the London congestion charge to ask their car hire company to explain this peculiar traffic charge when driving in central London. I was caught by Avis at Euston station for charging me GBP 95 for not having paid London Transport! No one advised me when I hired the car, and when I returned the car! There was no notice or poster in the office, and on returning the car to the agency I specifically asked for a final invoice, settled it there and then, because I didn’t want any nasty surprise! Well, I was wrong. I blamed the agency for such negligence because most tourists could not and would not know about this charge. If the agency is located outside of London I would understand, but the Euston station is in the middle of London. There just wouldn’t be any way one could avoid incurring this charge. So why doesn’t Avis advise all its customers beforehand? How difficult is it to warn all hirers so that no nasty surprises follow. Or perhaps Avis wants to make money out of this simple trick? They charge GBP 30 admin fee! Watch out.


    I empathise, SangFung. For the locals it is easy, but for visitors it is difficult. From Euston, if you turn north there is no problem, but if you drive south you may be caught. There must be an absolute obligation on car hire companies to explain this clearly.


    Would it not be easier for car hire companies to have the ability to collect the congestion charge at the start of the hire agreement, if its likely to be needed.

    Not all visitors travel with lap tops or understand our system of paying the charge. At least make it easy for visitors to pay when hiring a car..


    SangFung. This is a sad story and I think that we should treat our visitors better.

    You should send an email to <a href="mailto:[email protected]“>[email protected] and ask for a refund explaining that they failed to tell you that you might incur a congestion charge as soon as you left their office. You should, at least, get the £30 administration fee back.

    The company really should be obliged to explain. The car rental companies are in trouble for other deceptive practices (mostly involving rentals outside the UK). If Avis has refused to refund your money, it is worth approaching the industry association, the BVRLA. They operate a conciliation service which is explained here

    Please let us know what happens.

    Martyn is right that the government should set up a way for rental companies to collect the fee.


    ok firstly, having rented car numerous times with avis, euston, //europcar//tower bridge and several other car hire companies, there is a notice in the branch advising all customers of the congestion charge, this has to be dispalyed by LAW!, secondly if you bothered to read the t erms and conditions on your contract (flip side) you woud see the notice relating to the charge and the need to register at to AVOID this charge…..sorry but the onus is on the HIRER to do this not the rental company….if you did not read the t and c then you dont have a leg to stand on Im afraid.

    that coupled with the very large traffic signs posted everywhere within the congestion charge, with the large C, and the utter words have you paid yet? surely if the op was paying that much attention, these cannot be missed, tourist or not. good luck with avis but i fear if you dint keep to your side of the contract, (that means read it) then they are not obliged to refund anything, they can be held resposible for the stupidity of theyre customers, however important they may think they are, not even governments are expemt, although of course if your american you just dont pay lol


    BAorBUST01 – I am sure its all in there, right in the midst of the small print.

    I think more people will pay if its made easier to pay. Having to log into the website may be easy for those familiar with the C charge- but for tourists without computers its not easy…

    If you can pay in a newsagent, surely its not too difficult to set up payment facilities inside the hire companies offices…


    im not sure you can pre pay this as far as im aware you can only pay for it once your registration number of your vehicles is sighted by the camera, however I may be wrong so please feel free to correct me.

    whilst I wasnt attacking the op if they didnt readt the t and c’s , as with many things in the UK, they hide everything in the small print, and lay the onus on us to read them. tho I like many cant be bothered on most occasions…red tape seems to something brits have become exceptionally good at!


    This reflects really badly on Avis. TFL have recently removed the ability to pay the congestion charge in local shops and this can only be done online but you can pay in advance.

    It is also possible to register for autopay where you are charged as soon as a camera detects your vehicle registration but this is not a great help for infrequent visitors. Surely all Avis need to do is have a single sheet of A4 sowing the congestion charge zone and simple instructions on how to register/pay and hand it to all customers – hardly rocket science.


    I regularly hire cars in USA and one of the first things the agent informs me of are the Toll road pass requirements and charges which are over and above standard hire charges . It is basic customer service.


    I can’t comment on how easy it is to pay or not but IME there are notices in the rental car agencies and there are also very big signs all around London (where the congestion applies).
    Also, I do find it rather hard to believe that a person was planning to drive from/in London and didn’t know about congestion. Even with the minimum of research (just Google “driving in London”) you will see congestion everywhere!!!


    I don’t think the congestion charge is any worse than New York Taxis, the tolls in California or a myriad of other issues that travellers face around the world.

    What I find perplexing is that anyone could miss they fact they are entering the congestion zone when driving.

    What is irritating in this day of instant payments and computer technologies is the fact that firms charge these userous admin charges when they will have done very little work at all. Sadly however that is the world over and the traveller needs to have his wits about him.
    I would support a complaint to Avis about how they handled it but not about the charge per se.


    I sympathise – I have hired a car at this very office.

    There was a clear sign in the office (A tent card on the desk).There was a separate leaflet in the renter pack. There was a leaflet dispenser on the desk also. The Agent told me, and finally as you approach the T junction on the Euston road there are clear C signs telling you if you proceed ahead (and not turn left or right) you will enter the zone and be subject to the charge.

    Im sorry if these items were not available to you.



    Like others I sympathise too. Unfortunately, the CC is mentioned on their own webpage towards the bottom.

    However, I would also argue that the rep who booked you in when you returned the car should have asked whether you have been travelling within the CC zone. In my experience too, I have never been asked or reminded of that when I picked up or returned a car I hired.

    Note: No affiliation to Avis or any other rental companies.

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