Spain slammed as worst for sneaky car hire tactics

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Holidaymakers renting cars in Spain this summer need to be most on their guard for “sneaky tactics” used by car hire suppliers.

The claim is made in research by holiday car hire broker Economy Car Hire which identified six ways that consumers could be caught out.

These are:

• Admin fees:
Some suppliers offer what’s known as a ‘full-full’ policy, but slap on an admin charge. This means you when you collect the car it has a full tank and you must return it with a full tank. When you return the car, you get a refund for the tank, minus the admin charge which is typically €25-€40.

• Credit card charges:
You’re told to pay for extras such as a sat nav or child car seat in pounds at a very poor exchange rate.

• Pre-existing damage:
You’re made liable for damage which was already on the car when you collected it.

• Diesel surcharge:
You’re hit with a €10-€15 surcharge when you’re given a diesel car – even though you didn’t ask for one.

• Sealed agreements:
You sign your rental agreement digitally and the printed copy is handed over in a sealed envelope, so you only spot any nasty surprises when it’s too late.

• Insurance hard sell:
You’re pressurised to take out local cover, even though you bought it before travelling.

The firm also highlighted tactics used in other countries, such as the UK, US, France, Turkey, Italy and South Africa which range from charging for damage that was already on the car through to ‘out of hours’ vehicle collection fees.

Economy Car Hire managing director, Rory Sexton, said: “Dirty tricks are more prevalent in certain countries than others, with customers reporting fewer issues in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Croatia and Switzerland.

“If you are going somewhere where sneaky tactics are often used, make sure you scrutinise the terms of their booking in advance, and read the rental contract carefully when collecting the car. It’s always a good idea to book through a broker in the UK which will provide the protection of UK consumer law.”

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