Following a slew of complaints from holiday goers this year about their experiences in hiring a car while abroad, AA Travel Insurance today offers some insight into the main practices which are leaving a bitter after taste in the mouths of Irish holiday makers. These include; hidden charges, rip off fuel payment policies and lack of transparency surrounding the rental contract itself.
In terms of the overall experience, of a sample of 3,700 poll participants to have hired a car abroad within the last few years, AA Travel Insurance today reveals that 22% described their most recent experience as negative while a further 18% said they had a somewhat bad experience. The remaining 60% said they had no qualms or quibbles at all with their most recent car hire.
“Hiring a car abroad is simple enough but you need to look out for hidden charges and make sure that you know what you are paying for.” Says Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan. “When returning the car, make sure that you get a receipt from the car hire company and that they have agreed before you leave that there is no damage, fuel charges or other issues. It is far easier to take the time to do this before you leave the country than having to engage in a long distance dispute afterwards when extra charges have appeared on your credit card.”
Looking at the top complaints, identified by the AA Travel Insurance poll, 22% of respondents indicated that they were unhappy with the transparency of the fees charged, 19% felt aggrieved by the company’s fuel payment policy and 17% felt their rental contract was unclear on items such as excesses, restrictions and accident procedures. One respondent who hired a car in the Costa del Sol shared that he was charged €80 for a full tank of petrol upon collection, double the actual cost of filling the tank locally. Another said he was billed for an entire respray of a van having only caused a minor scratch.
Other sources of complaint identified were; the condition of the car hired, the pre and post usage inspection of the vehicle and the addition of charges after the vehicle had been returned. One in seven drivers polled said they were dissatisfied with the quality of the pre or post usage inspection carried out.
Of the nations included in the poll, Spain was identified by AA Travel as the most popular country in which to hire a car followed by the UK and USA.
Spain was however also identified as the country where the highest percentage of respondents, 29%, complained about the nature of the fuel payment policies in place. This was followed by Italy at 20%, and the UK also at 20%.
Again featuring in a negative light, those who hired a car in Italy experienced the highest levels of dissatisfaction as regards fees and charges and the overall transparency of their rental contract.
To help driver avoid car hire issues in the future, AA Travel Insurance offers the following tips:
Miriam O’ Neill, PR Exec at AA Ireland began working in the AA in August 2010. Miriam’s core activities on a day to day basis include management of the AA’s media relations programme, generation of quality coverage in support of key business lines, provision of content for AA social media channels and the AA customer Ezine, regular broadcast interviews, occasional events management and interactions with the large AA customer base on motor policy issues.