AA offers advice about car rental

Following a slew of complaints from holiday goers this year about their experiences in hiring a car while abroad, AA Travel Insurance has offered 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.

Following a slew of complaints from holiday goers this year about their experiences in hiring a car while abroad, AA Travel Insurance has offered 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.

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.

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: When booking the holiday, ask for a copy of the t’s&c’s of car hire; Ensure the requested insurance cover is documented; Ask specifically if the car provided will be fully equipped to meet all the legal requirements of the country being visited and have AA’s breakdown number at hand.

When picking up the car, ask the rental firm about their procedures should it break down and the emergency number to call.

On getting to the car, check for the presence of emergency equipment. If it’s not there, ask the rental firm to provide it. Also take the opportunity to look around the car and check for damage that may be attributed to you later. Check all the switches, indicators and other controls – if any are unfamiliar or don’t work, ask the rental firm for guidance.

When looking for the best bargain, bear in mind that very often prices quoted online only contain the basics so make sure you check what is included in the final quote and what is not. Pay special attention to airport and other location related surcharges as well as the insurance coverage.

Try to return the car during the working hours of the car rental company and have it inspected by a competent employee. The condition of the vehicle should be confirmed in writing and signed by the company and the driver.

If you are returning the car outside of working hours, park in the designated area taking pictures of the vehicle as confirmation that it was returned in good condition. Cars are inspected for damage on the following day and therefore the excess can still be charged to a consumer’s credit card.