Do you feel that some car hire companies are ripping you off? I do!
I spent a few hours on-line yesterday trying to hire a car for an Easter trip to Alicante, Spain.
Even though you can find cheap car hire online, a small family car can be hired for about 120 Euros a week…it’s the extras that really gets to me.
I have three young boys (one age 7 and two age 6), most hire car firms charge extra for baby seats and booster seats, around 4 Euros a day. So one week for one booster seat is 28 Euros and for three booster seats it’s 84 Euros. Nearly as much as the car hire itself! Don’t forget these booster seat cost around £5 from some supermarkets to buy.
The ways round this? Take your own booster seat from home, but who wants to do that? Three children, suitcases, hand luggage and three booster seats is a bit too much.
Second option, find a car hire company that offers FREE baby seats and children booster seats. The first company I found for the Alicante Spain area was Javea Car Hire, but sadly they had no cars available.
The second car hire company was Lara Cars, I telephoned them in Spain, the lady spoke very good English and was very helpful. Lara Cars offered great pricing on car hire and FREE BOOSTER SEATS. So I booked with them.
Another rip off is most car hire firms charge for fuel on top of the hire charge. This is around 70 Euros for a full tank of petrol. How this works is that you pay for a full tank of fuel and bring the car back empty. But most people won’t use a full tank of fuel in a week, I never do and normally take the car back with still half a tank full (too the car companies gain). Lara Cars will let you pay for only half a tank of fuel.
Other things to watch out for, some car hire companies will charge your credit/debit card for an extra 500 euros as deposit for damages to the car unless you take out their extra insurance cover at 3 euros a day. So because most people don’t want to leave a large 500 euros deposit they are blackmailed into taking out extra insurance cover they don’t need – another con!
Another big bonus with booking a car from a smaller firm that don’t have an office in the airport terminal is that you don’t have to queue for half an hour to sort out your booking. These smaller firms will meet you at the airport, you can also pay with cash or credit card which is handy and the representative will take you to the car. A bit more personal.
How this works, book with big car hire company, arrive at airport, find their office, get in long queue and wait ages to get your car in the Spanish heat!
Book with smaller family run firm and they will meet you after your flight lands, normally the car hire representative will have a sign with your name on it, you pay them and do the paper work for insurance and they take you to the car, you drop the car off in the airport car park after – very easy!