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Join the fightback against car rental scams

Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey
Feb 2, 2017

We’re no stranger to car rental rip offs here at A Spokesman Said.

Over the years, we’ve heard a massive number of complaints from disgruntled Brits, annoyed at being overcharged, ripped off and even cheated by car rental firms when holidaying in Europe.

We've fought countless battles on their behalf, to get their money back from unscrupulous rental firms.

You can read a whole collection of holiday horror stories, as well as compensation victories, relating to car rental companies on the continent.

We say no more.

Brit's need to start fighting back against these scammers. That's not to say you shouldn't rent a car in your coming holidays. Renting a car is a great way to explore the area you’re visiting, whether it’s Spain, Italy or France.

Just that you should be cautious, smart and prepared.

As the half-term holidays approach, we hope you don’t join the long list of aggrieved car rental customers.

To try and prevent that, be sure to read our top tips. At the same time, if you do get swindled by a car rental operator, this guide will help you fight back.


Know what you want

When you arrive at the airport and pick up your rental car, be sure you know what you want, what you have paid for and what you are willing to pay for.

Car rental firms are notorious for upselling. If you’ve purchased insurance online, they may try and tell you more is needed.

Don’t get duped into buying extra. Skiers, for instance, are often hit with a whole host of extra charges.

Another common scam is for the rental company to say that no vehicles in the class you booked are available. Customers will then be offered a car from a more expensive class and asked to pay the difference.

Don’t accept this – demand you pay the agreed rate, as it is their fault for not having enough cars available.


Pre-emptive strike

One of the most common scams our users have come across is being charged for pre-existing damage to the car.

Always check for damage when pick up your car.

Any pre-existing damage should be recorded by the company. However, to avoid the damage being blamed on you upon return, be sure to report it.

Unfortunately, this is often not enough. Be sure you see it being noted down and get the name of the person you have reported it to.

Most importantly, take a picture of any pre-existing damage yourself. This could be used as evidence if you are unfairly slapped with a damage charge.


Check your account after

Be sure to watch your bank account’s outgoings after renting a car. We’ve had countless stories of people unexpectedly being slapped with charges.

One car rental customer was charged by the Spanish firm Goldcar £30 a full seven months after his trip, with no explanation.

Another, a Firefly customer, recently told us about the 100s of euros extra they had unexpectedly – and unjustifiably – charged him.


If you are scammed...fight back!

If you are overcharged there are numerous ways to appeal.

You could write directly to the company.

Depending on the company, they may or may not reply. Google the name of the company first.

If the internet is full of angry and disgruntled customers, the chances are, they won’t respond.

However, you can always write a letter threatening to take the matter to the various regulatory bodies that exist. For instance, there is the European Car Rental Conciliation Service, found here.

This service, however, will only work if the company has breached its code of practice, which is often not the case. 

If this is the case, let us know using our free online complaints tool, and we’ll fight on your behalf.

The best way to beat car rental scams is to be loud about it and demand your money back. And we can help you with that.

We’d also love to hear of any victories you’ve had fighting back against car rental scams. Drop us a message on Facebook or Twitter letting us know.


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