Cars & Garages > Stories

The big car rental scam continues

Patrick Christys
May 8, 2019

The big car rental scam is being exposed one piece at a time.

Yesterday A Spokesman Said told you about Goldcar - more specifically, we told you to avoid them like the plague due to a catalogue of complaints from customers who are now out of pocket.

What firms like Goldcar allegedly do is charge you a hefty deposit, they then find any excuse to ensure they keep hold of that money and, you guessed it, there's usually an excuse.

They hold all the cards as things stand, because, like an evil Bond villain, they can sense weakness and they capitalise on it.

Rental firms normally deal with people travelling abroad, so when customers go to return their cars, it's reasonable to suspect that they're in a rush to catch a flight - this gives rental firms all the power.

There's only so long someone can stand and argue about a fictional scratch on the underside of a bumper if their Ryanair flight back to Birmingham International leaves in under an hour!

Two of the biggest car rental firms are Avis and Enterprise. This reporter has been looking through some of our online complaints from these two firms.

Gavin said: "I brought a car back to Enterprise this morning. I'd had it for two days at £75 which included a reduction of the excess to £100 max. A tiny mark was found on one of the tyres.

"We had not fully scrutinised the tyres when I picked up the car. I took some photos. A second person looked at the tyre and pointed to three tiny marks in fact (as an indication of how unnoticeable these marks were).

"I objected but they said nothing could be done and that £100 will be taken, or less if the costs f replacement are lower but I could not get a standard figure from them."

Paul added: "Rented a car in France in mid-July. On returning the car I was told there was a scratch on the front bumper. I inspected and there was indeed a small scratch on the very bottom on the bumper, barely visible and mostly on the car's underside.

"I was told they would be taking the remaining €600 of the €850 deposit/excess. I protested with a manager and before I could return to the car to take photos for evidence, the car had been driven away to be cleaned.

"The policy as I was told is that the €850 would be used to fix the scratch and then the remainder sent back to me. As yet I have still not received any of the monies back and no documentation/confirmation/explanation."

Lee hired a car form Avis. He allegedly had an absolutely shocking experience.

He told us: "When I got home I found drugs in car and boot. I informed Avis when returning the car, the manager was laughing and I can't get through to CS on the landline had to speak with reservations, they have passed it on. I'm angry - I could have been pulled over with illegal drugs in the car.

Alicia added: "Avis took the damage deposit twice. I have tried to contact them and they are no answering their phone. The main Avis CS say they can't deal with it because I still have the vehicle on hire. No one has replied to my emails."

David also had a bad experience with Avis, saying: Picked up hire car from Avis at East Midlands Airport on Tuesday 9 August. Car had not been cleaned and fuel tank was not filled right up (half bar from top).

"I went to kiosk and told attendant I was not happy about cleanliness, he said he did not have a jet wash! I said that wasn't my problem. Also mentioned fuel tank not being full, he said he had just filled it.

"I took a picture and said I would do a comparison picture when I filled it up and complain at end of my hire. I emailed Avis next day and still await a reply. I returned the vehicle on 18 August with a full tank of petrol.

"I mailed Avis next day to complain and still await a reply. I have messaged on messages and on Twitter only to be told that it is the hands of someone who will be in touch. Got a messenger reply to say that I would hear within 72 hours last Friday.

"Person said that it had been passed to get and would get back to me in 72 hours. Hey said they hadn't received emails so I screen spotted them. Still waiting!"

We're continuing to fight for car rental customers who've been stung.



A Spokesman Said offers price comparison in energy, insurance and broadband that could save you hundreds.