Holidays means flying to the other end of the European continent and visiting some beautiful countries like Spain and a renting car to travel miles and know the destination in depth and on your own (Visit uk.getaround.com for more about car hire in Spain). This plan is great! But if you want to save money and avoid trouble, take a look at these five basic tips before signing any papers.
If you search through the Internet we come to the same conflict as with flights or hotels: to see who is able to browse the pages of each company, compare availability, prices and conditions … And what do you do in these cases? Pull comparator.
There are a large number of comparators, each with small differences from the rest: MyTripCar boasts to provide all the information on hidden costs applied by companies, HappyCar, AutoEurope or even the well-known rastreator are other options to compare price.
Choosing where to rent
Booking a car at the airport is noticeably cheaper, airports have more space to park rental cars and the entire infrastructure needed to operate, making their prices cheaper than downtown offices.
It is also common for companies to apply surcharges if the place of collection is different from the place of return. But when you want to make a route between different cities or different countries, you have no choice.
This type of service is the differential advantage of the big companies in the sector: Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Sixt, Goldcar… In very tourist destinations (such as the Spanish islands) there are usually many small local companies that may be cheaper, but they don’t usually have an office at the airport itself.
In the terms and conditions, in the contract that is finally signed with the company, may be hidden conditions that are abusive: the condition of the vehicle, possible fines, the issue of fuel, what the insurance covers … If all goes well, none of these issues have to give you problems, but if something goes wrong you can end up paying for the repair of a scratch that was already there or lose 1,000 euros deposit for a parking ticket of 45 euros.
“You have to read the contract carefully before you sign it and make sure that all its clauses are perfectly understood, especially if it is written in a language other than your own. Do not hesitate to ask for any clarification that is deemed appropriate, “says the Spanish Agency for Consumption, Food Safety and Nutrition (Aecosan).
This agency recommends addressing certain issues where often appear small print and unpleasant surprises. Among others, it recommends paying special attention to the clauses on compulsory civil liability insurance, the charge for young drivers, the method of payment, the security deposit, advance payment, fuel costs, optional services offered (GPS, child seats …), amount and conditions of reimbursement of the franchise, guarantees, exclusions, the condition of the vehicle before collection and that the price includes VAT.
Book in advance
As always, the best prices are waiting for the most forward-thinking. As the motor magazine Autobild points out, “the car rental business operates more or less like an airline: whoever booked earlier has a better chance of finding bargains, while if you book when everyone else does, you don’t save anything. There are rental companies that also have special offers. Find out before you book”.
Claim if necessary
If, despite everything, you have a problem with the rental company, don’t hesitate to assert your rights. Aecosan recommends using the complaint forms that all establishments within the EU are obliged to make available to consumers and users.
In addition, if the company does not respond as you think it should, you can always turn to the Consumer Services of the autonomous communities and the Municipal Consumer Information Offices of your municipality, as well as Consumer Associations.