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November 12, 2012

Five Common Hidden Extra Costs When Renting A Car

The car rental market is saturated with providers, most of them above board and operating an ethical service but as with any industry there are some unethical firms out there looking to rip off their customers. We all hate additional charges, particularly if they are hidden from us and sprung on us at the last minute…so we’re giving you a heads up. Even if you use only the most reputable companies with the highest level of trust you can still be subject – legally – to these charges. View some examples you may not automatically think of below:

Drivers licence

Many providers have limitations with regards to the type of licence you can use with substantial extra charges in place for customers without these specific pre-requisites. The number of points on your licence can be a factor (generally the rental companies want no more than 6), the duration for which you have had the licence is another factor with a year minimum seeming to be the requirement for an number of firms. Age is also a factor with service providers listing a minimum and maximum that they will accept – this is usually around a 21 year old minimum with a 75 year old maximum. Finally, the type of licence you hold is a factor with most providers only accepting full licences before they hand over the keys.

Amendments to booking

It’s common to incur charges for amending your booking at a later date – given that hiring a car is not a small cost though, if through carelessness or ignorance you do fall subject to some of these charges the cost to you can be significant compared with say, losing a restaurant reservation deposit, particularly if the hire is planned for a longer duration. Obviously in some situations things happen last minute which mean that you could not have cancelled the booking any sooner but as soon as you know you’re going to need to cancel, do it! Upon booking too it’s vital to check the time restrictions for cancellations as these can vary from firm to firm.

Out of hours

This is an understandable charge given that an out of hours service will incur significant additional costs to the provider, however it can be beneficial to be aware of any out of hours charges prior to booking. Perhaps it might not be that inconvenient to return the car those few hours earlier after all…

Other Extras

Travelling with children? Opting for a diesel car? Need a sat nav? These can all cost more depending on the provider you go with. Although these are all standard add-ons with many vehicles these days when renting, anything more than the norm (especially with the budget firms) will add on to that final price. In particular booster seats, baby seats and child seats all appear to be optional and require additional payment.

Area charges

As our final point let’s look at location-based charges. The congestion charge applicable to those vehicles driving into London is a good example of these – perhaps you could look at a hotel just outside of the charging zone if you are thinking about visiting and hiring a car in the capital! Also, one way rentals and renting in premium locations can hike up the price too.

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