Prior to a recent trip to Malaga, I booked a Hertz rental car for a week through a broker and paid for full insurance coverage. At the airport, Hertz staff insisted that this policy was not valid in Spain, and I had to pay €197 (£167) for their SuperCover excess waiver policy, which removes the deductible in the event of a claim. I was also told that the two baby seats I had reserved would cost an additional €168. What started as a £372 car hire ended up costing £711 after VAT. When I complained to head office I was sent a €40 (£33) voucher.
AOT, Brighton, East Sussex
Car rental companies are notorious for luring customers in with budget quotes and then inflating the price with hidden add-ons. Unwanted insurance coverage is a preferred supplement. You can buy excess waiver cover, which reduces the insurance excess payable in the event of an accident, for around £2 a day from a third-party broker, while some rental companies charge triple-digit sums and claim that a tenancy is not valid. without this.
Hertz’s answer is bizarre. First, it states that all charges were correct and therefore you shouldn’t have been offered the correct one. He then said you could keep what he calls “partial goodwill refund” because he misunderstood your original complaint. He refused to specify what aspect of your perfectly clear grievance he did not understand.
When asked about the unwanted insurance, he insisted it was optional, but was careful to point out the risks of refusing it. “We don’t underestimate third-party coverage, nor do we say they aren’t valid,” he concludes.
Unfortunately, you cannot submit your complaint to the European Car Rental OmbudService, which handles cross-border complaints, because you booked through a broker. You may attempt a claim through your credit card issuer under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if you can prove that your hand was forced.
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