Six car hire scams to be aware of

2 min read

Hiring a car can be a convenient way to travel, but it’s essential to stay vigilant. Here are six car hire scams to watch out for, and tips on how to avoid them.

The UK Website Hire Rate Scam

One common trick is charging higher rates on UK websites compared to local ones. For instance, booking a car in L.A. from a UK site can cost you over £200 more than booking from a US site. To avoid this, change the URL to the local country’s domain, ensuring a proper comparison.

The Pay-on-Arrival Scam

Choosing to pay on arrival often results in higher costs and risks your booking being cancelled if rates were to rise. Always opt for the ‘pay now’ option. This locks in your rate and reduces the chance of cancellation. Choose companies offering free cancellation regardless of payment method.

The Insurance Scam

Many car hire companies pressure you into buying unnecessary insurance. In Europe, basic insurance is included, but you’ll need car hire excess insurance to cover the excess. Purchase car hire excess insurance from a reputable provider online, such as

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The Upgrade Scam

Sometimes, rental companies claim they’ve run out of the car size you booked, meaning you have to upgrade. Remember, if they can’t provide the car you booked, it’s their problem, not yours. Insist on getting what you paid for or demand a free upgrade.

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The Dodgy Damage Scam

You might be charged for pre-existing or minor damage when returning the car. To avoid this, thoroughly inspect the vehicle when picking it up, photograph any damage, and report it immediately. Ask for a signed damage report to ensure no additional charges are applied. You can read more about dodgy damage car hire charges here.

The Fuel Policy Scam

The full-empty fuel policy charges you for a full tank and asks you to return the car empty, which is nearly impossible. This results in overpaying for fuel. Always choose a car hire company with a full-full fuel policy to avoid these excessive charges.

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