When you look at the online reputations of car hire firms, it’s a sorry and shameful sight. Customer stories of deception, lies and even outright fraud blight the industry.
But some car rental firms are far worse than others, which leads me to this InterRent car rental scam warning.
Avoid InterRent car hire fraud
I want to share my recent experience with InterRent – owned by Europcar – and their broker CarDelMar. These three names currently share the bottom positions of TrustPilot’s car rentals rankings, each scoring just one star and owning a vast archive of angry consumer complaints.
I should have read the bad reviews. But I didn’t, and now I really want others to avoid getting ripped off and wasting their time fighting to get their money back.
The credit card scam
In March I used the online broker service CarDelMar to book a week’s car rental from Glasgow Airport. For peace of mind I chose an all-inclusive package which, as well as rental, included “comprehensive cover with excess, vehicle theft cover with excess, third party insurance and unlimited mileage”.
Job done: it cost me £96 for the week. The car would be provided by InterRent, a division of Europcar. I paid the rental fee online by credit card.
The collection of the car at Glasgow was smooth and quick. The staff member was very friendly. He asked what we were planning to do in Glasgow, recommended some places to visit and smiled as he invited me to initial various circled areas of the booking paperwork (see image below) before he handed over the keys. I left my credit card as deposit, a condition of the hire. We were done in five minutes.
Then what happened
On return home after holiday I checked my credit card statement and was shocked to discover InterRent had taken a further £133 off my card the day I’d collected the car.
I then entered protracted correspondence with CarDelMar and InterRent to try and understand why.
It took a while, but the outcome several weeks later was this: InterRent claimed I purchased an additional ‘Super Inclusive Package’ in the rental office when I picked the car up.
That’s right, for a bargain £133, I apparently bought some more peace-of-mind to top up the peace-of-mind I’d already paid for with the ‘All Inclusive Package’.
Why I would want to spend more than the cost of the entire week’s car hire on an unnecessary extra insurance is a mystery. There was no verbal mention of this additional purchase when I was asked to sign the paperwork. My partner was alongside me in the rental office and will testify that no purchase was discussed or knowingly made.
Tellingly, the crafty Interrent staff member did not circle the £133 charge for me to initial (see image). He simply asked me to initial everywhere else while continuing his smooth chat about the attractions of Glasgow. But if I did see the £133 fee listed on this document I would have assumed it related to my original online booking, perhaps showing the un-discounted price of hire. Because, of course, I’d already paid for the car and all-inclusive insurance.
Weeks later it’s now clear that I have been conned. A bogus insurance charge was added to the bill, carrying a very similar name to the one I’d already bought.
After getting nowhere with InterRent and CarDelMar, I have now disputed the charge with my credit card company and am awaiting their review.
But this is a warning: avoid InterRent and their parent Europcar, they are fraudsters. And keep an eye on your credit card statements for suspicious charges.