THE BEST and worst car hire firms have been revealed in a new study.
Research carried out by Which? analysed data from Zest Car Rental as well as responses from 2,700 members.
While the cost of hiring a car is lower compared to this time last year, prices have increased by 77 per cent compared to 2019 because of high demand and depleted stocks of vehicles.
The consumer watchdog compared the price of over 8,000 rentals across nine destinations, including Italy, Greece, and Spain.
In three of the nine destinations, the cost of renting a car has more than doubled with prices up 100 per cent in Cyprus and 126 per cent in Italy.
In addition to the price hikes, Which? also surveyed 2,700 of its members to find the best and worst car rental company.
Members ranked factors like the clarity of extra charges, age, mileage, and condition of the car as well as customer service, and value for money.
Auto Reisen and Cicar both came out on top and have been awarded Which? Recommended Provider Status for this year.
Household names Alamo, Enterprise, and Hertz came in joint third and fifth places.
Meanwhile, Goldcar was dubbed the worst car hire company by Which? with a customer score of 54 per cent.
Despite having some of the lowest prices, the company scored just two stars for its value for money.
It also received two stars for the ease of opting out of optional extras, and for customer service, with multiple respondents
commenting on pressure selling techniques used to encourage customers to purchase extra insurance at the rental desk.
This issue cropped up repeatedly in responses from Goldcar customers, with one saying there was a “hard sell on the insurance” which was “excruciating”.
Another said they felt the firm was “obsessed with selling extra cover” while a fellow respondent complained of having to “suffer the hard sell, which sometimes became close to threatening”.
Meanwhile, nearly half of respondents (47 per cent) reported that they were worried about by exploited by their rental company.
Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, said: “Travellers this summer
can expect to pay much higher prices for car hire than before the
pandemic, with strong demand and a continuing shortage of vehicles
pushing up costs.
“While there are deals out there, people should avoid the firms with the cheapest headline prices, because too often they will later be stung by hidden charges.”
A statement from Goldcar said: ” Pressure selling is not acceptable. With regard to insurance cover, we offer our premium cover to provide a seamless process should damage occur during a customer’s rental.
“A customer, of course, has the right to choose to buy their cover separately, however, if this is the case they will be charged for any damages that occur during the rental and will then need to claim the costs back from the chosen provider. This is explained to all customers at time of rental.”
Sun Online Travel has contacted Goldcar for a statement.
Here’s how you can drive down the costs of a car rental and swerve the car-hire desk altogether.