When Peter Donegan, the gardener, hired a car from Budget Car Rental, he thought he was getting it for €34.
Why did he think that?
Well, it was because he believed this ad:
Price includes all compulsory Insurances, Government Tax, Unlimited Mileage and 24hr Breakdown cover.
Full Size 4 Door e.g. Toyota Avensis or similar
Please take a moment to read the Terms & Conditions of rental before making your booking.
Reasonable enough, you would have thought. What a good price for a 4-door Avensis!
But of course, that’s not what Peter ended up paying.
After he brought the car back, he discovered that the following additional charges would be applied:
€25 levy because they have to park the cars in the airport.
€10 levy for fuel.
Sundry insurance charges and tax.
Here’s the â€œestimated billâ€ he received.
Let’s have a look through it.
Quoted rate: €30, not the advertised €34, so that looks like a bit of good luck. But then you read down and you see that they’ve charged €22.03 surcharge for something called APT which stands for Airport.
Here’s what it says in the small print:
In common with many car rental companies a standard airport surcharge of EUR € 28.00 will apply to your rental when picking up from an airport location.
EXW, which stands for excess waiver is €11.50. I don’t know if Peter chose this optional extra or not, but he was charged for it.
Third party insurance 1 day, €3.52.
According to the small print,
The following insurances are included in your quotation:
- Third Party Insurance: – covers against damage or injury to a third party.
- Theft Protection: – covers against losses arising out of theft or attempted theft of the vehicle.
- Collision Damage Waiver (CDW): – this cover reduces your financial liability for damage caused to the vehicle from the full value of the vehicle to the value of the excess.
They estimated a cost of €75 for fuel.
So let’s look again at the breakdown, adding in the 13.5% tax.
|3rd party insurance||3.52|
Now, let’s be kind and accept that some of these charges are estimated. Peter was in fact charged €10 for fuel, and according to Budget Car Rental, he accepted the excess waiver and signed for it. All well and good.
So let us look at the remaining items.
Rental including insurance is €30, and the compulsory airport surcharge is €25. Therefore, the very least Peter could possibly have paid for his car hire was €55. In spite of what the ad says, there is no possibility, ever, of getting an Avensis for €34.
Therefore the ad is misleading.
Peter wrote about this here, a full year ago. And then, a few days ago, he received a very intimidating call from somebody purporting to be a lawyer acting on behalf of Budget Car Rental. This individual gave Peter 48 hours to take down his post, causing him great worry and distress in the process. He wrote about it here.
I thought it would be a good idea to follow this up, because I hate bullshit legal threats, so I asked one of our people to write to Budget Car Rental, asking them for comment, and this morning they wrote back.
This is what they said:
Just to confirm that we are the Budget Licensee for Ireland we have NOT enlisted a solicitor or anybody else to force Mr Donegan to take down the blog. If possible, I would like to get the details of this person purporting to be a solicitor engaged by us.
Curiouser and curiouser.
You would have to ask yourself why a third party would take it on themselves to contact a blogger and threaten them with legal action for a post about a car rental company. Why would anyone do that?
It strikes me as bizarre, and if I were Peter, I’d be contacting this caller to demand evidence of their bona fides. I’d be naming them in public, and shaming them. I might even turn up on their doorstep. If the answers I received were not satisfactory, there might even be legal action.
By the way, Peter is a landscaper who strikes me as a thoroughly decent and honourable fellow. Why not call over to his website and have a look at the kind of services he offers? Who knows â€“ you might even decide to hire him. He strikes me as the sort of man who would agree a price with you and stand over it.
Men like Peter don’t do small print. They look you in the eye as they shake your hand, and that’s why they’re so bewildered when they meet the likes of Budget Car Rentals.