European Car Rental: The Bad News

It seems the recession is affecting everyone, even car rental companies.
A recent
BBC article reports that travelers are paying substantially higher fees for vehicles or, even worse, finding themselves with no car at all due to overbooking by the rental company.


Rental firms anticipated fewer travelers this year as a result of the recession and did not update their fleets (or could not update their fleets due to tighter financing restrictions).

The result?

During heavy travel periods demand is simply exceeding supply.
The countries hardest hit are
Spain, France, and Italy.  Prices are up 70% in some popular destinations.

My advice to avoid possible headaches?

As always, book early and do your homework.  Give yourself enough time to shop around and find the best deal. Also, it may be cheaper to book a larger vehicle instead of an economy car.  Smaller cars are much more in demand because everyone thinks they’ll be cheaper, so you may get a better deal if you upsize.

2 responses

  1. Dirk! I’m Margaret and Charles Arndt’s friend and have just come home from 3 weeks in Europe and the UK. While I was in Monte Carlo I rented a little ADA rent-a-car, a 5-speed diesel Megane (Renault), and drove over into Italy as far as San Remo then up into and through the mountains of coastal southern France, spitting myself out near Cannes then taking the A8 back to Monaco. Great day BUT: on the train to Paris the next day my phone rang and it was the car rental agency saying I had “damaged” their little car. Pooey. I was totally careful not to scratch it but as I had already left town I had no feet to stand on in pleading my case. (I had left the car in the hotel car park as I didn’t get home until about 11:30 pm having been unable to find a gas station in Monte Carlo then being forced to get back on the motorway and drive clear back to Nice to diesel it up, but that’s another story….) The guy did finally concede that the damage was minor and that “probably someone else opened a door on you,” or something to that effect. Anyway, I asked him to text me a picture of the damage and call me when he got the garage’s estimate for fixing it. He called another time while I was in Paris with no “new” news but never sent me a pic and I haven’t heard from him since. Called AMEX from Paris since I put it on the card and they say they will cover what my State Farm auto policy won’t — so far nothing but the rental charge has appeared on my statement — so I’m not worried, just a good bit pissed off at them. I thought this was a mighty “small” way of doing business and the idea that I could be getting scammed crossed my mind more than once. My friend Elizabeth from Nashville goes to England all the time and rents cars and drives and she told me the same thing, that the recession is prompting these guys to be very picky about assessing drivers like this. It leaves kind of a bitter taste in my mouth RE what was otherwise a fabulous day. What do you think? Do you expect he will call? I am playing quiet as a mouse as I think the problem might just go away if I keep silent. — Morris

  2. The car insurance and that for the car rentals is very important topic for discussion. The insurance is what makes you safe from any kind of loss if something happens to car. There are so many hidden fees in car rentals which customers tend to overlook.

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