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Gentle warning about Rental car excesses.

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Mal

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This shouldn't be news to a few people (esp. those who have been through this experience), but I thought I'd post about this, so that hopefully everyone enters into Rental Car contracts are properly informed.

During a rental of mine, the car sustained some damage. The actual incident is irrelevant.

I was charged the rental excess. Let's imagine it was $1000 for simplicity's sake.

Was the excess actually $1000? Nope. It was $1000 + the Airport concession fee + GST. So it ended up being around $1300 for the imaginary amount above. If I had a $3000 excess, conceivably they could have charged me nearly $4000 if they deemed the damage that bad. (Technically they should estimate the damage upon return, and charge you an amount similar to their estimation. If they're lazy, or the damage is quite a bit, they could charge you the full amount).

This excess was charged to my credit card at the time of drop-off of the car.

The rental company can hold onto that amount for 8 weeks (or more) depending on the complexities of the insurance claim.

While you may have third party insurance for your rentals (eg travel insurance), they won't pay until you get a settlement amount from your rental company. They aren't going to pay you for an airy fairy amount until you get proper documentation from your rental company.

This issue has now been resolved in my favour I believe, however I still had to bear the excess amount for around 8-10 weeks while it was being resolved.

You should keep this in mind when renting. The excess amount can easily be charged for damage to your credit card. While the amount in excess of the actual damage (or recovered amount from a 3rd party who is responsible) will be refunded (eventually), this may take quite a while to happen. This may make some reduction in the excess amounts (either via a corporate contract or an excess reduction plan) beneficial.

Oh, and the rental insurance company involved accidentally marked my case as "resolved" even though I had not been refunded. I'm glad I chased them up!
 

Zulaiha

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In our case, we were renting a car; while stoping in a red light, we got hit from behind by some irresponsible very young driver.

We rang the car rental straight away as well as the police as the driver had no ID at the time.

We got the police report to clear us from wrong doing.

We still got charged by the rental car company in our case was Budget Auckland for the excess fee and promised to settle them within 8 weeks. 4 yrs later, no money back from them because they said they could not trace the other party and the case was closed.

Now we pay extra to get rid of the excess fee, it is well worthed to my opinion.
 

Shano

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We have been paying the additional $20 odd dollars a day for excess reduction for the past few years. We are only a relatively small company but would still have around 100 to 120 rental days a year. At $22 a day this quickly adds up, but is worth it for peace of mind, particularly with what seems like an increasing number of unlicensed or uninsured drivers on the roads. I also pay the excess reduction when renting for private use also.

I am trying to find a blanket excess reduction insurance policy to cover the 6 or so of our staff that rent vehicles - perhaps this will work out more cost effective. I have seen policies for individuals, but nothing yet for an organisation.

I did not realise that GST was charged on the excess - just assumed the quoted excess was GST inclusive. It is also a bit rich that an airport concession fee is charged. I am also not impressed that we pay a premium location fee for renting from any of the major airports, plus the stamp duty recovery fee, etc...... :evil: These seem to be the rental car companies equivalent of fuel fines and should be built into the cost of the rental.
 

anat0l

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Zulaiha said:
In our case, we were renting a car; while stoping in a red light, we got hit from behind by some irresponsible very young driver.

We rang the car rental straight away as well as the police as the driver had no ID at the time.

We got the police report to clear us from wrong doing.

We still got charged by the rental car company in our case was Budget Auckland for the excess fee and promised to settle them within 8 weeks. 4 yrs later, no money back from them because they said they could not trace the other party and the case was closed.
That's pretty unfortunate, though you have to admit if the same thing happened with your car you'd have a hell of a time trying to get the young man to pay the damages before your insurance company pays you the compensation. Take him to court you have more expenses and the young man probably can't afford the charges. End result? He gets off and you are out of pocket.

IMHO paying for excess reduction was always a wise thing to do, although the charge does get a bit insane as the rental term increases. For a period of less than a week this is OK. Getting up to greater than about three weeks or so and that's a lot of money tied up in mere excess reduction.

I guess part of the contract that needs to be read or asked is how the excess is handled. I'd say its pretty bad practice to leave a customer out of pocket, especially for that much, even if it is "temporary". What if the customer couldn't pay that much? Would the company cover you if your bank charged you extra for going over your credit limit? (I think not!) When you're overseas, this is even more painful.
 

Dave Noble

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Rather than taking out excess reduction, for car rentals at least 150Km from home, I would suggest taking out insurance with someone such as Car Rental Insurance, Insurance for Car Hire, Rental Cars Insurance ,, which is what I was using before my excess dropped to a low enough figure so as not to be concerned.

To cover Europe, Australia and NZ costs $150 for 1 year and to cover worldwide costs $300. At $28 per day ( which is what Hertz charges ... $25.45 plus GST ) from the car hire company, it doesn't take many rentals to break even

Dave
 

JohnK

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anat0l said:
That's pretty unfortunate, though you have to admit if the same thing happened with your car you'd have a hell of a time trying to get the young man to pay the damages before your insurance company pays you the compensation. Take him to court you have more expenses and the young man probably can't afford the charges. End result? He gets off and you are out of pocket.
OT but if you are insured with the NRMA and you have the details of the other driver, car registration and licence, who is at fault then they repair your vehicle, right away, without affecting your no claim bonus and NRMA takes the responsibility of recovering the funds from the at fault driver.

This situation has happened to my brother and me at different times.
 

Soundguy

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If it's something relatively minor that can be fixed in a couple of days consider having it fixed yourself, it will generally work out cheaper even with a couple of extra days rental.

Remember when using a 3rd party insurer that the rental company can, if they feel like it, also charge rental for the time the vehicle is off the road which may not be covered by the insurer.
 

Shano

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Dave Noble said:
Rather than taking out excess reduction, for car rentals at least 150Km from home, I would suggest taking out insurance with someone such as Car Rental Insurance, Insurance for Car Hire, Rental Cars Insurance ,, which is what I was using before my excess dropped to a low enough figure so as not to be concerned.
I am in the process of organising excess cover from this site [thanks Dave for the link]. Originally was going to cover myself and three others that do the most travel with my employer footing the bill. Now need to cover all 6 of us that drive rentals, as any additional named drivers on the rental agreement must also have cover.

Total cost about $900. Last year between 4 of us we had about 150 days car rental, meaning we paid about $3,600 in excess reduction cover with Thrifty :(. This year wont be as high, maybe 60 days total, but we will still come out in front. Pity there is not a group discount / corporate rate.

Also means that I will save myself some money on private rentals.
 

Dave Noble

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Soundguy said:
Remember when using a 3rd party insurer that the rental company can, if they feel like it, also charge rental for the time the vehicle is off the road which may not be covered by the insurer.
Whether you pay yourself or use a 3rd party insurer, the hire car company has no more right to claim time out of service.

Dave
 

simongr

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Shano said:
I did not realise that GST was charged on the excess - just assumed the quoted excess was GST inclusive. It is also a bit rich that an airport concession fee is charged. I am also not impressed that we pay a premium location fee for renting from any of the major airports, plus the stamp duty recovery fee, etc...... :evil: These seem to be the rental car companies equivalent of fuel fines and should be built into the cost of the rental.
Your copmpany should be able to recover the GST though. I agree on the remaining surcharges - just continually reflective of businesses hiding the real cost of doing business with them...
 

Bandicoot

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I thought it was illegal to quote a cost that is not inclusive of the GST. I once contacted the ACCC about this matter regarding a completely different matter to travel - a software training course- where I was charged an additional 10% on the advertised price. I was informed by the ACCC that this practice is indeed illegal.



Mal said:
This shouldn't be news to a few people (esp. those who have been through this experience), but I thought I'd post about this, so that hopefully everyone enters into Rental Car contracts are properly informed.

During a rental of mine, the car sustained some damage. The actual incident is irrelevant.

I was charged the rental excess. Let's imagine it was $1000 for simplicity's sake.

Was the excess actually $1000? Nope. It was $1000 + the Airport concession fee + GST. So it ended up being around $1300 for the imaginary amount above. If I had a $3000 excess, conceivably they could have charged me nearly $4000 if they deemed the damage that bad. (Technically they should estimate the damage upon return, and charge you an amount similar to their estimation. If they're lazy, or the damage is quite a bit, they could charge you the full amount).

This excess was charged to my credit card at the time of drop-off of the car.

The rental company can hold onto that amount for 8 weeks (or more) depending on the complexities of the insurance claim.

While you may have third party insurance for your rentals (eg travel insurance), they won't pay until you get a settlement amount from your rental company. They aren't going to pay you for an airy fairy amount until you get proper documentation from your rental company.

This issue has now been resolved in my favour I believe, however I still had to bear the excess amount for around 8-10 weeks while it was being resolved.

You should keep this in mind when renting. The excess amount can easily be charged for damage to your credit card. While the amount in excess of the actual damage (or recovered amount from a 3rd party who is responsible) will be refunded (eventually), this may take quite a while to happen. This may make some reduction in the excess amounts (either via a corporate contract or an excess reduction plan) beneficial.

Oh, and the rental insurance company involved accidentally marked my case as "resolved" even though I had not been refunded. I'm glad I chased them up!
 

anat0l

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Bandicoot said:
I thought it was illegal to quote a cost that is not inclusive of the GST. I once contacted the ACCC about this matter regarding a completely different matter to travel - a software training course- where I was charged an additional 10% on the advertised price. I was informed by the ACCC that this practice is indeed illegal.
I believe there is no problem as long as the correct price is advertised. By and large, it is assumed that if the bare price is given, it is inclusive of GST (if applicable). If the price specifically says "$55 ex GST" then I think that should not be a problem to anyone except those that are draconian.

But saying "$55" without mentioning that GST is then added in any context is certainly misleading - and as we now realise, illegal.
 

Bandicoot

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Mmmm... I still think it is illegal to quote a price say $100 plus GST. The GST must be included in the quoted price. This was confirmed by the ACCC when I called them about the software course suppliers quoting a price plus GST. :rolleyes:
 

Soundguy

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Bandicoot said:
Mmmm... I still think it is illegal to quote a price say $100 plus GST. The GST must be included in the quoted price. This was confirmed by the ACCC when I called them about the software course suppliers quoting a price plus GST. :rolleyes:
Essentially if it is an advertised retail offer it must include GST. Outside of that prices can be quoted as $ + GST. Most trade / wholesale type business is quoted the latter way.

As an example of why this came about the last thing the government wants is for motorists to see petrol advertised as $0.75 / litre + taxes! :rolleyes:

Everyone advertising the final retail price including GST does avoid confusion obviously. But now companies like QF are starting to slip in extra CC fees.....
 

Flashback

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Well, yeh - cause lets be honest here, I'd say maybe 90%+ of consumers will pay by c/c rather than using the BPay option, as it is just so much easier.
 

beardoc

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Dave Noble said:
Rather than taking out excess reduction, for car rentals at least 150Km from home, I would suggest taking out insurance with someone such as Car Rental Insurance, Insurance for Car Hire, Rental Cars Insurance ,, which is what I was using before my excess dropped to a low enough figure so as not to be concerned.

To cover Europe, Australia and NZ costs $150 for 1 year and to cover worldwide costs $300. At $28 per day ( which is what Hertz charges ... $25.45 plus GST ) from the car hire company, it doesn't take many rentals to break even

Dave
I haven't got an ANZ credit card myself, but I always thought that the ANZ Rental Excess Cover did the same thing and only cost $24 if you have an ANZ credit card:

Credit Cards & Visa Debit - ANZ Car Rental Cover
 

serfty

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beardoc said:
... the ANZ Rental Excess Cover did the same thing and only cost $24 if you have an ANZ credit card:

Credit Cards & Visa Debit - ANZ Car Rental Cover
The ANZ rental cover is not valid for vehicles overseas (aside from Oz Territories) ...
What we agree to insure you for

We will reimburse you for the amount of any collision
excess that you have paid under any car rental
agreement(s) that you enter into with a car rental
company to hire a car registered in Australia and its
offshore territories, where:
> you are the hirer, or
> you are a joint hirer and you were driving the hire car
when the accident occurred.
 

hmc

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anat0l said:
I believe there is no problem as long as the correct price is advertised. By and large, it is assumed that if the bare price is given, it is inclusive of GST (if applicable). If the price specifically says "$55 ex GST" then I think that should not be a problem to anyone except those that are draconian.

But saying "$55" without mentioning that GST is then added in any context is certainly misleading - and as we now realise, illegal.
from the ACCC's webpage:

"Advertisements, price lists, or quotes that specify prices without referring to an additional, payable GST component risk contravening ss. 52 and 53(e) of the Trade Practices Act, which prohibit conduct or representations that mislead or deceive. Advertisements etc. that state '$X plus GST' risk contravening s. 53C of the Act, which prohibits promotion of part of the price without also specifying the cash price of the product.
Price representations or quotes that are likely to be unlawful are:
  • '$X plus GST' (e.g. $295 plus GST)
  • '$X*' when, in a place that is not prominent, the asterisk qualifier details an additional amount for GST
  • '$X' when X is not the total price as an additional $Y GST is not stated (e.g. $295 without reference to an additional $29.50 payable as a result of the GST).
Price representations or quotes that are likely to be lawful are:
  • '$X' when X is the full price including GST (e.g. $324.50 inclusive of GST)
  • '$X including $Y' (e.g. $324.50 including $29.50 GST)
  • '$X + $Y = $Z' (e.g. $295 + $29.50 GST = $324.50)
  • '$X + $Y' ($295 + $29.50 GST)."
I also saw this publication there which some may find interesting:

Price advertising and the travel industry
 

Dave Noble

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I don't see how the ACC aspect there would even apply. For the price of the hire, Hertz (for example) clearly states the inclusive price of the rental when making the booking.

The issue of the excess payable seems to be a different issue

Dave
 

oz_mark

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Dave Noble said:
The issue of the excess payable seems to be a different issue
Nevertheless, it would be interesting to know what the ACCC view on it is. The way I see it, is that if I hire a car, as a consumer, with an excess of $3000, then that is the maximum I should have to pay.
 
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