3 Common Car Hire Scams and how to avoid them!

If you have ever hired a car, you’re sure to have encountered one of the common car hire scams or rip-offs – whether you knew it or not.

Here are 3 common car hire scams and how you can avoid them.

#1. Licence and registration, please!

In the UK, it is no longer a requirement to have the paper counterpart to your driver’s licence. This was used to note any driving endorsements or entitlements and car hire companies would ask to see this alongside your licence. Since the DVLA no longer produce or update them, it renders them useless, effectively. Instead, your licence information is now stored electronically and you are able to produce a code to give to the car hire company for them to check online for themselves. Please visit www.gov.uk to obtain your code – it’s valid for 21 days and can only be used once for your security.

#2. I think my excess is too much…

When you make your booking, it will probably say that the cost includes a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) but don’t be fooled by the word ‘waiver’. All this means is that you’ll be liable for the excess should any damage come to the car. Sounds just like when you have an accident at home, right? But how many people in the UK have a compulsory excess of between £500 to £2,500?!

Not many are the answer.

#3. Look at the damage you caused!

This is a huge concern for a lot of car hire customers – being charged for damage you didn’t cause. It could be a dent above a wheel arch or a scratch on the passenger door but if you sign paperwork saying you are happy with the condition of the car, you could end up being charged for the pre-existing damage upon return. We can’t stress enough how important it is to check the car over before you drive away and if you do happen to spot anything, make sure this is reflected somewhere. We suggest noting it down on both the rental paperwork as well as on your phone and then taking a photo of the damage and the paperwork – but not before you make sure someone at the rental desk signs it to say they are aware of the existing damage!

Don’t forget about the interior too – look out for ash burns, ripped seat covers and scratches to any panelling, as well as stone cracks to the windscreen! If you are collecting your car at night and therefore can’t inspect it in full light, the BVRLA recommend that you make sure this is also reflected in the notes too. But it’s always worth going over the car with a torch – either use your phone if you have the function to do so, or ask the rental company for one.