Our latest rental in QLD on holiday had me filled with dread when researching. OMG the prices shocked in comparison to only a few years earlier. We then went on to find an excellent price 10-15mins from the airport. Spent $30-40 cab ride to save $600-700 on 11 days rental. To top if off the car & service were excellent & without the hard sell. So pay for a cab & book away from an airport would be Key Tip 1.
Key Tip 2 would be DO NOT use rental service insurance. Apart from the cost the cover is lousy. Too many exclusions to keep track of. Get independent insurance - it’s cheaper and far far better coverage.
The other thing I found too is be careful of reviews. On face value the operator we chose at Corp level has a lousy review average. What I found was that’s because they are global & have copped a flogging in Peru or Cambodia or some such. I went specifically looking for reviews of the “Office” we were looking at & while not many, what they did have were all 4-5 star.
Before I bought my hybrid car, I used to use a car share service. It was expensive, but it included everything - car, limited kilometres, insurance, petrol. The car share service was good for short term car needs. But if I was going on holiday & therefore doing a lot of driving, I always used Bayswater Car Rentals. They are the ‘No Birds’ company.
I always found their cars were well maintained and clean. Their rental fees were fair with no hidden fees. The insurance fee was reasonable and if you had the car for say… 2 weeks, you only paid insurance for the first 7 days. All vehicles have an etag for tolls, but if you don’t use toll roads… there is no charge for the etag. And if you have your own GPS, you can save money by not renting one.
I never had any issues with Bayswater. In fact, I was able to rent a petrol only Corolla and then a Hybrid (for a small increase in price). I was able to see that for distance driving, the Hybrid was the cost effective option. What I spent in increased rent, was more than saved in lower petrol costs.
Earlier this year i hired a car using QEEQ and got the car from Bargain Car Rentals
I was disappointed with the car - ordered small/mid SUV and got something larger and what assisted to be older - unable to use Android Auto.
On day 1 i drove car to holiday house and decided next time i would reverse in. I took the reversing slowly looking all around making sure i would not hit the walls. I failed to consider the handles on the raised cabinet and smashed the rear window! (Apparently i want the first!)
Bargain were fantastic arranged pick up of vehicle that night - i accompanied the tow truck driver back to depot where a replacement car was waiting - smaller SUV but it had everything i needed.
I did NOT have insurance. I had to pay an initial $5000 but once the rear window was repaired i was refunded $4364. This took 10 days after i returned the 2nd car. I was really pleased with the outcome and relieved it didn’t cost much more.
I was not allowed to arrange my own repairs to the vehicle and there was a small amount of haggling to get a replacement vehicle.
I will get insurance next time for peace of mind. The first week of our holiday was not as wonderful as i was worried about how much the repairs would cost.
I wish to raise awareness in the Australian general public about significant financial risks that consumers take due to prevalent Australian car rental practices and avenues available to public for legal help in NSW.
I want to cover the above points through telling a real-life incident but i don’t know of a suitable platform where it could get published. i did find a choice article that covers the car rental risks: https://www.choice.com.au/travel/on-holidays/car-hire/buying-guides/car-hire but it doesn’t cover other aspects of consumer advocacy such as suggestions put forth by ‘Financial Rights Legal Centre’ back in 2016 to lower the consumer risk or what basic legal lingo people should know if they get involved in an accident resulting in legal action.
I am confident that the things that i learned the hard way (won my case by Lord’s grace) would be greatly beneficial to the public.
Any suggestion in this regard would be helpful. i did contact the choice team and they suggested to get feedback from the choice community.
the bullet point version of key events covered in the article are:
• Deceptive advertisement at the car rental shop
• Reliance on car rental shop staff’s explanation of rental agreement
• Revelation of damage cover limitations post-accident
• Demand for payment of full car cost through legal action despite same car being in use by rental shop
• Understanding basic legal terms and validation of exaggerated repair claim
• First hearing in court
• Public venues for free legal assistance and their harsh eligibility criteria
• Fortunate success at the NSW Bar Association
• Final court hearing and closure
if somebody can suggest an avenue for its publishing then that’ll be great.
Compose your article into a document and attach to your post. PDF or DOC is pretty much universal.
Viewers on this site may have comments. Perhaps Choice could pick it up as a featured article. Other than that, I note that ABC and other online sites like The Age and SMH often have many stories about user experiences. They are always looking for content in regard to consumer issues.
I wish to thank the people who replied to my post and showed interest.
I don’t have the ability to upload a pdf file in the posts but i am sharing a link to the pdf Beware! Fellow Car Hirers for the community benefit as the events greatly helped in learning about the Australian car rental issues and the basics of Australian court system.
It’s not a feature available within this forum.
Noted the external link leads to a complex pdf document with numerous links to other websites, some of which relate to other services.
It’s a long read irrespective of any linked/other content. Is it possible to provide a case/reference number applicable to the final hearing. There is no mention of the other parties - hire car company or insurer involved? They would have been mentioned in the court summaries and findings etc.
Experience here is the exclusions in a car rental agreement with any of the large and well known providers in Australia are included in the hire agreement provided and able to be read prior to agreeing to the hire. Other members of the community may find further value in knowing which hire company was involved, especially if they were found to have failed to meet any of their obligations under the ACL. Persistence in getting to a successful outcome.
Each of us diligently reads all small print don’t we? How many first timers or inexperienced travellers would be able to connect the dots to how it really works when it is not always in plain, simple to understand language, possibly not in one’s suite of fluency and/or contains jargon or what is at the end of the day technical detail a layman might not understand anyway?
Some of the issues in the linked document such as a bent undercarriage can put the liability on the hirer even if it was a secondary [and arguable] issue.
A classic analogy were vehicle extended warranties that covered virtually everything in the engine except con rods. A con rod could break whether as a primary or secondary fault and would total the engine but the warranty would always claim it was ‘the’ cause of the catastrophic event, too bad. New engine out of pocket? 100%.
Thanks for showing interest.
Most of the links in the pdf are there for reference purpose and if people want more information.
I purposely hid that information as i am not sure if this can be made public without breaching some privacy/confidentiality law. However, since i can see the case mentioned in the second David’s resume so i am assuming that the case number can be made public. It is “Anis Car & Truck Rental v Muhammad Tauha Ali  00323384” and no insurer was involved.
The main point of the article is raising awareness about car rental issues and legal help venues for people with financial constraints such as students. The article is divided into sections and important points summarized in the start to make it easier to navigate.
It would be a nation-level worthy effort if the community can get the acknowledgement of consumer understanding of exclusions at time of rental by car hire companies mandatory. I am not sure how we can do it.
I would agree with PhilT as ACCC guide requests car hirers that the exclusions should be explained through charts and figures and acknowledges that at time of rental both parties are in a hurry to get the agreement done especially if the booking was made on phone or in-person.