Last year we discovered how other car rental compare sites found a new way to manipulate the prices on the car rental market which caused headaches for customers who didn't read their terms and conditions.
And it is still happening!
As we show in a case study. They could face a considerable additional fee.
Car rental prices dropping
Car rental prices have dropped considerably year on year and this is down to the growing number of companies taking advantage of the increased number of tourism in Portugal by opening up shop in the likes of Faro, Porto and Lisbon Airport.
Spanish companies such as Centauro and Goldcar are an example of rental providers that have expanded to their neighbouring country.
Competition is growing
While there is an increase in visitors there is also an increase in a fleet with the new companies entering the market meaning that there is an overstock of vehicles.
The more vehicles left unrented the more the rental companies work on finding ways to get customers to book with them over their competitors.
Inventing new tactics
Lowering the price is an obvious tactic but the rental companies do not want to make a loss and this is where the more inventive tactics start.
Previously and still quite common is the fuel policy trick where the customers are enticed in by a low headline price only to be asked to pay for a full tank of fuel on arrival at an inflated cost with a number of hoops to jump through to get a refund which can include a large admin fee or simply no refund at all.
Customers are generally wise to this now but it is still common to see a cheaper price on the market with the dreaded "Full to Empty" message next to it.
The newest trick
The newest way involves limiting the amount of distance the rental car can be used for before an additional charge is levied for going over.
Again tempting the customer in with the low headline price this clause will go unnoticed by many and could potentially double their rental price or worse still limit the amount of travel a customer would do on their holiday to not incur additional costs.
The example we have seen of this advertise the car at a price 20% lower than any other on the market and within the terms and conditions, the following is listed.
"40km is less than 25 miles and this is the amount you are able to use the car for daily, so a 7-day rental would require you to keep within the total of 175 miles for the duration of your rental. If you go outside of this limit then a charge of 0.45€ will be applied which is about 38p per KM."
Now for some facts and examples
If you are collecting a vehicle at Faro Airport in Portugal and staying in one of the popular locations in the Algarve the following will apply.
Close to double
We have contacted the rental providers we use in Faro Airport and asked them to give us an average distance that a customer drives the car during a rental and we were not surprised to find that the answer was 500km per week.
Close to double the allocated amount given by this rental company.
This would mean that customers could face additional fees of up to €99 when they returned the car.