How to avoid Car Hire Companies charging you for damage you didn't cause

By , Last Updated: 16th July 19

I wanted to let you know that there have been a few articles in the press and television with regards to some car hire companies:

  1. Inflating the cost of repairs if you damange the vehicle

  2. Finding scratches or other damage on vehicles that customers do not think they have caused.

I don’t want to comment on these stories, and there are ongoing investigations which I will share with you once there has been an outcome, but I wanted to bring them to your attention because many of you will be hiring a car on your summer holidays, and I do not want them spoilt by an unpleasant experience.

Our car hire survey is ongoing and we will publish all customer reviews on the website shortly, but I think it is fair to say that many of our customers who left reviews had positive experiences but the few negative ones had similar comments to the media articles published.

We have in the past given you a list of advice when hiring a car so I will not do this again, instead there is one main piece of advice I would like to give (which I’ve then turned into a list!)

The advice is:

Take photographs of your car at pick up and drop off, especially if there is no one to process your drop off. And whilst doing so ensure:

  1. You move your car into the light if it is parked in a dark part of the garage before taking photos.

  2. As well as around the car, take pictures of the roof, the inside of the car doors and the inside of the boot, and the undercarriage (if possible).

  3. Take pictures of the wheels to avoid being charged for scuff marks that were already there.

  4. At drop off, ensure that any scratches picked up are scratches and not dirt on the car by having a wet wipe, or something similar handy to wipe away any dirt that might be on the car, or even better put it through a car wash before returning it.

Please do bear in mind, that being charged for damage you did not make can often, simply be an error by the car hire company who may have missed a scratch when the previous hirer dropped off their vehicle, so by taking photos you will be helping these companies ensure they are treating you fairly.

I will be hiring a car when I take my family on holiday this year, and I do not want to worry about being charged an excess unless I am sure I have damaged the vehicle. Holidays should be a chance to relax with your family, and I feel that by taking the above steps you can be more confident that if you are charged an excess when you return the car, you will be able to prove through your photographic evidence that it was for damage you caused.

At which point, if you have valid cover with, you can make a claim.

I’d like to wish you a happy holiday. If you don’t have a policy, there’s a 15% voucher code at the top of this blog or by clicking here.

If you know anyone else who is hiring a car, please feel free to pass this voucher on to them.