Home > Ask Our Experts > Car Hire Refund?

Car Hire Refund?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 22 Sep 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Car Hire Distance Selling Regulations

Q.

I booked flights to Brest airport in France and booked cheap car hire through a French car hire company. It was a good deal and I purchased the insurance package online and received an email stating the amount to pay on collection of the car 174 euros or thereabouts.

We travelled from 3am and arrived at 10am in France to collect the car, with our two young children, who were by this point restless. My husband went to car hire desk to collect the car at the designated agent (it was a partner company). The woman on the desk did not have good english and my husband doesn't speak french but she kept talking on and eventually asked my husband to sign for the car and proceeded to charge us 330 euros.

My husband couldn't understand why and she didn't understand so we were too tired and had a further hour and a half drive away, so we decided to take the car and contact the company.

I emailed from my phone and have had no refund. Where do I stand?

(Mrs Lisa Lawton, 23 September 2008)

A.

Hiring a car in Europe on the Internet from home comes, in part, under what’s known as the Distance Selling Regulations, which essentially offer consumers much the same protection across the EU. That 'in part' is important, though, because not all the regulations apply with car hire.

Normally, under the Regulations, you’d have a seven-day cooling-off period in which you can cancel your order with no penalty. However, car hire does have quite the same laws. Once you’ve made the agreement with car hire you can’t cancel and claim a refund.

But that’s not your problem here. What you’re looking at is the difference in the rental fee you were quoted and what you actually had to pay. There you’ll find the Distance Selling Regulations are on your side, since you do have the right to know the cost plus any other applicable fees, and you should have had written confirmation of your order.

From what you say, it’s perfectly possible that the problem arose because of communication difficulties, and these can happen when travelling in a foreign country.

It would seem to be no excuse, though.

What makes this interesting is that the company did state you’d need to pay 174 Euros 'or thereabouts'. The car hire company might claim that the prices actually depend on market fluctuations in currency that are out of their control, which is within their rights. But it would seem unlikely that they could justify a difference of 156 Euros.

What you need to do is communicate with the car hire company by e-mail from home, stating the problem and providing copies of both their confirmation with the cost and what you actually had to pay.

State that you would like a refund of 156 Euros on the car hire as soon as possible and see what response that brings.

If you’re not satisfied with what the company says, try contacting any official trade organisation of which it’s a member, and ask them to mediate in the dispute. You should also contact Trading Standards, which can offer further advice on the steps you can take – legal action is possible, but you should really only consider it as a last resort.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
@Beyondbelief. Have you tried the credit company? They should be your first port of call (mention section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act). Let us know what they say.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 3-Jul-15 @ 12:19 PM
Hi there, We have recently hired a car in Spain, and come home to find we have been charged £500 on a credit card with no prior notice. After speaking with the company they have advised we put wrong fuel in the car (diesel rather than petrol). Our argument is as follows:- 1. When we picked it up we were verbally advised at the desk that it was diesel 2. We filled up some miles from the airport and it did not break down or act differently (you would expect black smoke to be coming out minimum – as checked with a UK mechanic) 3. The diesel nozzle would not fit in the petrol cap in the first place Their argument is that the car broke down when the next person was renting it for having the wrong fuel in. They are refusing to refund the amount however we feel this is extremely unfair. How can we go about claiming this back?
beyondbelief - 30-Jun-15 @ 1:33 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • ConsumerRightsExpert
    Re: Buying a Used Car: Your Rights
    CeeBee - Your Question:I purchased a 2003 Mini Cooper for my daughter from a car dealer 3 weeks ago for £1550. They advertised…
    20 November 2017
  • CeeBee
    Re: Buying a Used Car: Your Rights
    I purchased a 2003 Mini Cooper for my daughter from a car dealer 3 weeks ago for £1550. They advertised it on autotrader for…
    19 November 2017
  • Rach
    Re: Buying a Used Car: Your Rights
    Bought a 57 plate Mazda 3 100 miles later and only 3 days the engine management light is on. After taking it to my local garage…
    18 November 2017
  • ConsumerRightsExpert
    Re: Buying a New Car: Your Rights
    ian123 - Your Question:Hi bought a brand new renault kadjar on day I was due to collect it salesman phoned me to say there was a…
    17 November 2017
  • ConsumerRightsExpert
    Re: Buying a Used Car: Your Rights
    Daphyd - Your Question:Purchased a brand new car and collected it from the showroom late after work on a Thursday November 2017…
    17 November 2017
  • ConsumerRightsExpert
    Re: What If Your Plumber Makes Mistakes?
    Tatiana - Your Question:I live in a flat on the first floor and on 19/09 the management company of the building sent a…
    17 November 2017
  • ConsumerRightsExpert
    Re: Buying a Used Car: Your Rights
    Dave - Your Question:Sorry I put a comment about a 59 plate insignia and was meant to ask what can I do about this ?
    17 November 2017
  • ConsumerRightsExpert
    Re: Council Houses - Your Right to Buy
    sam - Your Question:Hi am I entitled to buy my flat I live in but I also have a House on mortgage I have lived in this…
    17 November 2017
  • ian123
    Re: Buying a New Car: Your Rights
    hi bought a brand new renault kadjar on day i was due to collect it salesman phoned me to say there was a problem windscreen had…
    16 November 2017
  • Daphyd
    Re: Buying a Used Car: Your Rights
    Purchased a brand new car and collected it from the showroom late after work on a Thursday November 2017 and On the following…
    16 November 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ConsumerRightsExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.