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Topics on car hire rental:

warning return the hire car with a full tank of fuel...

Many car hire companies encourage the hirer to return the car empty. If you were to refill this yourself before taking it back, it is more than likely it would cost you less than the fuel deposit you paid when you took out the rental.

If you are renting a car via a company like Holiday Autos or Economy Car Hire you will be provided with a voucher that you will have paid for in advance on line.

You then present the voucher to the car rental company. Some car hire companies will "swipe" your credit card so the details are stored on their computer, but will not actually debit your card at that stage. This is rather like when you book into a hotel.

They are taking your card details in case of accident, or any additional charges that are levied at the end of the rental like - out of hours collection - fuel charges - insurance etc.

Other companies will immediately debit your card as either they do no have this "swipe" and store facility or it is their policy to debit the account to cover a deposit, fuel charge etc. The downside to this is, if you are in a different currency e.g. renting in a "euro" currency country, but coming from the UK, Switzerland or the USA for example, your bank back home will charge for the conversion onto your card. On top of this exchange rates vary, so when you return the car and they "credit" your card again apart from being charged an exchange commission by your card/bank provider, the rate of the dollar, euro, Swiss franc might have gone up or down.

Unfortunately there is nothing you can do about this and the system does vary from company to company.

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2012/2013 Note: Many cut price car hire companies based in Cyprus, Spain and Portugal are now offering cars with a full tank of fuel which you must pay for at their rate and then you return it empty.

There are a couple of problems with this. First of all you must pay the amount they are charging for fuel and this could be lower in the open market and secondly if you are only hiring the car for a couple of days you might not use up your full tank of fuel you had to buy so you return it with a lot of fuel in it, but cannot get money back on it. In Portugal some are now using the "On all rentals of six days and over the fuel policy is collect full - return empty process so look at the wordings before you book that car hire. CHECK THE CAR HIRE COMPANY's FUEL POLICY BEFORE YOU BOOK.

September 2013 - This subject raised on BBC Radio 4 You and Yours on Wednesday 25th September.

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See also:

Advice on car rental

Cancellation insurance for car hire - Blog February 2010

Car hire jargon - What does it all mean?

Driving in Australia

Driving in Canada

Driving in New Zealand

Driving in the USA

Driving in Europe

Handy Tips For Car Hire Journeys

M50 Barrier Free Tolling system - Dublin - Ireland

Return the rental car with fuel

Useful tips for a great car hire experience

Useful tips when hiring a van

Warning from Car hire Rental companies

Warning Triangles - Reflective Vests



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