#holiday car rental
The Crafty Traveller: Hiring a holiday car? Don’t let yourself be taken for a fuel
Published: 13:10 GMT, 26 August 2012 | Updated: 13:37 GMT, 26 August 2012
Car-hire firms are increasingly hitting customers with unacceptable fuel charges. I found this out to my cost a few weeks ago renting a car with a company called Record Go at Malaga Airport. While the rental itself was cheap, under the booking terms I had to pay upfront for a full tank of petrol.
I was told I should return the car with the tank as empty as possible, and that there would be no refund for unused fuel.
Given that it’s impossible to return a car with an empty tank, and obviously foolish to try to do so, this so-called ‘full-empty’ policy is a blatant rip-off.
Don’t be taken for a ride: Hire car companies are increasingly charging fuel fees
The rental company can charge the next customer for the fuel you’ve left in – in my case, nearly half a tank. To make matters worse, Record Go overcharged me for the petrol. I paid them €81.54 (£64) for the full tank.
The fuel tank capacity of the Ford Fiesta Trend 1.25 I was renting is 42 litres. Petrol currently costs around €1.45 in southern Spain, so filling up should cost about €61 (£48).
I’d booked the car through Holiday Autos, one of the UK’s leading car rental brokers. It told me that full-empty fuel policies have become much more common with rental companies in the past few years, and are now ‘almost standard’ with local (as opposed to international) rental firms in Spain.
It says it’s trying to make the fuel arrangements clearer on its website. But I think Holiday Autos, and other brokers, should also use their financial clout to pressurise rental firms to stop the full-empty scam – and to stop overcharging for fuel.