Car hire firms failing customers with bad complaint handling, Which? research shows

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 09:26
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ANGER: Car hire companies failing customers

Car hire companies are failing to deal properly with customer complaints, Which? research has shown.

A whopping 60% of Which? members who had made a complaint said they were unhappy with how car hire companies and brokers dealt with the matter.

The biggest source of ire (27%) was extra charge imposed at the end of the rental, often made for apparent damage.

Almost one in five (17%) Which? members complained about extra charges they had to pay when picking the car up at the start of the rental.

The other top reasons for complaint were customer service (14%), the condition of the car (11%) and fuel charges (10%).

Of those who complained, six out of ten said their complaint was handled poorly or very poorly.

Avis had the worst record, with 59% saying they handled their complaint poorly or very poorly and just 19% claiming they were happy with how it was handled.

Hertz had the best complaints record, but even then a higher proportion (47%) of respondents gave them a negative rating than a positive rating (41%).

The other two companies Which? reported on – Europcar and Holiday Autos – also had a higher proportion of people giving them a negative rating than positive.

Which? said they are calling on car hire companies and brokers to make their compulsory and optional charges clear upfront, before consumers commit to sale.

Following the Which? investigation into car hire websites in May, five companies – Avis, Dollar/Thrifty, Enterprise, Auto Europe and Economy Car Hire – agreed to make improvements.

Richard Lloyd, Executive Director of Which?, said: “It’s no surprise that consumers are completely fed up with hidden and sneaky car hire charges, and to add insult to injury they are getting a poor response when they complain about it.

“Car hire websites must be clearer about charges to allow consumers to shop around for the best deal.

“We are pleased to see, following our last investigation, that some companies are making charges more transparent, but we need to see all companies making improvements.”

Which? asked 3,202 members in February 2013 about their experiences with car hire.

Of those, one in ten had made a complaint about car hire in the previous two years.

Image courtesy of Automotivespace, with thanks.

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