Paris – After a long period of lockdown due to the pandemic, travelers are planning to jet off to the city for a feel of sand and sunshine. Hiring a vehicle for your vacation is a convenient and easy way to move around Paris, but you need a bit of planning. Most car rental companies sell off their vehicles after a season so they can restock their fleet. However, the global shortage of semiconductors led to the delay in the production of new vehicles.
As a result, there are fewer rental cars, and the cost of hiring them is on the high side. But you can still get cheaper cars in Paris if you look hard enough. In addition to the rental fees, there are certain expensive pitfalls and traps you should know about when hiring a car.
5 Car Rental Rip-Offs
Here are some car rental rip-offs to know and avoid:
1. The Insurance Rip-Off
When you go to a rental agency to hire a car, the salesperson will encourage or pressure you to buy insurance. The policy is designed to eliminate or reduce any excess you may pay in the event of an accident. If you do not buy this insurance, you may pay thousands of dollars if anything bad happens to the vehicle while it is in your care.
This may sound good but most times, it is a trap. Getting this insurance is generally expensive. Also, if you are renting the vehicle for a longer period, you will pay premiums every day in addition to the hiring fees. Here are two easy means of protecting yourself from the rip-off:
- Get Travel Insurance
Most comprehensive insurance policies for traveling, whether international or domestic, include additional insurance for car rental. This benefit is standard and protects you against the agency’s extra charges in case the vehicle gets damaged. This insurance is cheaper than what the rental agency will offer.
- Get Independent Extras Insurance for Car Rental
The policy is specifically designed for rental vehicles. It is also cheaper than what the hiring agency will sell to you.
Whichever option you choose, ensure you compare prices before purchasing insurance. Do not be in a hurry; check what is covered and what is not included.
2. Unwanted Upgrades
Getting an upgrade for your chosen vehicle is good but oftentimes, it comes at a cost. Therefore, ensure you find out whether the upgrade is free especially when you did not ask for it. If the service is free and the vehicle meets your requirements, then luck is on your side. If the upgrade comes at a cost, go over the contract and only sign if you are willing to pay the extra fees.
3. Refueling Charge
Car rental agencies have a policy that requires returning the vehicle with a full fuel tank. If you didn’t know about it, the company has an expensive refueling charge that will sting you for a long time. However, you can save yourself stress and money by filling up the tank before returning the car.
Some rental agencies allow customers to return vehicles without a full fuel tank. But you may have to pay for the petrol upfront when hiring the vehicle. Therefore, the ideal option is to top up before returning the car.
4. Hidden Damage
You may be in a hurry to begin your vacation but ensure you check the rental car for any damage before you zoom off. Inspect the car closely for dents or scratches and report your observation to the agency. Also, inspect the interior and take picture of the damage.
This should bother you because the agency may try to put the damage on you. No one is happy to pay for what they did not cause, so ensure you check the car thoroughly before signing the contract. Do not forget to take pictures again to prove that you are returning the vehicle the same way it was given to you.
5. Expensive Additions
If you want to add any other thing to your rental contract, you must tread with caution because the cost will always go overboard. For instance, if you want child seats, you will pay daily fees for them. If you need a GPS, it will also cost more. Even if you want to add an extra driver to your contact, it will increase the total price, so ensure you know the exact cost of any additions.
There are various ways to escape expensive additions. For instance, you can ask the agency whether you can bring a child seat and how much it would cost. You can test the GPS on your smartphone to know whether it is functioning. Also, you should only add an extra driver when it is absolutely necessary. You can watch this video to find out how to use GPS when driving.
More Tips for Avoiding Rip-Offs
Below are more tips for avoiding car rental rip-offs in Paris.
1. Avoid Airport Pick Up
Picking a rental vehicle at the airport seems quite convenient and easy, but it is very expensive. Most rental agencies impose a surcharge on premium locations such as the airport, which inflates the price. So going to a nearby agency will save you some money though it may be slightly inconvenient and annoying.
2. Look Out for Relocation Surcharge
It is important to return the vehicle where you got it from. The company will charge you for relocation if you prefer to return it to a different location.
3. Avoid Booking at the Last Minute
Some people make up their minds to book a rental car at the last minute, which does not usually go down well. It is a general misconception that you will get a good deal if you show up at the rental agency immediately you arrive in Paris and see what is available. If you do not book the vehicle and you want to hire it, the agency may take advantage of you.
This means the range of cars available will be limited, and you will pay higher. If it is a busy holiday season, you may not even get a car. So rather than treat car rental as a last resort, shop around for good deals in advance. At that time, you will be able to compare a lot of quotes online that will give you value for your money. Also, planning saves you the stress of choosing a car when you arrive in Paris.
Exploring Paris in a car allows you to savor the goodness of the city. But you need to plan ahead of your trip to avoid getting ripped off by car rental agencies. We discussed 5 pitfalls and tips to avoid them. Before you visit Paris, make sure you book in advance otherwise there will be no cars available.