Nearly half of those who hired a car with Interrent, and more than four in 10 Goldcar customers, reported a problem with their rental, in a Which? Travel survey of 2,178 car hire experiences.
Terrible customer service, unexpected charges and the poor condition of the car were just some of the problems encountered by customers hiring with these companies in the past year.
Both budget brands are owned by car hire giant, Europcar and sit at the bottom of Which? Travel’s customer satisfaction survey.
Find out which car rental companies you can trust. See the full results of our best and worst car hire companies survey.
Goldcar and Interrent problems
Europcar acquired Goldcar for €550 million in 2018, adding another budget arm to its operation. But Which? Travel’s survey found that customers who hire with these brands encounter the most problems.
There’s now little to choose between Interrent and Goldcar, and some customers who booked with Interrent in the last 12 months reported that they found themselves being directed to the Goldcar desk to collect their car.
Our results show that Goldcar customers are more than four times more likely, on average, to be hit with unexplained charges. One told us: ‘We were charged for things we hadn’t wanted or needed. We did eventually get a little money back, but it was such a hassle.’
Fortunately there are several car hire companies that will give you far fewer holiday headaches – see table below.
Which? Travel acts on car hire complaints
We get more complaints from Which? members about aggressive sales, unauthorised and unexpected charges, and appalling customer service in this industry than any other travel-related service.
The problems in the car hire industry may be complex, but they need fixing. That’s why Which? Travel is joining forces with Telegraph Travel to investigate the major issues and find better ways to protect consumers. And we want to hear about your experiences.
We’re focusing on three areas of the industry that need our attention:
The insurance hard sell
High insurance excesses (up to £2,500) are used as a way of inflating prices. If you don’t pay to waive them, you could be hit with excessive charges for even the smallest scratch when you return the car. Worse still, unscrupulous staff use scare tactics to bully customers into buying a policy that can more than double the cost of hire.
It’s never worth buying insurance at the car hire desk; you can buy a more comprehensive policy online at a fraction of the cost. Read our advice on car hire insurance.
Unauthorised and unfair charges
Unexpected and unexplained charges accounted for more than a quarter of the problems that car hire customers told us they’d experienced. Customers were hit with spurious extra charges for cleaning, excess mileage, fuel and even admin.
And many people told us they had no idea about these charges until they checked their credit card statement when they returned home. Find out how to complain about unexpected car hire charges.
Dodgy damage repairs
You regularly tell us that car hire companies have overcharged you for accidental damage, or billed you for damage that you didn’t cause in the first place.
And last year we found evidence of car hire companies overcharging by as much as 300% for repairs that were never made.