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7 Oct 2019

Which car hire companies make you queue?

Which? Travel reveals just how long firms keep you waiting at the rental desk, and which ones let you start your holiday hassle-free

Seven in 10 Goldcar customers face queues to pick up their hire car when they arrive at the rental desk, with one in 10 waiting over an hour.

New research from Which? Travel reveals that car hire customers are most likely to have to queue at the start of their holiday if they hire with Goldcar and Interrent - the two budget brands owned by car hire giant Europcar.

By contrast, less than a third of Enterprise and Hertz customers face any queue at all, with 93% of Enterprise customers behind the wheel within 30 minutes of arrival at the desk.

Steer clear of shoddy car hire. Check our guide to the Best and worst car hire companies

Car hire queues: How long is too long?

The research shows that, whereas Enterprise customers waited around 15 minutes on average, Goldcar customers had to wait nearly double that at 29 minutes.

Worse still, one in three Goldcar customers waited over half an hour to pick up their car.

Rental desks for Budget Rent a Car also had a slow pick-up time at 25 minutes on average.

Car rental: Why are we waiting?

Chief among the reasons reported for queues was the persistent upselling of extras, such as excess insurance, regardless of how many people were waiting.

Industry insiders also speculate that keeping customers waiting is a useful way of wearing down the defences of holidaymakers who, exhausted from the journey, just want their holiday to begin. This makes it easier to flog them expensive extras.

Which? Travel has found that Goldcar uses criminal, aggressive and misleading sales tactics, including lies and bullying, to pressure customers into buying overpriced insurance.

Watch our undercover video of Goldcar's criminal pressure-selling tactics.

The best car hire company for queues

Customers hiring with Canary Islands specialist Cicar rarely had to queue. Just one in five customers faced any kind of queue at the rental desk.

This is because Cicar's cars come with all extras (including an insurance excess waiver) included as standard, so rental agents need only hand over the keys.

Which? Travel's research was based on a survey of more than 2,000 car hire experiences that took place in the 12 months to January 2019.