Car hire broker comparison
Using a broker means you're not booking directly with the company that will give you a car when you arrive at your destination.
Unscrupulous practices prevail in the car hire industry and a good broker can add a layer of protection, acting as a buffer between customer and car hire supplier. It provides assistance if things go wrong, investigating issues and potentially resolving them more quickly than a provider would. It can also ask car hire suppliers to review cases where it doesn't think the customer has been treated fairly. A good broker can also save you money, negotiating bulk rates with suppliers.
Unfortunately, not all brokers offer a brilliant service or money saving rates. And not all brokers have provided full cash refunds for car hire that was disrupted by the pandemic. It's very important that the broker's website makes absolutely clear what charges you will have to pay when you arrive, and what your rights to a refund are if the booking is cancelled.
To help you choose, we have rated five of the most-used car hire brokers, on criteria such as the clarity of the price, ease of booking and how satisfied customers were with the car hire company that actually provided the car.
Only one company met our criteria to be awarded Which? Recommended Provider status. This means that it not only provided the best customer experience, but also met our Covid refund requirements and passed our pricing transparency tests.
The best car hire broker
Zest Car Rental comes out as the top broker with a customer score of 90%.
It scored the maximum five stars for the clarity of extra charges, fuel policy, final hire cost and for customer service.
All its providers are regularly vetted and have signed up to strict new cleaning procedures during the pandemic. And 93% of Zests's customers were satisfied with the service they received when their car hire was disrupted (compared with the 77% average).
Cancellation is free (up to 48 hours before collection) and easy to do online. And free amendments can be made at any time.
Zest also passed our pricing transparency tests and convinced us it only works with reputable car hire companies, demonstrating the efficiency of its process for removing a car hire provider that doesn't meet its standards. This allowed us to award Zest Which? Recommended Provider status for the fourth year in a row.
How we research car hire brokers
In January 2020, we asked 2,282 Which? members to complete an online survey about their experience of using a car hire company in the past 12 months.
In January 2021 we asked an additional 843 Which? members about their experience of Covid refunds and hygiene measures, to help strengthen our recommendations.