He found a great rate on Rentalcars.com. But then he signed the Europcar contract

Rentalcars didn't give him the full picture.

John Mardall booked a car on Rentalcars.com. But when he picked up the car in England, he signed a Europcar contract that added $135 to his rental bill. He wishes he hadn’t. He shouldn’t have. But he did.

Mardall’s case is a cautionary tale about car rental agreements and the difference between a quote and a contract. It is also a frustrating exercise in “gotcha” travel pricing from which there is no easy way out, at least for him.

Misled in Leeds

Mardall visited Europe last fall, which included a six-week stay in the U.K.

“For about four weeks of that time we rented a car that we picked up and returned from Europcar at Leeds Bradford Airport,” he explained. “We had made the reservation with Rentalcars.com.”

Here’s what he would have seen:

Then on to screen two:

Still nothing out of the ordinary. But I moused over “See full Terms and Conditions” because it’s interesting. If you click on that, you get a pop-up.

You have to click “+” and scroll down several screens to see all the other extras that you’ll have to pay.

By the way, domestic airlines love this kind of pricing. They’re trying to persuade the Trump administration to undo the full-fare advertising rule so they can do the same thing! Don’t you just hate those burdensome regulations?

Then he signed the Europcar contract

Mardall signed the Europcar contract when he picked up the car in Leeds, assuming it would mirror the quote he received. He assumed wrong.

“After returning from the trip we found that Europcar had made additional charges to our credit card, although we believed we had already paid in full to Rentalcars.com,” he says. “We rent cars several times a year, including in Mallorca and Portugal on this trip, and have not had this late extra charge experience before, although our credit car company representative remarked that it happens quite frequently.”

Yes it does. And the reason is that Rentalcars.com hid the surcharges from him during the booking process and then assumed — correctly, it turns out — that he wouldn’t bother to look at the contract. I mean, who has time to read a contract when you’re on vacation, anyway?

The predictable response from Rentalcars.com 

Predictably, here’s the response from Rentalcars.com:

I am sorry to hear you are disappointed with your rental experience.

We do try our best to show additional charges are clearly as possible on our website. As a basic package the supplier requests these payments be made directly to them.

As well as showing the costs on our website and in our terms and conditions, Europcar do include them in the Rental Agreement signed at pick up. I have attached this agreement which shows the additional cost for the Registration Fees £59.20 + VAT along with the location surcharge of 15%.

I am sorry if you remain dissatisfied with the charges, however the informaiton [sic] is provided prior to pick up.

That’s complete nonsense. Rentalcars.com is a co-conspirator to Europcar’s unethical behavior. I can’t believe Britain, which has some of the best consumer laws on the books, would allow this kind of deceptive pricing.

Another “Case Dismissed,” but …

My advocacy team’s efforts to resolve this EuropCar contract case were thwarted by Mardall’s mistakes. He didn’t review the terms and conditions, didn’t read the contract, signed the contract and then tried to obtain a refund. Even the best team of advocates in the world can’t fix that.

But make no mistake. Rentalcars.com laid a trap for him, and it continues to do so for hundreds of thousands of other customers. It can quote a rate that includes these mandatory fees but chooses not to in order to snag more bookings from bargain-hunters.

Mardall’s case is a reminder to always, always read the terms of your purchase, and your contract. If you don’t like what you see, don’t walk away — run.

Rentalcar.com's pricing is:

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Underwritten by

Underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Underwritten by Enterprise

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

Underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

%d bloggers like this:
This free newsletter will save you from scams.