Those who have not had a bad experience with car hire company probably think renting a car is easy. However, those of us who have already experienced problem with a car rental company know that renting a car is not as easy as it seems because many car rental companies know how to take an advantage of your inferior position and charge your credit card for any small scratch they may find on the car upon returning it. They can do that because they have your deposit!
Yes, even us, relatively experienced travellers, have been cheated by a car rental company, and it was not cheap. Here is our story. I will not disclose the names of the car rental company and the bank because it happened a few years ago and they may even accuse us of telling you something that is not true. Well, this really happened and as we found out later, there are many people who have had similar experience.
Our experience with a car rental company
We needed to rent a car on Tenerife and we did not really feel like spending too much time on it, so we just found one website which compares the prices and we chose one of the cheap offers. To avoid any possible problems, we added extra full cover insurance and we thought to ourselves that we should be fine and did not expect anything go wrong.
But as the time to rent the car approached, we started to think about it again and we came across some bad reviews on the Internet that made us feeling a bit nervous. Few days later we went to fetch the car at the airport. We stood in the queue in front of their window and waited. When it was our turn, we showed them the reservation and payment documents, but the man did not like that we did not have their full cover. I explained that we have full cover from other insurance company, but he did not accept that, and was pushing us to get their full cover. In the end he accepted that we would not bulge and asked for our credit card for the deposit. We gave him the card, but he said he will not accept it because it is not a credit card, which was true, but it was written on their website that debit cards are accepted. We had a so called hybrid card, which is a debit card that can be used to hold deposits and we used it for this purpose in a car rental company is South Africa and bike rental company in the Netherlands without any problems. However, the man was not interested to even try to block the deposit, we did not have any other card and he refused to give us our money back. I managed to get a statement that the company has refused to rent us a car, so that I can use it when I will ask for a chargeback through my bank.
My bank´s reaction
Later on, I wrote a complained to my bank. I explained what happened and asked for a chargeback. I sent them the invoice I got and all email communication with the car rental company. The bank replied that they will investigate it. However, about a month later I got an email telling me that the other party did not reply and that is why they cannot close the case. I later went to the bank personally and even that did not help. I assume that the case is still open today. We have never gotten our money back.
Later I decided to share my experience on one Tenerife group on Facebook and I asked others to share their experiences with car rental companies. They all agreed that there are two decent car rental companies on Tenerife: Autoreisen and Cicar. I am not saying there are not any other good car rental comanies, but these two are tried and tested by many people. Before we bought our own car, we rented ours from Autoreisen many times and we have never experienced any problem. No credit card is needed and nobody checks the car upon return. Once or twice, there was a slight problem with the car we rented, so we called them, they told us to come and gave us a different car.
I guess you will think that we get paid for writing this blog. I wish! Of course we would like to become their partners and advertise their business, because we want to promote things we trust!
Here is a link for our tried and tested rental company: https://autoreisen.com/
And here is a link for another good car rental company, which we did not use but is highly recommended by others: https://www.cicar.com/
Drive safely and enjoy your next trip to our beautiful island!