#gold coast car rentals
The Bottom Line
The vehicle supplied by Queensland Gold Coast car rental company Holiday Car Rentals was serviceable, although not exactly as described in the online specifications. Additional charges for renting the car supplied by Gold Coast car rental company Holiday Car Rentals were contentious.
- The Holiday Car Rentals car which is the subject of this review was adequate for its purpose and relatively economical to use.
- The online description of the Holiday Car Rentals vehicle said it had power windows. It did not.
- The online Gold Coast car rental terms concerning Holiday Car Rentals said credit cards were welcome. It didn’t say there would be extra charges for using a credit card. Nor did the booking confirmation.
- The Gold Coast car rental company, Holiday Car Rentals, had no representative at the Gold Coast Airport when the car was returned, so they could not confirm in our presence that the petrol (gasoline) tank was full, as indeed it was. We had completely filled up the petrol tank right at the gate of the Gold Coast Airport before leaving the vehicle.
- Despite the petrol tank having been filled up completely, the rental company later claimed that the petrol tank was not full and an extra charge for petrol was made without advising us of the charge. We only learned of the extra charges on receiving our credit card bill and were completely mystified as to what they were for.
- Not only did the Gold Coast car rental company, Holiday Car Rentals, charge for the extra petrol which they said was needed to fill up the petrol tank but there was an additional charge on top of this charge.
While the car – a Toyota Corolla sedan – was not exactly as advertised, we did not think the absence of power windows was critical, although we believe products should be as described.
While the original online terms (on the basis of which the vehicle was booked) made no mention of an extra charge for the use of credit cards, the rental agreement provided by the car rental company at the airport did have the extra charge in the fine print, which we overlooked on the assumption that the agreement would indicate terms identical to those on the website, once prior to booking, and second, with the booking confirmation. Use of a credit card is charged by the Gold Coast car rental company, Holiday Car Rentals, an extra 3.5 per cent. This is certainly off-putting for visitors, and particularly so for those coming from countries where a similar levy is not charged.
We have disputed the extra fuel charge by email. The Gold Coast car rental company, Holiday Car Rentals, insisted the charge was correct even though there were four of us in the car at the time we filled up the petrol tank who could definitely vouch we did so. We also have a receipt for the petrol used to fill up the fuel tank from the petrol service station at the entrance to the Gold Coast Airport immediately before we dropped off the rented vehicle.
And yes, there’s an extra charge levied by the Gold Coast car rental company, Holiday Car Rentals, in addition to the cost of petrol.
You learn of all these extra charges only when you receive your credit card statement and when you then query the charges.
It is fairly customary to trust travel service providers, such as hotels, tour operators and car rental companies, that they will do right by you.
In fact, in nearly 10 years of being an Internet travel writer, and more years than that as a newspaper and magazine journalist and editor, I have had no reason to complain of what I perceived were unwarranted charges by travel service providers. But I guess there’s always a first time.
I have asked Holiday Car Rentals for rectification of their charges, and for an apology. I’m not holding my breath.
What to do
When renting a car, check the fine print in the rental agreement.
Use a car rental company which can verify in your presence whether the fuel tank has been filled up or not, where extra charges may apply.
It might be wise to use proven car rental companies with a reputation for ensuring customer satisfaction rather than relatively unknown ones.
This review follows the use of a rented car from Holiday Car Rentals on Queensland’s Gold Coast in June-July 2006 and only refers to this specific instance. It should not be construed from this specific case that the practices complained of are widespread in the Australian car rental industry. It must also be borne in mind that the Gold Coast Holiday Car Rentals policies and practices may have changed.
While the Gold Coast car rental company, Holiday Car Rentals, has not rectified the extra charges specified in this review, the Internet booking agency through which the car rental was organised fully and volutarily refunded the extra charges when apprised of the situation, despite the fact the extra charges were not made by them.
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