Sydney, Australia -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/13/2012 -- CarRental.com.au, an online price comparison service that helps people find the best prices for car rentals, has just concluded an in-depth survey of more than 20,000 of its car hire customers. The survey found that more than 25 percent of respondents had been overcharged or billed for hidden car rental fees.
According to Nathan Joyce, General Manager of CarRental.com.au, the study, which was located on the company’s Facebook survey app, lasted for more than two months. The survey was sent to 100,000 customers, he noted, and 20,000 responded.
In all, the hidden costs ranged from a relatively low $10 to an incredibly high $3,627.79, with the average overcharge being $585.36. As described in a hidden costs infographic that was created by the company, the average overcharge was $585.36.
Most of these hidden charges were for insurance or tolls, but many other customers also reported unwarranted costs such as unnecessary cleaning, non-existent or pre-existing damage and additional rental days for vehicles returned on time.
Nathan, who also manages a camper van hire website, CampervanHire.com.au, said the survey also found that many companies refused to honour advertised deals, particularly in the case of franchises, preferring instead to hide behind fine print. Others mentioned unhelpful and inconsistent refund policies.
Unfortunately, the survey also reported that many of the customers found that the major car hire companies were difficult or hostile to deal with. Some took months to reimburse them, while others refused to reimburse altogether.
“We ran the survey because we were getting a lot of feedback about hidden fees, I expected that we would see that reflected, however I wasn’t prepared for the extent of it,” said Joyce, adding that while in some cases the amounts that were overcharged were relatively small, it is still unethical for the car rental companies to make these errors.
“One customer complained about a $400 bill that showed up a few weeks later. The rental company said it was a cleaning bill because he smoked in the car. Unfortunately he didn’t get a refund, even though he has never smoked a cigarette in his life.”
In order to avoid these errors from happening, Joyce said that consumers should know their costs upfront so they can make an informed decision.
“When you consider the extent of these charges, car hire companies are able to dramatically increase their profits,” he said.
CarRental.com.au is an online price comparison service that operates to get the best possible deal for customers. Having developed extensive industry contacts the company is able to pass on large savings and doesn’t charge any service fees. The company’s aim is to promote more honesty and transparency in the car hire industry. The owner of the website also manages a camper van hire website, http://campervanhire.com.au.
For more information, please visit http://www.carrental.com.au