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The best and worst car hire firms for the summer of 2024 named by Which?

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Which? has ranked the best and worst car hire companies for this summer – and it’s Goldcar languishing at the bottom of the list, just as it did in 2023.

The consumer group surveyed over 2,000 members of the public and its members, asking them to assess their experiences using car hire firms and brokers based on a range of criteria, including customer service, value for money, clarity of extra charges and vehicle condition before awarding them an overall customer score percentage.

Spanish-based Goldcar took last place in the survey with a customer score of just 52 per cent, its sixth time at the bottom of the table in recent years.

Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the table are the Canaries-based car firm AutoReisen and Cicar, and broker Zest Car Rental – the Which? Recommended Providers earned an overall customer score of 92, 91 and 90 per cent respectively.

The survey revealed that travellers continue to face a range of issues and rip-off practices when hiring a car, and nearly nine in ten (86 per cent) respondents reported concerns about being taken advantage of.

Canaries-based AutoReisen has come top in the Which? annual survey of the best and worst car-hire firms
Which? surveyed over 2,000 members of the public and its members, asking them to assess their experiences using car hire firms and brokers based on a range of criteria, including customer service, value for money, and clarity of extra charges awarding them an overall customer score percentage. Goldcar came last with a 52 per cent customer score

Common issues reported include feeling under ‘a lot’ of pressure to buy additional insurance at the desk, affecting one in six respondents (17 per cent); being charged more than initially quoted, affecting one in ten (11 per cent); and issues with the condition of the car (six per cent).

The consumer group notes that these figures are even higher among the worst-performing firms in the survey.

The survey discovered that one-fifth (20 per cent) of respondents who used Goldcar said they had issues with the condition of the car and a quarter (23 per cent) reported being charged extra either when they picked up or returned the car.

The firm received just two stars for how well the description of vehicles matched reality, customer service and value for money, and three stars for age, condition and mileage of the car.

Previous Which? investigations have found Goldcar engaging in pressure selling tactics to encourage customers to buy extra insurance at the desk, and in this year’s survey, a quarter (25 per cent) of Goldcar customers reported purchasing extra insurance at the desk – compared to just over one in seven (13 per cent) of survey respondents overall.

Cicar was awarded five stars in categories including: clarity of extra charges, clarity of final car hire cost, clarity of fuel policy, and it received four stars for customer service

One respondent told Which?: ‘The lady at the desk was adamant that I needed to take out extra insurance. I was in a hurry so I conceded’, while another said: ‘We were given the strong impression there was no other option.’

A separate Which? analysis of car hire insurance policies found Goldcar’s to be among both the ‘most expensive’ and ‘poorly-rated’ of any it checked.

Other car hire firms that ‘failed to impress’ include Dollar, which received a customer score of just 56 per cent, Record Go (57 per cent) and Budget (61 per cent).

Dollar received just two stars for customer service, and three for the age, condition and mileage of the car, and value for money. According to Which?, one respondent complained that the car condition was ‘poor’, with ‘marks and scratches all over’, a dead key fob battery and a service light on the dash illuminated.

Worryingly, three in ten (30 per cent) of those who used Dollar reported being charged extra either when they picked up or returned the car, one in seven (13 per cent) said their car had a fault and a quarter (27 per cent) reported waiting 30 minutes or longer to collect.

At the top of Which?’s best car hire brokers was Zest Car Rental. The company received an ‘excellent’ customer score of 90 per cent
Centauro received an overall score of 83 per cent, scoring five stars for age, condition and mileage of the car
Goldcar received just two stars for how well the description of vehicles matched reality, customer service and value for money

Record Go (57 per cent) scored just two stars for customer service and how well description matched the reality, and three stars for the age, condition and mileage of the car, and value for money.

Which? notes that a fifth (19 per cent) of those who used the firm reported they were given a different car to the one they booked, one in five (22 per cent) said they were charged extra when they picked up or returned the car, and a quarter (25 per cent) had to wait more than 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, table-topper AutoReisen gained a string of five-star ratings in key categories including communication, clarity of extra charges, ease of opting out of extra charges, clarity of final hire cost, clarity of fuel policy, age, condition and mileage of the car, and value for money.

To ensure you have the best possible experience this summer, make sure you book with a reputable firm RORY BOLAND, EDITOR OF WHICH? TRAVEL 

At a reported average price of just £21 per day, AutoReisen was the cheapest firm in the survey, ‘showing that excellent service doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag,’ Which? says.

It also received four stars for…



Read More: The best and worst car hire firms for the summer of 2024 named by Which?

2024-06-21 23:01:46

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