Europcar Apologizes Over $2,000 Bill For Minor Windshield Chip
Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw
Europcar has apologized to a customer who was overcharged by nearly $1,800 for a minor windscreen chip.
The incident was highlighted in a new report by UK consumer rights magazine Which?, which claims some companies frequently charge customers more than double the going rate for repairs.
Investigators took photographic evidence of damage from car rental customers across Europe who believed they had been overcharged.
Photos were shown to three Which? Trusted Trader garages, which were asked how much they would have charged for the repair.
In eight out of 12 cases all three garages quoted less than the rental companies charged for the repair. And in four of the cases, renters were charged more than double the average estimates.
In the case of the Europcar customer, Which? said he was charged $2,057 for a small windscreen chip that could have been fixed for as little as $62.
Which? conducted a separate survey of more than 150 readers who'd been charged for rental car damage.
It found 44% said they had been hit with an excessive charge, almost 18% said they had been charged for damage they knew nothing about, and 59% said they had never received any evidence of how the charge was calculated from their car hire company.
The magazine claimed 'industry insiders' told its researchers that a drastic drop in profit margins has led some rental companies to look for new ways to make money from their customers.
Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, said: "Car hire firms now need to clean up their act and be upfront about the real cost of renting a car instead of offering too-good-to-be-true prices, then clawing back profits via ridiculous repair bills."