Sheffield holidaymakers planning to hire a car abroad over the summer months are being alerted to a new scam - which could land you with a nasty bill when you step back through your door at home.
Dodgy car rental firms are waiting until many tourists get back home to the UK and then sending out a bill for a damaged car lock.
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The warning comes from car hire specialist, Zest Car Rental, which pointed out that with so many vehicles having remote entry these days, hardly anyone uses the key to open the door – or bothers to check the lock for pre-existing damage.
It is more than a year since the Competition and Markets Authority brought in new rules to ensure car hire comparison and broker websites have “transparent drive-away pricing” but the company said many of these regulations are being flouted.
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Rory Sexton, managing director of Zest Car Rental, said: “The CMA set out to clean up the car hire industry, but there’s still a long way to go. Unfortunately, shady operators will always try to find ways of getting customers to pay more having hooked them in with a low headline price.
"Tactics such as pressure selling expensive add-on insurance is well known, but this latest ploy of billing for door lock damage is out of the blue. Customers will need to have their wits about them to avoid being ripped off.”
Zest warned door locks are not covered by most standard excess protection policies and dodgy car rental companies take advantage of this.
Unscrupulous firms will assure you that the locks were fine before you hired the car.
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Holidaymakers are being urged to check the door locks before you drive away your rental car and if there is a problem return the vehicle.