Have you ever thought car hire industry jargon is too bloated?
The industry (like many others) is notorious for using terms outside the average consumer’s vocabulary.
In Australia, this practise came under fire when the government received 600 complaints over a 2 year period from local car renters and many others from abroad.
Here are a few translations to help you decode car hire terminology:
#1: ‘Group’ or ‘Class’
Hire cars are categorised into ‘classes’ or ‘groups’ based on their size and features. As a consumer, you are booking a car because of its ‘group’ or ‘class’, not make or colour.
For instance, you may see a price listed for an ‘Economy Car with Air Conditioning or similar’ with an image of a red Hyundai Getz.
If you read the disclaimer, the car hire company usually cannot guarantee what you see in the image. You can however trust that you will receive a vehicle belonging to the same ‘group’ or ‘class’.
#2: ‘One way rentals’
This simply refers to your choice to pick up a car in one location and drop it off in another.
Sometimes, ‘one way rentals’ incur an additional fee to cover the loss of stock at the pick up station.
Other times, car hire companies will run specials for ‘one way rentals’ if they are looking for ways to move stock from one location to another.
Travellers take advantage of US ‘one way rentals’ between US states and ‘one way rentals’ between countries in Europe, where many companies allow you to cross borders in your hire vehicle.
#3: ‘Additional driver’
When more than one driver is associated with the rental, the subsequent driver becomes known as the ‘additional driver’.
Terms and conditions specify any restrictions to listing additional drivers and their related costs should any apply. Additional drivers are required to present their drivers license and sign the ‘Rental Agreement’.
#4: ‘Airport surcharge’ / ‘Premium Location Fee’
Car hire companies who operate in airport terminals or locations deemed as premium (e.g. a prime city location), pay for the privilege – and this is passed onto the renter.
#5: ‘Rental Agreement’
This is the formal contract you hold with the car hire company directly, which you sign at the pick up counter.
The document lists everything from mileage, driving restrictions, insurance conditions and age restrictions.
Read it carefully before signing and make sure you hold onto a copy.