Car hire lottery

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drac

Guest
Me and Mrs Drac are going away in a couple of months for around 3-4 weeks and I'm going through the process of arranging flights and car hire - accommodation already sorted. When we did a similar trip last year we arranged car hire and after a fair bit of looking around, booked a 'small family hatchback with A/C' etc with the typical car indicated as a Ford Fiesta. I was told at the time of booking that whilst it can't be guaranteed, it was around 80% certain we'd get a Ford Fiesta - now call me naieve (sp?) but I believed this rubbish at the time! When we arrived at our destination the car we were given was a TOTAL joke - I can't even remember what it was! :eek: It lasted one day and broke down, resulting in us getting a Ford Focus saloon which was just the job.

Now I don't want to go through the same problem again and end up with some totally unrelated piece of, errrrr, rubbish, compared to what I expected. Does anyone know any means of improving your chances with a hire car? I'm quite happy to pay a little more to ensure I get something half decent and recognisable rather than something I've never heardof or don't recognise. Any experts in car hire?

Cheers
 

SanPedro

Well-known Member
Where are you going?

TBH I've always received as good, if not better, than the car I originally booked for. Maybe you were unlucky.

The hire company HAS to supply you with the equivalent or better. So if it says 'includes A/C' and your vehicles doesn't, then you are quite within your rights to demand one that does.

Only sensible advice would be to book with one of the so called 'reputable' firms like AVIS, Hertz etc, rather than some local 'no-name' outfit.

Cheap flights & hotels | car hire | package holidays - TravelSupermarket UK seems a pretty good place to start as you can compare loads of deals all at once.
 
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drac

Guest
Yeah, cheers, maybe I was unlucky - the previous car had air con etc but was just dire - tinny, crap radio, really cheap interior, problem getting the key in the ignition etc - and I'd purposely not booked a budget model!

I've looked at the offers on moneysupermarket etc (even got the last car via one of the price comparison websites), just wondering of anyone knows any tricks or tips?

One thing I'm thinking of doing is asking for details of the car when I arrive at the airport and then asking how much to upgrade (thats if I know the actual car model I'm given.....) - usually works int he movies!:rolleyes:

Destination is Cape Town :cool: love it down there!
 
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drac

Guest
Don't have exact dates as yet - approx mid March (poss weekend of 14/15th) to early April - around 8th/9th and yes, we need a car for the whole time we are there.
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
Recently was the first time I had booked a car whilst on Holiday. Did it the easy way, found out what the local office was in the hotel, then went online and booked the exact car I wanted, then after an hour or so walked down to the local office and picked up the very car I had booked.
There are a few websites that offer you good deals on hire and allow you to chose the model you want, plus what type of insurance cover you need. I found the best sites where not always on the compare sites, but rather through a google search. This is one which offers what you chose. Car hire South Africa at discounted rates with Car Hire 3000. loads of others with a quick search.

Be firm is you get there and its not what was offered.
 
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drac

Guest
Recently was the first time I had booked a car whilst on Holiday. Did it the easy way, found out what the local office was in the hotel, then went online and booked the exact car I wanted, then after an hour or so walked down to the local office and picked up the very car I had booked.
There are a few websites that offer you good deals on hire and allow you to chose the model you want, plus what type of insurance cover you need. I found the best sites where not always on the compare sites, but rather through a google search. This is one which offers what you chose. Car hire South Africa at discounted rates with Car Hire 3000. loads of others with a quick search.

Be firm is you get there and its not what was offered.

Thanks Phil, do Carehire3000 promise exactly what you'll get? I followed the link and it gives you the usual 'or similar' line. How do you nail them down to exact make and model?
 

Miss Chief

Distinguished Member
i've used carhire3000 before and they got me a car at alamo for about £150 less than alamo direct wanted. I asked for a Zafira type and got a Zafira so was fine with me.
 

andykn

Well-known Member
The big hire companies almost never guarantee the car in a class unless you book a more specialist class. I booked a Vectra or equivalent once with Avis and got a Focus C-Max.

Smaller local firms in Cape Town may only have one type of car in some classes and you might be better off booking direct.

Otherwise, I've used economycarrentals.com and atlaschoice.com before.
 

chrisw

Well-known Member
I got married in Cape Town just over a year ago and had 30 guests come with us - we all hired cars from different places, but no-one seemed to get a particularly great car - in fact someone even turned up in a Mark II Golf (as they still sell them new over there!).

We've just come back from Cork and booked an 'Opel Astra or Similar' with Alamo / National and we got a crappy Kia Rio saloon, which I have to add, is one of the ugliest cars I've ever seen. I complained and they basically said 'tough' - it's similar to an Astra. I've only once ever had a hire car that was better than what I'd paid for, so more often than not I'd expect a piece of junk to drive around in!
 
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drac

Guest
I got married in Cape Town just over a year ago and had 30 guests come with us - we all hired cars from different places, but no-one seemed to get a particularly great car - in fact someone even turned up in a Mark II Golf (as they still sell them new over there!).

We've just come back from Cork and booked an 'Opel Astra or Similar' with Alamo / National and we got a crappy Kia Rio saloon, which I have to add, is one of the ugliest cars I've ever seen. I complained and they basically said 'tough' - it's similar to an Astra. I've only once ever had a hire car that was better than what I'd paid for, so more often than not I'd expect a piece of junk to drive around in!


They call them 'Citi Golf' and they are pretty much the cheapest option and you find them everywhere over there! What a great place for a wedding - wasn't on top of Table mountain was it? I was there in '05 and there was a couple tying the knot up there - Mrs Drac was in floods of tears!

At the moment, I'm tempted to leave it until we get there and try my luck locally, or book a cheap one and try to upgrade it when we arrive.

Another question: given the option, would you spend extra money on flying business class or on getting a better car on hire (BM/Merc or similar?) I've got a grand in savings which I always promised I would put towards one or the other.....
 
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chrisw

Well-known Member
Another question: given the option, would you spend extra money on flying business class or on getting a better car on hire (BM/Merc or similar?) I've got a grand in savings which I always promised I would put towards one or the other.....

We got married in Somerset West, and it was truly magnificent (if I do say so myself!).

We flew Virgin Upper Class to Cape Town and it was superb from start to finish... personally, it's where my money would go, as it started and finished our holiday in the best possible way. A hire car's never going to make a holiday more special in my opinion.

Enjoy it!
 

Greg Zepplin

Active Member
Just use it as an excuse to properly road test a random car, I was given a ford ka when some pillock crashed in to my baby but I took the opportunity to give it a jolly good thrashing, haven't had that much fun driving since my track day! Handbrake on, foot to the floor, fwd drifting baby yeah!

Hire car = Fastest car in the world.

Don't matter what it is as long as you drive it like you stole it. I think that's a standard clause in the contract :)
 
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drac

Guest
We got married in Somerset West, and it was truly magnificent (if I do say so myself!).

We flew Virgin Upper Class to Cape Town and it was superb from start to finish... personally, it's where my money would go, as it started and finished our holiday in the best possible way. A hire car's never going to make a holiday more special in my opinion.

Enjoy it!

That's sort of what I'm thinking - and that's a good way to put it to the Mrs too! Somerset West - fantastic!

Just use it as an excuse to properly road test a random car, I was given a ford ka when some pillock crashed in to my baby but I took the opportunity to give it a jolly good thrashing, haven't had that much fun driving since my track day! Handbrake on, foot to the floor, fwd drifting baby yeah!

Hire car = Fastest car in the world.

Don't matter what it is as long as you drive it like you stole it. I think that's a standard clause in the contract :)

I like your thinking on that one - it's a given that they get truly abused from start to finish!:devil:
 

Roan

Active Member
Have a read of this:

SIPP Codes

And take it from someone who has (in the past) worked in vehicle rental for years, there is no car hire company in the world who will "guarantee" a specific model. I find it hard to believe that some people (not the OPs) think that when you place a car hire booking, a specific car is allocated to your booking. :suicide:
 
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drac

Guest
Ok, cheers for that, makes an interesting read. I tried to use it to give me a quote but it wouldn't accept my dates....:(
 

andykn

Well-known Member
Have a read of this:

SIPP Codes

And take it from someone who has (in the past) worked in vehicle rental for years, there is no car hire company in the world who will "guarantee" a specific model. I find it hard to believe that some people (not the OPs) think that when you place a car hire booking, a specific car is allocated to your booking. :suicide:

I thought that some companies who offer certain specialised categories do guarantee it. I hired an Audi A3 in Australia a while back and Easy Rentacar always only had one model at any branch. Hire a car form the Stockport branch and it was any car you like as loing as its a Corsa.
 

carling

Active Member
Not sure if it applies to South Africa but in the US there is a big difference in price between booking a car with the Airport branch and a branch in the city centre. Airport branches are always more. (but sometimes have better insurance included for tourists so check the details) Get the bus to your hotel and a taxi to the hire branch you booked with.

A good trick if you want a nice car is to book a cheap one and then haggle when they offer you an upgrade when you get there. They will be willing to negotiate to get you to upgrade and in many cases can offer you a far better price. (Make sure you check the official price before you arrive so you know if they're giving you a good deal)
 
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drac

Guest
That's really interesting and I hadn't thought of that - I'll give it a try, cheers :thumbsup:

I'm certainly going to look at the upgrade on arrival angle too - think I can get somewhere with that.....
 

gadget boy

Active Member
Drac,

One thing to watch out for. If you do book in advance make sure the named driver uses his or her card to pay for the booking.

We recently went to Florida and booked fly / drive on my credit card. Mrs Gadget does the majority of driving in the US as she has been there so many times. However when we got to the desk (Hertz - never again!) they would only accept me as the 1st driver as it was booked in my name and charged us an extra $20 per day for a 2nd driver to be put on :eek:

GB
 
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drac

Guest
Ok, cheers Gadget Boy, I'll bear that in mind - it's no wonder you spend so long at the airport picking up a hire car when they mess people around like that! :mad:
 

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