I read your recent article in the Algarve Resident about rental cars being fitted with transponders and then charging the renter for the use of them plus toll fees. One question: what if you do not want to use the A22? Will we still have to pay for the use of the transponder?
We do not intend on our next trip in mid-Feb to use the A22. Only staying in Vilamoura and will not go near the tolls. I really fear as to what these tolls will do to tourism.
I feel very strongly about these tolls, not so much the cost but about the constant confusion as how to pay. There will be many people coming over in peak season who probably won’t even know about them, never mind how to pay them if the rental car does not have a transponder.
Ray Green, by email
Editor’s note: Dear Ray, when speaking to your hire car company, please inform them that you will not be using the A22. We are certain that you won’t be charged a fee for the transponder.
We have had a property in the Algarve for 10 years but have always used hire cars from Faro so we are very familiar with the process of leaving a credit card imprint on hiring.
However, once you return the car and it is checked by the hire company, they then return the imprint.
I don’t think they can ask customers to leave an open-ended credit card transaction pending their receiving the correct data to charge against that card especially given the errors which have already occurred in the charging system.
At peak times, the hire car companies will be turning around cars within a matter of hours from one customer to the next.
They will be required to keep very accurate records to enable them to accurately charge the correct amount to each customer especially given the 48 hour elapse time before they receive the data.
I believe this will be an impossible administrative task for them and lead to numerous errors. They will also need to support the billing they make to the credit card with an invoice sent to the customer.
Surely, this could all be avoided if the hire car companies were allowed to make a single payment covering six months or 12 months per car for unlimited motorway usage. This additional cost could then be added to their existing costs and be recovered in their car hire rates and be completely transparent to their customers. This would eliminate additional administrative costs for the hire car companies.
May I finally say that having worked for the largest IT company in the world for over 35 years if I would have delivered an incomplete solution like this electronic toll solution, I would have been fired!
I really appreciate the information provided electronically by the Algarve Resident when I am in the UK.
Chris Murphy, by email
Have any of your readers had the same issue as described below?
As a frequent visitor to the Algarve, we picked up our rental car on February 20 and used the motorway to drive from the airport to Lagoa.
When we went to pay the toll in Ferragudo Post Office, the charge was twice as much as we expected. The man in the Post Office suggested that as the car was on hire, it was very likely that the people who rented the car before us had not paid the toll when they used the motorway to return to the airport on the same day as we picked up the car.
He explained that he did not have the ability to differentiate between our trip and theirs. This seems to be a very big problem as most visitors have no way of paying the toll when they return to the airport having used the motorway because of the two day delay mechanism.
Could somebody explain what the hire companies or the organisation who run the toll system are doing about this as we could be faced with a very large bill if the previous user of the hire car has used the motorway system many times and then returned the car to the airport and flown out of the country without paying.
I e-mailed the consul last week in Portimão seeking their advice but as yet have had no response.
Look forward to hearing if any of your readers have had a similar experience.
Gerry Cowan, by email
Editor’s note: Dear Gerry, we have received many emails and letters from readers complaining about the same. The toll payment system for rental cars has not been thought out properly which regrettably is creating much confusion, particularly for visitors to the Algarve. In the February 3 edition, the Algarve Resident published a news story on this matter which you can find under the following link on our website: http://www.algarveresident.com/44307-0/algarve/new-rental-car-system-for-tolls-due-this-month
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