Ludicrous hire car payments

Dear Editor,

Recently we had visitors from the UK who had arranged car hire via the internet before their departure. Once the transaction was completed they printed out a contract which confirmed that they were insured and had no balance to pay upon arrival in Faro.

On the contrary, after queuing for a considerable time they were presented with two options-either leave a credit card deposit of €1,200 or pay a non refundable €100 which would upgrade their insurance. None of this was in the contract that they had printed out, but apparently according to the staff would have been in a “pop up box” when they were making their booking. They saw no sign of this, they assured them.

After considerable arguing and wanting just to get away from there, they decided to pay the €100 – mainly due to them not wanting to tie up the credit card for the whole of their holiday.

And then came the next hurdle – fuel. They were told that the full tank of fuel was €90, which they had to pay and no refund would be given even if they returned the car with any fuel remaining. They were advised the best option was to try and use the full tank.

Although they were not planning of doing much driving I can assure you that that tank was empty when they returned it! What about the visitors who come simply planning on getting to their accommodation and not using the car much after that? The car hire company wins again, clearly.

The final issue was that they had not even been informed about any toll system, that it was even in operation and how to pay for their trip on the motorway, assume that they will cross that bridge when returning the car.

Do these companies not realise that tourists are one of the main income earners in the Algarve? This sort of experience on first arriving at the airport will most likely leave a sour taste in their mouths, and some may not make a return visit.

Maria Jahn