A few years ago you could hire a standard 5 door hatchback from one of the car hire suppliers at Malaga airport from between 10 to 30 euro per day (depending on the season). In recent years, this has all changed. Now you might get a quote for the ridiculous price of 0.30cents per day (a comical 2.10euro per week). How can the car hire Companies sell rentals so cheap and still make money? The answer, of course, is they can’t.
2.10euro per week won’t even scratch the surface of the weekly depreciation the vehicle suffers. Then you have to take into account, finance payments, maintenance, insurance, staffing, premises, and the beloved taxes.
So, how do they make money? Well the rental really is now just a token charge to entice Customers in. Once the Customer arrives at a hot, busy and stressed airport collection point they will be confronted with a seemingly endless list of often “compulsory” extras to pay. Extra insurance, charges for extra drivers, excess mileage charges, fees for leaving Spain (Gibraltar, Portugal), for fuel, for under age drivers. The Customer will then be asked to leave a credit card deposit to cover damages, not covered by the insurance (negligence, damage caused by theft, glass damages, wheel and tyre damage, loss of keys etc)
Sounds like a con doesn’t it? Many Customers think so but these ever decreasing car rental rates are driven (excuse the pun) by consumer demand. When looking to buy almost anything, most of us now go online for the best price. If one price is, say, 2 euro and another is 1 euro, most consumers choose the cheaper option. If the supplier offering the product or service for 2 euro doesn’t get the sale, they will have little alternative other than to reduce their prices to compete and so it goes on. When prices are driven so low as to be uneconomically viable, these Companies have to make profits elsewhere, hence all the “extras” in car rental.
So how do we avoid the nasty surprises when we collect our Rental cars? Spend some time looking around. When you have some quotes, look deeper and don’t always choose the cheapest. The Terms and Conditions will give some idea on which extras will be applied. If you are still in doubt, talk to the car rental company and ask what the full charge will be when you collect the car. If the vehicle supplier won’t tell you, perhaps choose another Company who will.
Remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch – or a free car hire.
CEO Arrow Cars SL