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Beware unbeatable car hire offers

9th January 2011 Print

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), the trade body for the UK car rental industry, is advising customers to take extra care when confronted with cheap deals on the Internet or in the press.

Police and Trading Standards officials are currently investigating a number of companies who have lured consumers with low prices and offers to deliver vehicles to their door. In many cases, customers have handed over hundreds of pounds in advance only to find that their car never arrives and the company does not really exist.

“If a deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is,” says BVRLA chief executive, John Lewis.

“Unfortunately, it is all too easy for fraudsters to pass themselves off as legitimate businesses over the Internet.

These sham operators are damaging the reputation of car rental and many other industries. We are working with the authorities to help stamp them out.”

In the meantime, the BVRLA is offering five simple tips for customers looking for safe and hassle-free car or van rental.

1. Only use a BVRLA member. Seeing our logo on the front desk or website is a sign that you are dealing with a reputable company that has been vetted and operates to a professional code of conduct. You will also be able to use our conciliation service in the event of any dispute

2. Never hand over cash. Most rental companies will only want to accept credit/debit card payment

3. Make sure the company is operating from a bona fide commercial premises, not a PO Box or virtual office, no matter how prestigious the location sounds

4. Make sure the company actually has the cars it is offering - all BVRLA members operate their own rental fleet

5. Remember, if the price or service being offered seems too good to be true, it probably is!