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Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

Old May 22nd 2011, 11:50 pm
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Default Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

I'm planning a trip back in July with the kids and need to book a rental car while there. The best priced companies seem to be Green Motion and Thrifty however I've looked at reviews for both and both have had several very unpleasant reviews with the worst accusations being that they hit their customers with fraudulent charges for damages after returns.

Has anyone had any experience of these companies particulary picking up from Heathrow and can anyone make any recommendations?
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Old May 23rd 2011, 12:16 am
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Default Re: Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

Originally Posted by bromleygirl View Post
I'm planning a trip back in July with the kids and need to book a rental car while there. The best priced companies seem to be Green Motion and Thrifty however I've looked at reviews for both and both have had several very unpleasant reviews with the worst accusations being that they hit their customers with fraudulent charges for damages after returns.

Has anyone had any experience of these companies particulary picking up from Heathrow and can anyone make any recommendations?
In my experience it is best to rent the car from the US -- see www.kemwel.com or www.autoeurope.com.

They appear to use the same software so the site work alike. But they are different companies. You have to pay in advance in dollars and then you get a "voucher" to pick up the car. I have used them from Heathrow several times and once from the Berlin Hauptbanhof. Although you will not know what rental company you are with before you get the voucher, they contract with the major companies -- our cars have been from Alamo/National and Avis. The Alamo/National office in Berlin upgraded us to a Diesel without extra charge. [We were going into the Czech Republic so we were given a Skoda Octavia Estate TDI. The rental companies will not rent VW, BMW or Mercedes to go into former Eastern Europe. Last time in Heathrow, we had a Renault Laguna.]

For the UK you will probably get a better price than I would since I will not rent a manual transmission in the UK [I learned to drive LHD].
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Old May 23rd 2011, 12:25 am
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Default Re: Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

Best bet is a rental that is not a airport pickup/drop off...always a shit rate, plus you get hit for higher petrol costs on return.
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Old May 23rd 2011, 12:53 am
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Default Re: Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

Thanks for the replies so far. It's our first trip back and my relatives are unable to do the airport run hence needing to have the car from the airport and back. For the 13 days there I've actually been quoted just over 200GBP which I didn't think bad. I'm planning to use my UK credit card to book.
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Old May 23rd 2011, 12:59 am
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Default Re: Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

I have always had good service and reasonable prices with Alamo; but Manchester not Heathrow.

Maybe not the cheapest but usually cheaper than Hertz and Avis etc.
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Old May 23rd 2011, 1:11 am
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Default Re: Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

Always used to go the cheapest but I regularly rent Enterprise now both here and abroad. Always get a decent free upgrade (especially at Heathrow) and the pick you up service is great.
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Old May 23rd 2011, 3:49 am
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Default Re: Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

Originally Posted by bromleygirl View Post
Thanks for the replies so far. It's our first trip back and my relatives are unable to do the airport run hence needing to have the car from the airport and back. For the 13 days there I've actually been quoted just over 200GBP which I didn't think bad. I'm planning to use my UK credit card to book.
Not considered getting the taxi to the car hire place? Still worth the savings...
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Old May 23rd 2011, 4:35 am
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Default Re: Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

Both Green Motion and Thrifty are outside of the airport at Heathrow so we need to either get the hoppa bus or the courtsey shuttle depending on which one.
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Old May 23rd 2011, 6:02 pm
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Default Re: Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

Last time I was there (Heathrow Airport) in March I used a company called SIXT .... I was treated very well by them and was given a great upgrade at no extra cost without asking for it. Staff were very polite and helpful. The only thing that confused them is that I always buy the petrol (as I know i'll use it) then its just a dump and run on return. Avoid europcar. Last year they tried to get me for damage caused by previous renter..(and yes I did do a basic inspection on renting) set a polish return agent on me who could barely speak english and then could not find a supervisor (as they were all hiding in the back room trying to run the clock as they know you have a plane to catch).
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Old May 23rd 2011, 6:15 pm
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Default Re: Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

I've been stuck at the rental counter Heathrow because they wanted a £500 deposit for insurance. Argue argue argue. It was booked through Autoeurope out of NY and prepaid. They said I should have contacted them to have it sorted. I think it was Alamo rent a car that we got the car from?

Be careful who you rent from. I don't like Thrifty in the US but they were excellent at Heathrow on one trip and gave us a nice new car.

Last edited by cheers; May 23rd 2011 at 6:19 pm.
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Old May 23rd 2011, 7:08 pm
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Default Re: Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

Originally Posted by S Folinsky View Post
In my experience it is best to rent the car from the US -- see www.kemwel.com or www.autoeurope.com.

They appear to use the same software so the site work alike. But they are different companies. You have to pay in advance in dollars and then you get a "voucher" to pick up the car. I have used them from Heathrow several times and once from the Berlin Hauptbanhof. Although you will not know what rental company you are with before you get the voucher, they contract with the major companies -- our cars have been from Alamo/National and Avis. The Alamo/National office in Berlin upgraded us to a Diesel without extra charge. [We were going into the Czech Republic so we were given a Skoda Octavia Estate TDI. The rental companies will not rent VW, BMW or Mercedes to go into former Eastern Europe. Last time in Heathrow, we had a Renault Laguna.]

For the UK you will probably get a better price than I would since I will not rent a manual transmission in the UK [I learned to drive LHD].
This man speaks the truth. Just got back from UK last week. I used an AutoEurope voucher and got an Avis car (which I picked up in west London, avoiding the airport surcharge) and returned to LHR - which came out cheapest - and they gave me a free upgrade from a crap Renault, to a slightly less crap BMW.
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Old May 23rd 2011, 8:20 pm
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Default Re: Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

Originally Posted by mwdake View Post
I have always had good service and reasonable prices with Alamo; but Manchester not Heathrow.

Maybe not the cheapest but usually cheaper than Hertz and Avis etc.
I rented off Hertz at Manchester about two months ago. They gave me the cheapest on-line quote, by about a tenner. Total cost for a week for a small car was £107.

I was a bit disturbed that the excess was £500 if I were to have a bump. £13 a day extra insurance cover would have removed that, but that would then double the cost of car hire. Needless to say, I was very careful with that car.....
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Old May 23rd 2011, 9:54 pm
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Default Re: Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

Originally Posted by Paul B View Post
I rented off Hertz at Manchester about two months ago. They gave me the cheapest on-line quote, by about a tenner. Total cost for a week for a small car was £107.

I was a bit disturbed that the excess was £500 if I were to have a bump. £13 a day extra insurance cover would have removed that, but that would then double the cost of car hire. Needless to say, I was very careful with that car.....
Ya, but then there is the other chap.
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Old May 23rd 2011, 11:25 pm
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Default Re: Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

Had no issues with Alamo / National in '08 at Manchester, the vehicle that we were given had a few scratches on the rear bumper when we picked it up, I went back to the office, they wrote it down, and told us to mention it to the person that we handed the car back to. Didn't hear anything since.

I used my US license to rent the vehicle, had no issues there either.
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Old May 24th 2011, 4:49 am
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Default Re: Choosing a UK car rental company - which one?

Thanks for all the replies. Does anyone else have anything good/bad to say about any rental car places at Heathrow? I just don't want to be done over paying for damage that I've not caused but it seems as though it's common practice...

I've heard that Thrifty require 2 forms of ID with your address - utility bill etc in order to rent.

I'm using my UK license and UK credit card so I should be ok right?
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