Tue 14th May 2013
A common marketing con with online car rental comparison sites is that they state the car hire includes for example third party cover, collision damage waiver and theft cover, whereupon the hirer assumes this package is the equivalent to fully comprehensive insurance cover, when it doesn't whatsoever.
As such, if the insurance only includes the above cover then the hirer will be asked by the clerk at the destination airport car rental desk for a large deposit of up to 1,000 Euros or more to cover possible damage to the car, should the hirer refuse to allow them to clear this on their credit card then the hirer will be forced to take out additional insurance cover. The extra cost is between 7-10 Euros per day excluding VAT, resulting in an extra 60-85 Euros per week for the cost of the hired car. This additional insurance cover may well include a high excess liability in each of the categories of insurance cover that is taken, so it's vital to check the excess liability before booking.
Other insurance cover may well then be offered at the destination airport to include protection to reduce ones excess liability and personal accident insurance, along with breakdown cover protection too.
Quotes given online do not always reveal what they exclude. For example if the quote does not state that it includes breakdown cover then the hirer should assume it does not, which can then result in the hirer being asked to pay an extra charge at the destination airport of around 35 Euros per week, unless the hirer is willing to accept the risk of being responsible for the cost of the vehicle's recovery. Interestingly, personal accident insurance automatically forms part of the protection cover a hirer would normally get when fully comprehensive insurance is purchased, but this is regrettably not the case when the insurance is packaged separately and fully comprehensive cover is not included.
What has happened in the car rental industry is that most car rental firms have replaced or repackaged fully comprehensive insurance with principally third party then added on collision damage waiver and theft cover, in order to ensure that their online quote is kept very low and appealing, thus enabling the rental firm to make up their profit by selling the extra insurance at the destination airport.
By segmenting the insurance cover in this way means that many car rental firms can apply their own extra charges for each type of cover, thus effectively doubling or tripling the cost of the original car hire quote on insurance alone. Moreover, that this key information is only brought to the hirers attention at the destination airport and not at the time of booking.
Posted by Bruce Gibson
Wed 08th May 2013
Recent media coverage by the Guardian Newspaper at http://bit.ly/159diiY about HomeAway, the US major accommodation listing company, reports on holidaymakers losing thousands of pounds because of fictitious listings, with no support or compensation.
Such unfortunate stories have been reported time and again by the media over the years, which serve to demonstrate that nothing can be done to stop this malicious practice. So how can you protect yourself?
It may be a bore for those that have read our financial security page about protecting yourself on page http://bit.ly/ZVDdWy , but to repeat the mantra: Paying by credit card is the only safeguard against any type of fraud. By paying a minimum of £100 gives you full protection under section 75 of the 1974 credit card act, for which you then get an immediate refund. Paying by cheque or making a bank transfer to any party offers no protection whatsoever should the advertiser disappear or the advert was found to be fraudulent.
Posted by Bruce Gibson
Wed 01st May 2013
The front page Guardian article 27-4-13 in the Money section at http://bit.ly/159diiY gives examples of consumers losing money when paying for accommodation on holiday website portals such as HomeAway.
To protect yourself only use a credit card. Further information and advice can be found on page http://bit.ly/ZVDdWy
Posted by Bruce Gibson
Thu 28th February 2013
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently ordered Ryanair to compensate passenger Denise McDonagh, who was forced to wait seven days for a flight from Faro to Dublin,a delay during which she spent nearly £1000 on accommodation, food and transport - details .
Having personally got caught up in the same Ryanair delay was compensated with £700 from them.Good to know that compensation, brought about by such flight delays, has been clarified.
Posted by Bruce Gibson
Tue 15th January 2013
We are delighted to say that VillaSpain accommodation raised £400 at an auction for the Martlets Hospice in December, which was part of the fundraising for the Brighton Mayor’s charities
Mon 31st December 2012
A late Sunday departure from Newhaven meant arrival in Dieppe at 3.30pm French time, followed by fuelling up at the Carrefour Hypermarket's unmanned fuelling station going around Dieppe. Having previously experienced a 24hr fuel station in Drew not accepting any of my credit cards, which was on one desperate Sunday morning a few years ago when I had not bothered to fill up the night before, had forced me to ask a kindly local if I could give them cash in exchange for use of their card, it was a surprise to find that the Carrefour 24 hr pump now accept them up to the value of 140€. At 1.35€ a litre diesel (£1.10 per ltr) it's worth waiting to fill up in France, particularly more so at supermarket stations when you should get about a 15% saving. Ordinarily we would head down and stay on the outskirts of Chateurault, in an Etap (budget hotel) or such like then go for a meal nearby. But this time we went a bit further to Limoges arriving at 9pm (5 hr easy drive) and stayed in the centre at an Etap hotel, though this was a mistake, being a very old pre Ibis hotel with a tired bathroom and non-functioning TV, but then one was too tired to comment and the stay too short for one night to be concerned. Pity there's no explanation as to the hotel chains more modern hotels verses old tired ones. Cost for 2 including breakfast, secure car parking and 5€ for the dog was 65€, so cheap.
Arriving to France on a Sunday is not ideal for finding a good restaurant open either, even if you only seek something simple. I always I try to avoid the Buffalo Grill you find at every roundabout and all those brightly lit ones you find on industrial complexes that serve the travellers staying at B&B hotels around, but Sunday meant they had a calling, though we needed to be more desperate for a bite. An empty hotel brassiere around the corner from the Etap was not so inviting and to start travelling around town at 9pm was a no no, but within 30 mts a Turkish kebab cafe offered a cheap alternative choice meal. Eating foreign food in any country is another no no too usually for us, except for the big cities. The lamb kebab was fine and just hit the mark at 9.30pm. One course for 2 including Turkish Kakut wine cost just 25€, so made a promise that the next meal out would be more of an indulgence. One advantage of travelling through France on a Sunday is that you never see a 12 metre truck on the move, as they are not allowed to travel.
A good continental self-serve breakfast and on the road at 8am meant arriving to the destination of Andorra La Vella (city centre) at 1.30pm, just in time to have lunch and collect some essential shopping at the Pyrenees department store in the centre, which is a bit like the food store of London's Selfridges and the department store of John Lewis in one.
The route taken on the motorway passes by Toulouse and Cahors, following the sign for Montpellier and then turning right for Foix and following through to Andorra. Diesel is only 1.17 per lt in Andorra, so best not to overfill in France. Tolls through France amounting to a total of 33.80€.
Going up the picturesque Pyrenees and within a few km before Place de la Casa you can choose between taking the faster route through the tunnel (6€ toll), just passed Customs , or going around the mountain. I prefer to take the slightly longer route and get the stunning views from the top, dropping on then through Caldea and Encamp. If travelling in winter and the snow is on the road then it's more advisable to take the tunnel.
If going direct to Arinsal in Andorra there's a new 2km tunnel that has just opened (2012) connecting Encamp to La Masana, which saves going into the city centre of Andorra la Vella and back out. Just passed Encamp keep to the left hand lane and take the tunnel sign that says Ordino and La Masana (new tunnel and not much signage, so go slow or you'll miss it). Turn right at the end of the tunnel and go on passed La Masana and then on through to Arinsal.
The Arinsal apartment is at the very end of the Arinsal road after you pass through 2 short tunnels. A heavy dousing of snow on the 27th November was just the right welcoming sight to behold through the windows of the balcony.
Time to enjoy some excellent meats cooked over wood burning stoves in the local restaurants' and fun in the snow with the dog.
Just the facts:
Newhaven to Dieppe (4hrs on-board) 3.30pm arrival French time Cost return .
Fuelling up at Carrefour located on the periferique of Dieppe with diesel fuel at 1.35€ per lt.
Onto Rouen (Paris route) then towards Drew, Chartres, Chateurault then arriving at Limoges at 9pm.
Etap city centre hotel (not recommended) near to station, with satnav it's easy to go in and out of the city.
8am start travelling on the motorway passing Cahors, Toulouse and Foix. Buy a little fuel to keep you going, and save full refuelling until Andorra where the cost for diesel is 1.17 per lt.
Stayed at Andorra apartment