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Car Hire Damage Deposit


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Wonder if anyone can help. I hired a car through a major national firm. When I took the car from one office it looks like the clerk forgot to charge me for dropping off the car at a second location.

I arrived at the second location and dropped the car. Had it checked and the clerk there rang the original office to advise it had arrived. I then left.

On checking my credit card I see they have returned only 200 GBP of the damage deposit of 250 GBP.

Are they allowed to dip into the damage deposit to take charges they forgot to apply ?

Any advice gratefully received.


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Actually - yes. They can.


Car Hire is one of the exceptions in that by giving a card you are specifically authorising them to make subsequent debits in the case of extras or damage. You'll find that they did not 'take' a security deposit, but made a shadow charge (effectively ring fencing) an agreed amount of money. They would then bill for any shortfall.


This ensures if there is to be a subsequent debit, there are funds available to them. You will see from your rental contract you also were n notified of this situation.


Now, they are only taking what they were specifically entitled to do - you knew there was a drop-off charge if you didn't use the same depot. This cannot be calculated in advance (what would you rather have done, be charged it, then you actually return it to the original depot, then chase them for a refund?)


Effectively, you are trying to argue that (a) they are not entitled to the money, when you know they are, and (b) they should not have taken the money from your CC, when they had every right to. If your bank does the mistake of refunding you, be prepared for debt collectors to be involved.

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Thanks for your reply. I was more querying whether the T&Cs allowed them to retrospectively to charge me. I signed up to an amount to hire a car. The amount plus 250 GBP was debited from my Visa card. It was not a shadow charge. The 250 was to be debited if there was damage to the car. Only 200 was refunded.


I was aware they may make a charge for a one way but I'd expect them to do that up front and not retrospectively. For all I know it may have been beneficial for the hire company to have the car in the other location and they waive the fee as good 'Customer Relations' as otherwise they may need to move cars round using transporters.


Thansk for your response.

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