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Car Rental Tips

Sunday, May 28th, 2023
Car rentals lisbon airport

Car rentals lisbon airport

As summer is just around the corner, many people have already started planning their holidays. Most are heading to the beaches in their cars. Others prefer to rent a vehicle, especially on the islands, as on holiday what we want more than anything else is to not be inconvenienced.

In Portugal there are several car rental companies that offer a variety of choices in terms of models, vehicle category and of course price. However, everyone should be very careful when renting a car, as it is very possible to flirt with unimaginable inconvenience and financial burden that we never imagined.

To avoid the above, the European Consumer Centre Portugal offers a number of clarifications aimed at all of us who wish to rent a vehicle for our holidays, whether our destination is an island in Portugal or an EU country, including Norway and Iceland.

In particular, the E.K.K. makes the existing pitfalls known when booking and picking up the vehicle, and provides a range of advice during the rental and on return.

How to avoid the pitfalls when booking

It is advisable to book in advance so that we have studied the terms of the contract in good time, asking for clarification where necessary. Where the contract is concluded off-site or at a distance (mainly via the internet), the consumer’s right to withdraw without justification within 14 calendar days with a refund does not apply. The terms and conditions of withdrawal are defined by the contract, so beware of the specific provisions and the possible financial charges involved.

Please clarify the total amount due and the accepted means of payment (credit, debit, cash). It has happened that making a reservation with a debit card and through an intermediary may cause unpleasant surprises. When some consumers showed up in person at the Lisbon airport car rental company to pick up the vehicle, the company refused to accept a debit card for the deposit amount and requires a credit card or rejects the cards.

We clarify the amount of the deposit to be paid to collect the vehicle and what damage is covered and check the insurance cover to know what it includes (e.g. cover for personal injury, death, damage to the vehicle, third party damage) and whether there are any exclusions from it (e.g. due to driving in special weather conditions).

Be careful not to incur additional costs

Sometimes the prices offered by some companies are lower because they do not include all the charges corresponding to what the consumer has chosen. Therefore, be careful not to become a “victim” of misleading advertising.

Our “ally” is Directive 2005/29/EC on unfair commercial practices, Directive 2011/83/EU on consumer rights and Directive 93/13/EC on unfair terms in consumer contracts, as incorporated into (Law 2251/199. These require businesses to provide clear and understandable information on the main features and terms of the contract, the total charge and taxes.

Consider whether it is subject to prohibitions or restrictions: There are companies that for drivers under 25 years old either impose an additional charge or require cash payment.

Here, it is worth pointing out that, to rent a car in Portugal, you must be at least 21 years old and have had a driving licence for at least one year.

What we do before we pick up the car

Before signing the rental contract, we carefully contrast the terms of the reservation with those of the contract. If we do not understand the language, we ask for the contract in English. We “check” the special conditions, such as whether cross-border use is allowed or any mileage limits, and keep copies of the documents we signed.

We check in advance, the fuel gauge, inspect the vehicle for damage or wear and tear and make sure we take photos. We also check the availability of tire changing tools, spare tire and vehicle owner’s manual.

If for some reason the car we booked is not available, we are not obliged to pay extra for a better car. Conversely, if the company only has a smaller car available, the amount due will be reduced accordingly.

Tips when renting a car

If we are travelling in an EU country, we ask about any special road traffic regulations that apply and are particularly careful, because fines from infringements weigh heavily on the driver and are steep.

We read what is provided in the event of a mechanical breakdown and accident. In case of an unexpected incident, we inform the lisbon airport rental company in time. Especially in case of an accident, we keep the details of the persons involved and inform the police. In addition, we talk to a car repair shop so that we have a benchmark for the amount the company will ask for.

Tips when returning the vehicle

We adhere to the delivery schedule of the vehicle, otherwise additional penalties will be imposed and to be covered, we check the company’s opening hours.

On delivery, we ask a company representative to inspect the vehicle so that we receive written confirmation that we have delivered it in the condition we received it. We also confirm that the vehicle is supplied with the quantity of fuel specified in the contract.

Finally, we must be aware that it is abusive for the terms of the contracts to allow the company to keep the entire guarantee for very minor damage and, therefore, for trivial costs.