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If I Owned an Irish Car Rental Company…

August 12, 2009

Rental Cars, originally uploaded by Curtis Gregory Perry.

When it rains it pours. In the last two weeks, three Irish car rental agencies have contacted us out of the blue.

I suspect the drop in tourism and travel is forcing them to rethink the way they do business… and the trends are pointing to online/social media. Thus, they’re contacting us.

To me, that sounds like an opportunity for customers like you and me to share our ideas and influence the direction of the car hire industry in Ireland. Don’t you think the companies who listen to us and become more customer-focused, just might be the ones who gain the advantage and save their butts during this economic downturn?

Here’s what I’d like you to do. Post your questions, concerns and suggestions below. As I talk with the car rental folks, I’ll make sure and pass along the messages and update you on their reactions.

Feel free to post specific situations or criticisms, but also don’t shy away from completing this sentence “If I owned an Irish car hire company…

23 Comments leave one →
  1. August 12, 2009 10:36 AM

    As far as we know, there is not an upper age limit on renting automobiles in the United States. Why the limits in Ireland? Is it an insurance/liability thing?

    It’s something we’ve always wondered but never asked…


  2. Maryellen permalink
    August 12, 2009 12:02 PM

    I thought I did everything right by booking my car with insurance, but when I got to the desk, they started telling me that I needed more insurance. I told them I booked the insurance, but they told me there was more… and it was really expensive. I was tired and confused and mad they didn’t tell me this before.

    • jim sanford permalink
      August 16, 2009 12:06 PM

      That is a common experience I think we’ve all had. Most of the rental companies are not inclined to help you get the best deal or to give you all the costs up front. See my blog at the end (Aug 16th) hope that helps.

  3. Dave permalink
    August 12, 2009 1:25 PM

    I’d make it so the price on the website is the price you pay. My $345 quote turned out to cost $520 after all the fees.

    • jim sanford permalink
      August 16, 2009 12:20 PM

      You are exactly right. I believe an entrepreneur calling his Irish car rental company something like “The Isle of St. Patrick – Christian Rental Cars” could capture the market in short time by giving people the best deal that is also the most up-front. You could also throw in a free St. Christopher medal for those who would appreciate a little extra protection for free.

  4. Carrie permalink
    August 12, 2009 1:55 PM

    Get rid of the super CDW. Have ONE insurance that covers everything, tires, glass, etc. with no deductible. And please bring down the cost of automatic transmission cars.

  5. Sarah permalink
    August 12, 2009 6:00 PM

    I am in the process of planning a trip for 10 days in Ireland. Of all the things that confuse me at this point in the process, it’s the car rental. Why does it have to be so darned expensive and complicated. We rent cars in the US all the time for trips or business and never this much trouble. It would be great if the process was a lot more user and economically friendly! Help. I still don’t know what I’m going to do.

  6. Clodagh S via Facebook permalink
    August 12, 2009 8:23 PM

    Our Hertz Irish car hire was great..they upgraded us to a diesel Jaguar…boy did we swan around in it too!

  7. Sarah G via Facebook permalink
    August 12, 2009 8:23 PM

    Never had any problem with Sixt in shannon, always generous, nice and got a little bigger car too one year. was fun!

  8. Carla M via Facebook permalink
    August 12, 2009 8:24 PM

    Tourism levels have fallen, so why have car hire prices not fallen?

  9. Robert S via Facebook permalink
    August 12, 2009 8:24 PM

    Is there any place to “learn” how to drive on the “right” side of the road in Ireland? I’m afraid to do my own driving but I know that’s the best way to see the country.

    • jim sanford permalink
      August 16, 2009 11:58 AM

      It’s far easier to come out of Shannon airport than Dublin. Take your time and find an empty parking lot or quiet neighborhood to spend a few minutes getting comfortable with sitting in the right (driver’s) seat and driving on the left. Sketch a few scenarios at home and rehearse what you’ll do at: an intersection, a roundabout, stopping, looking, and turning, on ramps, off ramps, etc. Have a real good navigator in the front passenger seat to remind you to stay on the left, and to read maps and the road signs(very important and helpful).

  10. Christy N via Facebook permalink
    August 12, 2009 8:24 PM

    Since US credit card insurances have mostly denied any coverage in Ireland, how about making CDW coverage reasonable and easy to understand?

  11. Susan M via Facebook permalink
    August 12, 2009 8:25 PM

    Since most of us are still dealing with that other side of the road business, can they make the automatic models more affordable so we have one less thing to learn? (Some of us.. that

  12. August 12, 2009 9:51 PM

    The high deductibles they were charging last time we went to Ireland, especially on theft. As credit card companies won’t cover rentals in Ireland, insurance is a BIG issue. We almost went to Italy instead of Ireland because of the insurance and then we got a great Hertz deal through Aer Lingus. It is pretty bad when the deductibles on rental car insurance can cause you to drastically change plans.
    Thanks for asking!

  13. Kevin permalink
    August 13, 2009 4:18 AM

    A BIG +1 on all-inclusive insurance pricing – none of this 15 €/day here and 15 €/day there business. One price – no excess, tires and windscreen included. AND make it all available on the website when the car is booked!

    After that is done, we can talk about airport collection fees, additional driver fees, and the “prepay for petrol” racket!

  14. Jeff Coyle permalink
    August 13, 2009 10:57 AM

    I rented with an American company, Hertz.
    I had zero issues.. flawless even..
    So my advice to the car hire companies,, look at how
    Hertz at Shannon is operating and treating their customers..

  15. August 13, 2009 2:13 PM

    Thanks to everyone for sharing. I think we’re going to end up with a clear idea of how the system is set up and hopefully, send a message about how it could be improved.

    I appreciate that people sharing their good and their bad experiences.

    Jeff – Hertz’s website is among the clearest when it comes to pricing… you just need to click the “View Optional Items” optional items in the quote and it’s all there. Dooley and also lay it out pretty well. Argus does too (but their “fine print” shows fees in pounds rather than the currency the customer selects).

  16. August 13, 2009 3:31 PM

    Having recently dealt with the car rental issue in Ireland, I would have to say that If I owned an Irish car rental company, I would make everything clear cut & concise as far as pricing.

    So far, I have been battling with Kemwel and SixT for two months to try to resolve my problem. Being charged the same amount in taxes and fees as I paid for the actual rental is bordering on criminal.

    I agree that the prices need to come down to reflect the current prices throughout the tourism industry. I am also all for lowering the cost on the automatics, as well.

  17. Terry Griffin permalink
    August 13, 2009 7:32 PM

    While I’m very excited about an upcoming trip to Ireland, car rental has been the biggest headache and something that would make me think twice about returning to Ireland. The insurance complexities make folks anxious and I feel like the system is set to rip me off. The prices are very high…

  18. Phoebe permalink
    August 14, 2009 3:19 PM

    I was hoping to plan a trip to Ireland for Christmas – but between the high car rental prices and byzantine insurance, we’re re-thinking our plans. Either we’ll do train trips back and forth – or we won’t go. San Diego is nice.

  19. August 15, 2009 7:38 AM

    Phoebe – Winter is normally a cheaper time to rent a car. However, right around Christmas the prices shoot up. Same is often true around Saint Patrick’s Day and the months of July and August. It’s good old supply and demand at work.

  20. jim sanford permalink
    August 16, 2009 11:42 AM

    My wife and I have been to Ireland 8 times, and have traversed most of the countryside (approx. 10,000 miles) on just about every size road imaginable from the Dual Carriageways to the tiny rural lanes barely wide enough for one small car. First, charge your rental car on a “World” Master Card. That is the only card I’m aware of (thank’s to Liam’s advice) that will cover the CDW and that alone will cut your cost in half if you aren’t pressured/scared into purchasing all the other options (windscreen, etc.) I begin inquiring 4-6 months in advance and contact as many companies as I can (8-10) until I get the best deal and make sure it’s all-inclusive confirmed by e-mail voucher. We have paid as little as $14.00 to $22.00 per day ($18.00 this past June for a Ford Focus-nice compact 4-door). Small is best so pack wisely. We can stay for three to four weeks taking just carry-on luggage (small suitcase and another hand bag in overhead). We NEVER check and therefore always have our luggage close. Consider manual vs automatic – less expensive and much more fun to drive. Looking for more room – we took our children and grandchildren to Ireland in June and rented a nine-passenger Volkswagon Deisel (Deisel fuel costs less, and gives you better mileage) Plenty of seating room and a huge luggage area in back. I really enjoy driving in Ireland.

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