The New South Wales Department of Fair Trading has issued a warning to anyone considering the hire of a prestige vehicle.
The warning follows a long list of complaints received by Fair Trading from customers angered by the practices of prestige vehicle hire companies and the imposition of rental conditions that they feel they did not agree to.
As with most rental cars, a fee is payable in the event that the vehicle is damaged. Some companies will hold credit card details for later use, if required, while others will preauthorise the amount payable or simply charge it to the nominated card.
It’s the latter clause that has angered consumers and triggered the warning from the Department. Some consumers of these prestige hire services claim up to $20,000 has been charged to their credit cards as a security deposit.
While the amount is instantly added to a customer’s credit card bill, fine print in some rental agreements states that a refund - if eligible - may not occur until three months after the rental has been finalised.
NSW Fair Trading says some consumers have experienced genuine financial hardship while waiting for refunds on their credit cards, and Commissioner Rod Stowe said renters should be aware of what they are signing.
“Find out about any additional costs such as ‘security deposit bonds’ before you sign a rental agreement and before you provide credit card details,” Mr Stowe said.
The warning mainly concerns high-end rental companies lending performance vehicles for drive or track days, along with luxury cars renters providing cars for weddings.
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