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Andrew Daniel

Andrew leads our Operational Team and is our expert when it comes to all the ins and outs of car hire excess insurance.

CarTrawler buy Car Fire Broker Holiday Autos

Holiday Autos have parted company with the rest of the lastminute.com group having been sold to Irish car broking software company CarTrawler

Travelocity, owner of the Holiday Autos and lastminute.com brands has sold Holiday Autos retail side to CarTrawler saying it feels as though it has gone as far as it can in developing the brand.

Holiday Autos was launched in 1987 introducing the first pre-paid fully inclusive car hire packages. They spent the next decade or so growing the business, adding regional headquarters throughout Europe, Scandanavia then Australasia and the Middle East. 1999 saw the launch of their website and in 2003 they were bought by lastminute.com for £43m. Two years later, lastminute.com was bought by Travelocity owners Sabre Holdings and became part of the Travelocity Global group.

CarTrawler are known within the car hire industry for providing car hire booking engine that forms the backbone of many car hire websites. The purchase of Holiday Autos gives them a retail brand. CarTrawler are based in Ireland and have said that a small number of staff will transfer directly into their company but that leaves many Holiday Autos' staff with an uncertain future.

Job security worries probably won't help Holiday Autos improve its handling of customer complaints. A recent survey by Which? revealed that the company had twice as many negative (52%) than positive (26%) reviews of its handling of complaints by customers.

Of the major companies, Hertz had the best complaints record but even they failed to satisfy more than half of their complainants.

Overall six out of ten people who complained rated their hire company's response as poor or very poor.

According to the Which? survey, over half of all complaints made to car hire companies related to additional charges. The biggest single cause (27% of complaints) was extra charges made when the car was returned. Most of these complaints related to apparent damage to the car.

Next on the list at 17% were additional charges made when picking up the car and 10% were for fuel charges.

Which?'s executive director, Richard Lloyd said: "It's no surprise that consumers are completely fed up with hidden and sneaky car hire charges, and to add insult to injury they are getting a poor response when they complain about it.

"Car hire websites must be clearer about charges to allow consumers to shop around for the best deal. We are pleased to see, following our last investigation, that some companies are making charges more transparent, but we need to see all companies making improvements.”

The easiest additional charge to avoid is car hire excess insurance where you can save up to 90% on the rates charged at the desk using the UK's only car hire excess comparison service.

We frequently get asked about the local pitfalls when renting cars, so look out for this logo: MoneyMaxim Guide to Hidden Charges when running a quote on the MoneyMaxim car hire service.

When you see this logo, click on it and we'll provide you with information about local car hire conditions and what to look out for. For instance, the same brand of car hire may offer a Full to Full fuel policy in one region where you just pay for the fuel you use, but in another, they may sell you a Full tank to be returned Empty.

Another new charge being reported for the first time this year is a mandatory cleaning charge. Hertz Firefly now charge a fee of €15 to clean the car on its return. They say the fee is waived if the car is returned clean but we've received reports to the contrary making it worth budgeting for the additional fee if you use that company.

For all your car hire needs this summer, visit www.moneymaxim.co.uk/car-hire/.