Important facts described briefly below:
If you receive your rental car and find dirty seats, scratched mirrors, or even a smelly vehicle, please document these defects carefully. Immediately contact an employee of the rental company and ask for a replacement vehicle. The supplier is obliged to remove the defects as soon as possible or hand over a replacement vehicle if they affect the roadworthiness of the car. In various cases, you are entitled to a price reduction.
Are you looking forward to your trip and suddenly discover defects in your rental car? Does the car rental company want to give you a smaller car than you have booked? The interior is dirty, or the paint is scratched? Below, we will explain when you need to demand the immediate repair of the car rental defects, and when you are entitled to a price reduction.
Rental car defects: What should I consider when collecting the rental car?
When you pick up your rental car, you should document its condition. Check it for defects and pay close attention to the following points:
- Is there a warning light on in the car?
- Do the turn signals work properly?
- Are the lights functioning?
- Has the car been thoroughly cleaned?
- Are the seat belts present and intact?
- Does the car have scratches or other damage on the outside?
- Are the tires in perfect condition?
- Does the engine make unusual noises?
- Are the brakes sticking?
- Is there a cover in the trunk?
- Is there a spare wheel?
- Is there a safety vest?
- Is there a complete first aid kit?
If you discover car rental defects, you should inform the car rental company immediately. They must take action.
What if the defects in the rental car cannot be repaired?
If the car rental company is unable to remedy the defect within a reasonable time period, they usually have to offer you another vehicle. The replacement car should be free of the corresponding defects.
What should I do if no replacement car is available?
Sometimes the car rental company can’t provide you with a replacement car. If the originally booked rental car is roadworthy despite the defects, you can accept it. In this case, however, you should have all defects confirmed in writing by the car rental company. Please note as exactly as possible what kind of defect is present.
When you have returned the rental car, you can file a complaint. To do this, you will need, among other things, the rental agreement and the written confirmation from the rental company about the car defects.
What should I do if the rental car is dirty?
You can ask the car rental company to clean or change the vehicle. If this is not possible, ask the rental company to confirm that you can have the car cleaned yourself. For the cleaning, make sure you get an invoice so that you can ask for a refund of the cleaning costs after returning the car. It is helpful if you take pictures of the dirty car.
Important: You can only reduce the rental price if the car is very dirty. It is not considered a rental car defect if there is dust or crumbs inside. However, if the car smells strongly of smoke, dog excrement, or vomit, there is a good chance that the rental price will be reduced. This is, however, at the discretion of the supplier.
What should I do if the rental car is defective?
If the rental car is defective, the car rental company must provide a remedy. If this is not possible, you should prepare a car rental defect report and include photos. The company must at least remedy the defects so that the vehicle is functional and roadworthy. Otherwise, you should request a replacement car.
The defect is important for determining the reduction of the rental price. If the glove compartment cannot be opened, it is usually not enough for a discount. A non-functioning air conditioning system, however, usually is.
What should I do if I receive a different rental car class than I requested?
If the agreed-upon class is not available, you can ask the car rental company for a higher classed vehicle. You should receive a free upgrade. If a higher classed rental car is not available, you can take a smaller rental car and receive a discount for the price difference. This will normally be refunded after the return of the rental car. Please ask the rental company to confirm that the booked vehicle class is not available.
Do I have to observe a deadline for reporting car rental defects?
Many car rental companies require that complaints be submitted within a certain time. Therefore, you should report car rental defects as soon as possible and claim refunds immediately after returning the car.