It will be a summer with a very high bill for those who decide to rent a car on vacation. Prices are on the rise: according to Federconsumatori monitoring, on average, in the week of June examined, the rental of a car (medium-sized petrol sedan) costs, without additional insurance and ancillary costs, about 380 euros. The same car, in the central week of July under consideration, costs about 737 euros, with an increase of + 84% compared to June. Finally, in August, in the week from 16 to 22, the rental cost on average amounts to 707 euros, plus 77% on June. “These are increases towards which one cannot ‘turn a blind eye’, so obvious – Giovanna Capuzzo, vice president of Federconsumatori told HuffPost -. Our concern is that we try to cover the losses of the tourism sector on the skin, indeed on the pockets of the consumer ”.
The problem does not only concern regions such as Sardinia, which naturally attract more tourists dedicated to car rental, since often those who choose this destination go by plane and then rent a car. According to the aforementioned monitoring, the highest costs are applied to Bari, Palermo, Catania and Olbia. The biggest increases compared to June are in the stations of Milano Centrale, Turin and at the Naples airport in July (with increases reaching + 310%). Even compared to last year, the increases are definitely out of control, continues the association: they amount on average to + 45% but with peaks of + 227% if you rent a car in the middle week of August.
The rise in prices certainly does not go unnoticed, especially in a year in which many travelers decide to take the car to ensure social distancing. And the complaints begin to proliferate. The danger is that many will turn their gaze elsewhere. “These increases, especially in the South and in the islands, are particularly serious and intolerable when seen from the perspective of a strong penalization of tourism in the beautiful country: rather than deal with such exorbitant costs, many will choose a foreign destination, also taking advantage of promotions and discounts applied in some locations – says Emilio Viafora, president of Federconsumatori – In this delicate moment in which the tourism sector is trying to recover after a black year, similar pricing policies are completely inconceivable and counterproductive for everyone: citizens and operators in the sector “. In the meantime, Federconsumatori sent a report to the Antitrust and the Transport Authority inviting them to “investigate the dynamics of these costs and to intervene to tackle the speculations in progress”.
From the front of companies in the sector, Giuseppe Benincasa, general manager of Aniasa, the National Association of the Car Rental, Sharing Mobility and Digital Automotive Industry, consulted by LaPresse, however, makes it known that “an increase in prices in the world of tourism is completely physiological in the so-called peak periods. Think of hotels, villages, airplanes, etc. “. Benincasa, while specifying that his association has no competence on commercial dynamics and therefore cannot “enter into an evaluation of the congruity of the reported values”, explains that “in the case of rental, what has already been reported by our association in terms of Fleet shortage due to the crisis in the auto sector which does not produce enough vehicles (shortage of microchips and closure of some factories in Europe) which consequently reduces the capacity to offer to the public ”. In an interview with La Nuova Sardegna, the director explains that the problem does not concern only the island, but concerns the car market because “if you have to buy a car you have to wait and this applies to both us and individuals” . “There are no cars to buy. It’s all related to the chip crisis. The auto industry, which in the past 18 months has suffered the heaviest impact of the pandemic, is now grappling with an unanticipated global chip shortage, which has forced manufacturers to plan temporary plant closures, canceling or rescheduling many the cases the production of cars and vans. The shortage of semiconductors has been going on for almost 6 months and a return to normal is not expected before 2022. To this problem is added that of the energy transition ”.
According to the Italian Public Accounts Observatory, purchases are at a standstill. The automotive sector appears to be the sector most affected by the crisis, with a cash loss of 10 billion euros in 2020 and an increase in debt of around 9 billion. On the road mobility front, on the other hand, after the numerous lockdowns, the use of the car has returned to pre-COVID levels (2 out of 3 Italians use it to move) and has almost exceeded them, while there is an increasing appeal limited to Local Public Transport (only 42% of the sample uses it on a recurring basis). However, the greater use of four-wheelers does not translate into new car sales, which remained in the first 5 months of 2021 even below the levels of 2019 (-28% vs May 2019). In fact, Italians prefer to buy a used car or keep the old car owned, perhaps Euro 2 or Euro 3 (with consequent impact on pollution and less safety).
Those who choose to rent a car can still rely on a series of “tips” to avoid falling victim to scams or scams. We have collected Federconsumatori advice on how to rent a car safely.
1. Pay attention to mileage
Make sure it’s always unlimited!
2. Watch out for fuel
Always check what the car rental fuel policy is. In fact, it can be full for full or full for empty. In the first case, you rent the car with a full tank and you have to return it after filling up again. In the second case it is delivered to you with the full tank and you return it as it is. The advice is to opt for “full to full”, since car rental companies often charge disproportionate costs for fuel, much higher than those charged at service stations.
It is very important to check whether or not you have chosen full protection or not and what that protection includes.
4. Accepted Payment Methods
Find out what they are, when the amount will be withdrawn and whether a deposit will be withheld.
5. Check for damage
When collecting the car, check the interior / exterior and, if it is damaged, have it noted on the contract and take some photos. The same applies at the time of delivery: check that there are no new damages and ask for a written certificate. If you leave the keys in a safe, outside opening hours, do not forget to photograph the vehicle in order to contest any undue charges.
Don’t get caught up in the option: everything has a cost, often very salty! Chains, seat, GPS navigator and so on are all additional services that can make your budget go up, even a lot.
7. Documents and contacts
Check that the car registration documents are present inside the car inside the car. Also, don’t forget to write down the car rental contacts if you need them during your trip and the emergency numbers used in the destination country.
8. Fines and penalties
Verify that, if you take a driving penalty, the company does not apply further penalties against you.