Rental car companies hit drivers in Dartford chaos
Hire car charges revealed for Dartford Crossing
HIRE CAR FIRMS CHARGING £35+ ‘ADMIN’ FEE FOR PAYING £2.50 CROSSING
Drivers of hire cars are being hit by unexpected charges from rental firms amid confusion around the Crossing’s new cash-free payment system.
Motorists who forget to pay are offered a 14-day grace period if it’s a ‘first offence’, allowing them to satisfy the original fee (£2.50 for a car) within the two-week period and avoid fines of up to £125 for each crossing, but it seems this offer is not being passed on to hire car drivers.
Reports from drivers contacting APH claim rental companies are taking the £2.50 from their credit cards before adding big ‘admin’ fees on top.
While it’s understandable that rental firms require compensation for time spent paying the toll, making these charges clearer would help reduce confusion around the admin charge and £2.50 14-day grace period.
We asked major hire car companies to confirm their policy for clarity. Hertz and Sixt were the only ones to respond.
Hertz told us that in addition to the original fee, it charges non-payers an admin fee of £42 to cover time and costs of dealing with the payment. The company pointed out this is covered in its “rental valet, the rental agreement and online, under ‘Rental Qualifications and Requirements’”.
Sixt responded by telling us: ‘In the event that the fee was not paid within the 14 day time frame, the authorities will send a notification of the fine to Sixt who will then pay the penalty charge directly to the issuing authority and will charge the credit card associated with your hire for the £2.50 fine plus an administration charge of £36.00’.
What you told us…
We asked drivers to tell us about charges taken by hire car companies after forgetting to pay for the crossing, with responses showing charges of up to £73.50 from Europcar, £79.50 from Hertz and £35 from Enterprise. However, it’s not clear if these include multiple crossings.
Our adviceThe best advice is to pay the charge, but users of hire cars could be visitors to the area or even foreign tourists, so many won’t be aware of changes. When booking your hire car, we’d recommend asking for email confirmation of relevant admin ‘charges’. Picking a company, such as Hertz or Sixt, that has a responsive customer service team could also save lots of wasted time and frustration should you have any difficulties.
Have you been fined while using a hire car?
Have you been received a fine for non-payment of the Dartford Crossing while using a hire car? We’d like to hear about how you were treated by the hire company.
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