You may have read recently in a number of newspaper and internet articles about an increase in the cost of renting a car over the summer period, so I thought I would take this chance to explain some of the reasons behind this and provide some tips to find the best rate in the future.

Many of you will have read about why the price of car rental has increased over summer – the recession, lack of finance to buy new fleet, unexpected demand meant a reduction in fleet sizes.

A change in the UK weather and a reduction in prices for overseas holidays added to a surge in last minute bookings in some popular destinations, largely Spain, that had not been forecast by a number of business. This resulted in excess demand and disappointment for a number of customers who had waited till they arrive at there destination to hire a car.

Even though the summer peak period may be over, we will still have a number of peak periods coming up till the end of the year including October half term for schools and the Christmas season. So how can you avoid disappointment in over paying or not being able to find a car? I have listed below my three tips that I hope will help you get the best value car rental:

1) Reserve the car in advance. Cars generally go up in price the closer to the date of pickup so you may find yourself paying a higher price or, worst still, unable to book a car at all.
2) Take advantage of special offers and promotions. We often have a number of promotions available where you could save money. For example we are currently offering 15% off rentals in Ireland, car hire in Spain from £22 per day and UK weekend rates from £14 per day based on a 3 day rental. You can sign up to the Avis newsletter to receive updates on offers to your inbox.
3) When booking your car at or by our call centre, choose the Pay Now option for the best price. Pre Pay rentals receive a discount versus Pay later ones. Some times they are as high as 50% on certain locations depending on when you are picking up the car.

I hope you found this post interesting and helpful.


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29 Responses to “Expensive car hire rates over the summer”

  1. martin rhoades Says:

    Your UK website for Preferred gives a number to call ( 08445 818283) which is for Preferred Customer Services. This number is in fact a reservations number whose staff no nothing about Preferred. I was unable to sign into my AP account but was told that the only contact for me was to email To date no response.

  2. Alan Trueit Says:

    You definitely try harder! That is to rip-off your customers. Last year I tried to hire a car from London to Cardiff for a day. Had planned to pick up mother-in-law for holiday in Spain for two weeks. Do another car hire in Cardiff to return to London. According to your website no one day one way cars were for hire for either trip.
    But low and behold I could hire a car for the whole two weeks no problem, just leave it park at Avis car lot at Cardiff Airport. On return trip to London we got a flat tyre so I change to the spare and returned car at Heathrow. Now Avis tells me I have to pay for a new tyre. The clerk at the station checks over tyre with me and confirms there is no visible damage to the tyre and that I would surely be reinbursed the charges they put on my Visa. Well 2-1/2 months later they claim they had to buy a new tyre and I would not get any money back. Why was I not surprised, they had my money now aand I have no recourse. So renters beware this is how Avis works harder to ripoff their customers and maintain tyres on their fleet of rental cars.
    You can be sure of one thing and that is Avis will never get another penny from this customer from Canada. Not only that but, I’m making sure that all my friends and business associates are warned as to Avis’s deceptive trade practices.

  3. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Martin,

    I have passed your comments onto the web team and they are looking into this.
    If you still need information or help with your Avis Preferred account please email me at with your Preferred number, plus what you need help with and I will get someone to look into this for you.


  4. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Alan

    I am sorry to read about your frustrations.

    If you email your rentals details (including your rental agreement number) to I will follow this up with our customer service team and will get back to you.


  5. Tim Stanworth Says:

    I hired from Avis UK from Liverpool airport 11th-14th Sept. 13.30hrs-13.30hrs.Nobody in the car pound when we arrived back so handed the key in at the airport desk. Yesterday I had an invoice in Spanish from Avis Es. with no booking or ref no. that was similar to ours. Guess what we had been surcharged a day.
    Lesson 1 have your key timed on handing it in. I thought Avis a honest company and hopefully will acknowledge our timed departure lounge receipts. Is this how they make their profits?
    Lesson 2 chose a different company.

  6. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Tim,

    I’m sorry to hear of your experience.

    If you could send your rental agreement details to me at and I will follow this up with our customer service team and will get back to you.


  7. Shereena Lingiah Says:


    I would like to write to you to feedback on my first experience hiring a car with Avis.

    I had accumulated airmiles and used them to book a car with Avis. You kindly sent me an upgrade voucher for my car which I was very pleased about as the whole holiday was a surprise for my boyfriend’s birthday.

    On arriving at the airport I signed my rental agreement which I was given a copy of a Rental Agreement. I was not given any further documentation and was told that if I return the car without any petrol in I would be charged 88.67 euros.

    On the last but one day of our holiday there was a hailstorm in Alicante which caused damage to cars and roads throughout. I called Avis Alicante airport branch immediately as the hailstorm had cracked the windscreen of the car and also left several dents in the car. I was informed by a lady called Susannah that there would be no charge for the damage and there would only be a charge if I wanted a replacement car and if they had to come out to us to deliver it.

    On returning the car to Avis the following day I was informed that the car was not full of petrol – it was half a bar off (which was the 10 minute drive to the airport) and I would be charged 23 Euros. I decided to fill the car up instead as it only cost approximately 5 Euros. On returning she then told me that Allianz may charge for the damage to the car. I informed her that Susannah had said there would not be a charge. She said that she did not know about that and that is what she has been told. I said that I was not happy to pay and filled in an accident report form. I stated on this that I was not happy for my debit card to be debited and signed the form.

    On returning home, I checked my bank account a couple of days later to find that £750 had been debited from my account. I called Avis in the UK and in Spain to be told that the manager had charged this and Susannah denied making these comments. I am extremely unhappy about being charged for something that I have no control over. How can a customer be liable for the weather? And surely you should be offered the option of additional insurance to be covered if this is the case.

    I would be keen to know your thoughts on the matter and would be grateful of any assistance you can give me in trying to resolve the matter.


  8. Laura Bacharach Says:

    I agree with previous comments, after my experience with Avis. Renting a car at Frankfurt airport in July, we decided not to take out the extra insurance offered at the counter which meant we were liable for the first 800 euros of damage. Unfortunately the car got scratched, and when the attendant in the underground carpark at Frankfurt airport looked at the damage, he estimated it to be… 800 euros-worth of repair. We pointed out to the desk clerk that if we took this car to the most expensive garage in London and doubled it, it still would not cost 800 euros to repair. He agreed, assuring us that it was just an estimate, and that we would be told the actual cost later. In the meantime, the 800 euros has been charged to my card and I never heard back; after several calls to Avis waiting for up to 15 minutes to be answered, was told that the Foreign Damage team would contact me and that I should take it up with my credit card company. I have done that but the interest is clocking up and still no response from Avis. I was hopeful when a letter from Avis appeared a few weeks later, but that was just to inform us of a parking ticket for £10.
    At least this blog offers an email address to contact which I will do. So beware of the excess on your policy.

  9. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Laura, just to let you know that I’ve received your email and have followed up with the Customer Support team to provide you with an update.

    Let me know if you experience any delays with this update.


  10. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Shereena, sorry I haven’t got back to you on this sooner. I am not currently able to give you any thoughts on this as this is the first time I’ve seen such a case and so I’m not familiar with our policy. I am just waiting for an answer from someone who can. In the meantime, if you are able to email me your rental agreement number to, we can look at the specifics of your case.


  11. Shereena Says:

    Hi Rob, I have sent you all my details and contacted the Avis head office in Madrid and the Alicante airport location which I rented the car from. I was assured by the Madrid head office that he would treat it as a matter of urgency and I would like a response back from you within a week of today. Do you want me to give you a full account of what has happened to date? Many thanks

    Hi Laura – I wasn’t even offered extra insurance and my agreement covers Collision Damage Waiver. I have a Collision Theft Excess and this is what they say they have charged me for however my car was damaged in a hailstorm not as a collision or being stolen.

  12. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Shereena, I’ve seen your email. While I cannot influence the team in Spain (I work in the UK team), I will certainly follow this up for you and get an update for you.


  13. Shereena Says:

    Hi Rob

    I sent you the agreement number via email to yesterday but you sent this post. Please can you let me know if you have not received this. I have also sent it again. Thanks

  14. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Shereena, sorry about that I did get your email. I was working from home last night when I posted this comment and didn’t have access to this inbox. I’ve found it now and will follow up with the team in Spain.


  15. Shereena Lingiah Says:

    Hi Rob

    Can you let me know if you have had an update on this. As you can imagine £754 is not a small amount of money therefore please can you let me know the reference number for this complaint and any update that you have.


    Shereena Lingiah

  16. Shereena Lingiah Says:

    Hi Rob

    In addition please could you let me have the Terms and Conditions regarding an act of god.

    Many thanks


  17. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Shereena, apologies for the delay. I’ll head over to the customer support team now and get an update for you. I’ll also ask them to send you the terms and conditions you asked for.


  18. Shereena Lingiah Says:

    Hi Rob

    I have not received the terms and conditions from your web team. Please can you let me know if they have sent them


  19. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    HI Shereena, apologises that you have not heard back on this yet. I’ll chase this up for you.


  20. Shereena Lingiah Says:

    Hi Rob

    I still have not received any terms and conditions or any feedback from your team regarding this matter. I am very concerned as it has now been over 3 weeks since the incident happened. I was assured by the team in Madrid that they would get back to me within 2.

    Thanks in advance for your help with this matter.



  21. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Shereena,

    I have just spoken to our customer service team and they are still looking into this for you. You should have recieved a letter or email explaining this.

    Someone should get back to you soon with another update.

    Kind Regards

  22. Laura Bacharach Says:

    I have heard nothing from Avis since you replied to my post. I have however, received a sheaf of faxed Avis paperwork from HSBC after I queried the credit card payment with them. So it does exist – why have Avis not sent me any of this paperwork? I want to resolve this matter ASAP.

  23. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Laura,

    I apologise that you have not heard anything yet. I will look into this and follow it up with customer services.


  24. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Laura,

    I have just heard back from customer services and a letter was sent out to you on the 1st October. They are sending you another letter and hopefully this should be with you next week.

    If you haven’t heard anything after that please drop me an email.


  25. Aman Says:


    I’ve been an AVIS Preferred member for many years and regularly rent cars from you throughout the year.

    Recently I was contacted by a AVIS business person who wanted to attach a company corporate rate to my card. This was supposed to help provide larger discounts compared to any normal AVIS Preferred discounts.

    I feel as though I’m being cheated by AVIS now after having tried a quotation by logging in to my account and then as an anonymous user.

    Between 16 and 26 December, pickup LHR, drop off LCY; car class Mercedes C180.

    Logged in (with my ‘corporate discount’): £693

    As anonymous AVIS user: £614

    Rental from [a competitor] for the same car class and booking criteria: £579.

    I’d urge anyone else with a corporate discount to try as a anonymous AVIS user, or even elsewhere.

    I’ve always been happy with renting from AVIS especially the customer care provided, however this finding makes me wonder how long have I been overpaying.

    I’d appreciate your feedback.


  26. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Aman,

    From my knowledge there is a different website that our corporate customers need to make their bookings through and this will pull the best rate.

    If you email me at with your AWD or Wizard number I will forward this on to your account manager.


  27. A G Urquhart Canada Says:

    I mailed a letter a month ago to UK Head Office and have had no reply to date.
    A familiar tale after reading the other comments.Left car because attendent did not go to look at it then received extra charge for a windscreen nick which was not there when I returned the car.I would like to see an invoice for the damage they say they repaired.
    Not happy at all with Avis any more.Follow up on problems by customers seems to be on the back burner so you must lose a lot.

  28. Vicki Wilson - Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi A G Urquhart,

    If you email me at with your rental agreement number and details of your rental I will look into this for you and follow it up with customer services.


  29. pj hanlon Says:

    hi we are coming from south africa on the 12th june and have a reservation with avis at it possible to pay for the car on line before we arrive.could you give me the web site to pay.
    thank you
    kind regards

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