NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is warning consumers who hire exotic high-performance sports cars and luxury vehicles to carefully read and understand the terms and conditions of any rental agreement.
Fair Trading is investigating a large number of complaints from consumers who have hired high-performance sports cars and luxury vehicles including Lamborghini, Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Maserati, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Range Rover and Volkswagen performance model variants.
Vehicles that normally sell for $150,000+ are often hired for weddings, gifts or a luxury treat.
Consumers hiring these vehicles are charged a premium rental fee and a ‘security deposit bond’ on their credit cards of between $1,000 and $20,000.
Some consumers provide their credit card details believing it is for pre-authorisation purposes only and are surprised to find bond money deducted.
Many consumers have raised concerns they were not clearly advised about payment of the security deposit bond until the day of hire. Consumers are often also asked to sign a rental agreement that stipulates the refund of the security deposit bond can take up to three months. Many consumers are left out of pocket for several months, chasing the return of their money.
There are concerns this business conduct has resulted in actual detriment and may result in possible future detriment to Australian residents and overseas visitors hiring these vehicles.
The Commissioner urged anyone entering into a rental agreement for the hire of an exotic sports car, luxury vehicle or any other vehicle to closely review the terms and conditions of hire.
“Find out about any additional costs such as ‘security deposit bonds’ before you sign a rental agreement and before you provide credit card details,” he said.
Consumers who have had dealings with hire car companies in NSW and are unable to resolve their dispute should call NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 or lodge a complaint at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.
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