It seems simple enough – you want to rent a car, you see the picture online, so you book the model you want. But when you turn up, you are given a completely different car. Why?
Often when you rent a car, you are given a completely different model to the one you booked. Find out why.
How car hire are booked
You might notice when you book a car that it says ‘or similar’ next to the model. This is because when you hire a car, you are actually booking a car that matches a set of characteristics, not booking a specific model. Cars are booked by a four-letter code called an ACRISS (Association of Car Rental Industry Systems Standards) code. This defines the type of car, number of doors, type of gears, what the fuel is and whether the car has air conditioning.
Booking a hire car is a little like when you book a table in a restaurant. You can book the time and the number of people, and you can specify any requirements you have, but at the moment (technology will probably change this soon for car rental and restaurants) you don’t usually get to choose the exact table.
Why you might get a different car hire
Car hire companies rarely know the exact vehicles they will have in stock from one day to the next. Sometimes cars are in for repairs or in high demand. And the actual cars change frequently too – so a rental company’s whole stock may change between you booking and picking up your car. This high turnaround of vehicles means it’s difficult to guarantee an exact match.
Also, car makes and models vary around the world. So while you may want to book the same type of car as you have at home to make driving abroad more familiar, they simply may not have that type of car in the country you’re visiting.
Sometimes the variation can work in your favor – you might get an ‘upgrade’ if the type of car you want isn’t available. Your car hire company should always upgrade you to a bigger, better car in this situation.
Tips for getting the car you want
You can’t always guarantee you will get that Chevy, but there are ways to increase the chances of getting your ideal ride.
1) Book early to give yourself the best chance of getting the rental car you want. Leaving it late means you will likely just be given whatever the rental company has left.
2) Choose a big rental center. You will have a better chance of getting the car you want at larger airports and big rental depots where they have lots of cars.
3) Choose an unusual or luxury car as this should increase your chances of getting the exact model – although you will probably have to pay a big deposit up front for a luxury car, not to mention higher rental charges of course.
4) Pay extra for a guarantee from a specific car hire company. A few car hire companies can guarantee to get you the exact model you want, but you may have to commit to using just that company, and you will pay a hefty fee for the privilege.
So for most of us, it’s all about booking early, hoping for the best and being ready for a little surprise when we turn up to collect the car.
‘Or similar’: the secrets of ACRISS codes
Rental cars are booked by a four – letter code, rather than by specific make and model. This is how the codes work:
First letter: Category or class of car, e.g. M for mini, E for economy, S for standard.
Second letter: Type of car, e.g. B for 2 – 3 doors, D for 4 – 5 doors, T for convertible.
Third letter: Type of gearbox, e.g. M for manual, A for automatic, B for 4 – wheel automatic.
Fourth letter: Air conditioning and type of fuel, e.g. D for diesel with air con, Z for petrol with no air con, E for electric with air con.
Book Your Next Cyprus Car Rental Today
Whether you are looking to explore and soak up the culture or simply want to hit the beach and enjoy the sun, hiring a car in Cyprus will make your time in Cyprus easier and more stress – free than ever before.
Source: Rental Cars
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