Car rental companies hitting skiers with ‘winterisation’ charges – including fitting winter tyres

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If you are planning on setting off on a skiing holiday this winter and renting a car is part of your plans, make sure you are up to speed on the ‘winterisation’ charges hire companies are hitting tourists with.

Revealing research carried out by iCarhireinsurance.com looked at charges by five rental companies in seven European ski gateways (Geneva, Grenoble, Innsbruck, Barcelona, Turin, Sophia and Inverness) for a week’s vehicle hire from December 27 to January 3, 2015.

It found the average ‘winterisation’ cost across the seven destinations was over £40, but could be up to £114 in Geneva with Avis, significantly increasing a customer’s overall rental cost.

Paying the ‘winterisation’ charge of almost £60 in Barcelona with Budget, for instance, represents an additional 30 per cent on the original hire cost. In Austria and Germany winter tyres are mandatory, yet despite this Avis levy a ‘winterisation’ charge of £25 in Innsbruck.

The ‘winterisation’ cost is included in the rental price in some instances but this varies greatly. For example, Budget did not charge extra in Geneva or Innsbruck, but slapped an extra £57 on the bill in Barcelona, £40 in Turin and £24 in Grenoble.

Ernesto Suarez, CEO and founder of iCarhireinsurance.com, commented: “Car hire companies are well known for surprise snowballing costs at the rental desk. Why each individual customer should be held to account for winter tyres that have been changed once for the winter season is ludicrous and is another example of hidden costs that can make the original rental price not such a good deal.

“It’s frustrating that that the rental companies use ‘winter’ as yet another opportunity to make money from their car hire customer, but unfortunately it’s your responsibility and not the rental company’s to make sure that you’re driving with the correct equipment for wintery conditions. We advise that you shop around and make sure that you factor in the ‘winterisation’ cost.”

Motorists who are planning on taking their own vehicles abroad for a skiing holiday should also be aware of the legal requirements regarding tyres, which are detailed in the etyres Winter Tyres: EU law and legislation section.

etyres supply and fit a wide range of winter tyres to suit all vehicles and budgets. Its mobile service means customers can easily store their regular tyres in their garage and etyres will refit them in the spring, for a nominal fee.

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