Car rental in Germany

93 posts in this topic

On 11/22/2019, 4:00:52, yourkeau said:

Are you sure you paid cross border fee and not accident insurance (towing, repair costs)?

 

I rented this September and they told me I was only covered in Germany, so I paid for this one. Otherwise, no costs. That was Europcar in Memmingen airport.

 

It was both - If I were to take the car outside Germany, then I had to pay this fee, which also included the said insurance.

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On 11/23/2019, 10:52:39, snowingagain said:

 

Are there not problems for a EU citizen to drive a swiss registered hire car into the EU?  Or has that changed?  

 

 

If caught by customs, you're fucked. They just were not caught.

 

The correct way is to register it at the customs, then no problem.

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Didn’t end up renting. I got lazy and waited till the last minute and prices went up. So we just drove our car and it was fine. I just couldn’t ask my mom to drive as it’s not an automatic. 
 

in Hertz’s terms and conditions it says if you fail to mention cross border travel you could be charged a 600 euro fine. They could have a tracker in the cars? Or if you end up getting a ticket then they’d find out. Big risk. 

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9 hours ago, kaffeemitmilch said:

Didn’t end up renting. I got lazy and waited till the last minute and prices went up. So we just drove our car and it was fine. I just couldn’t ask my mom to drive as it’s not an automatic. 
 

in Hertz’s terms and conditions it says if you fail to mention cross border travel you could be charged a 600 euro fine. They could have a tracker in the cars? Or if you end up getting a ticket then they’d find out. Big risk. 

 

I read about a guy who hired a high end car and drove it across a border.  The rental agency could see this from the car's GPS and tried to ring him.  Getting no response they decided it had been stolen, disabled the fuel pump remotely and got it towed back.    They took 5000 off his credit card to cover for this. Always read the small print.

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On 11/26/2019, 7:30:37, yourkeau said:

If caught by customs, you're fucked. They just were not caught.

 

The correct way is to register it at the customs, then no problem.

 

Register a rental car? It was an Opel, fwiw. Anyway. I read the fine print and it said nothing about cross-border travel, just that we should tell the reception when receiving the car. I was going to ask, but as I said, we didn't have a common language. He was an older guy and spoke no English or German (just a few common phrases), and we spoke no Italian. 

 

We didn't rent a GPS, because 1) Maybe I'm a hardcore luddite (...male, ahem), but I learned to drive without one and simply don't feel the need for one, even today; and 2) Since it's a daily charge, the price was completely absurd and exorbitant. I could buy a GPS for half the same price. We had a fairly easy route and had no plans to drive far off the beaten path. Google maps + ca. 8€ in roaming charges, done. 

 

Also, I am also not an EU citizen. Whatever this mysterious rule was, from what I have just read it seems to no longer be in effect as of 2018, if not earlier. You sign a waiver or something, and that's it. For high-end cars, obviously they may put more restrictions on where you can drive it.

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12 hours ago, alderhill said:

Register a rental car? It was an Opel, fwiw. Anyway. I read the fine print and it said nothing about cross-border travel, just that we should tell the reception when receiving the car. I was going to ask, but as I said, we didn't have a common language. He was an older guy and spoke no English or German (just a few common phrases), and we spoke no Italian. 

One moment, I was talking about the law, not about rental company fine print. Switzerland is in Schengen, but not in the EU customs area. So you bring the car into the EU/out of the EU, that has legal consequences. Basically, if you live in the EU I highly do not recommend to drive any car from outside EU, you create yourself a ton of legal problems. If you still want, correct way is to go to the customs booth on the German/EU side and ask them what is the procedure. If you bring the car back to Switzerland (and again, notify the customs), you (I belive) do not pay any tax.

 

On 11/27/2019, 8:23:09, snowingagain said:

 

I read about a guy who hired a high end car and drove it across a border.  The rental agency could see this from the car's GPS and tried to ring him.  Getting no response they decided it had been stolen, disabled the fuel pump remotely and got it towed back.    They took 5000 off his credit card to cover for this. Always read the small print.

This is illegal. Europcar has lost 40'000 euro in a court case for something like this.

 

However, this is not recommended insurance wise: if your insurance is not valid abroad, this is worse than 600 euro fine.

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12 hours ago, alderhill said:

We didn't rent a GPS, because...

You didn't rent a navigation system.

 

The car still might have a hidden GPS-System to track it and also the capability to shut it off remotely.

 

I talked to a friend who works for a rental company. Here is one story:

 

A guy had rented a car and went off to Morocco, even though the contract clearly didn't allow that. Their software system gave an alarm as he was approaching the coast of spain, and they shortly thereafter sent a switch-off-signal. By the time the car was already on the ferry. The Moroccan police got a fax. The bloke who couldn't leave the ferry due to the car not starting was arrested.

The police informed the rental company and they sent a switch-on command, so that a police officer could drive the car off the ferry. The car was parked in a closed police parking lot.

 

An employee of the rental company flew to Morocco to pick up the car and drive it back.

 

That has been an expensive bill for the bloke...

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1 hour ago, yourkeau said:
1 hour ago, yourkeau said:

This is illegal. Europcar has lost 40'000 euro in a court case for something like this.

 

However, this is not recommended insurance wise: if your insurance is not valid abroad, this is worse than 600 euro fine.

 

https://www.spiegel.de/auto/aktuell/autovermietung-mietwagen-duerfen-geortet-und-lahmgelegt-werden-a-1005995.html

 

Found link to one I remembered.  Slightly different details.  Perhaps the guy who rented the Porsche get his 5000 Euro back later on in another court?

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1 hour ago, franklan said:

That has been an expensive bill for the bloke...

 

What year was this? From what I have read, Switzerland-to-EU driving of rental cars is not a problem, at least for your standard compacts, sedans, combis, small SUVs, etc. High value cars may be different.

 

2 hours ago, yourkeau said:

If you still want, correct way is to go to the customs booth on the German/EU side and ask them what is the procedure. If you bring the car back to Switzerland (and again, notify the customs), you (I belive) do not pay any tax.

 

Next time, we'll be a little more paranoid. Anyway, the main reasons for doing was that we planned only to be in the Swiss/Italian border areas (Lago Maggiore). Had we driven deeper into Italy, we'd have just rented there. Still, I find this somewhat perplexing, because locals criss-cross the border all the time, and they surely don't all stop at customs. We saw tonnes of Swiss plates in the larger shopping centres, parked at weekly markets, etc.

 

My only worry at the time was if our insurance would be valid outside Switzerland.

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2 minutes ago, alderhill said:

Still, I find this somewhat perplexing, because locals criss-cross the border all the time, and they surely don't all stop at customs.

 

If you are registered as living in the EU, if you take a Swiss car across border, it could be construed as car smuggling.  A Swiss resident is allowed to drive their Swiss car across the border, and an EU resident their EU registered car across to Switzerland.  Not sure if this is still the case though I cannot find any links saying otherwise.  Swiss car rental agencies often have EU registered cars to get round this difficulty.

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6 hours ago, alderhill said:

What year was this? From what I have read, Switzerland-to-EU driving of rental cars is not a problem, at least for your standard compacts, sedans, combis, small SUVs, etc. High value cars may be different.

I am a tourist, my place of residence is in Asia, so I can move rental cars across the countries. You, not. It has nothing to do with what car are you driving illegally: the risk being caught is of course higher for higher value cars, but it is not zero.

 

You are not even allowed to drive a Polish registered car in Germany if you live in Germany (there are exceptions to this rule, but not many). A lot of people found out that German car insurance is way more high than Polish one, so they tried that. And were caught.

 

 

 

 

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On 11/29/2019, 2:20:18, snowingagain said:

 

If you are registered as living in the EU, if you take a Swiss car across border, it could be construed as car smuggling.  A Swiss resident is allowed to drive their Swiss car across the border, and an EU resident their EU registered car across to Switzerland.  Not sure if this is still the case though I cannot find any links saying otherwise.  Swiss car rental agencies often have EU registered cars to get round this difficulty.

 

Yea I get that. But if it has a rental car company's sticker on the bumper?

 

Before we rented the car, I did look into legal vagaries. I recall reading about EU-registered cars in Switzerland for the EU, but not from the rental companies themselves. A lot of times the fine print said in effect "Fine, just tell us beforehand". The overall impression was that it wasn't going to be a problem.

 

On 11/29/2019, 8:43:46, yourkeau said:

You are not even allowed to drive a Polish registered car in Germany if you live in Germany (there are exceptions to this rule, but not many). A lot of people found out that German car insurance is way more high than Polish one, so they tried that. And were caught

 

Right, for pretty obvious reasons it is illegal for German residents using a Polish-registered car in Germany to go about their daily lives. I cannot find anything to suggest there is a de facto blanket 'ban' on tourists doing touristy things on both side of a border in a rental car in 2019. In the past, there were probably enough rules and headaches for tourists that they didn't bother. I can not find anything recent that explicitly states rental cars from Switzerland are forbidden in the EU (Italy). 

 

Either way, we did it and didn't have problems (apart from the total bullshit charge for "streaks").

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This shit is crazy, but I remember when I was renting a car in NY to drive to Montreal it said Canadian residents could not drive a US registered car into Canada.

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