A common problem that arises daily during the Car Rental process are the words “or similar” when booking a specific group of vehicle. This is a bugbear for many travellers if they were unaware of this Car Hire practice when they fetch their car and were expecting a specific make and model.
An example of the or similar car rental practice:
A client books a Group B, which is often advertised as a Volkswagen Polo Vivo hatchback. The client believes they booked that exact vehicle, but when they arrive at the airport a totally different make of vehicle has been allocated, and suddenly we have an unhappy client who believes they were lied to, or that the car rental company is inefficient and made a mistake. However there is a very specific reason for this practice.
Why do Car Rentals use “Or Similar”?
A short explanation is that all car rental companies purchase significant quantities of different vehicles from different manufacturers and often will have several different makes in the same grouping. All fall within the same or similar specifications common to that group.
The car rental industry is a very fluid type of operation with large numbers of vehicles being booked out and returned on any one day and as vehicles become available at the depot they are allocated to the next customer in line. It is therefore extremely difficult to allocate a specific vehicle make to a specific client at a specific time and date. Whilst you can request a specific make and model, the car rental companies will do their best to do accommodate you but it is not always possible and can never be guaranteed.
What happens if I have specific needs?
It sometimes happens that some customers are very tall or have special needs. If that is the case you should let the car rental company know beforehand in order for them to advise you of the best group of vehicle to select. This ensures the company is well aware of any particular needs you may have and that they have to allocate the right vehicle for you.