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Car Rental Experience in Norway Sept 2017

We just returned home from a trip to Norway where we rented a car from Europcar in September 2017. I thought I would share some info.
We rented a COMPACT car for eight days with navigation system, additional driver, the Basic Protection Package and Premium Protection Package, Premium Station Surcharge, Other Surcharges, 25% value added tax and a 3.25% Norway/US currency conversion fee. The total was $1,398.76. While we were on vacation, Europcar had a pending "hold" on our credit card of $1,800.00. Upon return home we were emailed a photo of a 2 inch scrape on the tire rim they claimed that as an "accident" of which we were told we would pay for a replacement plus a per day charge of having the car unavailable for rent. As a consumer you have no recourse or cannot obtain details of this information. Hint: Take photos of the entire car, including tire rims, before you leave the car rental stall. The estimate out of pocket for this 2 inch scrape was quoted as zero because we bought their premium insurance. We'll see once we receive our final charge. We received an invoice for the car rental 20 days after we returned from our trip and were told it would take another 21 days for the charge to come through on our credit card. Now we wait until everything settles.
Driving in Norway is beautiful, an adventure, and you can explore areas on your own time frame and go places you would not normally get to see. Saying that, make sure you buy the maximum insurance from the rental agency because when you sign the paperwork you authorize them to charge everything in the contract fine print. Your US car insurance or credit card insurance may not cover you (check the details of your insurance -- my insurance company confirmed I had no coverage in Norway as well as our credit card company). It may not cover your losses and the car rental agency can charge you a hefty administrative fee for not using their insurance and buying from a competitor. In addition to these charges you must also budget for gasoline and tolls. Personally I think the charges and fees are extraordinary rip off for the tourist - but - it is what it is. With everything said, we have no regrets driving because of the pleasure, freedom, and convenience. I hope this helps all of you who are wondering if you should rent a car - or not.

Posted by
10364 posts

Thank you for all the information.Having read so many cases like yours, we now load up on insurance with each rental. You never know which agency has the rogue employee out to get noticed and a promotion at your expense.

Posted by
1829 posts

You mention concern about the scrape and associated costs but also the rental place said you have zero liability for the incident so why in your case are you upset over it, care about the lack of pictures or settle date on a claim when you are told you have zero liability.
I get sharing it but you seem genuinely upset over what appears to be nothing to be upset over.

Norway is really pricey, their car rentals as well as everything else about the country to visit other than cheap airfare.
It sounds like you knew the costs in advance and had no surprises at the end since you bought the insurances so agree it is costly as is everything in Norway, but not sure why after the fact it is something that bothers you more now than when you first were given the price quote and said yes?
You should have paid in local Norway currency using a credit card that doesn't charge International fees and you would not have had the 3.25% fee, Not sure if you choose to pay that or were forced to by the car rental place?
While in Norway I a couple of times had to tell retailers I wanted to pay in NOK not euro or dollars, as I knew I would lose money any other way.

The hold sounds like $400 or less higher than your actual amount you owed so not a huge hold if you look at it that way, it is not like they charged you $1400 plus took out a $1800 hold.

I rented a car there for a week a couple of weeks back and had a great experience. I rented from Hertz online and used the location at the Alesund airport for pickup and dropoff.
Although the policies and my liability seemed quite poor to other countries and the cost of rental high ; I went with nothing added nor was there any attempt to upsell me at all on any insurances.
I had a credit card I thought would cover me if needed.

Anyway, I had no incidents at all. I got an invoice with the amount charged to my credit card (exact amount I was quoted) a few days after I rented the car. While I had the car out I know there was a hold placed on my credit card but not sure how much exactly it was. Since I didn't have any extra insurance I expected it to be high, but don't think it was actually as high as I feared.
A week later I got an invoice and a charge for some tolls I incurred ; which I knew I was getting. Was $20 or so ; not a big deal.

May just be luck but the last couple of times I have rented in Europe (Norway and Italy) I have rented the Midsize class which costs a few bucks extra but has both times come in car navigation. So without pay extra for GPS I had GPS service, if not I would use my phone not pay the outrageous GPS daily rental fees.

As in usually the case individual mileage may vary.

Posted by
1294 posts

I appreciate you including lots of information about your experience and having it be "emotion free". I just have one question. Did somebody "check you in" when you dropped the car? In other places, someone checks us in and gives us our final statement. (I have always assumed this mean they found the car to be in the same condition as it was when we got it). In Norway, they checked us in, but did not give us our final statement. They said it was because we had pending tolls that would come in and they would mail us the final statement. Taking pictures of the car is a good idea and your post also serves as a reminder to completely check the car over before accepting it at the time of rental. Some rental agents have looked at us weird when we insist they write down every little scrape, but it is a good idea.

One thing I did appreciate about Norway was the system they have put in place to pay tolls. It was easy for people who rent cars. (It was a real headache to pay our toll to cross the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco a couple of years ago. We had a rental car.) I did find their car rental prices were on the high side for Europe....but Norway is an expensive county. I agree that it is worth it. We drove so many "off the beaten path" places while we were there.

Posted by
1829 posts

Connie: probably not directed at me but at the Alesund airport I am fairly certain even during business hours no one ever checks anyone in or out.
I returned before they opened in the morning and they have a key drop off I used.

When renting there is a small counter in the airport 20 feet from the luggage carousel with 1 person manning the booth.
He does your contract, hands over keys and tells you the parking spot number you car is in. The cars are parked right at the airport itself, as is the dropoff.
You drive off, no one was working outside where the cars are kept. if you had an issue with the car you would have had to walk back into the airport to discuss it.

It was actually a breath of fresh air compared to big airport rentals (take a shuttle from the airport to the car rental depot, wait on line, walk to where the cars are, have to be checked out and then repeat the process when returning)
In the US the only time I ever had a similar experience was at the Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming ; which was done exactly the same.
I imagine Oslo and Bergen rentals would be quite different than Alesund.

Posted by
28 posts

To Connie,
I agree that Norway is a fabulous place to drive and explore. We would have missed many beautiful spots had we not took the time to drive in some remote areas. Every scenic view was worth the narrow twists and turns of the roadways! Thanks for your comments.

To Reynolds
The 3.25% fee was not a credit card fee. Our credit card is a no international transaction fee card. The fee was required by the rental car agency as part of covering their costs. And, we are happy as clams that we rented a car.

Posted by
1829 posts

I would guess that if you requested to pay in NOK and not USD the fee wouldn't have applied.
Easy to say that after the fact I realize so not poking at you.

I found I had to do something similar on small charges from some of the souvenir type shops that catered to the cruise crowd.
They before I inserted my credit card gave me a price in dollars, I had to ask to pay in NOK.
I recall it happening twice in small shops and a couple of restaurants asked me how I would like to pay in NOK or USD and I said NOK.

I don't think most tourist realize they get hit with a fee if paying in USD when possible and the stores probably don't profit the extra fee the banks do. If you have a no International fee credit card you have to be mindful you are always charged the local currency, not just in Norway but in any country.

Like you a car enabled us to see some parts that would not have been otherwise reachable but I agree was a costly expense.