Saturday 17 March 2018

Let the buyer be wary... very, very wary indeed

Pay attention when signing up for insurance. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Pay attention when signing up for insurance. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

John Masterson

Caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware. I am a careful buyer ever since I got ripped off years ago over what I thought was a Rolling Stones tape, only to find it was a bunch of rubbish singers trying to sound like Mick Jagger. I don't think I have ever had reason to go back to a shop with merchandise since.

So it was that during an idle hour on June 7, I booked a flight to Nice with Aer Lingus for September 3, returning on the 24th. It was the 12.10 flight, getting in at 15.45. Ideal. Then I booked a car recommended on the Aer Lingus site with Firefly. I had never heard of them, but I was delighted to get an Opel Astra for three weeks for €305.13, which included tax, airport fee, collision damage waiver, theft waiver, third party liability, and allowed me to drive 3,500km. I was happy and the money went from my card as expected.

An e-mail from Aer Lingus Cars thanked me for choosing Aer Lingus Cars. I got an email some time later from the airline telling me my flight time had been changed. It turned out that it had changed quite a lot - to 18.50, and I would now arrive in Nice in the dark at 21.20. Around 10pm, I went to collect my car. All was in order. In my mind, I made it clear I did not want additional insurance. I handed over my credit card, as you always do. I have NEVER purchased additional insurance and I have hired a lot of cars. The car man circled a series of zeros and I initialled. I felt under pressure. It was late and I was cranky. I photographed the car and showed him the pic of a big scrape. He said it was fine. He did say something along the lines of "covered", but his English was not that good and my French was no better. I was still sure I had not purchased insurance.

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