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Buyer beware for car rentals at Tet

Update: February, 01/2016 - 09:29
The demand for self-driving cars during the nine days of Tet (Lunar New Year) in Ha Noi is on the rise, but several terms and conditions regulated by car owners have plagued customers. — Photo phapluatplus.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — The demand for self-driving cars during the nine days of Tet (Lunar New Year) in Ha Noi is on the rise, but several terms and conditions regulated by car owners have plagued customers.

Showrooms providing self-driving car services refuse to offer short-term rentals. A car owner named Duc Long told the Hai Quan (Customs) newspaper that the rental contract must last at least seven days.

Minh Phuong from Thanh Xuan District said he only wants to hire a car to return to his countryside for four days, but he cannot afford the rental cost for seven days.

Another staff member named Minh, who works at a car showroom on Thanh Xuan District's Nguyen Xien Street, said customers must pay one-and-a-half times more than the regular price if they want to rent a car for a short period of time.

With Tet approaching, the number of customers requesting five- to seven-seat cars has risen by one-and-a-half times. As the demand surges, the rental price also goes up by 20 to 50 per cent, said Nguyen Manh Duc, a car owner on Doi Can Street.

According to a survey by Hai Quan newspaper, the rental price ranges from VND1million ($45) to VND4million ($178) per day depending on the size of the car. This means customers have to pay about VND10million ($450) at minimum if they agree to a seven-day contract.

Customers have complained that they are easily tricked by unreasonable conditions in the fine print. The Duy, a customer from Dong Da District, said the contract often limits distance and allows 250 to 300km per day. If they go over the limit, they will be fined between VND10,000 ($0.4) and VND20,000 ($0.8) per kilometre.

Many drivers were fined because they did not read the terms carefully, he said.

Another customer told Hai Quan (Customs) newspaper that he accidentally hired an old Matiz car last year without realizing its registration had expired. He was fined VND2million ($90) and his vehicle was kept by the police for 30 days.

Despite high rental prices, 70 per cent of cars have been reserved weeks before the holiday, a manager of a rental car company in Hoang Mai District said, adding that customers who deposited money in advance would be prioritised. — VNS

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