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Most (if not all) car rental agencies I've encountered living in Australia add additional drivers as standard for free (so long as certain criteria are met). Though I've mostly used these for hiring cars in Australia. For example, if I am going to the Gold Coast, both me and my partner are able to drive for no extra cost.

This does not seem to be the case though outside of Australia, but rental websites seem to be unaware. For instance, a few years ago we travelled to Manchester, UK. Despite the rental agreement (booked through Avis.com.au) saying we had an additional driver for free, the agents at the airport would not honour it (and said we can either pay the up-front costs, go without, or not rent through them and they'd refund us as soon as they could). In the end, in this case, we paid the extra fee (which was higher due to being in a different currency).

I've just quickly been through Avis.com.au again and nowhere in the reservation process is there an option to pay for an extra driver. So how are we supposed to do this via Avis.com.au (and other similar car rental agencies with an Australian website) without having to pay a hefty, unknown amount at the other end?

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    I would just use the local site of where you're going to rent and have a card without FX fees Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 21:36
  • Not only does the local site follow the rules and policies of the rental country, it's often cheaper. Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 2:07
  • Post as answers, as these do answer the question.
    – Willeke
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 5:24
  • @DJClayworth: now I tend to doubt the "cheaper". Often it takes a lot more time and they push much more on overprices extra stuff: "You must pay an extra insurance" (maybe with some excuses about foreign credit card, etc.). Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 7:32
  • Despite the rental agreement (booked through Avis.com.au) saying we had an additional driver for free, the agents at the airport would not honour it this has happened twice to me, both times with Avis, it's not specific to Australians. In one case, it was 'waived' at the desk, in the second case I had to dispute it with my credit card. I'd say it's more a systematic issue with Avis not complying with the terms they agree to.
    – MJeffryes
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 9:23

1 Answer 1

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I've booked a fair few cars in my time (online), and in my experience, mostly but not entirely in the UK and US, most of the major car rental agencies (at least Hertz, Enterprise, Avis) do not allow you to add a second driver at the time of booking; you have to do this when you turn up to pick up the car. I just don't think it's part of the standard website booking flow, from what I've seen. So to answer your ultimate question, I think the only way to be sure ahead of time is to call, sadly.

I think Avis's behavior in the UK was standard from my experience, but if you think you agreed to something different when you booked the car, I guess your starting point would be to present that agreement, dispute the point, and if you didn't get anywhere with the local staff, to escalate through corporate HQ (ultimately this would be to ask for a refund, since I assume you're aren't going to / didn't do this there and then).

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