Simon Calder's Helpdesk: Do you know anything about the Honk Car Rental firm?
Simon Calder is Travel Editor at Large for The Independent, writing a weekly column, various articles and features as well as filming a weekly video diary. Every Sunday afternoon, Simon presents the UK's only radio travel phone-in programme called The LBC Travel Show with Simon Calder (97.3 FM). He is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, ITV News and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme and BBC Five Live.
Wednesday 29 May 2013
Q. We need to rent a people-carrier for a holiday in Switzerland. I have found a company called Honk Car Rental which promises "We're like those mystery deals you sometimes get for hotels, but instead for car rental". Being very cautious, I follow the maxim, that anything that appears too good to be true, probably is. So before paying for a car, do you know anything about them?
A. You could book a car in Switzerland with a company based in New Zealand, but it's difficult to see why you would. Presumably you found Honk Car Rental through a price-comparison website. Here is how the business model appears to work; draw your own conclusions about whether you want to get involved.
Honk Car Rental owns no cars. It is a broker, whose parent company is located in Commerce Street, Auckland. We tested it out by asking for a quote on a five-day rental in "Edinburgh City" this week. Honk quoted £150 for a Fiesta or similar. Not bad. But the car is not actually available for pick up in the city centre; it is supplied by the Arnold Clark depot in Seafield, three miles away. You pay a "deposit" of £21, which appears to me to be the company's commission; you pay the remainder to Arnold Clark when you pick up the car.
Yet if you book direct with Arnold Clark you pay a flat £135 - 10 per cent less than Honk wants. So Honk's boast "You'll pay less than your friend who books a car with someone else" looks hollow.
So where does this leave your trip? Well, we looked for prices for a week's hire of a Ford Galaxy or Renault Espace seven-seater at Zurich airport in June. Through a price-comparison website. The quote was £767, of which the "pay now" element - which often turns out to be the broker's commission - was £200.
Same dates, same vehicle through Avis, was quoted at £838. But Hertz and Holiday Autos both came in at £472, a rate so low that it is difficult to see why you would look elsewhere. All other things being equal, because usually the fewer layers involved in a travel transaction, the better.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalder
tvSteven Moffat reveals the actor was dying to take on the role of the Time Lord and says he is excited to see what he will do with the character
- 1 Mountain goats' miraculous escape from avalanche captured in dramatic video footage
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 Sir Ian McKellen hits back at Damian Lewis' 'fruity actor' claims
- 4 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 5 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial
- < Previous
- Next >
£23000 - £27000 per annum + £18K & Uncapped Commission & Benefits: Flight Cent...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Flight Centre Limited: Exceptional opportunity for ...
£23000 - £27000 per annum + Award-Winning Benefits: Round The World Experts: L...
£23000 - £27000 per annum + (£16K Base + Uncapped Commission): Flight Centre L...