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118 automobile Hire officeThe offices employed by 118 automobile Hire near Heathrow. No-one through the staff was here when the Guardian labeled as. Photo: Simon Murphy

Advertisements within the national hit had been this week guaranteeing "unbeatable" discounts on automobile hire this xmas. The business behind the advertisements, an innovative new title called 118 Car Hire, boasts so it features a "huge number of vehicles offered, " with "affordable rates assured, " plus free delivery and collection.

It is this deal too-good to be real?

Car hire is a place where customers must tread very carefully. When you look at the run-up to Christmas time last year, a significant number of people were duped by a firm trading as "Rentmac, " which had advertised inside Guardian and other magazines, encouraging high quality vehicles at "Xmas special" bargain rates. Lots of people handed over hundreds of weight for cars that never ever materialised.

Recently, the trade human anatomy when it comes to British automobile rental industry warned the public to "take additional care" whenever confronted with low priced deals for xmas automobile hire on the net, or perhaps in the hit.

The British car leasing and Leasing Association (BVRLA) says it thinks that "comparable cons are increasingly being planned this year, and [it] has recently made connection with police and trading requirements over one possible risk".

The BVRLA declined to provide additional details, but said individuals need to be wary and simply take some easy steps to ensure these are typically coping with a reputable business.

Guardian cash has not yet gotten any issues about 118 vehicle Hire, but its ads – which may have starred in the Times, Metro therefore the London Evening Standard over the past day or two – caught our eye due to the fact deals look really appealing. It's offering a VW Passat 2.0 TDI for £32 every single day, that is around one half the cost one might be prepared to spend typically, while the internet site ( lists some "sensational" two-week xmas discounts (19 December to 2 January), beginning at £224 for a VW Polo or Vauxhall Corsa 1.2.

Intrigued, and never understanding the company, we decided to look under the bonnet. a Companies house-search revealed that firm happened in September 2010, and changed its name from Abbeyworth just over 30 days ago.

We chose to test the web reservation system. Unlike the majority of vehicle hire businesses, the 118 website didn't ask for the driver's age. Many car hire companies either wont employ away automobiles to motorists aged under 25, or will load the cost. We selected a VW Polo and were quoted £60 to hire it between 22 December and 25 December (ie, xmas Day). It had been become delivered to the reporter's house and accumulated from there. After entering our details, an email emerged stating that the business would-be contact immediately to ensure our booking. We couldn't receive the immediate email confirmation usually delivered after an on-line buy. The business performed ring back the second morning and left a message, but we had been unable to make it through on its 0845 number.

The target offered on its site, as well as businesses House, is 120 shower path, Middlesex – a short coach ride from Heathrow airport. As 118 automobile Hire says that customers can grab and fall off cars at Bath path, we decided to spend all of them a trip. That target turned out to be a five-storey office-block, called Capital destination, with a little carpark. A large sign outside provided a web target, which clicked through to an organization called Avanta which explained that 120 shower Road had been a "serviced company centre" providing "the perfect location for ... organizations requiring London a workplace". The address now offers "virtual workplaces" costing from £60 30 days.

The company's site claims it provides 21 the latest models of, but once we arrived, we could not see any evidence of a fleet of vehicles.

Posing as a client arriving to grab a car or truck, we were told by a front desk staff there had been nobody in from 118 Car Hire these days. Whenever we asked once they were last-in, the front desk staff informed us: "these people were only at the beginning of the few days." When we inquired about the company's fleet of automobiles, she stated the business was permitted to park unique vehicles indeed there, not hire cars for customers.

Relating to Companies House, the manager is Roger Doyle, whose target was given as Onslow Gardens in London's South Kensington. We visited the address, that was a house divided into several flats, and talked to two residents that has not been aware of Doyle.

The most recent ads for 118 Car Hire appeared in the Times and the free Metro paper on Tuesday. a supply at related Newspapers, author of Metro, informed cash it absolutely was "investigating whether this advertiser is bogus or not".

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