* Prices may differ from that shown
My Nightmare with Arnold Clark, I need more than 150 Words, please paste this into your Browser.http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Arnold-Clark_Reviews
When we went to Scotland, we had to rent a car. After some investigation, my husband found Bespoke Highland Tours was renting out cars via Arnold Clarke. Since their rates seemed reasonable, and especially because their deductible was far lower than EasyCar, we decided to go with them. Here's what we thought.
First of all, the biggest problem is finding their offices. We arranged to rent a car in Edinburgh and that's where our first problem came. They aren't located very close to the train station (although its not that far), and they aren't located in or near the airport. They seem to be off the beaten track a bit, but the taxis seem to know how to get there, so that's at least something.
We had ordered a "group 2" sized car since that was the smallest one that they had which was automatic. However, as often happens, when we got there, they didn't have what we had requested and they offered to upgrade us at no extra cost. However, they offered us a "group 5" car - a Nissan Primera! The only problem was that it was a manual car. Now, since I had recently had surgery on my left hand, I didn't think I could change gears with it and didn't want my husband to do all the driving. So despite our drooling, we had to ask for an automatic car instead. They then offered us a "group 3" car - a Mazda estate car.
I have to say that these cars all seemed very clean and we had no problems whatsoever with our Mazda. We were given small instructions on the particular features of the car, what petrol to purchase and quickly versed ourselves to our temporary transport with the help of the clerks. Our first impressions were very positive, since the clerks were very friendly and helpful and totally understood when we had to get a lower group car than they were offering us. Throughout our whole trip, we had no problem with the car and were very satisfied.
Of course, nothing goes totally smooth with us, and during our trip we ended up having a small accident. While backing up, the left rear lamp got smashed on a car that was behind us. Now, the car that was behind us was one of those big 4x4 jeep type things with a huge grill on the front. The driver tried to tell us that we had caused some damage on the right side of his grill. We disagreed and decided that he should take it up with the insurance of Arnold Clarke, and not us.
When we returned the car, we told them about the accident and had to write the whole thing up for them. We also told them that their insurance assessors should be very careful not to pay for damage on the other car that couldn't have been done by us. We paid the deductible and went merrily on our way, and despite the extra time we had to stay there to get the mess cleared up, we didn't miss our train back to London. Of course, that means we were on a strict timetable (and due to the bad weather, got into Edinburgh later than we had wanted) but everyone at the office was sympathetic and did all they could to make sure we weren't delayed any more than we had to.
By the way, apparently Arnold Clarke's insurance didn't think we had done the damage that other driver was trying to accuse us of. We know this because the driver wrote us a very unsympathetic letter about it. This is the only thing that I can fault Arnold Clarke with - that they gave the driver our home address. Of course, we didn't bother replying to the guy - why should we? We paid what we had to pay and that was that.
All in all, I would probably go back to Bespoke and Arnold Clarke to rent a car in Scotland again. Their service was efficient and friendly, they have a good range of cars available, their prices were reasonable, their cars were very nice and clean and their deductible is the lowest we could find. Still, they shouldn't have given our address to that guy, so I'm dropping this by one star.
Thanks for reading.
Davida Chazan @ May 2006 updated October 2006
Their page is http://www.scotland-inverness.co.uk/bht-clark.htm and I can't think of anything else you would need, as all the current prices are included there.
But just for good order's sake, we paid about £25 a day for a 10-day car hire and got a car that usually costs about £27 per day for the same time period. Not a bad deal!
At the request of one of my readers here, I'll add that they have 10 different basic groups of cars ranging from small cars suitable for only two persons (some are sports cars and convertables) to big people-carriers that can have up to nine persons in the vehicle. They also have "executive" cars which are very fancy Volvos and while they don't have as many seats as the people-carriers, they cost the same as those, which is £85 per day. The least expensive cars they have are "group 1" and they cost only £23 per day. Of course, if you want an automatic car (like we did) they don't have those for all the different groups, and for those groups that they do have automatic cars, you will be paying more. I hope that helps.
One last note - when I wrote this review they had only £100 deductible, but that has been increased to £300 (£500 for drivers under the age of 25). That's still less than EasyCar's £500 deductible.