Subject: Re: Credit card deposits on overseas car rentals
Hi Ziners,

Thanks, Alan for the cautionary tale and I can report a similar experience, with some differences:

We have just returned home to Australia from a visit to New Zealand, where I rented a campervan and we toured the South Island (Yes, it was wonderful, thanks, and the view of Mt Cook across Lake Pukaki was just about the most spectacular view I've ever seen).

The insurance excess for the campervan was NZD5000 and since, like Alan, I had opted for separate insurance cover, I had to pay the $5000 as a deposit or bond, refundable at the end of the rental period. I did this by Visa card.

In my case, it was handled separately and a refund of exactly the NZD5000 was put through when we returned the campervan.

When my credit card statement arrived, however, I found that the payment of NZD5000 resulted in a debit of AUD4705 (with the notation "including conversion fee 68.85AUD") but the NZD5000 refund ten days later gave me a credit of only AUD4476 (with notation "including conversion fee 65.51AUD").

So, leaving the bond for ten days had cost me AUD229.

The bank suggested that, instead of processing the $5000 debit and subsequent $5000 credit, the rental company should have taken an imprint of my card and got my signature, so that the $5000 debit would be put through only if and as necessary. The bank gave me a small ex-gratia credit and I haven't had a reply to my letter to the rental company so far.

Perhaps if I had heard of other experiences like Alan's, I might have managed the situation better. It appears that, whenever there is a currency conversion involved, there is potential for a significant cost in leaving a credit card bond. So other Ziners be warned.

Harry Gold Coast, Australia