Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Car hire damage rip offs - action at last

You read it here first. Following a report in the Daily Telegraph, the consumer watchdog Which? has finally twigged that car hire customers might be paying more than they should for repairs. It is calling for an immediate investigation to ensure customers aren't being routinely ripped of. It's two years since similar suspicions were aired in an  article on this website advising travellers to take out separate excess insurance to avoid paying  heavy extra insurance charges available from car rental companies res themselves. The excess, of course, is the amount you have to pay before the company's basic cover kicks in. I was once charged the full excess of £750 in Sicily for two scratches so tiny you would have been hard put to spot them. My subsequent argument with the rental company (to no avail) was: that they wouldn't have cost anything like that to repair. I also pointed out that having inspected many rental vehicles before driving off - as common sense dictates you must - I had observed many such bodywork blemishes, leading me to the suspicion that  renters wait until they have stung some other customers or customers  before even bothering to get the work done. Underlying the problem is a desperate need to keep the headline rental price as low as possible - a good example of the ways unfettered competition can sometimes work against the consumer interest. It's great news that the issue is at last gaining the attention it deserves, It's just a bit late.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Stunning new French b&b

An extraordinary b&b, recently opened in Troyes, in the French Champagne region, is already receiving rave reviews. The restored property, - Le Jardin de la Cathedrale - built around a courtyard garden a few steps from the city’s magnificent cathedral, was once the home and workshop of master glazier Louis-Germain Vincent-Larchier.  One of its four suites has windows composed of 15th and 16th century stained glass fragments that he collected. 

Another, once his workshop,  has an 18th century oak ceiling. I have visited the property but haven't had the chance to overnight there. However, at the time of writing it has received a rare ten out of ten score on It would make an excellent base for exploring this exceptionally beautiful city and its surrounding region. See my reviews of the city and area in the features pages at and