Do you get the same rate for a Europe car hire rental as a friend living in a different province or country does? And if you don’t, do you know why that is? Did you know that where you are located, and where you access a website from, can result in you paying more for a product or service than if you accessed that same website from a different area?
The location data on your mobile phone can be used to help companies present you with “dynamic pricing”. This is something that happens a lot in the travel industry, especially when it comes to car rental packages and flights. If you want to learn more about how location data can affect what you pay for your holiday services and how to protect yourself, read on.
It is surprising for many to learn that if you are considered more able to pay for something as a result of where you are living, the rate offered to you will be inflated specifically. This type of pricing scheme is outright pricing discrimination.
What this means is that if you access a website that uses location data and dynamic pricing while in an affluent area (or country), chances are good that you will be overcharged! For example, let’s say you choose Europcar hire for your car rental and book flights from India, the rates that you see could be considerably less than what you would be offered if booking from the UK!
How to Protect Yourself from Being Overcharged
If you want to eliminate the risk of being overcharged for car rental and airline tickets based on your location, there are a few things that you can do. Some of these are listed below:
- Disable your smartphone’s location settings.
All smart phones have a location setting that you can activate or deactivate as required. This feature is generally found in the phone’s main settings. For instance, you will need to have location services on if you wish to make use of your mobile phone’s map app. If you want to avoid the possibility of prices being adjusted according to the area you are browsing from, disable location settings, especially before visiting websites that you wish to buy products and services from.
- Don’t let third parties monitor your online activities and use the data to manipulate you
By disabling third party cookies in your browser, you can stop third parties accessing your location data and monitoring how you behave online. Have you ever Googled car rentalsin Windhoek just once, and then suddenly adverts for all kinds of car rentals start popping up everywhere during your online activities? That is because third parties have gained access to your data and are using it for their own marketing and price-adjusting purposes.
- Do your homework before making a purchase
Unfortunately, location data is not the only information that is used by some travel companies to charge you more for car rental and air tickets. The device that you use could also determine a different price. Some companies charge a different price for the same product, depending on the device used to access the product/website. For instance, a person using a desktop computer to buy a product may see completely different prices online to someone who is shopping via their mobile phone. Before paying for car rental from Europe car South Africa or any other leading car rental company, or buying airline tickets, carry out a search on multiple devices to see if the price differs or remains the same. Use your laptop, cell phone, iPad and so on.
- Be a little secretive about what you do online
You don’t have to share all of your personal information and behaviours with your browser. Being a little bit secretive can save you money in the long run. When visiting car rental and flight bookingwebsites, do so in incognito mode. This allows you to visit a site undetected and without the site getting access to too much data from you. You should also clear your cookies before doing a car rental search as this will delete any existing data that is stored on your device.
For added anonymity, you can use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service. This type of service hides your IP or address. You can set the IP address to make it appear as if you are from a particular area as well. VPN services will disallow the website and third parties from seeing your data and knowing where you are located.
Don’t Fall Victim to Dynamic Pricing
Use the steps above to minimise the potential for being over charged just because you are located in a particular area. If you want to find fair car rental prices to compare and consider, use our search feature above. At Europe Car Hire you can search, compare, book, and securely pay for the car rental package of your choicesecure in the knowledge that you are getting the best rates.