The Motor home
The Motor home
"The Chausson from Motorholme at Stretton"
I have to admit that I was a little rash and jumped straight in, both feet first, when I booked a motor home to hire for a few days away. Yep, I made the cardinal sin of choosing the first website I came across, which happened to be Motorholme, saw a deal they had and instantly phoned up and made a booking, which I immediately paid for in full.
After the booking call, I immediately had the “S*** what have I done?” thought. I mean, I hadn’t checked other motor home hirers, I hadn’t done any research and I hadn’t read any reviews about Motorholme either. To say I was a little concerned was an understatement.
After I had made the booking I had to run with Motorholme regardless, however I thought I had better have a look online to see what previous hirers had to say about the company. The first thing I found was that all the reviews were a few years old, and the most recent ones were back in 2012. This was not the start I wanted. Reading through the reviews things only got worse as 99% of the reviews were negative. There were issues with “poor quality motor homes” (I have to say this didn’t bother me that much as we only wanted to see if we could get on with motor homing),”Excessive charges over fuel disputes, damage disputes”, “hidden costs” and “failure to get damage deposits back”. After reading the reviews I was all set to cancel, but after reading the cancellation policy I realized I would lose all my money since the motor home was booked for the end of that month. I was basically stuck between a rock and a hard place, and there was nothing I could do other than run with it, be aware I was likely to lose my damage deposit (which fortunately was only £250 and not the £1,000 it could have been) and try and have a good time in the motor home. My better half is a real worrier so I thought it best not mention anything to her.
The booking process was a doddle and everything was done online. All I needed to do was send a photo of the driving licences so Motorholme could sort the insurance, and then fill in a few online forms, and pay the damage deposit. The booking process was quick, efficient and I could do it at my own leisure at any time, night or day.
When the day arrived to go and pick up the motor home we eagerly traveled to Cambridge (the nearest depot to us) and found the yard. Driving through the gate I was relieved since it looked a professional outfit, with loads of modern motor homes around, and not the dodgy little business the reviews I had read suggested it was.
The motor home we hired, the smallest one in the fleet, was a 2015 Ford Chausson and I have to say I was impressed. Even though the motor home was 6m in length it seemed a lot bigger and quite imposing, which considering the largest vehicle I had driven up to that point was a small SUV was quite a worry.
Before taking the motor home we were given instructions and a demonstration of how to use everything, which was needed since neither me nor my better half had ever been in a motor home before. We were explicitly told that all tanks had to be emptied before return (otherwise there would be costs to pay) and also that we needed to fill the fuel to the current level (otherwise there would be costs to pay). Since the fuel tank wasn’t full to the brim I was expecting it to be dipped however the bloke doing the hand over simply looked at the gauge and said there was about 50 liters in there and took a picture of the gauge with his tablet. It was not an accurate reading, and given the charges for returning the motor home with too little fuel (£45 admin fee plus however much per litre of fuel) I wasn’t impressed. Oh well…….
Before we took the motor home we had to do the “damage check” with the bloke dealing with the handover. Because of the horror stories I read on the internet, along with the reviews, I made sure I went over the vehicle with a fine tooth comb pointing out everything as I went. I also took photos of the damage and some video footage with my phone (although I told the bloke the video footage was for my video diary of the motor home experience). Looking back, I guess I was a little over the top with the damage check, but given this was the first time I had ever hired a vehicle I wanted to make sure I had everything covered.
The first few miles in the motor home was a real experience, and very daunting. However, once out of the Cambridge area and out on the open road the Chausson was awesome. It was nippier than I expected, it handled better than I expected, it was easier to drive than I expected and it didn’t drink as much fuel as I was expecting. Within half an hour of being behind the wheel of the Chausson I realized why people love their motor homes so much, and I was hooked.
Over the next few days we toured the west side of the UK (being careful to stay within the mileage allowance – otherwise there would have been additional charges per mile) spending one night at a number of campsites. Whilst we had the motor home we wanted to test it as much as we could so we drove on large motorways, A roads, smaller country roads (that are still two way) and the really narrow single track roads. We drove through the Peaks to test out the narrow, winding inclines (and declines) as well. In all situations the Chausson performed and was a dream to drive.
Would I recommend Motorholme/Unbeatable Hire?
I appreciate many people had bad experiences with Motorholme however I have to say that I didn’t, well on the whole I didn’t. The booking process was easy, the motor home was modern, clean, had everything we needed and was a joy to drive. The handover was smooth and efficient. Overall it was very good.
When we returned the motor home we put more fuel in it than we picked it up with to make sure we avoided the extortionate short fuel charges – we were not refunded for this. We should have been given a full tank of fuel when we picked up the motor home and then should have returned it with a full tank (just like when you hire a car) but Motorholme don’t agree. The “full tank” arrangement is just and fair and stops the hirer losing out and incurring more “hidden charges”.
The terms and conditions state that damage deposits are returned within 28 working days, however mine didn’t arrive in this time frame. On working day 29 I called Motorholme who sorted out the refund immediately, although I did have to wait for it to go through the credit card clearing system – which took three days (the standard).
I would like to say I got the damage deposit back in full but I can’t. Even though there was no damage Motorholme applied the £6.00 credit card charge so I received £244.00, which I think is a little naughty especially since the damage deposit cost me £256.00 in the first place (being £250 plus a £6.00 card charge). This £12.00 charge is a hidden cost that Motorholme don’t make clear. I could have challenged it but I don’t think it would have done any good. If you are thinking of hiring a motor home from Motorholme/Unbeatable Hire you need to be aware you are going to have to part with £12 charges in connection with the damage deposit as well as card charges (and it doesn’t matter whether you use a debit card or a credit card) for the actual hire costs.
The hidden charges, i.e. the extortionate card fees and the extra fuel we had to put in did leave a bitter taste in the mouth, which is a real shame because if it weren’t for that I would say our Motorholme/Unbeatable Hire experience was perfect.
Here's a few more photos of the Chausson we hired, which we had no problems with whatsoever!
About the author
A total motor home newbie with a six year camping background in a folding camper. A keen blogger sharing my experience of researching, choosing, buying and owning a motor home. and every thing that goes with it.