Spanish car hire firms scamming thousands of tourists, claims watchdog

LAST UPDATED: 25 Jun, 2014 @ 18:16
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Spanish car hire firms scamming thousands of tourists, claims watchdog

THOUSANDS of tourists are being ripped off by Spanish car-hire firms each year.

Hidden charges are catching more than three-quarters of holiday-makers unaware, according to a study by British consumer watchdog Which?

Even well-known international companies have been accused of trying to beat the recession by exploiting their customers.

Which? found evidence of one scam – the ‘full-empty’ fuel policy – being used widely throughout Spain and in many other parts of Europe.

This scam sees holidaymakers forced to pay for a full tank of petrol – usually at a price way beyond that of local garages – but not refunded for unused fuel on return.

This is despite the fact many tourists have little opportunity to use a full tank of petrol during their holiday – especially those visiting small Spanish islands such as Menorca or Mallorca.

A tourist hiring a Fiat 500, for example, would have to drive the 80-mile round trip from Palma Airport to the far side of Mallorca nearly seven times to use all the fuel they were forced to buy.

The Olive Press receives regular complaints about car-hire companies, and has conducted investigations into several, including Brian’s Rent-a-Car, One Way van hire, and Niza.

Deposits were finally returned to Niza car hire customers in March after an exclusive Olive Press investigation revealed that hundreds had waited for months to get their money back.

10 COMMENTS

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  1. Another scam (Gold Car uses it) is the policy of an obligatory charge for filling up the tank on return (about €30). Even if you return the car with the tank full, you are still charged this fee. I requested the Hojas de Reclamación whereupon they waved the charge.

  2. I have rented fron brunoscar at the airport for the past 14 years and never had a problem,,,,,, you get the car with 1/4 full tank, leave it back 1/4 full, approximately,,, I gave Brunos plenty of problems over the years, bumper pulled off and I tied it back on with cable ties,,, rear end of a 307 mangled into the pillar of an underground car park , I put petrol in a diesel, I bent the rh sill that much the rear door wouldn’t open,,, I wonder he still gives me a car???? What they advertise they give,,, NO penalties, No problems, NO scams,,,older cars if I rent an economic Clio / Panda etc but who cares, I have got a brand new Focus Ghia or other bigger car, even a 7 seater Scenic when he ran out of Pandas, etc at no extra cost…. You are safer with a family run company,,,,,, cheers Seamus Sabinillas.

  3. Briansrentacar and it’s owner Mr David Ballard are definitely one to avoid in my opinion.
    I am aware of several customers from my last count over 24 who have had problems getting back their deposits.
    When you book with them they take 300 euros from your credit card straight away, you return your car at the end of your hire period, collected by staff of Briansrentacar, they agree all in order, get on your flight home, you are safely out of the way, you get a text that you damaged the car and they are not only retaining your deposit but charging your account for additional repairs.
    You will not be provided with any evidence or estimates and in our case communications were met with foul threatening and abusive responses.
    In my opinion I would avoid Mr Ballard and Briansrentacar AT ALL COSTS.
    We won our case against this company, see issue 168.

  4. My very recent experience with Brian’s Car rental is very similar to Mr Evans’. They have illegally retained my 300 euro deposit after falsely accusing me of damaging their vehicle. I have since found countless similar stories and I wish I had done my research before getting involved with this mob. I can only hope that the Spanish authorities can close these people down as they are not a good advert for what is otherwise a beautiful part of the world.

  5. just returned from Alicante Spain, I have rent a car from Dickmanns from the 06/03 till 30th 03
    on the day I pick up the car found the staff very, very patronizing and a bit rude I have been renting cars from Alicante for the past 25 years with mix experiences but overall good. this time it has been absolutely a con for starters they have take literately from my credit card the deposit wen I returned the car they said my deposit will be returned in 20 Days so they have keep my money for 24 days normally any reputable company will put a block on your credit card, but not Dickmanns they take your money and also they charging you VIT for the petrol the deposit so I end up paying 90 Euro VIT if they don’t return the VIT that will amount to fraud as the petrol the VIT is all ready paid and the deposit carry no VIT all in all you be ware ( never aging with this mob )

  6. I have to laugh at these posts here because it would appear that in all cases these thieves get away with all they do. In Spain there are more English thieves and bad boys than anyone else so l am surprised that someone has not got ‘a little team together’ to right this wrong. I remember more than 25 years ago an English guy was selling something to do with cable television and it ruined a lot of equipment. He was found by his pool unconscious an needed to be airlifted home never to be seen again.

  7. Most agency/price-comparison sites have the facility to select the full-to-full rather than the full-to-empty option, so no need to get caught out. I last hired in Sept 2015 at Malaga airport from malagacar.com, opted for the full-to-full option without any problems whatsoever.

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