EXCLUSIVE by James Bryce
A BRITISH holidaymaker is suing a car hire company after claiming to have had his deposit withheld for damage he did not cause.
Policeman David Evans, 50, from Manchester, rented a vehicle from Costa del Sol-based Brian’s Rent a Car during a week-long holiday in Fuengirola.
But despite claiming to have returned the car in the same condition, Evans says he has had his €300 deposit withheld and a further €122 taken from his card since returning to England.
“The company claimed the seat had been damaged by the arm rest being wrenched out of the seat and thrown into the footwell of the car, which is nonsense,” Evans told the Olive Press.
“It was already broken when I picked up the car.
“Then when they finally contacted me at home they were quite abusive. I can’t believe they can behave in this manner.”
Evans continued: “If this stops other people getting in the same situation then I’ll be happy.”
But Brian’s Rent a Car boss David Ballard denies the accusations, insisting the seat was not damaged when Evans took the car.
“We would not rent out a vehicle that was in a bad condition,” Ballard insisted.
“We did everything we could to contact the client straight away after the vehicle had been returned and we would never keep a deposit without proof of damage.
Evans however, is not the only client to complain.
Several others have accused the company, based in Benalmadena, of withholding money for damage they claim not to have caused.
One Gavin Johnson, from Manilva, claims his deposit was withheld despite the firm cancelling the booking at late notice.
Johnson had a deposit of €250 withheld due to a dispute over alleged damage (a scratch on the paintwork), after Ballard insisted Johnson had left it too late to complain.
The case went to arbitration through Spanish consumer watchdog OMIC, who ruled the case can only be dealt with through the courts.
Johnson is due to meet with Spanish police this week to discuss the issue.
Meanwhile, Stefan Hermes had his deposit taken and not returned despite never having taken delivery of a car.
It came after the firm cancelled the booking at the last minute.
“There are several disputes we have had with clients and they are all liars,” Ballard added. “We would never con a client in a million years.”