25 Mar, 2013 @ 17:46
1 min read

Costa del Sol car rental warning from British tourists

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BRITISH holidaymakers are warning tourists to beware of a car hire firm on the Costa del Sol.

At least six people claim to have been duped by Malaga-based Rent a Car Spain.

Users of the company have complained that vehicles are in a poor condition and deposits are not being returned.

“The cars you get are damaged when they arrive,” said one client 70-year-old George Oliver, who holidayed in Fuengirola with his wife in November.

“The car had numerous bashes and scrapes, and I returned it after two days because the handbrake didn’t even hold.

“The second car was equally beaten up,” he added.

Oliver claims that following a safe return of the vehicle, his €400 ‘caution fee’ (or deposit) was not returned.

After several weeks of trying to contact the company, Oliver went directly to his bank to make a formal complaint.

“One month later my bank returned the €400 fee and said it believed that it was unfair trading.”

Incredibly, Oliver claims his brother-in-law also lost €400 from the company at the same time.

However, a spokeswoman from Rent a Car Spain, claims Oliver did not wait long enough for the normal refund procedure to take place before contacting his bank.

“We are a serious company working here for more than 12 years and of course take a deposit as guarantee for the rental,” she said.

“This is completely legal and obviously a client has to be responsible for any damage caused.

“In this case, as the client claimed to the bank, we had to stop our refund process, otherwise we would have refunded him twice.

“We agreed with the bank to refund the deposit as the car was returned correctly,” she said.

The spokeswoman added that Oliver has ‘used the company more than once without any problems’.

The company also claims to have no knowledge of the bashing it has received on popular travel website TripAdvisor.

At least five people have claimed the same thing happened.

“If I can’t reach them I will be asking my credit card provider to look into this for me as a fraudulent transaction,” wrote one user.


  1. Sadly, the majority of car rental companies in Spain are trying to do you in one way or another. Renting cars 3-4 times a year, from a wide variety of companies, I have personally been done by: keeping deposits for 6-12 months, taking random funds off of a VISA card for no explainable reason (and then having to be chased for 2 years), refusing to check the car upon return and then claiming damage, refusing to check the car upon pick-up and saying “If you don’t like that, give me back the keys and get a car from someone else.”, charging 70-80 euros for a full tank of petrol that costs 35-40 euros at the pump, etc. etc. Renting a car in Spain is a risky undertaking at best, but walking is not an option. Caveat emptor.

  2. Sir I have heard many complaints like this over the years and I have my share of disappointments But I have been using Brian’s Rent a Car from Malaga now for some years without fault No relation Brian Turner England.

  3. I don’t have this problem. I hire a car every month for a week. I don’t pay a deposit and don’t have to pay for a tank of petrol at extortionate prices. I know exactly what I am paying at the time I book it and can choose whether to pay at time of booking (to lock in exchange rate) or when I pick up the car. The company is very efficient, no long waiting or filling in endless forms and photocopying of documents. Always courteous and as a regular customer they know me on sight and I get a discount. Cars are often damaged – show me one in Spain that isn’t! This is not a problem.

    Not all car hire firms are the same. Try Marbesol next time. I would not go anywhere else now.

  4. First take pictures of the car straight away using your phone where any scratches or damage is visibble. Then return to office before leaving to get the original document noted with the problems. If they are awkward refuse the car and hand keys back and demand refund at once or in cash.

    If tank supposed to be filled at start, take photo of gauge and milage, take to a petrol station and fill up and take photo of receipt. This usually shows that tank was not filled but just enough to show full on dial.

    On return fill slowly until full on gauge and photo it plus receipt. Any complaints you have the evidence.

    Other things to watch, where are the high vis jackets, first aid kit and checjk spare or at least tyre refil kit is present plus two triangles.

    If they wish to play games you must use tactics against.

  5. Be very careful……. There is one English” company on the Costa Blanca, advertising this …..all cars less than 4 years old. No hidden extras Fully Insured Full 24 Hr Recovery included.
    However, when we rented with them, and looked at the small print at the back of the of the “CON” TRACT we were astounded to find that we were in fact only covered third party and would be liable for any repairs, in case of accident, to the vehicle itself. Unfortunately after 1 week the car developed a fault and we were asked to drive down from Alicante to La Zenia, 150 km round trip. where we were offered the only alternate car they had……a fiat seicientos…..a mini mini car, at the same price (we had paid in advance of course, booked for almost 1 month,)NO DISCOUNT. despite the fact that the rear of the vehicle wouldn’t even be capable of seating 2 children, we are all biggish adults.
    We had to keep the tiny car for a week until ” our ” car was repaired.
    Despite that fact that when we handed over the car for repair we had also informed the handler that the AC was not cold when we again had to drive 150 km round trip to collect the repaired vehicle we actually had to resort to a row almost before they would actually accept that it was blowing hot. “….. it was cold when I checked it” said the not so helpful English helper.
    Later when we checked with the Guardia civil we found out that the vehicle was 10 years old, had previously had 4 keepers and believe it or not they were hiring at 15 euro per day. This , despite the fact that the car was actually registered in a private owners name…..not as a rent a car.
    They deliver the cars ….to you home….because they don’t seem to have an office.
    Below is the Blurb on their Facebook page
    If you are a holiday maker or part time resident of the Costa Blanca and you want a reliable self drive car hire service with no hidden costs during your stay; quoted price is the price you pay, all we ask is you top the fuel back up to the level it was when you took charge of the vehicle…there are no extra insurance costs or mileage fees!

    If you are tempted to use their services instead of a “proper” rental company you can only have yourself to blame if things go wrong.
    Be very careful when choosing you rent a car company . mistakes can be very costly.

  6. In relation to Mr Brian Turner, I am very pleased you had good service from Brians Rent A Car. However I can tell you that there are many customers who have not. Me included.
    There are several threads on this company. Trip advisor. Málaga web. Review centre. Etc.
    I have no doubt the company do have satisfied customers but Mr Ballard and Mr Richardson seem to have a knack of attracting problem customers that they then refer to as LIARS.
    There are more complaints about this company than any other I’ve seen, so if you do hire from them be very careful. My advise would be pay a little more and use a reputable company.
    Regards Dave Evans.

  7. Well I have rented cars from Brian’s car hire, ref mr Dave Ballard. Great service, cars always clean, and best value in Spain. So well done Brian’s car hire Malaga.

  8. Brian’s car hire is definitely one to avoid. A full two weeks after we returned the car to David Ballard in the same condition that we had been given it and after I had to enquire about the return of my deposit, I was told by a Paul Richardson that we had returned the car damaged and that most of our deposit would be retained. Despite repeated requests, no evidence apart from an obviously set up photo of a rubber window surround pulled out of its setting was provided. Even if any of the alleged damage was true, we did not even receive the remaining balance of the deposit. Subsequent investigations have shown a great many others with similar stories. I would also advise to pay a bit more and avoid these people at all costs.

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