EXCLUSIVE, by Tom Powell
BRITISH tourists have slammed an Andalucian car hire company for failing to repay thousands of euros in deposits despite returning vehicles in perfect condition.
Many are still fighting for their money months after they returned their vehicles to Niza Cars, which has offices around the region.
In an extraordinary exchange, filmed by one angry client, an employee admitted that 130 deposits of between €300 and €900 had not been returned due to a ‘big economic problem’.
The company, which has 2,500 vehicles and opened in the 1960s, also blamed a change of chip and pin Visa machines, blaming the bank.
Briton Steve Moore was told, on camera, this week that while 100 clients had now been paid, 30 were expected to be paid ‘within a few days or two weeks’.
He had confronted staff at Niza’s La Linea office over why he and his friend Luke Senior’s deposit had not been returned after two months of continual ‘fob off emails’.
Luke, who is dual British-New Zealand nationality, had hired the car for 23 days to go kitesurfing in Tarifa and returned it on December 13, before leaving the country.
Moore said: “They immediately tried to fob me off by saying it was all to do with the Malaga head office, absolutely nothing they could do, best to email Malaga.”
Determined for a result, he produced all the documents and email correspondence and placed a camera on the counter to begin filming.
Staff eventually agreed to call the head office and were told by a ‘Jose Ma’ in the bookings department that they were going through a ‘big economic problem with the company in general’.
The male employee then blamed the problem on the bank, and said they have now switched banks but could not explain why this was never communicated in emails.
Another customer Christine Carter, from Essex, told the Olive Press she had flown back to Malaga specifically to demand her deposit back in person.
While she eventually got the deposit back, Niza has so far not reimbursed her for the flights or accommodation, despite promises.
Several other exasperated customers told the Olive Press they only received their deposit back by going into the Malaga office in person.
Welsh pensioners Karen and Tony Wright, who own an apartment in Torrenueva, have struggled to get any answers since returning their hire car on December 16.
“We have all but given up on ever seeing the €500 again and it is a lot of money to lose,” she said.
The company’s commercial spokesman Francisco Lucena explained that the initial problem occurred after they had moved from one bank to another to get better terms for their Visa machines.
“And then the old bank blocked the machines so we couldn’t give deposits back.”
He added that there had been some ‘other problems’ as well but that they were going to be returning all deposits ‘as soon as possible’.
“We have had thousands of happy clients over 40 years and we will get this sorted out,” he added.