We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Car Hire - Avoid Marbesol!

Which Malaga hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Liverpool, England...
posts: 1
Car Hire - Avoid Marbesol!

Just back from a week in Marbella (2 adults, 3 children). Booked hire car in advance with Marbesol, disaster from beginning to end.

Instructions were that someone would be waiting for us in arrivals hall but no sign! After numerous calls to their office, we were told to wait outside airport for courtesy bus. Unlike other companies, Marbesol bus only appeared once every 20 mins and when it did only had enough seats for 8 people. We missed first 2 buses as adults shoved kids out the way to get on!

When we arrived at hire depot we queued for 1 1/2 hours before being dealt with. Upon getting to the front of the queue I was stung for €87 for the out full, return empty swizz, this was for a 1.3 Opel Combo with a 52 litre tank where Diesel was on sale locally for 1.30 / litre!

The actual car was a disaster, 65k on the clock, central locking didn't work, engine warning light was on and trying to find a panel that didn't have a ding was a challenge. I asked to change but that was the best of the bunch!

In short, one to be avoided, will go with the big boys next time...

221 replies to this topic
London, England
posts: 5,441
reviews: 64
1. Re: Car Hire - Avoid Marbesol!

I have also just returned from Malaga and rented a car with Marbesol. I am normally very sceptical about the comments I read on TA as often I believe them to be exagerrated or the fault of the renter. However, in this case they appear to be correct.

Due to severe arthritis I walk with two sticks. I was travelling with a friend and my sister and my friend also has walking difficulties.

The wheelchair assistance person took me to the p/u place for the Marbesol bus. We waited a whileand once the bus arrived I was pushed out of the way by other passengers and had to wait for the next one. So much for modern day chivalry.

Once we got to the rental office I had to climb some difficult steps and wait in a queue along with a number of other people. We were second in the queue when the agent called forward some people behind us. I commented in Spanish that we were before this person and the girl went off without saying a word and came back with a plastic sign that said 'Marbesol Club' and plonked it on the counter. All this without uttering a word to me or anyone else.

Eventually we got to the front of the queue where we were attended by a very sullen looking young man who looked as if he would rather have been anywhere except in the car rental office. I ave him all my documents and then he decided to serve somebody else. As I speak fluent Spanish he had no difficulty in understanding me and I mentioned that the fuel policy is a rip off. No sign of acknowledgement of anything I was saying. We had no option but to pay it.

The car was an Astra with a broken ignition key and quite a lot of scratches on the bodywork. I ensured these had all been noted before we drove away It also had over 85,000km on the clock..

On the last day of our holiday we stopped on the way to AGP airport to have lunch. When we got back into the car it wouldn't start as the battery was flat. Fortunately, the male staff in the restaurant got it going for us. I told the agent of the problem when we returned the car, but he didn't seem too bothered.

In addition to the rental price and fuel they also took 800Euros from my credit card as I didn't take out their extra insurance.

The car had been rented from Argus Car Hire, who are a broker. I have an article from the Sunday Times which in a statement from their MD says they will not be using companies making extortionate fuel charges. Needless to say, he will be receiving a communication from me. I was also concerned at how mechanocally sound the car was.

The Spanish economy is in meltdown, so IMHO these companies who do not offer value for money and good customer service should be blacklisted. There are plenty of companies around that can.

Edited: 7:01 am, April 23, 2012
posts: 14,930
2. Re: Car Hire - Avoid Marbesol!

I recommend this company quite a lot as I have had nothing but good service. But in your case I know you have a genuine grievance.

I would expect all to be rectified to your satisfaction. Please post back with the outcome.

London, England
posts: 5,441
reviews: 64
3. Re: Car Hire - Avoid Marbesol!

I rang Argus Car Hire to ask for the email address of Barry Malone their Head of Online Operations and they wouldn't give it to me. I have written to their Customer Services Department and received an acknowledgement.

I will post their reply once I receive it. I had read about Marbesol on TA before I went on holiday, but I am always willing to try out a company/service for myself. Unfortunately, this time the negative comments were true.

I have used Argus on previous occasions and had no problems with their suppliers, so maybe they should review their working relationship with Marbesol.

Leeds U.K.
Destination Expert
for Costa del Sol
posts: 8,151
reviews: 29
4. Re: Car Hire - Avoid Marbesol!

Hermanaeriza: Excellant presentation of your experience with this car hire operator. Even your ability to speak Spanish did not assist at all and just highlighted the rudeness of the staff.

Your concerns what the economic affects on car hire operators may be in the future are valid.

I have stated in another thread that I have had problems with car hire companies from A to Z, A = Avis, Z=Zenith. If companies were blacklisted based on genuine complaints like yours, none would exsist.

You are dealing with a people based industry as the front line, I know from my own business experience, however, much training you give, you cannot stand alongside your staff every minute. The sullen young man is a clear illustration.

London, England
posts: 5,441
reviews: 64
5. Re: Car Hire - Avoid Marbesol!


I worked in tourism and education for most of my working life. Jobs that involved dealing with people. I relly don't know how these people keep their jobs as there are plenty of people out of work in Spain who could do it more efficiently and with a smile on their faces.

The problem in Spain is being able to get rid of staff. It is all complicated and depends on the type of contract they have. The economic situation there is dire, so I would be ensuring I held onto my job at any price if I was working there..

If the car hire brokers also set standards and adhered to them the car hire companies would have to up their game. In an area like Malaga there is plenty of choice, so these companies should remember that when they are employing rude staff and supplying sub standard cars.

At the end of the day it wasn't the rudeness of staff that annoyed me quite as much as the amount for fuel and the 800Euros taken from my CC. Especially when the company had said in the Sunday Times they were not going to work with those companies. All I can think is that Argus are getting the cars at a very cheap rate.

Anyway, I'll wait and see what they have to say.

Erith, Kent
Destination Expert
for Mijas, Sitio de Calahonda
posts: 9,511
reviews: 58
6. Re: Car Hire - Avoid Marbesol!

Did they actually charge the €800 to your card? I ask because AVIS took our card details when we went with them last year but because there was no problem when we returned the car they didn't charge our card. If they did, have you had it refunded?

London, England
posts: 5,441
reviews: 64
7. Re: Car Hire - Avoid Marbesol!

Yes, they did charge it to the card. Haven't checked yet if it has been refunded as I only got back early hours Sunday morning.

As I have previously stated I have also rented cars where they just take an imprint of the card, but don't actually charge it. I am fortunate to be ale to travel frequently and am aware how the systems work (or don't, as the case may be). Sorry, I don't mean for this to appear rude.

Erith, Kent
Destination Expert
for Mijas, Sitio de Calahonda
posts: 9,511
reviews: 58
8. Re: Car Hire - Avoid Marbesol!

No problem.

London, England
posts: 5,441
reviews: 64
9. Re: Car Hire - Avoid Marbesol!

As an update on my complaint to Marbesol, as expected I just received a standard reply regarding their T&Cs etc. I find it very condescending as they think we are all idiots and can't read.

They totally missed the points of my complaint which was mainly about the staff attitude and that the boss at Argus Car Hire (Barry Malone) had quoted to the Sunday Times that they would stop using these inferior companies.

It is impossible to contact him, which is not surprising as he doesn't 'put his money where his mouth is'. Obviously getting too much commission from Marbesol to terminate their contract.

I also received an email from the Marbesol Manager who didn't address any of the issues either. So, in all a complete waste of time, which I thought it would be.

By reading all the negative comments on TA regarding Marbesol I think they will be losing a lot of business.

I have just returned from a week in Ibiza and rented a car (direct) with Bravoautos. What a difference. We were collected quickly from the airport and taken to their clean, modern office and promptly served by a very helpful and pleasant young man.

We had a Ford Fiesta for the week and the 90Euros was all inclusive, no extras to pay when we got there. The tank was a quarter full and i was asked to bring it back with more or less the same amount in it. They didn't charge any exorbitant 500Euros deposit either.

Marbesol, take note how to do business.

London, United...
posts: 32
reviews: 19
10. Re: Car Hire - Avoid Marbesol!

Concur with all the above, several issues for me;

1. Not impressed by being charged €800 to my card. I'll have to pay 2.5% of that to my bank, even if it's refunded (it was actually charged rather than blocked). At a location with relatively cheap rentals, another €20 makes it expensive.

2. The guy we dealt with at the office was abrupt in general and assumed we wanted insurances we hadn't asked for.

3. Seemingly as a retaliation for number 2, we were charged for a full tank (€96 from memory - which seems over the going rate). As a result ended up trying to drive places trying to use the fuel up!

4. You don't get any confirmation that you've returned the car, of its condition on return - just a VERBAL confirmation that they'll refund the deposit in the 'next few days'. Obviously makes any claims about any damage caused impossible to substantiate from the renters side.

5. Vehicle itself was relatively new but had errors codes on the dash, quite a lot of dings and scratches and had the service light on.

Overall, a pretty shoddy experience. If you end up with a voucher for these guys cancel it in your cooling off period and book elsewhere.

Reply to: Car Hire - Avoid Marbesol!
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted