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car hire rip offs

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London, United...
Level Contributor
29 posts
4 reviews
car hire rip offs

Does anyone know of a car hire company that won't rip me off. Last June Gold car at Valencia airport charged me an extra 85 euros for insurance which we had to take out under duress. Had we not taken it out we would have been stranded at their car depot and would have lost the car hire charge I had already paid online. Also as I only want the car for 2 days I am looking for a full/full option which I am finding hard to find.Many thanks,

South Australia
Level Contributor
25,012 posts
15 reviews
1. Re: car hire rip offs

Contact www.auto-europe.co.uk

Valencia, Spain
Destination Expert
for Valencia
Level Contributor
281 posts
19 reviews
2. Re: car hire rip offs

I´ve got good experiences with Fly Car


Level Contributor
1 post
51 reviews
3. Re: car hire rip offs

I used Europecar this Year which were decent, good car, decent price, no ripp off. Beware of Rentalcars.com and Firefly which offer cheap deals and supposedly full CDW cover - they are rips offs and will charge for insurance for a second time at rental staion, you will have no choice but to pay again or they will not give you the car and lose the money you have already paid. What's worse, Firefly have non roadworthy cars (tire tread below legal limits). We told them we could not take the car as it was not legal to drive and they refused to give us any car as a result. We had the same experience with Goldcar as well (tires, insurances). Stay well clear of those companies, even if the price on the web sounds good (too good to be true)!

Valencia, Spain
Level Contributor
146 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: car hire rip offs

In Valencia near train Station Norte you should not pay

more than 30 euro a fay for a basic car with air conditioning

and insurance included!

Have fun,

Dany / Bed and Breakfast Valencia Mindfulness Retreat

Beijing Region...
Level Contributor
9 posts
90 reviews
5. Re: car hire rip offs


I would avoid Firefly (who are owned by Hertz - so I would avoid them too). They have stung me twice.

In October 2013, they asked me to sign paperwork that they said related to the condition of the car. They emphasised that there were no concerns as it was a zero excess rental - What they didn' mention in anyway were the charges for petrol (Which was a charge that I would reasonably expect), or, the additional similar charge of approx Euro 80, as the credit card used was not in the name of the driver - If this had been highlighted, the drivers credit card would have been used.

On the last occasion, I checked the paperwork very carefully, but the approx Euro 80 for petrol that I signed for came through as a £174 on my credit card. They were extremely difficult to get in touch with. When I eventually got hold of them, they e-mailed an invoice with a mis-fuelling charge. We had not mis-fuelled.

Plymouth, United...
2 posts
1 review
6. Re: car hire rip offs

I cannot give the name of a company that will not rip you off but I can tell you for certain that rental scams with regards to hidden charges and insurance are on the increase, perhaps a a direct result of the recession. I have just returned from Spain (Valencia) and was stung to the tune of 200 euros for minor scratches on the car. I had arrived at 2215hrs and had to wait for almost 45 mins for the transfer bus. When I arrived at the car hire office the first extra I met was 40 euros for 'out of hours' service. This is because the 'office hours service' ceased at 2300hrs. The fact that I was late because of the lack of their transfer bus was of no interest. The car received 'without option' had considerable scratches and scuffs which were impossible to note. The main ones were noted 'within the art of the possible' others were ignored as being too insignificant. When I returned the car all of these insignificant scratches became the main focus of attention resulting in me having to pay an extra 200 euros. I had hired the car for three days and had driven less than two hundred miles, but my protest fell on deaf ears. I have been dealing with this company for twelve years and had built up a good reputation with them. Their attitude? pay up and shut up. They were not prepared to provide me with photographic evidence or a report of any sort to back up any claim for my insurance company. The name of this rental company GOLDCAR. Sorry Goldcar - never again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

London, United...
Level Contributor
29 posts
4 reviews
7. Re: car hire rip offs

I have to say we used Goldcar last year and had a similar problem with the 'extras'. Their attitude was extremely aggressive and as you say 'pay up and shut up'. Never again. As we have now bought a house in Valencia we have wanted to build up a relationship with a good hire company. We have used Solmar quite a few times now and haven't been ripped off yet. Yes like you, one time we had to wait ages for the pickup at the airport which was very annoying but once at the office everything went very smoothly and quickly. We do a full to full with them as we don't want to be ripped off with the petrol and we have taken out a policy here in England (Questor) to cover the tyres, windscreen etc., which is another rip off. Overall I would recommend them.

Ventenac en...
2 posts
1 review
8. Re: car hire rip offs

Europcar is engaged in fraudulent charging for pre-existing trivial damage. The proof is that the damage report charging me £203.75 (including a £27 admin fee) was prepared 40 minutes before I returned the car! Below is an edited version of my email complaint to Europcar with all the details, but minus the attached photo and documentation. Note also the lack of recorded starting mileage, which could have been the opportunity for another scam, and the fact that the Assessors and Valuers company which supplied the premature damage report has the same legal and postal address as Europcar Group UK Ltd.

I have also reported the fraud to the UK police via the ActionFraud website. I await a response from Europcar. I shall post it when I get one.

My advice is to avoid Europcar at all costs.


20 Sep 2014: Without prejudice

Rental agreement no. xxxxxx177

Please pass this letter to your legal experts.

I wish to challenge the validity of the charge being made for minor paintwork damage to the Fiat Panda, reg. no. WVxxxxx, which was allegedly incurred during my two-day hire from Bristol Airport between 16 and 18 September 2014.

1. The alleged damage

I assert that the minor paint chips, for the repair of which I am being charged, were already there when I picked up the car. Unfortunately, without my reading closely the existing damage description on picking up the car, I assumed, on walking round the car to check for damage before getting in, that the minor pre-existing damage that was noted (and was commented upon verbally by the woman at the airport checkout point) referred to these very chip marks. But in fact it refers to a wheel. Nevertheless, the description of the location of this wheel damage on the rental sheet is inconsistent:

'307 Cote Gauche Jant Av Cond griffe - de 5 cm'

This means in French, in full:

'307 Coté gauche, jante avant conducteur griffe - de 5 cm', which translates into English as:

'307 [a code number?] Left side, front wheel driver scratch - 5 cm long',

- which would only make sense if the car were a left-hand drive. Otherwise, how can it be on the left side AND the driver's side? It is not surprising that I might have been confused. This is evidence of inaccurate recording of the condition of the car on pickup.

2. Nature of the disputed damage

I attach a photograph of the alleged damage, noted as:

'13R Arriere - Pare-Chocs Arriere Cote Passager - griffe - de 5 cm', which is translated as:

13R rear - bumper rear passenger side - scratch - 5 cm long

This is a completely inaccurate description of the disputed damage, which in fact comprises 4 separate small paint chips in a line lying along a slight fold in the wheel arch (zone 12 in your diagram, not zone 13]. See the attached photo. In addition, the distance from the two furthest ends of the scratches is 3 to 4 cm, maximum, not 5 cm as stated.

The description of the damage is therefore inaccurate and misleading.

3. Disputed mileage covered during the hire

Your agent failed to record the mileage reading on hiring out the car. On return, I told him that I had driven to Exeter, then back to the airport via Weston-Super-Mare. Your agent estimated this as 225 miles. But I have calculated my exact journey, broken down into the following segments, as follows:

Bristol Airport - Blackall Road, Exeter, via M5 66 ml

Local within Exeter 4 ml

Blackall Road, Exeter to Tiverton 19 ml

Tiverton to Templeton Village Hall 4 ml

TVH to Weston-Super-Mare 51 ml

Local within WSM 3 ml

WSM to Airport via Congresbury 15 ml

Total 162 miles

Before I could point all this out to your agent he said that his so-called 'report' was now "closed" (time: 11:37) and that he therefore could not add in the fact, which I wished to be noted, that his mileage estimate of 225 miles was based on a non-existent outgoing reading. At my insistence he wrote in hand on the invoice "wrong mileage recorded for pickup". I attach a scan of this invoice showing this handwritten addition.

4. Damage estimate

Your estimate of the damage is contained in a so-called 'damage report' no.90000xxxxxxx allegedly prepared by 'Provincial Assessors' of Leicester. This correctly states the DLW Excess as £250, but then it notes simply 'Specialist Charges' as amounting to £176.75, for work quantified as:

Labour Cost - 0.00,

Parts Cost - 0.00,

Paint and Materials - 0.00.

It is difficult to understand what this charge is for. I see no rational reason to be charged for work which (a) cannot be described in any meaningful way, requiring as it does neither labour, parts, nor paint, and (b) has not yet been carried out. It is literally unjustified, sensu stricto.

The damage estimate is dated 19 September 2014, 10:38. But I arrived back at the airport hire area at about 11:20, and your invoice is timed at 11:37 on the same day, which is correct. I took the photo (attached) when I left the hire office at 11:39, before heading off to the airport (refer to the date-time code in the image for confirmation).

I filled the car up at Rontec, Congresbury (7 miles from the airport), paid for by debit card at 11:05 on 18 September 2014 (see attached VISA debit receipt showing the time). Therefore the damage report for which you are charging me £203.75 was evidently pre-prepared and printed off when I was somewhere between Weston-Super-Mare and Congresbury. This was some 40 minutes before your agent could possibly have seen the car on its return.

The above evidence shows that the assessment report is fraudulent. I note that 'Provincial Assessors' has the same legal and postal address as Europcar Group UK Ltd; it would appear that the fraud, if that is what it is, is being conducted entirely within Europcar, and that 'Provincial Assessors' is just a front company to try to give a suggestion of independence from Europcar.

5. Conclusion

Your reports on the condition of the car on pickup and return are both clearly inaccurate in several respects. The failure to record the outgoing mileage shows that your records are deficient. Furthermore, the timing of events documented above suggests that a systematic premeditated fraud is being conducted at my expense. It is perfectly possible that the failure to note the outgoing mileage was deliberate, and that, had I driven further than I did, could have been used to extract a further unjustified charge for exceeding the 600 mile limit over two days' hire.

If you attempt to deduct the disputed amount of £203.75 (this figure includes your £27 damage admin fee) from my card account I shall have no recourse but to take legal action to recover the money and all consequential expenses incurred. I want your confirmation that such an attempt will not be made.

I shall also be taking steps to expose your dishonest business practice for what it is. I intend to put the essential details of this letter on Tripadvisor and other widely-read travel review sites.

I await your full response, which should reasonably be within 10 working days from the date of this email.

Lincoln, United...
Level Contributor
81 posts
25 reviews
9. Re: car hire rip offs

We have just returned from valencia and hired a car from solmar.

Other than the standard rip off price per litre for the tank of fuel we didnt have any problems.

Had a good look round the car making note on rental agreement of every scratch and dent.

so overall quite happy with solmar and will use again if needed.

Level Contributor
4 posts
20 reviews
10. Re: car hire rip offs

Hi we recently hired with gold car too. Our experience was similar. I wish I had read this post earlier. Do spain have anything similar to trading standards ?