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Sneaky car rental companies

Watch out when you rent a car in Spain. A British study shows that holidaymakers in Spain are particularly susceptible to insidious tricks from car rental companies.

car-hire-spainMost car hire companies in all countries have one or two tricks they use to make customers pay more than necessary when they rent a car, but in Spain it appears to be six sneaky tricks that are usually being used. The survey was conducted by “Economy Car Hire” in Britain and the conclusion is that it is very important to read the terms carefully.

There are some dirty tricks in all countries, but Spain is distinguished by being the worst. You would be least likely to be involved in something like that, according to the survey, in Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Croatia and Switzerland.

Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of says that Spain is a huge travel destination and a major market for the car rental industry. This has led to a large number of rogue car hire companies with insanely low prices. The low prices mean that customers often ignore the fact that the car is dirty and has some flaws, but this could cost them a lot.

rental-car-spain-2His advice is to always take pictures of the car when you pick it up and control all occurring injuries carefully. It can even be necessary to wipe the car clean if it is dirty to be able to see any damages. Check the tires and the bumpers, as this is something that is often forgotten by the clients. Otherwise there is a great risk that the car rental company upon return alleges that the old infirmities are new damage that you have caused. Always try to get a signed confirmation on return that the vehicle has been returned without any new damages.

Here are some of the tricks that are often being used in various popular holiday destinations.

Admin Fees: Some companies have something called “full-full” politics. It means you get the car with a full tank and must return it with a full tank. When you hand back the car, you get money back for the petrol but they keep a handling fee which is about 25-40 €.

Credit Card Fees: You must pay for extra features such as GPS or child car seat in punds at a very bad exchange rate.

Old damages: You are held accountable for old damages that were already on the car when you retrieved it.

Diesel Fee: You must pay a supplement of € 10 to 15 since you get a diesel car – even though you never asked for a diesel car.

Sealed conditions: You sign the lease digitally via the Internet and a printed copy is handed over in a sealed envelope, so you can’t not see the surprises before it’s too late.

Additional Insurance: You are persuaded / forced to buy a local insurance even if you have purchased insurance before you leave, or have another insurance that already covers you.

United Kingdom
Old damages: Here they try often to make you responsible for old damages.

Extra cleaning fees: Some car hire companies in France include a cleaning fee in the deposit. This gives them the right to hold back 50 € if the car is not returned in an acceptable condition.

Parking Fee: When pickup, using “Meet and Greet service” you often get a parking ticket that does not have adequate credit, so you have to pay extra to be able to leave the parking lot.

Late working hours: There is often a queue of between half an hour to an hour to get the car. Arriving late, after waiting for an hour in the queue you are suddenly in at inconvenient times and must pay a late working hours fee.

South Africa
Contract Fees: Most companies attempt to charge a contract fee of 40 – 70 ZAR plus VAT. This will be charged only for the effort to write the contract.

Free upgrade: You will be told that you have got a free upgrade but afterwards you discover that you have been charged for the “free upgrade”.

Insurance for roadside assistance: This section usually included in the rent, but when you get to the counter, they try to get you to sign a more comprehensive insurance – despite the fact that the regular insurance is adequate.


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