GOLDCAR Rental so bad it has its own complaints website

GOLDCAR car rental reviews are so bad, one disgruntled punter started his own complaints website

Spanish car rental company GOLDCAR is so dreadful that someone has created a GOLDCAR complaints website for people to share their awful experiences.

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-10-12-50One fed up customer created the site to vent his frustration at the terrible experience and lack of customer service after hiring a car with the company, and now the site attracts thousands of hits every year with people complaining about their own holiday rental horrors.

The site owner says “The reason I found this site was after having a horrific experience myself, but sadly it was too late as the misery had already been inflicted.”

Following my own dire experience with GOLDCAR, I sadly only came across the site after I had returned from my holiday.  Like most people posting on the complaints site, I wish I had seen the site before booking my car hire.

The volume of complaints has made ripples in several other media outlets, including the Mail Online:

After reading the many, many complaints posted on the website (as well as other review boards on the internet), GOLDCAR appears to operate more like a racket than a business.  Some of the common themes include:

  • Taking a deposit in £GDP (after apparently being offered a choice) then having the deposit returned in €EUR using an extremely unfavourable exchange rate.
  • Fuel – Full to empty – how do you leave a car empty of fuel? Fuel that is put into the car is hugely over priced.
  • Fuel deposits not being returned.
  • Additional insurance being sold at the desk after booking online.
  • Additional ‘excess waiver’ required when picking up the car.

My own experience was traumatic and after queuing in a hot airport with two screaming kids, only to be ripped off at the end of it. The fact their customer service is non-existent was the nail in the coffin. Oh, and it also took me months and numerous emails and phone calls to get my fuel deposit back.

We were basically penalised for not owning a credit card.  I booked our family car online using a visa debit without any problem.  When I arrived to collect the car in Cagliari airport I was told I needed to leave a deposit using a VISA or MASTERCARD that would be refunded back when I returned the car. The deposit was €1,000. However, when I handed over my VISA debit card for the deduction to be taken I was informed that they didn’t accept debit cards for this deposit and I would have to pay $216 Euros non-refundable insurance to cover the damage deposit.

How it works is that what we’d call ‘car insurance’ is often referred to as a ‘collision damage waiver’ when hiring a car, and this is usually included in the price.  But, when you arrive at the airport (or wherever you pick the car up from) you are told that your car hire comes with an excess of about €1,000 that is ‘pre-authorised’ on your credit card at the check-in desk.

Damage the car and you’ll lose part or all of this, which is something that is abused by many car hire companies, and a lot of complaints on the GOLDCAR Complaints website centre around this.

However, here’s the sting.  Even though the companies allow you to book using your Visa Debit card, some of them don’t accept these cards when taking the prepaid excess waiver.  So, if you don’t have a ‘Credit Card’ you’re stuffed.

In the event of not having a Credit Card, they kindly request (order you) to buy an excess waiver. But the price of this often exceeds the entire price of hiring the car and paying for the insurance for a week in the first place.  For example, our car hire with GoldCar came in at around £200, but we were told we had to pay an excess waiver of £216 for a week as we didn’t have a credit card.

We offered to withdraw the €1,000 euro in cash and they could return it to us when we returned the car – this was rejectedWe offered to have the payment taken over the phone using a credit card back in the UK – this was rejected. We asked for our original booking payment to be refunded and we would take our custom elsewhere – this was rejected (we were essentially extorted and given a choice of ‘lose your hire payment or pay the excess waiver’).

I called ‘customer service’ where I was told that “hiring a car is a large responsibility and maybe you’re not responsible enough if you don’t even have a Mastercard’.  I was dumbfounded.

After a considerable amount of time basically being held hostage by our lack of credit card we  were forced to pay the non-refundable amount on a VISA debit card, and off we went with the car, terrified of going near anything that could be a potential risk to the car in fear of what might happen if someone even breathes on the vehicle.

The customer service, or lack thereof, continued when we returned the vehicle and were left to our own devices for 20 minutes whilst we waited for someone to come and check the car over and realise our fuel charge back to us.  We were told the fuel deposit would be put back in our account that week, but it took over three months to get it back.  I couldn’t even be bothered to fight about the pitiful amount they put back in my account after returning the vehicle with a full tank.  They’d even deducted some sort of ‘admin’ fee too.

This is unregulated industry at its worst and I cannot express the complete lack of customer service within this company.

4 Responses

  1. I run the website that allows renters to write reviews on their rental experiences at almost 24,000 locations around the world. Much like TripAdvisor but for car rental locations instead of hotels.

    Goldcar has the dubious honor of having:

    1. The largest number of reviews of a single company on the entire website (including Hertz and Avis for example with thousands of locations compared with Goldcar’s 50 odd) and

    2. The largest number of reviews on a single location (Goldcar Malta Airport) on the site – by a large margin.

    Another common complaint that seems to be specific to their franchise in Malta that is not mentioned in your article is that the company takes the insurance excess deposit (usually in excess of €1,000) as an actual payment on customers credit cards instead of the pre-authorisation or block that is customary. There are numerous reports of this money then being extremely difficult to recover from the company at the end of the rental. Customers report that phones are not answered, emails not responded to and promises continually broken with refunds often taking months, in excess of 6 months in some cases, to be returned.

    Goldcar head office in Spain usually respond to every review left for their locations but in the case of Malta, the usual response is that Malta is a franchise so there is nothing that head office in Spain can do to help resolve customer service issues or expedite refunds.

  2. Matt J

    Great comments form David @rentalcarreviews. I have recently been scammed by this company and have set up a twitter feed for UK customers in the same boat @robbedbygoldcar There is also @Goldcar_Victims & @1800mikhunt (Goldcar Scams)

    If you look at their own complaints twitter feed @goldcarcares (the irony is not lost on me) you get a quick snapshot of their many unhappy customers.

    Avoid this company at all costs. I paid an initial £180 to hire a car and took out my own excess insurance. In the last 2 weeks Goldcar have added an extra £900 onto my credit card with no explanation with the exception on “We are looking into it” which is their standard copy and paste response.

  3. ron

    Goldcar Murcia was an awful experience. Returning damaged car that was not our fault with demand to pay for petrol plus 50 euros fine for not filling up, took 1000 euros to pay for damage direct fromcredit card then suffered an appalling and abusive tirade from the man at desk about how lying and cheating the British are. It was awful

  4. Sheila

    I hired a car at Malta airport from Goldcar. Unfortunately during the night someone bashed the front panel of the car which I discovered the next morning. I immediately went back to the airport to report it and was told to just come back when the car was due for return. I did so. Completed paperwork and was charged over 500 euros but told that if I scanned the documents over to the company where I had ordered the car online, they would reimburse me. I ordered it through Ryanair website when I booked the tickets. They will not take any responsibility and referred me to Goldcar Spain. In completing their questionnaire as far as possible, it rejected my email address as invalid.
    There is no way of contacting these people. They “don’t understand you” if you phone. It is just a great con and something needs to be done. If I knew how and what I would do something but seem to be coming against brick walls.

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