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.

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7 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.

  5. diego

    I was obligated to delay my flight by one day with Iberia for local needs from 16/05/2017 up to 17/05/2017 due to the Feast day of San Isidro as i wanted to close a local business. Once the plane booking was changed i was looking to extend one day the contract of my rented car with you for 24 hours. As per you answer that was clear to me according to contract there was no amendment possible and i should renew the contract in one of your agencies. As i was staying in Ponferrada, i should have to complete a trip not shorter than 400 Kms to do so, then i decided to receive information about the costs implied to go forward. Your attendant kindly remind me the need to pay a 40 euros sanction for the over time after one hour, plus the renting fee of one day more.

    They were not able as per their words to tell me the renting cost for one day of the Fiat Panda.

    My contract number is 11515886.

    They did not tell me the phone number of the Madrid Airport terminal of Goldcar desk but forwarded me the e-mail address, informing me after my question that she expected me to be responded in one day time.

    See above the subsequent e-mail i sent that was not yet responded. One day later a kind attendant in your central desk told me after my speech and the fact that no answer followed my e-mail, that the cost of the delay would be 40 euros sanction plus one day rent that she calculated in two euros according to the price of my hired car daily fee. But she could not confirm me this last point as could apply a local fee for one day renting at the local office, Terminal one Barajas airport.

    Then I questioned her as no other contact was possible with this Terminal one desk in Madrid airport, if could it be that potentially it could reach a value higher than 100 euros one day renting by there to what she responded me categorically that it could not happen at all and if so were the case i should immediately communicate with GOLDCAR Central Office.
    She kindly reminded me to be extremely careful to avoid incidents as my car was covered by insurance just for the time of the mentioned contract. As per the played words at the start of my call the conversation was recorded.

    Then i decided to delay one day my return as it happened.

    The reason of my complaint was the fact that at my question by the Terminal one desk in Madrid airport, where i showed up in order to confirm my assumptions after being kindly attended by your service member at the car return, i was informed that the cost incurred by me in addition to the 40 euros sanction would be 280 additional euros for the one day renting according to their locally presented fees.
    There was no answer by the way to my question about the lack of response to the e-mail i had sent as per recommendation of your central desk.

  6. Daan Verkouteren

    Hello all,

    Never use this company, unless you are a masochist.

    Just recently I had the pleasure of starting off my holiday with a lot of frustration, anger and an emptier wallet than expected. All thanks to everyone’s best friend Goldcar (and

    I’ve never before taken the time to write a public review, positive or negative, about an organization or product I’d just had the experience of working with. However, the sheer amount of sh*t that clearly functions as the foundation of the car rental company Goldcar changed my mind. This company is lackluster of any form of ethics and customer service. They do specialize in ripping you off, that is a quality they have in spades.

    Via I’d rented a car well in advance of my holiday to Olbia this July. Goldcar was the cheapest and on they received generally positive reviews. I’ve successfully rented a car via 4 times before (never Goldcar), so I was reluctant to read all of the many pages of fine print. Which in hindsight is the only, but important, stupid thing I can be held accountable for.

    After I’d paid the fee for the car rental I received an e-voucher necessary for picking up my car from the Goldcar office in Olbia. In that e-voucher there was a line that said a deposit of €1000,- excluding taxes and other deposits would be required in order to complete the transaction with Goldcar. My credit card has a limit of €1000,-, so that deposit would become a point of debate. Besides that, a deposit of more than €1000,- for a used Fiat 500 (or any other small car with low value) is quite ridiculous and up for debate in my opinion, but let’s not make that discussion the focus of this review.

    When I arrived at the Goldcar office in Olbia there were long queues. Since I had plenty of time to observe the customers in front of me I noticed that most of the people were arguing a lot and left with a temper. Finally it was my turn to be “helped” by a Goldcar employee. I showed him my e-voucher and he got the papers and files needed for my reservation. Being aware of the exceptionally high deposit I asked him if it could be set to €1000,- or spread over 2 different credit cards, given my card limit. The employee showed zero flexibility and told me that it was not possible. However, if I paid €180,- for some shady, vague and mostly not needed “super relax” package, no deposit was required and I would receive the car keys. If I had to believe the employees at the desk a “super relax” package was a very good deal for me. They were all very enthusiastic about it, not so much about leaving the deposit. I told them I did not want the “super relax” package as I’ve got great insurance as is. They kept telling me it was not possible to lower the deposit, spread it over 2 cards or use my debit card for the deposit. Furthermore there is also a deposit for fuel. When you return the car you must fill up the tank or they will withhold an amount from your fuel deposit. This deposit is another magical number, seeing as how the deposit in option A (see below) was €145,- (apparently a Goldcar Fiat 500 uses liquid gold as gasoline) and in option B “only” €117,-. After discussing with them for 45 minutes they told me I should call to ask them if they could lower the deposit. Naturally I was on hold for 25 minutes there until I gave up, because all I really wanted was to have a pleasant start of my holiday.

    Simply put, this company forces you in a stalemate position:
    A) if possible you accept a ridiculously high deposit, get zero insurance and are thus likely to be required to make later additional payments. They will hate you if you choose this option and will fight till their last breath to stop you from choosing A. (Company policy will probably keep raising the amount to deposit so only millionaires with limitless credit cards can even choose this option).
    B) You pay them a random extra amount of more than €150,- for a “relax” package. You are now insured/covered, even though you also are without this package (depending on how you are insured of course).
    C) You don’t get a car, your holiday as planned ends at the start of it, you have to fight to get your already prepaid money back.

    Let’s combine our forces and spread the message that this company is corrupt. Let’s not stop until they file bankruptcy, it’s the sole destiny Goldcar deserves. Goldcar is cancer and we must stop it from further contaminating the globe.


    The voice of an average Goldcar customer.

  7. Jeff palmer

    Do NOT touch Goldcar even with the longest of barge poles, for you will surely get your fingers burnt. They will look for the slightest excuse to debit your CC card.

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