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Goldcar Rentals - Spain / Canaries - beware

Carolinian

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I was recently ripped off by Goldcar Rentals on a recent t/s exchange in Gran Canaria in multiple ways, and wanted to warn other Tuggers about this company. When I posted this info on a UK t/s website others chimed in with bad experiences with this company.

This rent was done through Economy Car Rentals, a consolidator I have used numerous times before with no problem, and Goldcar was their local provider on this rental. I have sent a complaint to Economy and will report the results.

There were three basic problems:
1) they charged more than the paperwork from Economy said I was to pay
2) they forced me to use their currency conversion (which is totally useless to me) to US dollars at a very bad rate. My paperwork from Economy said I was to pay in euros.3) they were supposed to charge for fuel at the going local rate but did so at over 25% above the highest prices at local stations.
(this was a buy a full tank and return the car empty arrangement, something I don't generally like in the first place)


The total amount of the ripoff, with all three elements was about US$50.

When I complained about these things when I looked over the contract at pickup, they said they were all ''in the computer'' and there was nothing they could do about them. My only option was to cancel the rental, get a car from someone else at walkup prices, and they would not return the prepayment I had made to Economy. A glance at the posted prices for walkup at the adjoining car rental counter, showed that would be a losing proposition, so I took the car with the intent to complain to Economy about the flim-flam of their local provider.

Posters on the UK board say that Auto Reisen is a reliable car rental company with good rates in Spain and the Canaries. Goldcar certainly is NOT.
 

Blues

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I've never used Goldstar rentals, but I have used economycarrentals.com, in Portugal. Never again. I think that, as a consolidator, they're basically OK. But the concessionaires that they use can be, um, dicey. Our Portugal car rental was one-way, from Lisbon to Faro, and was plagued with problems. Car delivered to our hotel several hours late, couldn't get hold of the company to find out when it was coming, very lackluster attitude, etc. But the real problem was on the drop end, in Faro. No Budget counter or location (concessionaire was Budget), we were told to just hand the car to their agent in the rental lot. Two problems -- the agent took the day off (didn't notify Budget or us), and there was no transponder in the car to allow us in the lot. After frantically looking, we finally had to catch our plane, so we left the car on the street with keys in the glove box, and sent email to Budget. Never heard back, and that was a couple years ago, so apparently all was OK, though it took some time off our lives and hair off my head.

Anyway, I personally would stay away from economy car rentals . com. I did send email to them and filled out their email questionnaire, giving lots of details about our problems. Never heard another word.
 
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Carolinian

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Well, Economy has at least sent two responsive emails so far on my situation, but we will see what final outcome they will achieve.

As to Budget, this is one large car rental company that I try to avoid outside the US. I have never had the problem you did. But I have found that they are the one large rental company that will cheat you on the airmiles you earn on their rentals. While Avis and Hertz will routinely fail to post your miles until you complain that they have not posted, they at least eventually post them. Budget just ignores you. National and Europcar usually post the miles like they are supposed to without having to be prompted.
 

Carolinian

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In response to Economy, Goldcar adjusted part but not all of the overcharge of the rental fee, claimed they used premium fuel (which still would not be 25% higher, and in any event was not called for in the specs of the car I rented), and was totally silent on the currency exchange fraud they pulled in blatant violation of Visa's rules. I have asked Economy to have another go at them.
 

abdibile

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Carolinian,

Things like that happen with all the consolidators and cheap rental car companies in Spain.

A little rip-off is the price for getting the really cheap rates they rent their cars for.

I would not put too much energy into this as overall you saved a lot of money. Even including all this ripoff, you still paid way less than if you had rented with a more reputable rental company.

This is the same like comparing a low cost carrier with lots of ripoff fees for luggage, checkin etc with a bigger airline. Overall you travel way cheaper with the lowcost carrier.

I have used Goldcar through several times and knew I would not receive first class service.

If you had prepaid with the consolidator (which is waht I usually do) there is no way for them to trick you on currency conversion or additional fees (as long as you tell them that you do not want their additional insurance!).

The "expensive gas" ripoff is what you have to accept. View it as a convenience that they fill up the car for you and charge a little premium.

You have to return the car empty with all rental car companies in Spain (for rentals above 3 days), this is how they make additional money.

Just acept business like it is done there and and enjoy your holiday!
 

Carolinian

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As to fuel policies, several people on another site posted another Spanish rental car company they used that did NOT have this ''return empty and pay an extortionate price for the full tank'' policy and still had good rates. Also, in my travels in Europe, I have never before been confronted with a mandatory policy such as this, and I have rented in a variety of countries in both eastern and western Europe on many occaisions. I have occaisionally seen an optional ''return empty'' policy but in those cases, they told you upfront how much they would charge for the gas and it was in line with local prices. I still declined that optional policy as I find the standard car rental policy of ''receive full, return full'' to be MUCH preferable. Indeed my last rental in Spain was at a good price and was ''receive full, return full''. I would also point out that you start with a full tank either way, so the ''return empty'' policy offers no extra convenience whatsoever.

USA-based consolidators do indeed usually work on a fully prepaid voucher basis, but European-based consolidators usually do not. Not only am I now based in Europe, but I also find the European-based consolidators these days tend to have better prices.

The comparision with low cost airlines is also not a valid one, as 1) none of them force you to convert currencies (although RyanAir tries to trick you into doing so); 2) none of them fail to honor the price you are given on the internet; 3) most, if not all, of them have eliminated the fuel surcharges (still charged by most European legacy airlines), and most of the other charges can be avoided. Those that cannot are often also charged by the legacy airlines as well and are not unique to LCC's.

As to the currency conversion this was more than a ''trick''. I caught it and demanded they change it. If I had just failed to catch it in time, yes it would have been a ''trick'' (much like on RyanAir, you have to uncheck a prechecked box to avoid this ripoff). But even when I caught it and demanded it be removed they refused to change it, and left as my only option cancelling the rental, in which case they would keep my prepayment, an even bigger loss. That was pure extortion.

The rental company in Spain that is being suggested as the best bet to get a good rate and avoid these ripoff policies is Auto Reisen, which from the name appears to be a German company. I enjoyed my DAE exchange to the Canaries and will probably go back in a couple of years or so, to a different one of the islands, and I will then use Auto Reisen rather than ripoff Goldcar on that trip.

Oh, and just accepting fraudulent business practices is against my nature.

Carolinian,

Things like that happen with all the consolidators and cheap rental car companies in Spain.

A little rip-off is the price for getting the really cheap rates they rent their cars for.

I would not put too much energy into this as overall you saved a lot of money. Even including all this ripoff, you still paid way less than if you had rented with a more reputable rental company.

This is the same like comparing a low cost carrier with lots of ripoff fees for luggage, checkin etc with a bigger airline. Overall you travel way cheaper with the lowcost carrier.

I have used Goldcar through several times and knew I would not receive first class service.

If you had prepaid with the consolidator (which is waht I usually do) there is no way for them to trick you on currency conversion or additional fees (as long as you tell them that you do not want their additional insurance!).

The "expensive gas" ripoff is what you have to accept. View it as a convenience that they fill up the car for you and charge a little premium.

You have to return the car empty with all rental car companies in Spain (for rentals above 3 days), this is how they make additional money.

Just acept business like it is done there and and enjoy your holiday!
 
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Carolinian

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Just had another communication from Economy Car Rentals. They acknowledge that they have had a real deluge of complaints about the way Goldcar operates, far eclipsing complaints on any other supplier, and the fuel policy seems to be often mentioned. Still no financial relief other than a promist of partial credit for the overcharge on the rental fee. It seems Economy has escalated their complaints to Goldcar up to a higher management level given the volume of complaints.
 

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Carolinian

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Margariet

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Very popular with people from the Netherlands is 123carrent. We have never rented with them because we drive our own car in Spain but I have heard good comments about them. http://www.123carrent.com/
 
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