October 30, 2007 at 8:43 pm #53440
I write to advise about a scam being perpetrated by Spanish car Hire bandits in Almeria, and probably in the rest of Spain.
When I flew into Almeria airport in early September I was taken in a minibus to the nearby Aurigacrown car hire depot to pick up my pre-booked car.
I was unpleasantly surprised to find that whilst they were giving me a car with a full tank of petrol – for which petrol I was been charged over € 50 – I was expected to bring the car back EMPTY! When I asked the Aurigacrown reprsentative how I was supposed to drive an empty car back to Almeria airport they were unable to advise me. When I asked if they would give me a refund against any petrol remaining in the tank when I returned it, the answer was – no refund.
Additionally, they were unable to tell me why I was being charged € 50 for a full tank when I know the cost of filling same was not more than € 35. They were unable to advise me.
I asked if I could return the car with a full tank instead of an empty tank. Not possible.
The obvious scam is (i) they rip you off by overcharging for the full tank of petrol, and (ii) they rip you off because when you return the car there will still be petrol in the tank – for which they do not give you a refund.
The rip-off is more aggravated if you fly in for a short period – say 4 days, and you are only going say from Almeria to Roquetas or to Aguadulce or El Ejido. In this case you pay for a full tank and would probably return it three quarters full – with no refund!
I have checked with other car hire firms at Almeria airport and they all seem to be operating the same scam!
Can anyone advise if these bandits can be prevented from stealing travellers’ money in this way? Is it not an illegal practice that EU legislation can prevent?
Is there an honest car hire company in Almeria that does not rip of travellers in this manner?
October 30, 2007 at 9:50 pm #75968
Last year I was in Malaga for three days over a Spanish Bank holiday period.
I booked my car rental on the net “ww.holidayautos.co.uk ” They provided me with a rental voucher from this company. ( This company previously operated as CROWN )
I was asked to provide the petrol cost up front. I told them that I will return the car with the tank full but they insisted that they need to process my card and will refund the cost. I told them that this way I will lose money on credit card charges plus the margin on the exchange.
I got the impression that they did not undesrtand and did not care.
On my return I sent an e.mail to http://www.holidayautos.co.uk, they did not reply. Needless to say that I do not use http://www.autos.co.uk. IT my undertanding that they are now part of http://www.lastminute.com
Finally, this is hardly a scam to me a scam has a certain form of deception. This a a blantant fraud
October 30, 2007 at 9:56 pm #75969
We became victims of this scam. We rented in Granada and returned the car to Almeria airport. I was informed that someone would meet me at the airport, but no one was there. I filled the tank and took a photo of the fuel gauge and milometer at the airport, having been told by phone to leave the car at the airport with the keys in the ash tray. On my return to the UK I had an automatic debit of £56.00 for fuel from my account! I sent copies of the photo but ……. surprise surprise heard nothing. Further letters of complaint were ignored. And this is from an international car rental company
October 30, 2007 at 10:06 pm #75970PCM wrote:I write to advise about a scam being perpetrated by Spanish car Hire bandits in Almeria, and probably in the rest of Spain.
They did this to me in Reus this year.
Knowing that the diesel lasts about 50 kilometres after the warning sign is on, I drove about 48km with warning sign on till I reached the airport. I am almost sure they ran out of diesel before they reached the closest station.
Everybody should do the same and it will teach them bandits a lesson.
October 30, 2007 at 10:26 pm #75972
I don’t disgree with what you are all saying, but…
1. This forum is for Property related matters!
2. (Our GENERAL CONDITIONS shown on the rental agreement will apply.) & from the website:
The rental price does not include:
Full tank of fuel.
Read the small print.
October 30, 2007 at 10:37 pm #75973
You are right, not on subject for the propety forum, but still never the less quite interesting.Maybe better on the problem page!.
Bust be a regional variation because I only use Aquacrown fom Malaga for the very reason that it is always full out,full back agreement
October 30, 2007 at 10:43 pm #75974
Yes, it is Spanish property forum. Sadly it covers scams on the property front.
If there are a few threads on this forum that warn visitors to this wondeful country of sundry scams that are being operated. Whats the harm in it.
October 30, 2007 at 10:46 pm #75975
You should expose this so called international car rental company and if I was you take them to the small claims court.
There are very few businesses that operating in a fair & caring manners and simply writing a letter or e-mail does not work in today’s commercial world.
October 30, 2007 at 11:00 pm #75977
I Like You!, I think
Have read some of your posts that warm me to you!
Are you female or male, maybe we should ask Mark to start a dating topic.
Hey to loose 56 pounds on a car hire deal is neither here or there,would advise anyone to read real stories of hardship on this site.
October 30, 2007 at 11:12 pm #75978
I am a male member of the forum. Speaks my mind, whilst kind, caring and sensative. I dont take prisonors. I have taken multinationals to Court & won my cases as I was not willing to accept apologise for a shoddy and careless service.
As you said its not the money its the total disdain towards people. I have met people who are say in their late 60s, work hard all their life been model citizens and their dreams of living in the sun in their twilight years have been shattered.
I feel if you have blood running in your vains & your ticker is working, you would feel for them and want to do what ever you can.
October 31, 2007 at 8:01 am #75981
You’re right; couldn’t agree with you more. Charge 500 customers £50 each / month and your profits increase by £300,000 annum! However, small claims is stressful and can be expensive, so like others I just let it go. Still angers though. I don’t like giving anyone my ‘hard earned cash’ – even if only £56.00 . 😉
October 31, 2007 at 9:09 am #75982
Small claims can be expensive if you lose your case. There are certain judges who will allow cost & others wont.
I will & I do go to small claims, yes it could stressful. Its better managed stress than living with the anger over period of time.
If you feel strongly about it. Than you should, that what these courts are for. The way I see it that when I sit on my rocking chair and look back at life. I might come out even stevens i.e. won some & lost some cases.
In bringing these company’s to Court. You have alerted the management and you have moved away from the call centre incompetance and lack of traning.
As you know sorry does not get registered on the Balance sheet. I do not accept gift vouchers, flowers or bottles of wine as a consolation. At present I have five cases in small claim court. The security & the usher knows with first name. NO I am not a lawyer.
October 31, 2007 at 9:32 am #75984
This despicable scam has been well discussed on more general sites such as andalucia.com and tripadvisor (Nerja forum).
I have looked into this in some detail. The only on airport operator who does not impose the “FULL/EMPTY SCAM” rip-off is RECORD. Their T&C make this explicitly clear (at the moment!). Brokers such as carjet and doyouspain will re-assign you if you complain after receiving a quote from a “FULL/EMPTY SCAM” company.
Another operator that does not impose the “FULL/EMPTY SCAM” is Hellehollis. They charge for a full tank and always refund if you bring it back full.
Discussion of hire cars is ENTIRELY relevant for a spanish property board. Should you visit more than a few times a year the cost can easily add up to more than a thousand euros. It is part of the property visiting/maintenance cost just as fuel, taxes, lawyers etc.
Furthermore, unlike some of the dreadful stories here, the “FULL/EMPTY SCAM” is easily avoided by finding other companies like the two I have mentioned.
Help eradicate this disgusting rip-off!
November 13, 2007 at 1:22 am #76133
Record only have their own company hiring out of Alicante & Malaga on mainland Spain though I understand, whilst it is true that they don’t charge for petrol, you take the car back with what you picked it up with. If you book Record cars with pick up elsewhere (such as Murcia) Record use other firms which generally have a full/empty arrangement unless for 3 days or less hire period.
I also noticed in Record’s terms & conditions that they charge an extra 30€ for out of hours delivery
“For deliveries out of our office hours (from 0:00h to 7:00h in Palma de Mallorca, Alicante, Malaga; and from 23:00h to 7:00h on the Canary Islands) there is an extra charge of € 30.” That’s something to remember if the flight is delayed.
With regard to Auriga Crown we never have any bother taking the car back full of petrol at Murcia & getting a full refund in the office on our cc.
We tend to always book with doyouspain ourselves & have just been to Alicante where we booked with doyouspain again & asked for Auriga Crown. We were given a car with 1/4 tank petrol & asked to bring it back with 1/4 tank which we did, without problem. We were not charged upfront for petrol & it was checked in at Alicante as having 1/4 tank when we left it too. This was written on our hire details by doyouspain. At Auriga’s desk, however, it did say you paid for a full tank & had to bring the car back empty.
I agree wholeheartedly that you shouldn’t pay for a full tank if you cannot get a refund if it’s returned full. It’s well known this is what happens, it seems very common practice.
I would also suggest you check out terms & conditions regarding cancellations. doyouspain never charge cancellation fees even it you don’t show & don’t advise them, others do charge so be aware.
It seems to depend on which airport you use I think.
Hellehollis terms say http://www.hellehollis.com/terms_and_conditions.asp
that you are charged an excess for CDW & theft so that’s something eose to remember.
Who reads the terms & conditions ? You obviously should ! 🙄
November 13, 2007 at 10:17 am #76137
Oh rest assured i read t&c VERY carefully.
Hellehollis charge €5 a day for the insurance or a refundable up front charge of €300. Crown charge €2 to cover underside damage, wheels, etc.
I am a frequent traveller to Spain, and indeed hire cares elsewhere as well. I therefore take out annual excess insurance in the UK for £51 from insurance4you. You are then covered for all cah hire excesses anywhere in the world.
AurigaCrown now always operate the “FULL/EMPTY” scam at Malaga (for hires over 3 days). Whether it is worth going to another operator depends on 2 things.
1. If you are going to drive less than half to a full tank (about 230 to 460 miles usually) Look elsewhere (unless the deal is a no-brainer), or at least add about €30 to your quote for the rip-off fuel charge.
2. If your plane is likely to arrive past midnight be aware that most operators charge an extra €20/30. carjet and doyouspain do not.
3. Add on any hidden insurance costs or, as i do, buy an annual policy.
When i contacted doyouspain recently they said that they would always place you with a “FULL/FULL” operator if you request it and if one is available at your airport.
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