Goldcar, my review
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Oct 16, 2012 8:42 AM Last Post By: artemis2
Oct 15, 2012 7:58 AM
Goldcar, my reviewGoldcar car rental – my very recent experience and my first topic on a rental company ever.
Hi fellow travellers,
Many car rental review topics are started by first time posters, not this one for a change.
After about 60 car rentals or so, for the very first time we didn’t feel comfortable with a car supplier and i want to share that experience.
We have just rented a car for 11 days in/to Almeria airport (and had a great trip BTW). During the past years i have always rented through the brokers Economycarrentals or AutoEurope. For this rental AE was cheapest and offered better conditions, so i booked with them and ended up with Goldcar.
Our rental included the following conditions (amongst other): CDW with zero excess (no deductible), refundable coverage (through the broker) for glass and tyres.
Regarding petrol, the following was stated in the rental conditions:
Petrol first tank is payable locally at time of pick up (tank price is typically EUR 85.00 or more, depending on the category), client should return the vehicle as empty as possible.
Please note that the fuel charges are at the discretion of the local supplier & may vary from the local prices.
We ended up with a Peugeot 207 diesel and were charged no less than €108 for a full tank! This car has a tank of 50l and with the diesel prices near the airoport at €1,405, a full tank costs no more than €70,25. This is an extra profit of €38 for Goldcar, and is 54% more compared to the local diesel price and an additional 34% on the total of our rental price. While i was aware of the above mentioned conditions and thus had no right to refuse, i still was surprised by the high level of overcharge and call this ‘a hidden cost’. This hidden cost will even be relatively higher for shorter rentals than ours.
Because we had CDW with zero excess the Goldcar staff didn’t want to check the car on existing damage with us. They also made it clear that they weren’t going to check the car with us at the moment of drop-off, as they simply have no staff to leave their airport desk. When they wanted to take our CC authoristation as a deposit, i checked as i always do that it would expire on the day after the drop-off which is the common practice with most rental companies. NO, no, no, said the Goldcar staff, ‘we keep your CC autorisation until 15 DAYS AFTER DROP-OFF and will check the car on a later time and place, after the car has been to the car wash'. This combined with the fact that they refuse to do a proper check of existing damage on the pick-up and no check of eventual new damage on the moment of drop-off (so no possibility of a signature on the contract stating that the car was returned in good condition) gave us an uncomfortable feeling*.
Of course we did check the car for ourselves, at least the glass, mirrors and tyres which we were only covered for indirectly (with a possible refund from AE), and found that the 4 hubcabs showed some damage (like they usually do). Now with previous rentals with other companies the hubcaps had usually been covered through CDW, but since i already felt somewhat suspiscious i went back to the Goldcar desk to inquire whether the hubcaps were covered through CDW or not. ‘No they aren’t, they belong to the the tyres and glass insurance’ was their reply. Lucky me that i had noticed the damage and after insisting they mentioned it as a side note on the contract..
*Besides all that, they have been extremely pushy, almost agressively, with trying to sell additional insurances... Trying with the worst disaster scenarios, claiming that our initional coverage would be insufficient. Really unseen before.
Goldcar is an Alicante based company which has become a major car supplier throughout Spain (they were one of the biggest in Almeria airport), incuding the Balearics and the Canaries, and with a few branches in Portugal and Italy as well.
The combination of the heavy overcharge for petrol and the dubious deposit procedure without check up on the moment of drop-off, made me concluding that i never will want to rent from Goldcar in the future again (and will check that with brokers before booking a car). All in all, i could have rented cheaper elsewhere and i don’t like to have to worry about my deposit until 15 days after the rental. Taking pictures of the car is the only precaution we could take against this practice in order to protect ourselves. I have never needed to do that...
I prefer, and i am used to sorrow free car rentals and for that reason i can’t recommend Goldcar to other travellers.
BTW, we have returned the car in good condition, without any new damage. Thought i should mention that too ;-)
I will write a complaint about Goldcar to AutoEurope as well.
Oct 15, 2012 7:39 PM
1thanks for the update Artemis. I once too had problems with a local supplier in Spain booked through a broker (It may even have been Goldcar- don;t remember but it was the same story about the petrol) and since then i avoid them- choosing only rentals from the likes of Avis, Hertz, etc. I have noticed that there is a noticeable difference in service between the bigger players and the smaller players.
How does one check the expiry of the deposit? I never knew you could do that.
Oct 15, 2012 10:03 PM
2thanks for sharing this, artemis.
I assume that ongoing price fights for the lowest car rental will mean there'll be more of these conditions around by more and more companies. I've been fine with the same brokers you've mentioned, seems I'll need to look closer from now on.
p.s. client should return the vehicle as empty as possible ...reads like: 'welcome to our scheme, you can help us maximising surcharge fees from our next customer by returning the vehicle as empty as possible... :-(
Oct 16, 2012 8:42 AM
3Well it has to be said that car rental is incredibly cheap in Spain at the moment and outside of peak season. Mind you that for October AE offered the cheapest car, with the same conditions, at €105 for 11 days. Because it was so cheap we booked a C class for €112. I remember that rentals earlier this year in Feb-Mar were even cheaper.
According to their parking space, Goldcar was a bigger player in Almeria airport compared to Hertz and Europcar.
The problem with brokers is that in most cases you don't know who your car supplier will going to be before booking. AutoEurope now does indicate the according rental companies for many destinations, so if you search for a quote with them you will have a choice between several known suppliers (with various prices and conditions). Try it on their booking site.
I had a discussion about the overcharged petrol with the Goldcar staff. Their point was that receiving a full tank was a service and that it is only normal the customer has to pay for the logistics ;-) Besides their overcharge, we all know that the system of paying for the full tank is always advantageous for the rental company because it's not that easy to bring a car back with an empty tank. The good old system of getting a full tank and returning a full tank leaves no space for extra profits.
When i told their clerk that now i understood why they were so cheap, he nodded yes and smiled...
How does one check the expiry of the deposit?
A CC authorisation as a deposit is not a payment yet, as you will know. You sign for an authorisation of a maximum amount and if everything goes well there never will be a transaction. The rental company must put an expiry date on such an authorisation, which has to be visible for the customer. Most reliable rental companies will let the authorisation be valid until the date of return of the car, and not after. Me to, i am only aware of this since the past 5 years or so and before that i didn't pay any attention to it. I must say that i've never ever had a problem with a rental company, but i see no reason why they should keep the authorisation as a deposit any longer than needed. Abuse could be a result and that's why nowadyas i always check the expiry date of the deposit.
If you remember the old manual system of CC transactions before they were done electronically, as a deposit you signed for a transaction which then would not be sent (so not registered) before return of the car. When you returned the car in good condition or without uncovered damage, the CC authorisation was simply shredded into small pieces in front of the customer. That was exactly the same as the current expiry date, and maybe a much more transparent system for the customers.
Edited by: artemis2
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