/ Costa Blanca car hire - problem?

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The Ivanator - on 28 Dec 2012
OK, so I've arranged car hire for my forthcoming Costa Blanca trip, it was mysteriously cheap so I thought I'd better read the small print and find out why ...a couple of things came up:
1. (possibly big problem) is the rental company say that to collect the car you need to put a deposit down on a credit card bearing the name of the main driver, I don't have a credit card. I have a debit card, could borrow wife's credit card (with sweet talking) but not sure if either of these is going to be acceptable - anyone know if I'm likely to be turned away without a car (nightmare).
2. (just cheeky) the car will be supplied with a full tank of petrol which will be charged for on arrival - price charged "may be higher than payable at local pumps" if I actually am allowed to drive the car away anyone know how much I'll be stung on the fuel?
Any wisdom or advice gratefully received.
Kelcat - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator: obviously difficult to be definitive without knowing the company, but I'd be astounded if they let you drive off without a security deposit.
will909 - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator: No idea on point 1 but having just got back from Tenerife last week i spoke to a couple of Germans who had got stung for the paying for a full tank on arrival, something like 60 euros
Bimbler - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:

Fuel is not that much more expensive so don't worry about that...

Credit card... mmm tricky, can't you either get a credit card before hand or use someone you are travelling with as the main driver?

I'm not sure they will look to closely at the credit card but its a long way to go to find out they do!
biscuit - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply tvo The Ivanator: you may well be in trouble. All the car hire firms i have experience of need the credit card of the main driver.they often take a 1000 euro deposit that is never charged unless they think they need to.

anyone else going with you ?

having said that how did you bookit.they normally take card details at the time and wo held know its not a credit card.
The Ivanator - on 28 Dec 2012
In reply to biscuit: I paid online on my Visa debit card, but am not sure I can use the same card to place a deposit. They want 400, I could do this as cash/on debit card/on wife's credit card but can't arrange my own credit card in time - I asked at the bank today and with all the New Year holidays it wouldn't come through before 2nd Jan when I go.
I am travelling alone although expecting to meet up with others in Spain, including one fellow UKCer who arrives at Alicante about the same time as me, think he has his own car arranged. I'd obviously like the independence of my own vehicle, but I'm starting to think this might not happen. B*ll*cks!
The Ivanator - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator: Not sure whether to try contacting the hire company, but this might remove the option of blagging it on my wife's card (we do have the same surname), but I don't think I'd easily pass as a Mrs if they look closely ...at the card, not me!
Richard Alderton - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:

Both of these are pretty common, particularly the credit card requirement. I think it has to do with how easy it is to reserve large sums of money via a debit card (ie not very). The fuel gouge is pretty common in Spain too. A consequence of racing to the bottom for a low headline price.

In my experience, it's between 10 and 50% above pump price, with the added problem of running on fumes and taking it back empty. If it makes you feel better, imagine the car was 30 more and the fuel 30 less.

Some companies will agree to take the deposit by debit card if you ask, but they will probably have to take the full amount, rather than just placing a hold on the funds. You will also lose something in the exchange rate when they refund you.
the ant hill mob - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator: Hey, In Mallorca they will charge about 60 euro for fuel, and give you two options,

1- Put i think it was 800 pound excess on a card, then get that back when the car is returned in good condition. (which it wasn't, but got away with the dent and the massive scratch down the side from off roading and reversing into a wall...as you do!)

or

2- Pay another 150 euros or so for extra insurance which gives you fully comp and no excess. as far as i remember.

This was with hertz, but it was the same when i went later with gold car. My first trip i took the risk, and nearly paid for it (hertz)! but the second time I took the insurance and again I had to use it, as a friend locked the key in the car! (gold car)

I also used a visa debit and neither company had a problem with it. hope this helps!
wheelo - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator: check the excess on the cover in the event of a claim, they like to charge you more for this to reduce it to an agreeable level. Look at insuranceforcarhire.com who do an annual policy that is very reasonable especially if you are going to hire again in the next 12 months.

The Ivanator - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to Richard Alderton and the at hill mob: Cheers guys, I am a little more hopeful now - the extra cost issue (fuel/exchange etc) is not ideal, but I can live with that. No car would be a major headache. I have already taken out an excess waiver insurance as an extra (for 25ish) - don't know if this will make a difference.
the ant hill mob - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:
> (In reply to Richard Alderton and the at hill mob) Cheers guys, I am a little more hopeful now - the extra cost issue (fuel/exchange etc) is not ideal, but I can live with that. No car would be a major headache. I have already taken out an excess waiver insurance as an extra (for 25ish) - don't know if this will make a difference.

I had a look at car hire for costa blanca yesterday for a potential easter trip, and i saw that 25 pound waiver. But wasnt 100% about it, was wondering if you could email me when you get back whether that waiver helps offset the costs when you arrive at the rental desk, such as the ones that i described?
The Ivanator - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to the ant hill mob: Happy to email you re. the waiver if I manage to hire a car at all of course!
Miranda on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:

I've hired cars in Spain several times, and other countries too. My old Switch debit card was not accepted. Then my bank changed to Visa debit and I have never had any problems with that.
It's usually cheaper to fill the car up before returning it.
The Ivanator - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to Miranda: Good to know, thinking I might be alright then. The hire company I'm using do a pick up full (which you pay for at their rate) return empty policy.
The Ivanator - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to the ant hill mob: Just been reading through the small print on the insurance waiver thing - it appears to come from a completely separate company, who are covering you (as a driver) rather than the hire company's vehicle. They advise you to refuse the hire company insurance, pay the deposit and if you lose money by damaging the car they will refund any excess that has been taken by the rental company. Sounds good in theory!
sarahjk - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:

Would also appreciate any updates or feedback, heading out in Feb for a week, got a ridiculously cheap car booked [30 for week], through debit card. Think I have an unused credit card somewhere, not sure !

Which company is your booking with ?
Trangia - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:
> > 1. (possibly big problem) is the rental company say that to collect the car you need to put a deposit down on a credit card bearing the name of the main driver, I don't have a credit card. I have a debit card, could borrow wife's credit card (with sweet talking) but not sure if either of these is going to be acceptable - anyone know if I'm likely to be turned away without a car (nightmare).

I agree this is likely to be a big problem. I don't know of any car hire company these days who will accept anything other than a credit card. When are you going? Is there time to get yourself set up with one?
> 2. (just cheeky) the car will be supplied with a full tank of petrol which will be charged for on arrival - price charged "may be higher than payable at local pumps" if I actually am allowed to drive the car away anyone know how much I'll be stung on the fuel?

They will tell you how much they are charging. And it will be a lot more than the pump price! This is a scam employed by most "cheap" car hire companies (one of the reasons they are "cheap"!)You will have to return the car empty (impossible) and will get no credit for unused fuel. The next customer will again pay for a full tank (another way they make money!)

Words of wisdom? Check out the better known names like Hertz and Avis. They might appear more expensive, but are less likely to sting you with hidden extras eg an exhorbitant excess (have you checked that with your "cheap" company?)

Avoid using Goldcar like the plague - they are unscupulous and have a terrible reputation. I was once charged over 300 (on my credit card) for damage I didn't cause - so check your car over with a fine toothcombe when you pick it up and insist they record ANY damage, scratches, bruised tyres etc on the paperwork or you will have this charged to your credit card after you return the car. If your flight arrives after dark have a headtorch handy to check the car over before you accept it.

In Spain you must have a warning triangle and high security jacket in the car if stopped by the police, so check that these are with the car when you pick it up, or you will be fined if you get stopped in a random police check - I've been stopped 3 times in the last 2 years by random police checks.
Trangia - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to Trangia:

For "high security" read "high viz"! :)
The Ivanator - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to Trangia: > I agree this is likely to be a big problem. I don't know of any car hire company these days who will accept anything other than a credit card. When are you going? Is there time to get yourself set up with one?

Nope, I've asked and I leave on Jan 2 so just crossing fingers on Visa debit route, if it is a no go I'll be cadging lifts with others from the Orange House where I'm staying - not the end of the world, but the independence of my own vehicle would be nice.

> Avoid using Goldcar like the plague - they are unscupulous and have a terrible reputation. I was once charged over 300 (on my credit card) for damage I didn't cause - so check your car over with a fine toothcombe when you pick it up and insist they record ANY damage, scratches, bruised tyres etc on the paperwork or you will have this charged to your credit card after you return the car. If your flight arrives after dark have a headtorch handy to check the car over before you accept it.

I arrive in daylight but will check thoroughly, thanks for the heads up. It's no Goldcar, but Centuaro (maybe just as bad).

> In Spain you must have a warning triangle and high security jacket in the car if stopped by the police, so check that these are with the car when you pick it up, or you will be fined if you get stopped in a random police check - I've been stopped 3 times in the last 2 years by random police checks.

Will check (if I get that far of course), cheers!
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bigrob - on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:

Mate been spain a loadof times climbing each time hiring a car

YOU WILL NOT GET A CAR WITHOUT YOUR NAME ON A CREDIT CARD

regarding the petrol i always use DOYOUSPAIN there cheap and let you return it full and dont charge you for the diesel!

enjoy your trip
SARS on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:

If it's Goldcar then you are right to be wary. Avoid like the plague. A few threads on here about the trouble people have had with this firm.
SARS on 29 Dec 2012
In reply to SARS:

In fact I've almost given up the idea of holidaying in Spain altogether. Rip-off car hire problems with all rentals really. Would rather go somewhere more civilised like Japan where you might pay a small premium but won't get stung for some jerk-off BS.
The Ivanator - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to bigrob: If you are right I am scrounging lifts all week and out of pocket. Seems others on this thread have been OK with Visa debit though. Have to see what happens, too late to find another solution now.
Kipper - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:
> (In reply to bigrob) If you are right I am scrounging lifts all week and out of pocket. Seems others on this thread have been OK with Visa debit though. Have to see what happens, too late to find another solution now.

You might get lucky, but I've seen people crying on the phone to their dad when they've not had a credit card to pick up the car (in France). They wouldn't take the dad's card details over the phone ether.

The dodgier ones may take a Visa debit card, but be prepared for hassle.



The Ivanator - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to Kipper: Well I'm mentally prepared, so hopefully can resist the urge to cry!
HB1 - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator: I've always used Centauro (through Holidayautos) in Spain. This month in Mallorca they charged 94E for a tankful (but last Feb in Alicante they only charged c70E). As others say - it's their best way to make any money (when you're only paying around 30 for the week hire). What I've found is I get a bigger car than expected, because it's the off-season, I suppose, and they have cars to spare, AND of course, bigger car means bigger tank, less MPG, more likelyhood of me putting more in etc. Check the windscreen wash as well - caused me aproblem last time (2 dribbles does not a washer-system make)

snoop6060 - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to SARS:

A small premium?? Going climbing in japan is likely to be 5 times the price of going to spain, regardless of how much you have to prepay for your fuel!


JJL - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:

Have you asked the hire company a) whether you can use a debit card fopr deposit and b) what the fuel cost is?

clochette - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to SARS: You're absolutely right about Goldcar. I used them a few years ago in Mallorca and afterwards there were various 20 charges on my card from them that couldn't be accounted for. Problem is that they take your credit card away whilst doing the booking so it's out of your sight - at least it was when I rented a car from them. I was very worried for a time afterwards as there were several of these small but unauthorised payments.
The Ivanator - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to JJL: Not sure how asking would help except to possibly remove any chance of blagging it on a debit card, which is likely what I'm going to have to try.
Fuel will cost what it costs, I'll just be relieved if I can get the car. I'm not going to let it ruin my week either way.
Phil Payne - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:

Not really helpful, but something to consider for the future is a CaxtonFX card. I too don't have a credit card, but have successfully hired cars all over Europe using it. In my experience, they just check that it doesn't have 'Debit Card' written on the card. Just make sure that you have enough credit loaded on it to cover the deposit!

Sam Mayfield - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:

Ivan, you should be fine without a car, not ideal I know but dont worry too much.

3 cars sat in the car park today as people shared etc, not as busy when you get here but not too bad!

Sam Orange House
The Ivanator - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to Sam Mayfield: Cheers, I have a back up lift from the airport set up with another Orange House guest who lands 20 mins. before me if my hire doesn't work out. Looking forward to it :-)
Walter Mitty - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to Trangia: I have rented hire cars regularly all over Europe for the last 8 years, and have always used a Visa debit card, I have not once been asked for a credit card.

Sam Mayfield - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to Walter Mitty:

Ivan got the car!
In reply to Sam Mayfield:
>
>
> Ivan got the car!

Good news, hope the rest of his trip goes OK!


Chris
cem on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to The Ivanator: Just back from the Costa Blanca, where the car hire co (Centauro) charged us E60 for a full tank of fuel, even though it was a small car costing far less than that to refill. The other scam was their instruction to bring the car back empty, as very few people are going to run the risk of running out of fuel on the way back to the airport. We did however derive some satisfaction out of dropping the car back after the fuel warning light had come on
alifontbin - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
I'm a fan of separate excess waiver insurance policies as they generally cover damage to windows, tyres, undercarriage and the roof.

The waiver Hertz etc will try to upsell (for a much higher cost) will probably have some or all of these excluded.

Having delivered some heavy punishment to the underside of a rental family hatchback on some pretty gnarly approach tracks in Spain, I'd thoroughly recommend making sure you're covered for such damage!

Dauphin - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

Visa Debit works like a credit card for making car hire / anything else deposits - one of the reasons the big banks have ditched Switch. I use it all the time for this purpose, maybe once or twice a month. Of course it will help if you have the money in your account; although even that is not always necessary. I've had the same panic in Spain the first time I took a car in Majorca, but no problem with it.

D
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mloskot - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
> 1. (possibly big problem) is the rental company say that to collect the car you need to put a deposit down on a credit card (...)

From my experience in Spain, Italy and Poland: a credit card deposit or equivalent in cash is a normal procedure. Or, you will be asked to buy extra insurance (often close to daily rate of car rental).

> anyone know if I'm likely to be turned away without a car (nightmare).

If you go without credit card of fat wallet with cash, it's a lottery really, so you may experience the nightmare.
Same with details like the paper counterpart for UK license: all companies on the continent that I used mention both parts are required, but you may be lucky. Once, renting car in Italy, I forgot the paper counterpart but nobody asked about that at Hertz' office, so I just ended up with a bit shaky telegraphing knees :-) On other occasions, I had to present both parts of UK license.

> 2. (just cheeky) the car will be supplied with a full tank of petrol which will be charged for on arrival

That is a pure scam!

I never encountered anything like this.
The procedure was always the obvious one, I get car with full tank and I'm supposed to return car with full tank,
so I fuel-up at a petrol station for a normal price. Unless, I return car not fueled-up, the I will pay for every missing litre and then it's not uncommon price per litre is 150-200% of normal one :)

Good luck!
mloskot - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to Dauphin:
> (In reply to The Ivanator)
>
> Visa Debit works like a credit card for making car hire / anything else deposits

It's not that simple. Hertz, for example, specifies in terms & conditions:

"most major credit cards, ***some*** debit cards"
Trangia - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to mloskot:
> (In reply to The Ivanator)
> [...]
>
>
>
> That is a pure scam!
>
> I never encountered anything like this.
> The procedure was always the obvious one, I get car with full tank and I'm supposed to return car with full tank,
>

Sadly this seems to be a thing of the past in Spain and other places (Malta, South Africa, even the UK) where I have hired cars from cheap companies in recent years, unless you use someone like Hertz or Avis. It's as you say, a pure scam but these companies won't agree to a "go out full-return full" policy any more unless your hire is for less than 3 days, in which case I believe they are legally bound to agree.

Gareth and Kim - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

Having lived in Spain for 12 years and hired plenty of cars I can tell you that most (I repeat MOST) car hire companies will accept a debit card. I only found one that didn't. The extra charge for fuel has been as high as 20% on occassion. Ouch!

Make sure on your return that you have been refunded the deposit. Obvious, I know, but it has caught people out. Get the 'scratch' form signed by a member of staff so that you have evidence that you returned the car in good nick. Again, I know people who have been charged, after their return, for a non existant scratch. It takes a long time to sort out with the Likes of Avis and Eurocar but is almost impossible with a local spanish hire company, short of flying back down there with an extra large hex and threatening to shove it.......!

Beware that the majority of cheap hire cars come with no wheel covers. Big deal? Yes, actually, as spanish thieves know that these are hire cars and that the drivers might be in stupid mode as they are on holiday and might have left something in the car. Make sure you don't!

Other than that have a good holiday.

Trangia - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to Gareth and Kim:
> (In reply to The Ivanator)
>
>>
> Beware that the majority of cheap hire cars come with no wheel covers. Big deal? Yes, actually, as spanish thieves know that these are hire cars and that the drivers might be in stupid mode as they are on holiday and might have left something in the car. Make sure you don't!
>


And remember to peel off the hire company's logo sticker from the back window for the same reason!
shorts - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS:
In defence of goldcar, I have used them numerous times (in Madrid, Valencia, Mallorca, etc) and never had a problem with them or their service. In fact the one time I was charged for non existent damage was from a well known international firm beginning with H and ending in Z.
Their (Goldcar's) 'pay for a full tank' policy (not applicable for short trips, 2 or 3 days) isn't too bad if you are doing a fair few miles. The car hire for my last trip ending up costing 128 for 4 days including fuel and insurance. I did use almost a whole tank of diesel(700km) but even if I hadn't I wouldn't have feel fleeced.
For those short trips they don't charge you for the tank of fuel so they then become really cheap.
The Ivanator - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> (In reply to Sam Mayfield)
> [...]
>
> Good news, hope the rest of his trip goes OK!
>
>
> Chris

Thanks for the good wishes Chris, I had a fantastic few days in Spain. Superb weather (we ended up seeking shade), great routes (especially at Sella and Gandia), a really good partner (cheers Pete), the Orange House is a brilliant set up and the car worked out fine.
Re. the car: 57 Euros for the tank (returned empty), 22 for the hire and they did insist I took their insurance if paying with debit card (30 Euros), didn't have to place a deposit and no additional nasties on returning the car, so overall satisfied.
Hope to return before too long and looking forward to the new guide for inspiration.

Ivan
tommy - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to The Ivanator: You cannot really get out of the credit card system as they all seem to use it. We have noticed the fuel 'con' which means you are charged for a full tank of petrol whether you use it or not and on our last two trips we returned the car with at least half a tank and we were charged about E90.

The other 'con' is collission waiver; this means that items not covered by insurance are protected. You should Google 'collission waiver' to get a quote and buy the policy in the UK as it is half the price.

If this is your first time driving in Spain please note; do not leave anything in the car, remove the luggage shelf and open the glove box as theives just smash in the glass to gain entry.
Steve Green - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:You will need a CREDIT card - they WILL turn you away if you can only present a DEBIT card - its happened to me!
As for the fuel, its a regular scam and they all are as guilty as each other. A tank of fuel works out about 70.00 (the smaler the car, the smaller the tank, the less the financial wound...) and unless you are planning to drive up each crag instead of climbing, itll be hard to use it all. "return empty" they say!!! Centauro have been known to be more reasonable if your rental is less than a week but youd have to clarify with them.
In reply to Steve Green:
> (In reply to The Ivanator)You will need a CREDIT card - they WILL turn you away if you can only present a DEBIT card - its happened to me!
>

He has already been - and successfully used his debit card as explained in the thread.


Chris

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