/ Car hire Barcelona airport
I used SolMar last week, for 9 days rental of a VW Polo (111 euros, on a collect full, return full basis). Their car pound is off-airport in the neighbouring industrial estate, but is straightforward to find on the way home, and the shuttle minibus was efficient. I'd recommend them from my experience. They seemed to be the cheapest I could find that allow you to not commit to buying a tank of fuel on collection at an unspecified rate (usually 20-40euros over the going rate, and difficult to return a car with no fuel left in the tank).
> NOT Goldcar.
+ 1 they are a dreadful company to deal with.
Word of advice. Check your car thoroughly both inside and out on collection. If there is any damage not recorded INSIST that the hire company records it on your documentation even if that means you have to rejoin the queue. I got badly stung be Goldcar (300 euros) for pre-existing damage which I hadn't noticed when I picked the car up in the dark. If your flight arrives in the dark have a head torch handy.
Also check whether there is a high viz jacket and warning triangle in the car - the former must be in the car itself not the boot.
There are heavy fines if the police stop you and find you don't have them ( random police road blocks are common in Spain). The hire company is required by law to provide them, but many don't and it's the driver who gets fined.
Hertz, Avis, Europ Car, etc. all have offices in the airport with manageable queues usually.
All the cheaper brands are in the industrial estates around the airport and require a shuttle bus. The information as to where you get this bus is usually poor or non-existent but the info desks are used to people asking.
It takes around 20 to 30 minutes from looking for your car to arriving at the Car Hire place. If you are unlucky and there are a few people in the queue in front of you, which is quite likely, then you could wait for up to an hour while each person fills out around 5 forms each which need to be copied etc. often in a blisteringly hot office with nowhere to hide outside either.
Once you get away then it is fine unless you break down - see Chris above - then you wish you were with one of the big companies.
Returning the car is relatively painless though in our experience.
All-in-all though, I think Barcelona is the worst place to go for bargain car hire that I have been to. I will use a big company next time I am going there.
We used two companies back to back - Goldcar - who were off-airport and complete shite, and Sixt who were in the terminal and who were excellent.
With the 'extra' insurance that Gold car obliged us to take out, Sixt were actually cheaper.
Just back from there. We used economycarhire.com as they give you an extra driver for free, and there's no insurance excess (though worth taking out insurance for tyres, glass, and underside). The actual car hire was from Centuro who were very friendly and efficient.
Thanks very much guys, especially for the tips on who NOT to use!
Avis are more expensive but well worth paying extra for decent service and having no excess insurance cover.
I had Goldcar prebooked when I arrived in Malaga but never got to the counter as there were about 100 people in front of me and the queue didn't move for 30min. I'll never book them again.
Def. do not use Holiday Autos, avoid like the plague.
We use Hertz .
> Def. do not use Holiday Autos, avoid like the plague.
first time booked for car hire placed IN the airport , it was 4 miles away
second time booked and paid, they confirmed the booking got to hire desk there was no booking at all and had to re-book as there help desk closes at 22.00
third time, taking legal proceedings against them so can't say
I had a complete nightmare with Goldcar - they supplied me with car that had a badly damaged wheel that had a new wheel trim on it to hide it.
The car vibrated at anything over 100 kph so i asked them to come and pick up the car which involved me driving to the bottom of the mountain i was staying on to meet a pick up truck then spending most of the day getting to another airport to pick up a replacement.
They then charged me for damaging the car even though i had only had it for 30 hours and the damage on the wheel was rusty. I had to pay this on my credit card.
The replacement i got offered had a badly nicked tyre so i refused as dangerous. The next replacement was safe but had body damage that i got the manager to record and i photographed.
Took me two months to get my money back and i didn't even get an apology. The tone of the email suggested i got my money back because they couldn't prove i had damaged it because i had time stamped photos of the rusty wheel.
I booked them the doyospain who are a reseller. I now pay extra and go with Avis. When you work out the hidden scam costs for petrol,insurance and extra drivers you tend to find there is not much difference over a two week holiday.
I have used most of the car hire companies in Spain and Goldcar are the only negative experience I've ever had.
Your experience with Goldcar was remarkably similar to mine. Damaged wheel with the tyre having nick out of it!
Probably the same car doing the rounds! I didn't notice the damage until half way through the hire period.
Like you I got charged for both a new wheel and a new tyre even though I know for certain that I didn't damage either.
I always check cars thoroughly on collection now - see above.
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