More complaints about car hire companies in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
car hire companies

MADRID – The Spanish consumer organisation OCU warns of an increase in complaints against car hire companies. The organisation has received a total of 181 questions and complaints since June.  

The main reasons for the complaints are incorrect or unjustified rates, the ‘obligation’ to extend the basic insurance, or a lack of information. 

In addition, improper or unlawful charges arise from alleged damage not established when the vehicle is returned. Also charges of more than €30 for fuel service, in addition to the cost of the fuel itself, or extra cleaning costs. Furthermore, consumers denounce the obligation to extend the coverage of compulsory basic insurance. Especially when it has to be taken out with a debit card instead of a credit card.  

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Complaints against car hire companies

Often rental company employees continually emphasise to the driver about the risks he runs in case of an accident. They aim to get the hirer to pay for roadside assistance or to opt for the more expensive all-risk insurance. Furthermore, lack of information is another common complaint. Full information about the contract, including all clauses and exceptions, is rarely included in the order form. It is also not often offered during the purchase process, forcing the user to search on the company’s website. 

Top two with most complaints  

According to the OCU, most car rental companies face these kinds of problems. Although Gold Car and Sixt Rent stand out with the number of complaints. The consumer organisation asks consumers to file a complaint and reminds them that they can go to court. If the amount claimed is less than €2,000, they do not need to hire a lawyer. 


In any case, the OCU recommends that when picking up the car ‘it is vital’ to check the car’s bodywork. And, when returning the car, to accompany the employee when inspecting the vehicle. Also, always ask for a document showing how much petrol is in the tank. And confirmation that the car is free from visible damage. 

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