Car hire company Goldcar is reported to be facing investigation following complaints from customers who encountered unexpected charges, pushy sales tactics and fines for damage they say they did not cause.
Goldcar, with sales of around €200m a year, is the biggest budget rental firm for holidaymakers in Spain and Portugal. The company’s practices have long been a source of concern, but the frequency of complaints to Which? has increased this year following Goldcar’s acquisition by the French giant Europcar, and its subsequent expansion into the UK.
An investigation by The Sunday Times has also revealed a surge of customer complaints, including some holidaymakers who accused the company of forging their signatures on documents.
But Goldcar is not the worst car hire company in our annual car hire survey. Find out which car hire company got an even lower customer score.
Which? Travel’s latest car hire survey saw Goldcar, which also trades under the Rhodium brand, receive a poor customer score of just 42%, with only two stars for customer service.
Nearly a third of the customers surveyed also reported a problem with their rental, with issues including shock charges appearing on their credit card bill after they returned home.
Goldcar customers also experience some of the longest, most frustrating queues at the check-in desk, with nearly a quarter having to queue for more than 30 minutes.
To find out more, read the full Goldcar review
Taking action against Goldcar
According to The Sunday Times, the European Commission is now observing the activity of smaller rental firms such as Goldcar as part of its wider crackdown on the bigger car rental companies – Europcar, Avis, Enterprise, Hertz and Sixt.
Goldcar has also been fined €2.5m by the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) for aggressively selling its additional products and for not sufficiently explaining its fuel policies to customers. Firefly, the low-cost arm of the Hertz group, was also fined €1.6m by the AGCM.
A Trading Standards investigation into Europcar, which owns both the Goldcar and Interrent budget brands, is also ongoing. The French firm came under fire for inflating costs for damage repairs. However, this problem is not specific to Europcar. An award-winning investigation by Which? Travel found a number of car hire companies to be charging customers double for car hire repairs