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Europe’s “best” and “worst” car hire companies

An annual survey by consumer group Which? reveals its rankings of car hire firms in Europe.

The Spanish company Goldcar has come last in the rankings of car hire companies in Europe for the fifth time in six years, according to the consumer group Which?.

Complaints about the firm include rude staff, pressure selling tactics and unforeseen charges. Around 38% of the customers surveyed said they would definitely never consider using Goldcar again.

It advertises inexpensive hires at £13 (€15) a day on average, but 40% of customers reported inconsistencies with final pricing and other issues. In fact, the majority of customers cited unexpected credit card charges or poor customer service.

Hopes that things might improve after Goldcar was bought out by car hire giant Europcar have not yet come to fruition, as the firm’s overall score has actually worsened, standing at 39% in this year’s survey.

Europcar, with offices in 140 countries around the world, holds the dubious distinction of owning the two brands at the bottom of the rankings. Its InterRent was second to last above Goldcar on this year’s list.

Respondents were asked to rate companies on several criteria including transparency of charges and final cost, claims matching reality and value for money.

The results come from 2,178 car hire experiences among Which? members from the 12 months prior to January 2019 when they were surveyed.

Top spots
Cicar (Canary Islands Car) and AutoReisen, two local car hire firms from Spain’s Canary Islands, topped this year’s rankings. Customers were happy with their all-inclusive pricing and free add-ons, Which? said.

Among the larger firms, Enterprise and sister company Alamo, which came in third this year, were top performers in the survey.

“In an industry dogged by unscrupulous practices and interminable add-ons, making the right choice is paramount, so it is good that customers can rely on companies like Cicar and Enterprise to deliver a quality service,” said Rory Boland, Which? travel editor.

“Our advice is don’t fall for headline prices, vet your car hire firm and whatever you do, avoid Goldcar — it could end up not being a bargain at all and leave you wishing you’d stayed at home.”

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