Written on: 09/07/2012
I just wish I'd read these reviews before booking with Goldcar as I have to say, they are all accurate. I booked a 'Ford Fiesta or similar' with their branch at Pisa Airport (Galileo Galilei), through 121 car hire.
When we arrived at the desk, there was no queue, and I have to say the staff werepolite and spoke good English - I guess this varies from branch to branch but I have to be fair and say that the woman I spoke to was really quite pleasant. She did answer the phone halfway through my transaction and carried on conversations with other members of staff but (trying not to stereotype here!) I don't mind that so much as being part-Italian myself, I know they are a lot more laid-back about that sort of thing there!
It is really the company policies that I have grievances with. The first shock came when I was asked to choose between putting down a 1200 euro deposit (yes, twelve-hundred, that's not a typo) or buying their insurance for 80 euros. I'm glad I was persistant about not buying their insurance because I had already taken out insurance with 121 for £25, as I'm sure most people would have, and had read up on what the policy covered, which was basically everything. So I held my ground, but was absolutely flabbergasted at having to block 1200 euros from my credit card. Thankfully I'm not a big credit card user so had the available credit but I'm sure there are many people that would not have been expecting that and would therefore not have had the credit left to do so - therefore being forced to buy the extortionate Goldcar insurance. Outrageous.
The second shock came when I was told that the car was full of petrol, but instead of returning it full, I would have to pay there and then for the fuel that was in there, and return it completely empty. This is a ridiculous policy, made worse by the fact that they charged me 135 euros for 60 litres of petrol. Now I know petrol prices are on the rise, but no petrol station in Italy is charging 2.25 euros per litre for unleaded petrol. She told me it was expensive because they always filled up at the station near the airport, so I asked her to point out where on the map this was so that I could check, which she said she couldn't do as she didn't know where it was. We passed a station on the way out where the price was 1.79 euros per litre. I will be writing to complain about this and asking them to refund the difference (30 euros).
Not only were we grossly overcharged for the petrol, but the entire policy of returning the car empty (they won't refund under any circumstances for unused fuel) is outrageous. We were lucky that we were doing a road trip so used more than 60 litres, but there will be MANY people that won't have used the 60 litres but will still have had to pay for the full tank.
Finally, we were provided with a car that was not listed as part of their fleet - a Renault Clio which very much struggled with both the hill-driving and motorway-driving that we did. Having chosen the 'compact' option (third highest), we though we would get something with a bit more power - I was disappointed to find out that a Fiat 500 would have been in a lower class as I know it is a much better drive than the Clio. However this may just be down to personal choice and was hardly our biggest problem.
I suppose my main point is that you need to know all of these hidden extras before you book - and I strongly urge you not to! We were lucky enough to not have any bumps or damage but it doesn't bear thinking how they would have dealt with that situation. My supposed £125 car hire ended up costing far more, and with a hefty 1200 euro deposit on top of that, I can guarantee you'll get a much better deal from some of the bigger names out there even if the initial quote is slightly higher.