Holidaymakers are being warned to steer clear of car rental firm Goldcar, which has been ranked bottom in a customer satisfaction survey.

The company, which operates in countries including Spain, Portugal, France and the US, scored 52% overall in the annual report by consumer watchdog Which? It received two stars out of five for value for money, accuracy of car description, record of car damage, and customer service.

A fifth of respondents (20%) who used Goldcar reported issues with the car's condition, while 23% said they were hit with extra charges either when picking up or returning the vehicle. Which? revealed that its past investigations have uncovered instances of the company using "pressure selling tactics" to push customers into buying additional insurance at the desk.

Dollar was the second-worst car hire company with an overall score of 56%, followed by Record Go (57%), Budget (61%) and Sixt (64%). Meanwhile, Canary Islands-based brands AutoReisen (92%) and Cicar (91%) topped the list, with Zest Car Rental (90%) named as the best broker.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel magazine, said: "Booking car hire should be straightforward, but all too often it feels like the wild west, with travellers lamenting fraught experiences, poor customer service and spurious fees. Goldcar in particular is best avoided, with customers repeatedly reporting serious issues from pressure selling to poor customer service. To ensure you have the best possible experience this summer, make sure you book with a reputable firm."

A representative for Goldcar, a subsidiary of Europcar Mobility Group, expressed disappointment at the findings of the Which?report, stating: "Goldcar is of course disappointed about the results of the Which? report. The company takes customer care very seriously with a code of ethics for counter sales and a guide of good sales practices, both of which are reviewed annually based on customer feedback."

"We offer very attractive prices, making travel affordable while giving our customers the freedom to choose additional options including premium insurance cover for a seamless process should damage occur during their rental. We are committed to investigating any incidents where a customer believes they have received a service that does not match expectations for a low-cost brand and continue to invest in staff training and best practices."

A representative for the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association offered advice to customers, saying: "Customers can take a number of steps to make their rental experience as positive as possible. Booking early secures a good price for the desired vehicle."

"Understanding what is included with the price and the level of risk being taken on is also essential. The company is providing access to a high-value vehicle and it is important that drivers understand their responsibilities. Only then can they make informed decisions."

The research was conducted by Which? and involved a survey of 2,324 adults, both from the Which? Connect panel and the general public, during February and March.

2024-06-24T07:55:43Z dg43tfdfdgfd