Sunday 13 October 2013

Spanish car-hire firms charge euro deposits to sterling bank accounts - according to The Independent's column

I came across this yesterday in Paul Gosling's "Question of Cash" featured in The Independent. As I too have experienced similar situations in Cyprus, Ireland and France (but not Spain thought it should be featured. 

Mostly in my car hire renting experiences the car hire company has simply "swiped" my credit card details and hen has the right to make deductions as the case maybe. Unfortunately it appears that some car hire companies actually deduct the amount from the customer's credit card, thus cutting down their spending ability, but also adding to car hire company's cash flow. This is not always fair. If you have a deduction in your own currency e.g,. a Belgian hiring a car in Spain then you won't suffer in transaction currency charges. different matter if you are British or Swiss for example with a Euro transaction or vica versa.

Q. I read with interest Questions of Cash 24 August, where you reported on a car-hire company in Spain that charged the reader's sterling bank account for a euro deposit. This lost the reader more than £40 through currency charges by the time the deposit was refunded.

You reported the reader's bank as saying that the car-hire company had failed to follow the "usual practice" of obtaining authorisation for the deposit, reserving the funds but not processing a payment unless the car was damaged during the hire.

I had the same experience in August with the same car-hire company. I was told very clearly on booking through an online intermediary that the car-hire company would require a security deposit to be held in reserve, but that no money would be taken from my account if the car was returned undamaged.

Yet my sterling account was debited and when the deposit was returned, the amount was £10.64 less. It is clear that your other reader's experience was not a one-off. WB, by email.

Q. I also read the letter about problems with a Spanish car-hire deposit with interest. I suffered the same experience in July when I travelled to Alicante and hired a car.
As a result, I lost £34.78. I booked with a different car-hire company that I have used on many occasions. I have never before had to pay a deposit – each time a payment was authorised, but not processed HB, by email.

A. After our reader contacted us in August about his experience with Marbesol, the reader's bank, the Co-operative, repaid the loss of £41.01 in full. We were unable to obtain a response from Marbesol, despite repeated attempts. It would be nice to think the publicity we gave to this problem caused a change of approach by car-hire companies in Spain.

What we can say is that in both cases the problems were resolved without our intervention. Both companies repaid the losses in full when the failures were pointed out to them by the readers WB and HB before we had a chance to be involved. However, this is an occurrence that needs to be watched out for and we caution readers accordingly. Source The Independent Question of Cash 13-10-13

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