One of the biggest complaints that visitors make is the extortionate price of car rental here in Spain.
The base price offered is usually reasonable except in the height of summer, it is all the add-ons that make it expensive; cost of additional drivers, child safety seats and worst of all – the price charged for a full tank of fuel*. The thing is that you knew that every company was charging the same or similar rates so it had to be a fix.
At last, the Comisión Nacional de la Competencia has revealed that a cartel was operating and imposed fines of over 35 million euros to 17 businesses and 2 associations. The comission says that the companies involved were fully aware of the illegality of what they were doing and had a control system in place to prevent detection.
Six of the companies involved are based in Alicante.
* To me, the fuel scam is the worst. You are forced to buy a full tank of fuel which is charged at well above the price paid at the pump. The deal is that you take the car back empty but very few actually do. The next customer is then charged for a full tank of fuel even though the company have only had to top the tank up.
The other major scam is the extra insurance. You either pay it or face the possibility of paying a huge excess if any damage is done to the car.