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Car Hire. Portugal. Advice

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needawin | 18:06 Wed 23rd Sep 2020 | Travel
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Just returned from the Algarve. Rented a hire car at Faro Airport from a company called GoldCar.
I have rented from them many times before without incident.
This time it was different.
All went smoothly at first and I was very happy with the Ford Fiesta that was provided. Price quoted was £111 for 16 days which was a good deal.
On arrival at the Goldcar desk I went through the usual process.
Couple of days later I was checking my credit card details.
I noticed 2 "pending" amounts I did not recognise.
One for £1074.12 and one for £97.57.
I emailed the company and asked for a detailed explanation of the two amounts. Did not get a reply. But the "pending amounts" changed to two different amounts!
Leaving the car back I always follow the same routine. Go the the local garage. Through the car wash and Hoover the interior. My reason for this is to give the company no cause for complaint.
Returning the car was always the same process. Wait in the queue till the car is examined and signed off as "ok".
This time I asked for someone to examine the car but was told just to park it up in the space provided and put the keys in a box on the wall.
Being aware of the pitfalls of car rentals I went straight to the car and photographed it from all angles both inside and out.
Before I even reached home I received an email stating that as there was damage to the car bonnet and I was to pay £260 pounds. The amount at the moment is at "pending" and the other two amounts have disappeared!
My photos show no damage whatsoever. My email in response has received no reply.
So are the Rental companies out to recoup the cash they are losing from the lack of rentals due to the virus.
I have raised the issue with the appropriate authorities.
Anyone had a similar experience recently?

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The pending amounts previously on your account will be the excess and will have been quoted in Euros so will have varied from day to day on your account (this is standard with every car I have hired in the last five years).
Your experience points to the advantage of having Car Rental Insurance cover (google it). Also, on returning the car I tend to insist on a document (or in its absence the name of the person who insists all is well) covering return in same condition and state that this is what my insurance company require, because of the potential for later disputes. Finally, it has been my impression that Gold Car is a little less highly thought of than the more familiar names.
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The amounts are varying in hundreds of pounds.
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I have full insurance with insure4you but do not like being ripped off!
I know someone who feels similarly about Gold Car, in that case over fuel policy and top-up.
If the rental company knew you were insured, then they are trying it on with the insurance company. I would send all your evidence to the insurance company and leave them to sort it out.
Goldcar has consistently received bad reviews and customer complaints in the last two or three years.

We have hired cars from Airauto at Faro airport several times and
have always had good cars and good service.

The only extras charged later were the expected autoestrada charges.
Goldcar get regular bad reports. I’ve always used Zest car rental, an agent for a number of hirers I’ve never had trouble with. Good prices too. Pick up at P4 on airport.
In hindsight perhaps use someone else next time even though you've had OK rentals in the past. Goldcar are absolutely famous for this kind of rip-off and false damage claims. The internet, and especially tripadvisor, is rife with advice on not to touch Goldcar with a bargepole.

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