I should have known when I arrived at the counter at Bologna airport to collect our hire car and saw a customer having a blazing row with the Goldcar girl which eventually had to be broken up by the police. We had to wait over an hour to get the keys to the car. Then she said we had to pay 106 euros for a full tank of petrol which we then had to return empty ( it only cost 60 euros to fill in a petrol station). Then she said we either had to pay 120 euros for the excess insurance or leave a credit card pre-authorisation for 1600 euros to cover any excess charge. As I had already taken out separate car hire excess insurance online (for c. £15 — nothing near the 120 euros they charge) I let them pre charge my card for 1600 euros. She then refused to let me inspect the car before making me sign the rental form. Very dodgy. She said the car was new and was in perfect condition. When I went to get the car from the car park I found 3 dents on it, 2 of them quite big. When I went back to complain to her she made it quite clear that she knew about the dents already and simply marked up the damage on the form. I was so angry with her blatant dishonesty, but what could I do? To cap it all off, she refused to give the second car we had hired to my father-in-law because he had a US driving licence, even though we had already paid for it.
When we came to return the car a week later, we arrived 2 and a half hours before our flight left and there was a line of about 8 or 9 people. Because the Goldcar people are so slow, it soon became clear that we were going to miss our flight, so I went to the desk and said I needed to return the car or I was going to miss our flight. The guy just told me to go to the back of the line, which I did. Half an hour later I tried again and he and his girl colleague both told me to go the back of the line. They made no effort to be even remotely helpful or polite or friendly. Eventually, I went to the front with my screaming baby and a very nice Dutch couple said I could go before them and the other couple in front of us said we could also go in front of them. So, very reluctantly, the guy let me check the car back in and we made our flight home just in time.
So to sum up, please DO NOT USE GOLDCAR. They lure people in with the lowest headline rental rate, then rip you off from the moment you get there. This is clearly their business model – to be really slow and dishonest and rip people off. Use a bigger, better know car rental firm instead.