‘Scam’ Spanish firm refused to hand over the keys to hire car for British holidaymaker until he’d forked out £144 for its insurance – even though it knew he was already covered
- John White purchased Axa’s ‘Platinum Excess Waiver’ for £29
- But OK Mobility in Alicante Airport said that this policy was ‘no good’
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A British holidaymaker was left fuming after being forced to spend £144 on car insurance for a hire car in Spain – even after he explained that he was already covered.
John White, 62, hired a green Citroen Grand Picasso to use on a one-week holiday to Alicante with his wife.
The pair had already purchased Axa’s ‘Platinum Excess Waiver’ insurance policy for €34 (£29), via the ‘DoYouSpain’ price comparison website.
They then used the same site to hire the car with a separate company called OK Mobility.
The couple needed the car to make the hour-long drive from Alicante Airport to their friends’ apartment in Lo Pagan, where they were staying.
British holidaymaker John White was left fuming after being forced to spend £144 on car insurance for a hire car in Spain – even after he explained that he was already covered
But when they went to collect the car at the airport, Mr White claims staff refused to hand him the keys unless he took out another insurance policy with them – which was five times more expensive.
He told MailOnline: ‘It was our first break for ages so we were really looking forward to it.
‘When we arrived at Alicante airport, we went to OK Mobility car rental to collect the car.
‘We were told that the insurance through “DoYouSpain” was not enough cover and to have the car, we needed OK Mobility’s insurance, which was €167 (£144), before they would let us have the car.’
Mr White, from Swindon, Wiltshire, showed OK Mobility staff evidence of his Axa insurance policy, which covered him for the eight-day holiday from April 22 to 29.
But his efforts were in vain and he was given two options – take out the extra insurance policy or lose the hire car entirely.
‘When I showed the girl our paperwork including the insurance, she dismissed the insurance document straight away and told us it was no good,’ Mr White said.
‘It was their insurance or no car really. As it was the first time we have hired a car in Spain, we paid it. Although not happy about it, we felt we had no choice. Not happy.’
OK Mobility is listed as a ‘bad’ company on Trustpilot. Forty-nine per cent of the scores from customers are one-star ratings
Above: A scathing review of OK Mobility that has been posted on Trustpilot
Mr White added: ‘The lady we dealt with at the airport also said that if we did not have their insurance and the car got a scratch, we would be liable for a minimum of 1,200 euros (£1,032).’
Emails from DoYouSpain confirm that Mr White should have been given the option to leave a security deposit with OK Mobility and use his own insurance.
The deposit would have been returned to him as long as he brought the car back ‘undamaged at the end of the rental’, the company explained.
But Mr White said no such option was presented by OK Mobility.
OK Mobility has attracted a string of scathing reviews on Trustpilot, where 49 per cent of a total of 6,734 customers gave it a one-out-of-five rating.
Commenting on the site, Elly Nunn said: ‘I rather think the staff are on commission to sell extras and charge for pre-existing damage.’
Customer Daniel Astete, meanwhile, said using OK Mobility was ‘the worst experience ever renting a car’.
John White’s frustrating experience took place at Alicante Airport (above)
They added: ‘I returned the car in perfect conditions, barely dusty in Munich airport…
‘That same day I took a flight to France and just after that they charged me with €460 euros for non-existing damage to the front bumper and windshield.
‘I have video and pictures of the car at the moment I returned it and it was spotless.
‘It’s unbelievable, and nobody answers my questions. What a scam!!! Be aware!!! Choose another rental!!!’
Which? said customers feeling pressure to buy unnecessary insurance when hiring a car is a complaint they receive time and time again.
Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, said: ‘It’s distressing to hear a customer felt pressured into buying unnecessary insurance at the rental desk, a tactic that we hear repeated complaints about.
‘No one should be denied the keys to their rental vehicle because they refuse to purchase extra insurance at the desk – by law, all rental vehicles in Europe are sold with basic insurance included.
‘Securing excess waiver insurance is recommended but it’s optional – and you have no obligation to purchase it from the car hire company. In fact, using a third party will almost always provide you with more comprehensive cover at a lower cost.
‘Whether or not you’ve already purchased an excess waiver policy ahead of travelling, don’t be afraid to stand your ground if you’re being pressured into purchasing extra insurance – and remind pushy sales agents that you understand your rights.’
MailOnline approached OK Mobility for a comment but none was forthcoming. For Which?’s car-hire tips click here.
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