Birdwatching
Topic Author
Posts: 3628
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 10:48 am

Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:44 pm

Since this forum is full of people who travel a lot, I'm warning you all about a car rental company doing business is most major cities in southern Spain but also Madrid. The company's name is DICKMANNS Rent A Car.

The prices look very cheap (too good to be true), but in the end you're in for a nasty surprise. My card issuing bank's fraud department is currently on the issue, in the meantime I have done some research (not just reviews on tripadvisor) and it turns out that they are running a scam operation unheard of in the EU.

Here's how it works: First they lure you with a very cheap rental rate. In my case, it was a full size van for 70 EUR per week out of Alicante, less than a third of the next cheapest competitor's rate. At the rental car office, everything seems legit and they tell you there is a 950 EUR deposit on the card until the vehicle is returned, which is perfectly normal for a rental car. The first red flag was when I saw a couple of days later that the amount was not blocked on my card as usual, but the amount was deducted from the card. I didn't worry too much at that point. When I returned the car I mentioned it to them, and they told me everything is ok and they'll refund the money to my card right away. I got the carbon copy of the sheet where the damages are marked. Full tank, no damages, everything ok.

Weeks later the amount was not on my card, and I called them up in Madrid. It took me ages to get someone on the phone, and they told me they always refund it after 25 days. That's when I looked into the fine print on the contract, and it really stated that it can take "up to 25 days" to refund the deposit. 40 days later the money still wasn't there, and every time I spoke to someone on the phone or contacted them on Facebook they said they have "just now" refunded it.

So I did some research on the internet, and there are hundreds of victims reporting the same thing. It turns out that the company never refunds the money automatically but only after the customer insists over a long period of time, so if only 5% or 10% of customers forget to check their card balance or don't notice, they make a huge amount of money from that. For the people who do follow up, the deposit is usually refunded about 3 months later, so the company has a massive pile of 950 EUR deposits in their account which is basically a free loan. The problem is that they don't have that pile, the company appears to be in a pretty bad shape and they keep their operations running on these 950 EUR "loans", so they need a continuous stream of new customers so they can pay off their old customers and pay their bills. This makes you realize why the actual rental rate is irrelevant, they might as well rent out the cars for 1 EUR or for free, but that would make people suspicious.

So while I'm quite confident I will eventually see my money again, either through the card issuing bank or by taking them to court (there are lawyers in Spain specialized in precisely this company), I'll make you all a big favor and warn you before you book with them. And even if I do get my money back, it has been out of my bank account for several months and quite frankly I have better things to do with my money than give a free loan to a Spanish scam operation.
All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
 
KLDC10
Posts: 812
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:15 pm

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:58 pm

That is a quite astonishing story. How are they allowed to continue trading?
Thanks for the warning though.
DC9/MD90/MD11/F70/BAE146/Q400/737/738/739/752/763/772/A320/A321/A332/A333/E190
 
LittleFokker
Posts: 814
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:25 pm

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:59 pm

While not entirely familiar with EU regulations, I cannot fathom this being a legal practice under EU or Spanish law. Hopefully you get your money back before they're shut down entirely.

I don't have any pending trip plans to Spain in the near future, but if I happen to end up there, I'll be sure to avoid this company
"All human activities are doomed to failure." - Jean Paul Sartre
 
User avatar
Tugger
Posts: 6867
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:38 am

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:17 pm

Well in the USA, if I had this problem my credit card company would freeze the transaction and pull the amount in question from the payee until it is resolved (it is frozen on both sides but the company does not have use of the funds). They do not do that in the EU?

Thanks for the warning.
Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
 
L410Turbolet
Posts: 5620
Joined: Wed May 05, 2004 9:12 am

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:36 pm

GOLDCAR and Rhodium (one company two brands), operating mainly in Spain and Italy are just as bad if not worse. They often have the "best" prices on aggregators like rentalcars.com, billiger-mietwagen.de or cartrawler. BEWARE!
Their model is based on selling an overpriced insurance, if you refuse to buy their insurance because you have your own, they might refuse to rent you the car and you end up stuck at BGY airport on Friday evening without a car, because all other companies are sold out. Happened to me this January.
Avoid these two companies like a plague, you have been warned.
 
wingman
Posts: 3207
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 4:25 am

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:06 pm

After many decades of travel around the world I follow these age old rules on the road and in everyday life: if it's too good to be true, it's a scam, and always go with the brands you know. My father taught me this and I'm certain the lessons originated in caveman times, probably right around when prostitution and rock lending started taking off.
 
User avatar
Dutchy
Posts: 3404
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2007 1:25 am

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:37 am

Probably not legal, or in a very gray area. It is a breach of their own contract if they don't return it within 25 days, which is a ridiculous amount of time anyway.

wingman wrote:
After many decades of travel around the world I follow these age-old rules on the road and in everyday life: if it's too good to be true, it's a scam, and always go with the brands you know. My father taught me this and I'm certain the lessons originated in caveman times, probably right around when prostitution and rock lending started taking off.


Yes, and nowadays, just look at the reviews. If the company is that bad, there are bound to be reviews reflecting that.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
JJJ
Posts: 2517
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 5:12 pm

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:52 am

L410Turbolet wrote:
GOLDCAR and Rhodium (one company two brands), operating mainly in Spain and Italy are just as bad if not worse. They often have the "best" prices on aggregators like rentalcars.com, billiger-mietwagen.de or cartrawler. BEWARE!
Their model is based on selling an overpriced insurance


From my experience with them (3-4 times) they have a ridiculous price per day, but they force you to purchase the fuel tank at above market price, which is OK if you're going drive a lot but if you're taking the car for a single day in short drives isn't.

I had no issues with not taking anything over the minimum insurance included in the rate.

In any case I've defaulted back to Europcar/Hertz/Sixt/Avis, etc. that make it much easier to check the final cost.
 
User avatar
TWA772LR
Posts: 5174
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:12 am

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:10 am

With a name like "Dickmann's", I don't think they are run by saints...
"It's not getting to the land of the nonrev that's the problem, it's getting back." ~~Captain Hector Barbossa
 
Birdwatching
Topic Author
Posts: 3628
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 10:48 am

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:08 am

Update: My credit card company has told me I have to call the rental car company and give them one final warning before they can proceed, so I called them up yesterday. This was pretty funny. The person I spoke to first looked into my reservation (or pretended to do so) and then apologized like crazy, saying this was a rare mistake and they have forgotten to refund my deposit which they will do ASAP now. Which is funny, because I was told exactly the same thing every single time I called. I asked him why they said the same thing every time, and he said the specific department that handles claims doesn't speak English so they couldn't understand my emails or my phone calls. Which makes no sense at all since I am a fluent Spanish speaker and spoke Spanish most of the times I called. Then he continued with a big rant how everybody is so unfriendly and in a hurry, and how customers call him all the time and curse at him and how everybody should just relax for a change. What a weird company! I'll keep you updated.
All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
 
User avatar
BartSimpson
Posts: 220
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2016 5:01 pm

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:55 am

TWA772LR wrote:
With a name like "Dickmann's", I don't think they are run by saints...


Those are the real Dickmann's:

Image
 
User avatar
OA260
Posts: 22163
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:50 pm

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:40 pm

Birdwatching wrote:
First they lure you with a very cheap rental rate. In my case, it was a full size van for 70 EUR per week out of Alicante, less than a third of the next cheapest competitor's rate. At the rental car office, everything seems legit and they tell you there is a 950 EUR deposit on the card until the vehicle is returned, which is perfectly normal for a rental car. .


I know sometimes you pay a bit more but maybe in future go with a more recognised global brand. Not saying that they will never have issues but this company does indeed sound very dodgy.
 
User avatar
notaxonrotax
Posts: 1051
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:29 pm

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:08 pm

Goldcar is another company to stay away from in Spain.
I know some REALLY unhappy ex-customers.

No Tax On Rotax
For anybody that happens to be wondering:"yes, owning your own aircraft is a 100% worth it!"
 
Birdwatching
Topic Author
Posts: 3628
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 10:48 am

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:40 pm

Here's an update on this story: Dickmann's wants to play dirty, and I'm game. I've called them once a day for the last 2 weeks, and in the beginning they always said something like "oh I just pulled up your file and there has been a terrible mistake / mix-up, we will refund the deposit right away, it will be on your card tomorrow". Bullshit. No customer in this company's history has ever received their money back, if you check them out on Trustpilot for example they have 0,9 out of 10 which is about the worst you can get. The only positive reviews are all written by some "Juan", "Jorge" or similar and they all look almost the same, so clearly fake reviews. All the others, thousands, all write the same thing: The deposit was never returned. Dickmann's even responds to every one of them with the words "Sorry for the inconvenience, email us your contract number and we'll look into it".

So last week on the phone, talking to Juan or Jorge, I told them I was going to take them to court. To my total surprise he told me to go ahead, because "foreigners have no chance to win a case in Spain, it will take years to get an appointment to begin with". I couldn't believe what he said and I told him I'm currently fighting a similar case against Iberia who ignores my 100% legitimate claim for compensation, and the lawyer is on it, and how I was surprised that the only 2 companies this has ever happened to me with were both from Spain, and he said "well that's how we do in Spain (sic)".

Really? That's "how you do in Spain", Jorge? Well f*ck you, Spain. I'm taking both companies to court and I'll get my money back in the end, sadly I will never get my time back. So many hours lost only because a whole damn country is to lazy to do legitimate business and chooses to rob tourists instead.
All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
 
User avatar
787Driver
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:05 pm

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:54 pm

Personally I only deal with well known companies when booking that kind of thing. I also use a debit card when traveling named revolut which is impossible to deduct money from unless there's money on the card. You can easily block and unblock the card from an app on your phone and everything is done instantly. Good way to avoid fraud.

Oh and if you want compensation from an airline, your best bet is to use someone like airhelp which will cover all costs associated with lawyers etc but they take a certain amount of the money you receive. They helped me against Ryanair and after about 5 months, I actually received over 200 euro from Ryanair thanks to that company.
 
User avatar
Jetsgo
Posts: 2707
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2003 6:31 am

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:10 pm

Birdwatching wrote:
Here's an update on this story:


Why isn't your credit card issuer going to bat for you? Didn't they tell you to give Dickmanns another chance to make this right? This should easily be disputed and refunded.
Marine Corps Aviation, The Last To Let You Down!
 
User avatar
OA260
Posts: 22163
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:50 pm

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:12 pm

Birdwatching wrote:
Here's an update on this story: Dickmann's wants to play dirty,.


You need to do a charge back. If you are with a decent bank/credit card company this should not be an issue .
 
helhem
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2015 5:39 pm

Re: Warning: Spanish Rental Car Company "Dickmanns" Is A Scam

Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:13 pm

Spain has a reputation for stuff like this. And locally they have eternal corruption scandals apparently. Perhaps that is also similar they do business. It is one reason I would not buy any property there. If only 5 or 10% of people run into issues it is still a very high number. I prefer cash when I am in Spain for this reason. It's just ridiculous I hear stuff like this all the time . And have been hearing it for decades. They have ridiculous amounts of police on the streets there. Maybe they should concentrate more on scammers and white collar crime as well.

If you can get someone with local knowledge and a good level of the language you will not really run into this stuff that much. They are often very unbureaucratic as well so there are many positive sides to this as well.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: max999, UltimoTiger777 and 2 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos