Spanish consumer association joins Which? to denounce hire-car companies’ petrol policies

The Spanish consumer association OCU (Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios) has joined forces with its British counterpart, Which?, to draw attention to car hire companies’ illegal practice of requiring drivers to buy a tank of petrol, without the price being stated either in the initial offer or in the contract, and, indeed, in some cases, of charging well over the market price for the fuel forced onto consumers.

Which? reported in 2012 that the phenomenon was widespread in Europe, but with Spain producing a greater number of complaints than anywhere else. Now, the two consumer organizations are acting together to demand information from the Spanish consumer authorities so that measures can be put in place to protect drivers from such sharp practice. OCU spokeswoman Ileana Izverniceanu said that they hoped the Spanish authorities would investigate and punish any business using illegal practices.

OCU invites any consumers who have been the victims of any abusive hire-car practices to tell them about the incident HERE before 31 August.


  1. Another vote for Autoreisen from us, no extra charge for fuel, just return the vehicle with the same amount as when you collected it.
    Always very helpful staff too personally I wouldn’t go anywhere else.

  2. Author

    Just try to ensure that they stick to the agreement you signed – and if you are unhappy, demand the complaints book. Just have a look at the consumer rights page HERE.

  3. I am about to return a car today but am unhappy about the fuel policy and will kick off about it again when I return it! Any advice? I was told by Orlando rent a car in fuerteventura airport that the fuel up front policy is in their terms and conditions but cannot see it anywhere on their website or my rental agreement! I was charged 60 euros for a tank in a be polo! No way could that hold 60 euros worth of fuel!

    If I am unable to get my money back, what do you suggest I do?


  4. The problem is much less prevalent in the Canary Islands than on the Peninsula. I was recently on the Costa Blanca and used ATESA/Enterprise, but they are very much the exception among the first tier of car rental companies. Smaller (second tier) companies are less likely to play this egregious game with fuel.

  5. I like they tell you to bring the car back with the same amount of fuel in as it was delivered to you, or you can choose to pay for a tankful in advance. Also you pay on picking up the car. We have had half a dozen cars from them and they have always been fairly new and in good condition. Staff are helpful too.

  6. Having visited Tenerife over 25 times, along with Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura as well I fully endorse AUTOREISEN as undoubtedly the best Car-Hire Company AND the best for prices, fuel policy and service, No problems at all, on every occasion. PLUS, you don’t pay months in advance. Payment required on arrival at their desk!

  7. We have hired cars in most of the Canary Islands and my experience is that they all charge you up front for a full tank of petrol and you can bring it back empty. The problem is you very rarely use a full tank and even if its a small car the charge equates to a fuel tank the size of a wagon !!
    The best company in the Canaries I have dealt with is AutoReisen (at most airports and a good web site) Their service is second to none, very pleasant and very quick when you get the car. Dropping off is just a matter of handing the keys back over the counter and telling them where you have parked it.
    The best part of the deal is they tell you how much fuel is in the car and ask you to return it with the same amount in (1/4 full for example) So you only pay for what you use. Seems fair to me.

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