UPDATE - the hire car company has put the charge through on my credit card. Since it had been pre-authorised, the fact that the card was subsequently stolen made no difference.
The company has NOT charged me for the tank of fuel, so I no longer need advice on that isue. The problem that remains is the dishonest mis-selling of the SCDW and whether I can claim fraud of whatever to get this money refunded. It's not a lot of money - but the principle of the thing!
I hired a car in Spain recently. Given long queues and busy staff, I didn't have the time to read through the contract carefully before signing. I noticed when I returned the car at the end of my holiday that I had been recorded as having "accepted" the company's Super Collision Damage Waiver cover at 7.20 euros per day. I was NOT asked if I wanted this. If I had been asked I would most certainly have declined because I took out an annual hire car insurance excess policy just before going on holiday. Also, I was told by the person who dealt with me that I had to pay in advance for a full tank of fuel, but that this would be refunded if I returned the car with a full tank. I double checked this with the staff member and she assured me again that I would receive a refund of the fuel charge, about 10 days after returning home, if I returned the car full. Having now (with the aid of a magnifying glass) read the small print, it would appear that the Fuel Purchase Option applies to all rentals over 4 days, and therefore that I should have returned the car empty as no refund will be forthcoming. I have to date paid neither of these charges, because my credit cards were stolen while I was on holiday and had to be cancelled. I am waiting for the rental company to contact me to ask for my new card details. It is now 10 days since my return and I have heard nothing from them yet. I have noted online that this company has a terrible customer satisfaction rating. A large number of people have complained about these two issues, including one person whose experience re the SCDW charge exactly mirrored my own - he was not asked if he wanted it, and would have refused it if he had been asked. He failed to spot the charge when signing the contract, because the staff member kept the relevant portion of the contract folded over. Do I have a leg to stand on legally in refusing to pay these two charges, having signed the contract? Does the way I was misinformed amount to fraud? The member of staff who dealt with me didn't countersign the contract as I am sure she should have done. Does that invalidate the contract?
José M spanish atorney
I am going to be honest, you have few chances to win if demand them
In the consumers protection ofice your claim will be rejected as the conditions and terms are in the signed contract
The contracts always says that yoy have to give the car with the tank full of gas
So, you have no chance to win at all for that
About the credit car, you can no reject the charge, the bank will not admit it
So, the best will be forget them and next time read the contract carefully before signed it
That's more or less what I expected to hear. I'll take great care to read the rental contract in future.
I am sorry for the bad news, but I have to be honest