"Ouch" - Spanish Car Rental Companies Fined for Price-Fixing

By Matt May

9th August 2013 Ouch - Goldcar have been hit with a 15 million Euro fine

The Spanish authorities have imposed a series of huge fines against 17 Spanish car rental companies including a massive 15 million € sanction against Goldcar Spain for their role in a price-fixing cartel. The companies were found guilty of breaches to regulations relating to Spanish anti-competitive trading laws.

Other companies fined include Avis which was fined €1.5 million, AurigaCrown, Centauro, Drivalia, Guerin, RecordGo and Solmar. In total the fines levied against 19 companies was in excess of €35 million.

The National Competition Commission of Spain has backdated the fines against revenue earned since 2005 when the unfair pricing practice started.

In addition to fixing prices for rental vehicles, the cartel also artificially inflated prices of additional drivers, children's car seats and other additional extras. The cartel also used an "early warning system" to pass on information between the companies relating to investigations on price-fixing.

The worst affected areas were in eastern Spain including the Costa Brava, Valencia, and the Balearic islands, but the price-fixing was also evident on the Costa del Sol.

Rute Oliveira from Blue Valley Car Hire believes that this will benefit people holidaying in Spain in the future as it is likely to lead to more competitive pricing in a "free for all" market place. "We had been concerned for a while at the pricing structure levied for additional extras which seemed to be excessive during the summer months" she added.