Review: False Damage Claim and Why You Should Not Rent From Sixt Mallorca

Scams are common in Mallorca. Even large companies like Sixt file false damage claims. TravelingWellForLess.com

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Last week I returned from an almost round the world 19-day trip which included spending two days at the Park Hyatt Mallorca. I rented a car from Sixt Rent a Car at the Mallorca Airport to get to the Park Hyatt Mallorca. This was my first time renting with Sixt, #sixtexperience. And is one of the worst travel mistakes I’ve made in all my years traveling. Planning a trip to Mallorca and want to rent a car? Read my review: false damage claim and why you should not rent from Sixt Mallorca.

According to This is Money and The Olive Press, Spanish rental car firms commonly scam tourists. So I spent hours researching and reading countless review, after review, of car rental companies in Mallorca. Although the 2-day car rental cost twice as much: $181 from Sixt vs $93, I couldn’t find any negative reviews on Sixt Mallorca and they are a large, well respected company.

But the lack of negative reviews didn’t mean there weren’t any bad reviews. Just that I hadn’t yet found them. Or they hadn’t been posted before I rented from Sixt Rent a Car Mallorca.

False Damage Claim and Why You Should Not Rent from Sixt Mallorca

Making a reservation could save you a long wait. TrvavelingWellForLess.com
Don’t be fooled by the long line. You shouldn’t rent from Sixt Mallorca.

Here’s what happened and what you should do when you rent a car in Mallorca.

I rented a car because the plan was to drive around the island. And it was cheaper to drive myself to the Park Hyatt Mallorca than arrange a pickup. But as we all know, sometimes cheaper isn’t always the best plan.

After waiting 20 minutes at the counter in the baggage claim area, I went to the car pickup location because:

  • Everyone in front of me in line didn’t have a reservation
  • I had a reservation
  • I pre-enrolled in Express Sixt (which lets you skip the line and pick up your car)
  • Gold Sixt Member (status match, although I should be a Platinum)

Despite the Express Sixt membership, I still had to give my payment information. So I’m not really sure if you benefit from having a Express Sixt membership. If you have any experience with Express Sixt, please let me know in the comments below.

Sent to the Bowels of the Garage

Carefully inspect the rental car if there are no car rental employees to help you. TravelingWellForLess.com
This cute little Smart Fortwo was the one cheery thing in the bowels of the garage.

The return desk and car pick up location was on level 5 in the garage across from the airport terminal. After processing my reservation, Ms. Gobel assigned me a car on level 1.

Yep, I was sent to the bowels of the garage to pick up my rental car. Despite rows and rows of available cars on level 5. That should have been my first clue that something was amiss.

Little did I know that this was a set up for a #sixtexperience false damage claim scam from Sixt Rent a Car Mallorca.

Level 1 was dark and poorly lit. And at about 6pm, there were very few people, not a single Sixt employee or any other car rental employee.

3 Rules When Renting a Car

Rule 1 – Inspect the Car

I walked around and inspected the Smart Fortwo. Saw the rear passenger bumper damage that was already noted on the reservation. But there was also damage to the front passenger bumper. And the patch-up job of paint matched the patch-up job to the rear bumper.

Rule 2 – Take Photos of any Damage

When renting a car, take photos of any damage before you drive off the lot. TravelingWellForLess.com
Existing damage on rental car at Sixt Mallorca

I took a photo of the damage with my phone and camera. As you should do when you notice any damage to a rental car before you drive off the lot.

Rule 3 – Report the Damage

I assumed there would be a Sixt employee to report and show the damage to when leaving the parking structure.

Nope, no living soul at all when you exit the parking structure. Plus there wasn’t an easy way to get back into the parking structure. So I planned to tell them when I returned the car.

Driving in Mallorca

It's a long drive from the Mallorca airport to the Park Hyatt Mallorca. TravelingWellForLess.com
Although it’s a long drive from the Mallorca airport to the Park Hyatt Mallorca, it’s an easy drive.

I drove straight from Sixt Mallorca to the Park Hyatt Mallorca. Where the valet took my vehicle and I didn’t see the car again until the next day.

The rental car sat in the underground guest parking garage for the entire time I was in Mallorca except for driving to and from the Park Hyatt Mallorca and for about 30 minutes when I drove the car into the next town.

I was going to drive around the island. But shortly after leaving the resort, I got a text from the spa. So I skipped driving around Mallorca to spend a couple hours at the Park Hyatt Mallorca spa. So basically the car was parked for two days.

Read: Park Hyatt Mallorca Review: How to Get There

False Damage Claim by Sixt Mallorca

Upon returning the car, the girl behind the desk told me I could just walk away. She didn’t offer a receipt or check the car out.

But there was no way I was going to just walk away. So I waited for another employee, Stephan to inspect the car.

I told Stephan that the damage to the front bumper was there when I picked it up. He noted it on the return check sheet. So I assumed all was good. Wrong!

Seven days later, I get a bill from Sixt Mallorca claiming I damaged the car. Invoice is 146.27 euros which is almost as much as I paid to rent the car for two days!

Shakedown Attempt by Sixt Mallorca

This is a shakedown attempt by Sixt Mallorca to extort money from tourists with false claims of damage to rental cars.

And I’m not the only person this has happened to, SamKeyRob S, and djuvan have had a similar experience. I guess with the euro doing poorly, Sixt Mallorca is hurting for money. And is gauging rental car customers.

Sixt customer service in the US won’t help because the rental was in Spain. Sixt Spain insists I caused it, refuses to listen to reason nor see that the photos indicate the damage was pre-existing.

So my credit card company is paying the claim. But it’s a matter of principle. I didn’t cause the damage so I, nor my credit card company, should have to pay for it.

Update: After multiple emails back and forth with photos of the car when I picked it up and posting a tweet on Twitter, Sixt decided not to charge me.

Pro-tip: From Rule 2 above, take photos of your rental car before you leave the lot. Be sure to get pictures of any damaged or questionable areas.

Conclusion

You have to be careful when you rent cars in Spain, particularly in Mallorca. Because it’s common for rental car companies to force tourists to pay for fuel (despite having returned the car with a full tank) and pre-existing damage to rental cars with false claims of new damage.

Renting from a larger, more established car rental company doesn’t protect you from scams. Even companies like Sixt Rent a Car in Mallorca have been known to scam renters with false claims of damage. #sixtexperience

When renting a car, you should inspect rental cars, take photos of any damage, get a receipt when checking out, and pay with a credit card that provides free collision damage benefit for damage or theft like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

So beware renting from Sixt Mallorca. You may get a false damage claim.

Pin this to your travel, travel tips, or vacation board:

Rental car companies in Mallorca, Spain scam renters. Learn more about false damage claim and why you should not rent from Sixt Mallorca.

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Debra Schroeder

Debra is a former 12-year travel industry executive and has traveled the world using airline miles and credit card points since 1994. She'll teach you the secrets of traveling well for less.

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27 Comments

  • The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
  • Cliburn June 28, 2016 at 7:22 am

    Thanks for this post.
    I need to rent a car for an upcoming trip to Mallorca.
    Sixt is now off my list.

    • Debra Schroeder July 8, 2016 at 8:53 pm

      Hi Cliburn,

      Glad the post helped. Hope you have a great time in Mallorca. 🙂

      • Jim July 31, 2019 at 8:27 am

        This practice by Sixt is not limited to Mallorca. I experienced the same practice at the Zurich, Switzerland airport, except their bogus claim for damages was for 2800 Swiss Francs!

        Evidently this fraudulent practice is part of their corporate policy.

        After a year of futile attempts to deal with their claims of alleged damage, Sixt has forwarded the claim to a collection agency. I sent a cease and desist letter.

        • Debra Schroeder October 12, 2019 at 11:10 am

          Hi Jim,

          That’s really unfortunate. So sorry to hear that you had it happen to you in Zurich. Hope it gets resolved in your favor.

  • P La Rue June 28, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Ergh argh. What a horrible experience. Thanks for blogging about it.

    • Debra Schroeder July 8, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      Hi P La Rue,

      You’re welcome. Yeah, it was pretty horrible. Don’t wish that on anyone.

  • dotti cahill June 30, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    hertz in marseille isn’t much better we even had pix and got an attendant to look at the damages before we left the parking lot…

    • Debra Schroeder July 8, 2016 at 8:56 pm

      Hi dotti cahill,

      🙁 I’m sorry to hear that you experienced a similar issue with Hertz in Marseille.

  • Rob&Clare July 16, 2016 at 5:31 am

    My girlfiend and I have just returned from a lovely week in Tenerife where we rented from a car from Sixt. The service was generally very poor and we have now received a false damage claim. This damage was noted by us when we collected the vehicle on the Pre Rental Inspection form and we took photos, so I’m not sure how they expect to get away with it. DO NOT use Sixt, they are incompetent scammers.

    • Debra Schroeder July 19, 2016 at 6:24 am

      Hi Rob&Clare,

      Really sorry to hear that. False damage claims seem to be a common occurrence when renting with Sixt. 🙁

      Thanks for letting me know.

      Hope you get it resolved.

  • Christine January 4, 2017 at 8:04 am

    I wish I had read your blog before renting with Sixt! I just received a false damage claim from a car I rented in Malaga. Thank you for posting your experience.

  • dotti cahill February 12, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Hertz in US and france is just as bad… esp in Marseille-had a horrid experience there!!!!

  • Cris March 20, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Unbelievable! This appears like an organized gouging by the company itself. I rented a car in Madrid and although I had heard of this modus operandi before I decided to take a risk. And guess what, a few weeks later, a bogus damage claim from Sixt stating, the bumper was “loose”. Speaking of loose morals? I drove the car for 10 days with no accident nor any minor fender-bender, so Sixt just validated itself as a crook company after this experience.

    Don’t touch their cars with a 10 foot pole and you would seriously regret it.

  • Steven November 10, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Hi Debra,
    we are just having the same experience as you with Sixt, Palma Mallorca Airport. All was fine collecting the car and returning it, without any new damage. However, a week after we got home I got an email from Sixt asking for details as to our “accident” and had we called to police or have any witnesses! Reading the email in more detail, they claimed we made a 5-10cm long scratch on the door mirror and another 5-10cm on the rear bumber.
    I know we hadn’t since we hardly used the car, and were very careful when we did. Fortunately my wife had fully photographed the car before we drove it, and the photos show these scratches clearly, as well as around 15 more in other locations on the car.
    We are now in dispute with Sixt, Emails going back and forth.
    What a waste of time and what a way to lose repeat customers. I really don’t understand their business model…
    With best wishes and happy travelling, Steven

    • STEVEN PROBYN January 4, 2018 at 10:36 pm

      Hi Just to update on our dispute with Sixt. After several stressful emails to and fro they just dropped the claim. So persistence won in the end!

      I kept on replying to the emails from Sixt, denying the claim, and offering to send our photos of the car showing pre-existing scratches in the disputed areas. I also asked Sixt for their dated photos directly before and after our rental of the alleged minor scratches. They did not provide this information, obviously, and insisted we had caused the damage. Then on Christmas Eve, they sent an email thanking us for our assistance and saying the case was closed! What a waste of time, effort and stress to us, their customer. But I am glad I persisted and did not give them our insurance details to claim against!

      I have since also spoken with a friend who is a lawyer. He said, if Sixt did not inspect the car with us present directly before and directly after the rental, then in court they would have no proof we caused the damage and so no case against us.

      Here are copies of their last two emails:

      Dear customer,
      Thank you for your E-mail!
      We review our vehicles when they are returned according to the same quality standard at every branch. Following this
      criterion we noticed a new damage after your drop-off. You confirmed the condition of the vehicle as described on the rental
      agreement when handed to you. If you notice a new damage you have the obligation to inform Sixt before the use of the
      vehicle according to our contractual agreement. Once again we have checked your file and unfortunately we have found no
      evidence of such information.
      After a revision of all given documentation and your objection we have to inform you the damage must have occurred during
      your rental period. Therefore we kindly ask you for your understanding that we need to insist in our claim.

      Yours faithfully
      SIXT RENT A CAR, S.L. Unipersonal
      Claims Dept. Spain
      Carrer de Canal de Sant Jordi 29, Local 2
      Poligono Son Oms
      E-07610 Palma de Mallorca

      Dear Sir or Madam,
      we would like to thank you very much for your assistance in clarifying this matter.
      Based on all given information we will settle this claim finally without further cause.
      We wish you a good journey with Sixt.
      Yours faithfully,
      Your Sixt Damage Team
      SIXT RENT A CAR, S.L. Unipersonal
      Claims Dept. Spain
      Carrer de Canal de Sant Jordi 29, Local 2
      Poligono Son Oms
      E-07610 Palma de Mallorca
      Tel: +34 (0) 971 704 960 (8am – 6pm)
      Fax: +34 (0) 971 570 225

  • Martin S January 26, 2018 at 5:28 am

    Sorry to hear the stories of blatant scams by SIXT and other big 6 car rentals companies. I can add a similar story of woe after renting a car from SIXT in Barcelona. My son and I picked up the car and, fortunately, took plenty of photos of which one showed a more substantiate scar above a wheel arch. We drove the car happily to Andorra and returned the car without any fuss. The attendant checked the car and waved us on our way.
    A week later we received the same email (and more recently) a letter, claiming they had found damage to the vehicle. I responded with photos showing the pre-existing damage and requested they re-send dated photo (they conveniently remove the metadata showing the date). I have not had a response to two follow-up emails and have just received a written letter (from Spain) and a damage form, stating that I must reply in writing, as a “precondition for application of any contractual limitation of liability”.
    I was a loyalty customer but will not use their services again – AVOID SIXT IN BARCELONA!
    I intend to identify the CEO of SIXT to inform them of this fraudulent, sharp practice and ask for their comment, for what it’s worth!

  • DD July 11, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    We had the same experience. Although we live in Germany and rented the car from Germany. Upon return everything was ok, no scars, nothing. However, a few days later we received a letter from sixt that there is a scar on the fron hood( which is so unlogical) with some barely seen photos and a requirement to pay over 1000 euro. They set a deadline to transfer the money, but I really want to take them to court for this fraud. Unfortuantely I will most probably lose much more money for lawyers..

    • Debra Schroeder July 16, 2018 at 7:21 pm

      Hi DD,

      Sorry to hear that. Hope it all goes well.

    • Debra Schroeder August 18, 2018 at 8:47 am

      Hi DD,

      That’s horrible, sorry to hear you had such a horrible experience. Thanks for sharing. Hope it works out. Keep me posted.

  • Max Scott September 7, 2018 at 9:16 am

    I have just had a horrible experience with Sixt and felt compelled to go online and warn others. Alarmingly, it seems there are plenty of others who have had similar experiences – I should have checked them out first before I got stung!

    The problem is not simply the initial dispute, it is the remarkable intransigence of the German head office customer service – no single token of goodwill and a blind insistence on claiming as much as they possibly can. Not a long term approach, and I see I am now in a largish community of people who have sworn never to be exposed to these guys again. Do not use Sixt!

    • Debra Schroeder September 15, 2018 at 8:56 am

      Hi Max Scott,

      Hope you can get your horrible experience resolved. Be sure to keep replying that you weren’t at fault and include photos for proof. Keep me posted. Thanks.

  • Linda Dearstyne March 31, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    We also rented from Sixt last spring in San Sebastian, Spain. Horrible ordeal, took close to 8 months to resolve! Rented for a one night overnite to Rioja area. Felt concerned about the car they gave us, so took about 12 photos before we left the garage. A few days after returning car we received email outlining Extensive damage to car! We submitted photos to show it was pre-existing, but were pursued by Sixt in threatening manner. Ultimately Chase ‘s insurance company paid out to Sixt, about $600.00. Avoid Sixt!

    • Debra Schroeder April 28, 2019 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Linda,

      Sounds like a horrible experience. Sorry, you had to go through that. Because the insurance companies keep paying out, they’ll keep on making false accusations.

  • Andres Pinzon Cuellar April 30, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    I have the SAME case but with Sixt France.. I sincerely DO NOT recommend Sixt in any place.

    • Debra Schroeder July 9, 2019 at 6:26 pm

      Hi Andres,

      Sorry to hear that. Where in France did this happen?

  • Demetrius Tsouchlos July 9, 2019 at 10:13 am

    Same thing happen to me in Lisbon. My SIXT rented car had a ton of scrathes and dents and SIXT provided no doc showing where damages where. When expressed concern clerk told me not to worry these dents and scratches are common…I took few pics, but did not get on my knees and take pics under the bumper…when I returned the car, clerk got on his knees in the right front corner of the car and …FOUND… a 3 cm little dent…almost under the bumper…Now they want to charge me 250 euros on top of the 290 I paid for the renting the car…Very devious company….Although I have credit card coverage, I refuse to pay and will fight it. Searching the web found thousands stories similar to that about SIXT and others…If you do not think to take pics of everything even under the car or the trunk, or the inside… they will find something to charge you…

    • Debra Schroeder July 9, 2019 at 6:29 pm

      Hi Demetrius,

      Wow! That’s for the tip about taking pictures of the undercarriage.

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