Alan Cuthbertson – Moving Abroad

Secure or not secure…That is the question.

Many of us have gone on holiday and left our cars at the airport. It doesn’t matter if its Leeds-Bradford or Malaga the system is often the same. We find a company (usually on-line) that offers to collect your car at Departures, and have it waiting for you on your return. Glossy websites advertise 24/7 security, this is often accompanied with glowing testimonials from satisfied customers.

I have used the same company (Platinum Parking), over here in Spain for several years and have in the past recommended them to friends and family. On my last return from a trip to the UK the young man was waiting for me and my wife just outside arrivals. He helped load my case in the car, gave me my keys and said “Have a safe journey.”

It was when I walked round to the driver’s side that I saw the damage to the side of my car. “What´s this?” I asked. He pretended he knew nothing about it, obviously hoping I would drive away so the parking company could say it was alright when I  collected it. Eventually he agreed to pay for the repair and explain the problem to his boss, who just happened to be his father.

The ´Boss´ emailed me to say I had to get a quote first from a reputable garage, he would then pay the bill….less the €98 for  the parking that was still owed. I thought this a bit cheeky but went along with it.

I had it repaired and emailed the invoice (€256) to the parking company. The reply took me back. He said he would only pay the original invoice and I had to take it from Granada to Malaga (1 hour away). I was passing the airport on the way to my daughters so dropped it off. The next email suggested that I had forged the invoice and changed the figures and he would only accept one emailed to him direct from the garage. I was fuming but still went ahead and organised this.

A couple of weeks went by and the invoice hadn’t been paid. Out of curiosity I checked the recording on the camera I have mounted on my dash-board. Imagine the shock when I watched my car being driven and left on the back street of an industrial estate. I rang the parking company and told them I had this video and I wanted to speak to the boss.

Later that day he rang me and spent the next 10 minutes calling me an f…ing liar, that no video exists. I copied the recordings on to YouTube and emailed him the link, I also told him I want the full amount of money back.

The next day he emailed to say he was going to pay. He sounded a lot more sheepish than our last conversation.

Lesson to be learnt… Ask where these companies store your car and
check it out!!!

Alan Cuthbertson is the author of Fiestas and Siestas Miles Apart, and Clover House.
He has lived in Spain for over ten years.
For more information please visit alancuthbertson.com

Fiestas and Siestas Miles Apart is now available on audio.

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