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Theft from cars in Carrefour, Benidorm

Good evening, my name is Ian Smith. I travel to Spain regularly. I have a property in Calpe which I have had for 12 years. My in laws lived in Calpe in the 80's. I speak some Spanish and French.
I flew to Spain on 26 Feb 2017 stopping off at Carrefour Benidorm to pick up some groceries. I was in the store around 20 mins. In that time all my luggage was stolen from the hire car, in boot not visible.There was no damage to the car. I have subsequently learned that this has happened before at Carrefour. Does anyone have any information regarding this type of theft - locked car, no damage - presumably a 'jammer, to intercept the radio signal from the key. Doesn't help that rental companies have stickers advertising their company on the car. Police report filed. But it's going to be a fight with the insurance company. Thanks in advance. Ian Smith

similar in malaga on sea front calle pacifico 1hour all luggage stolen sun 26/02/2017

any hints to claim insurance much appreciated . no visible damage -- car locked

Hi. Sorry to hear you have had the same trauma of losing your luggage.  Contacted ins company - yes small print states that claim refused if no forced entry/damage to car. Insuarance companies are not up to date with the technology these thieves use. You can buy a 'jammer', for less than £30!! I said to insurance call handler - so If I had smashed a window myself and fraudulently said the car had been broken into you would accept the claim? She answered 'yes' - then when I asked her if the call was being recorded (yes it was) she tried to wriggle out of it by saying - I thought you meant anyone smashing the window' Waiting for a manager to call back. The travel insurance policy isn't worth the paper it's written on, so we are claiming on the home insurance policy under 'items away from home' This is John Lewis insurance underwritten by RS & A - nothing to do with us' John Lewis says. Oh but it is - it's got your name on it!!! We will take this as far as we can - ombudsman, travel sections in national papers, Facebook page of John Lewis and their Twitter account. It will be shared far and wide! We have spoken to our lawyer in Spain and another couple at the airport who tell us theft is rife from cars at Carrefour Benidorm. Funny how JL paid out a few years ago for loss of food when our freezer broke down - no quibble - how big your freezer is determines how much they pay out . I don't see the difference personally. There must be lots of people who have had this happen to them. Let's hope we get it sorted.

no warning from car hire companies / government depts spain / england / airport etc !!!!

hard to find on social media --all very hard to find

We were at a trailhead at Punta de Carmen in Tenerife last December. This is an out of the way stop with a small museum, a cafe, a restaurant, an overlook and trailheads. Upon turning into the lot , the first available space was littered with window glass and on the adjoining wall was a sign warning us to not leave valuables in the car. We found another spot and only left a pair of tennis shoes in the trunk, carrying all with us, including coats that we didn't need. Upon return we ate at the cafe and an older couple came in speaking Catalan. My wife went to talk to them. They had left their suitcases in the trunk and they had been stolen. They were from Barcelona, and had taken a significant amount of cash in their suitcases. The woman was crying. I don't think there was evidence of forced entry in their case as their trunk was closed. There was a fair amount of traffic coming and going in the lot, and I wondered if it was an inside job or whether the lot was under surveillance. I looked around but couldn't find anything. I think europeans in general assume that if something is locked in the trunk it is secure.

One tip: If you are leaving your car parked somewhere, be sure to carry what ypu are taking with up front and to not open the trunk where you are parking. You can arrange things by pulling over a few kilometers away from from your final destination to remove things or store things in the trunk. When you arrive at your destination take everything visible in the front of the car and dont open the trunk. It is possible that thieves go from car to car opening trunks but that would cause suspicion. As a tourist you are a prime target, but Spaniards are victims as well.

Theft from hire cars, no damage.   How can it happen?

A thief  hires a car,  or gets a key from someone who has,  and copies the key.  He then watches to see when the car is hired. Follows it, and when the occupants go to a shop, opens the car with the duplicate key.  Simple.

In passing.   I was told some while ago that the owners of  business premises in Spain have a duty to protect their customers, thus one could try asking for the Complaints Form and get the premises owners to pay compensation.  Nothing to loose by giving it a try.

Thanks for the warnings!. Down Torrevieja way we have had a spate of muggings by 2-3 young women (alegedly German, but I would strongly suggest Eastern European) and 2 well-dressed spanish guys.

or tracker with duplicate key    CRIDSS CROSSED MALAGA FOR 2 HOURS SIGHT SEEING
only left car for just over one hour

The same thing happened in Miami/Miami Beach/Ft. Lauderdale (Florida, USA) areas for several years until authorities worked with car rental companies: it was agreed as a start, to remove all designations/advertisements on the vehicles to avoid attracting the attention of thieves and other ne'erdowells.

Over a relatively short period, the vehicle break-ins significantly decreased.  Might be an idea to suggest to the various authorities in Spain . . .?

Might help!

GOVERNMENT DO NOT REPLY

The message I get from this is do not leave the car with luggage in it.  Drive directly to your destination, unload your luggage and only then go shopping or do anything else where you will leave the car unattended.  It seems clear that the thieves know which cars to target.  But they can't steal from you if you don't give them the opportunity.

So as a warning to others, your post is worth reading as long as they get that message from it.  Don't leave a rental car unattended with luggage or anything else worth stealing, in the car.

Re the insurance claim, I am not quite clear on a couple of things. 

You wrote, "The travel insurance policy isn't worth the paper it's written on, so we are claiming on the home insurance policy under 'items away from home' This is John Lewis insurance underwritten by RS & A - nothing to do with us' John Lewis says."

That sounds to me like you tried to make a claim on your Travel Insurance and were declined.  But you don't say why it was declined by them.   You then tried to claim on your Home Insurance and were declined by RS & A, who are the underwriter for a Home Insurance policy provided to you by John Lewis.  Is that all correct?

Insurance policies are quite cut and dried.  Whether you like what they cover and do not cover, is irrelevant in terms of making a claim.  If a policy covers theft from a car but specifically says there must be visible damage to the car, then that is what it covers.  There are no ifs or buts in that.  Which policy had that clause?  The Travel Ins., the Home Insurance, or both?

While you could advocate and attempt to stir up some grass roots support for changes to what is covered through the media and social media etc., that will have no bearing whatsoever on a claim made under existing terms of a policy.

Some battles are worth fighting and some are not.  Banging your head against a brick wall doesn't often get anyone very far.  Some lessons are more expensive than others.

My advice would be to contact the Financial Ombudsman still, as that costs you nothing and is relatively easy to do.  But if they respond that you have no case, my advice at that point would be to learn to live with the lesson.

http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/c … laints.htm

Would have been nice to have some literature from the CAR HIRE company / airport or even better
Govenment dept to put you on alert .

To be zapped by insiders or modern technology is a new one on me as a seasoned traveller .

Police in Spain and camera system are not up to the standard as we get used to in the uk .

On a busy main road in a tourist area ???

Hire cars with TOURIST written all over them ???

FANTASTIC

Back to full alert ( no relaxing travelling in Spain)

Was the car hire company one of the main ones?

It does sound like it could have been followed by someone who had a key or a devise to open doors. Very sad indeed.

GOLDCAR Malaga airport    Tracker i think with spare key .Drove round Malaga for 2 hours

Kids & mother needed a rest before flight

Thought ok on sea front calle de pacifico

Wrong only one hour

live & learn

Criminal acts take place practically in every country. It would be impossible to warn every visitor / expat of what might happen, and even if an attempt was made to do so that person would still forget the advice and still leave themselves vulnerable.

That said this is the latest advice being supplied to visitors in Spain:- 

Keep hold of your handbag and protect your wallet on public transports and in crowded areas (street markets, shows, performances. etc...).

[i]Take care of your camera or video camera in amusement or recreation areas.

Take only essentials when you go to the beach or a swimming pool.

If you are using a vehicle, lock any valuables out of sight.

As far as possible, avoid isolated or badly lit places.

Beware of suspicious offers of " help" ("help" with stains on clothes. " problems" with your car, etc).   Thieves know clever tricks to steal from you.

Do not take part in gambling or buy "bargains" in the street. It will nearly always be a confidence trick or a swindle.


At your hotel or apartment
       
Do not leave keys, money or other valuables lying around. Make use of the safe.
       
In communal areas (reception, restaurants, swimming-pools) cake care of your luggage and personal belongings (handbags, cameras,  etc).

If you are a victim of crime

Ask for help by calling 091 (Police).

Reporting a crime:  Most police stations do not have an interpreter service,  but you can supply the initial information by phone by calling  902 102 112 (several languages are spoken) after which you must go to a  National Police Station nominated by you, it may be anywhere in Spain, to sign the report and pick up a copy.

We really do care about your SAFETY !

What often gets me about issues like this regarding insurance, is the blaming of others.

Any insurance policy only covers you for what it says it covers you for.  Yet, when a policy does not cover something, we don't  hear people saying, 'I should have read the policy to know what was covered and not covered'.  What we hear instead is, 'the insurance isn't worth the paper it's printed on'.

Blaming others for what is our own responsibility seems to be the way of the world these days.

Hi Gary,  "Police in Spain and camera system are not up to the standard as we get used to in the uk "

With  my police experience in Spain and the UK,  I assume that is a wild guess rather than an informed opinion based on knowledge.

Rather as Dog said,   "Blaming others .... "

The law in Spain on the use of CCTV is very different from the laws in UK and thus even the police cannot just set up cameras as they would prefer to.

PS  I have lived in Spain 30 years, so far I have not been the victim of a crime.  Maybe I am lucky or maybe I am just careful !

NOTHING from car hire companies on latest activity or from government .

Very poor UPDATE record

I quoted the entire list of suggestions because they are worth reading, re-reading, and keeping in the forefront of one's mind no matter where one travels or lives, for that matter. 

Each time my husband and I rent a hotel room, those are the basic warnings given throughout the world.  I remember reading a similar list when I first entered my pension in Madrid when at University, and practically every hotel room everywhere in the world.

Good advice, no matter where one is in this world of ours.

Take care and be careful out there!

Michele

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Johnzx :

Criminal acts take place practically in every country. It would be impossible to warn every visitor / expat of what might happen, and even if an attempt was made to do so that person would still forget the advice and still leave themselves vulnerable.

That said this is the latest advice being supplied to visitors in Spain:- 

Keep hold of your handbag and protect your wallet on public transports and in crowded areas (street markets, shows, performances. etc...).

[i]Take care of your camera or video camera in amusement or recreation areas.

Take only essentials when you go to the beach or a swimming pool.

If you are using a vehicle, lock any valuables out of sight.

As far as possible, avoid isolated or badly lit places.

Beware of suspicious offers of " help" ("help" with stains on clothes. " problems" with your car, etc).   Thieves know clever tricks to steal from you.

Do not take part in gambling or buy "bargains" in the street. It will nearly always be a confidence trick or a swindle.


At your hotel or apartment
       
Do not leave keys, money or other valuables lying around. Make use of the safe.
       
In communal areas (reception, restaurants, swimming-pools) cake care of your luggage and personal belongings (handbags, cameras,  etc).

If you are a victim of crime

Ask for help by calling 091 (Police).

Reporting a crime:  Most police stations do not have an interpreter service,  but you can supply the initial information by phone by calling  902 102 112 (several languages are spoken) after which you must go to a  National Police Station nominated by you, it may be anywhere in Spain, to sign the report and pick up a copy.

We really do care about your SAFETY !

Good list and thanks for posting. Only modification I would make based on this thread is to lock valuables out of sight BEFORE arrival at any insecure location.

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