Carsharing, yes; owning, no #3: Registration process (and reading small print)

How do you join a car sharing scheme? It's very easy - but as with all contracts, it's important to read the small print. This 3rd article of my carsharing vs. car ownership series (check out the first and second) will not only relate how I registered for my local carsharing scheme (Catalunya Carsharing) but what are the aspects you should be ready and looking for.
First of all, there's a form at their website but you just need to write your full name and either email or post address. In my case, a few minutes later I received an email with the contract, the User's Handbook, the Terms and Conditions and the Tariff. You have to send the contract back, plus some documentation:
  • Photocopy of your ID card.
  • Photocopy of your driver's license.
  • Photocopy of a document that has your bank account number on it.
  • A receipt from your wire transfer with the fees you have to pay (more on that later).
  • The filled-in and signed contract.
Continue reading to check what else you have to consider before signing the contract.

Please note that, because of different banking habits in different countries, Spain relies on bank accounts rather than credit cards. I could make the initial payment with any card, but it's better to send the receipt of your wire transfer (in my case, I did it via online banking and I just printed the screen). They also need your bank account number to charge you monthly for the carsharing bills. Again, it's not common in Spain to "pay" for your bills. Most of us Spaniards simply pay via direct debit.

Once I sent the documents back, Avancar, the company that operates Catalunya Carsharing, confirmed it would take a couple of days to have my usercard ready and it would arrive via the postal service.

This is where I have to say that, although the process is seamless, I've become disappointed with two issues during this process. First of all, you have to pay for a Deposit (in my case 100 EUR) but this amount is not clearly specified until you receive this documentation. Then, I found out that the insurance is full coverage, but not completely full.

If you have an accident and it's your fault, either by admitting it, because the police determine it or because the insurance companies have reached an agreement, you must pay 150 EUR per day (maximum 4 days: 600 EUR) until the car is ready. You can't eliminate this payment, as you can do with a standard rental car. There is, however, a possibility to pay only 15 EUR (up to 60 EUR) per day but it costs 60 EUR more up front. I didn't select this option, but I think I will switch later.

My costs so far:
  • 100 EUR deposit
  • 30 EUR annual membership fee
TOTAL: 130 EUR (and I haven't driven at all yet!)

Stay tuned.


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