Airport "meet and greet" parking services, in which holiday-goers can simply drop their car off at the airport, are rising in popularity due to their sheer convenience.
However, staff at such companies have been accused of neglecting cars in their charge; parking them in unsecure locations and even taking them on joyrides.
Where such parking firms often advertise that they store customers' cars in security patrolled designated car parks, trading standards officials have warned that many are being left in fields or parking on public roads near airports.
Holdaymakers have also reported that they have had their cars returned to them with vastly increased mileages and with significantly less fuel in the tank than when they left it.
Essex County Council trading standards said that it had received numerous complaints from users of Stansted and London Southend airports that their cars had been driven for hundreds of miles, suffered damage and had items stolen from them.
They issued advice to airport users to thoroughly research airport parking companies and not to just plump for the cheapest option.
"If you look closely, some companies offering 'meet and greet' services do not have full contact details on their websites so you have no way of making contact if you have a complaint.
"In some cases claims of secure parking can actually mean a field or a street near to the airport."