Car rental companies have agreed to review how they treat customers following a joint action from the European Commission and national enforcement authorities led by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and supported by the European Consumer Centers (ECC-Net) which had seen complaints related to car rentals increase sharply in the last two years.
On 3 April 2014 national enforcers from the EU Consumer Protection Cooperation Network, the European Commission, and the European Consumer Centre network, met with the trade association, Leaseurope, and other industry representatives to identify the main issues affecting consumers across Europe when hiring a car and to discuss how to address them – for example, by improving pre-contractual information and reviewing standard terms and conditions and practices.
Today the CMA has published its report on short-term car hire in the European Union. The report summarises the CMA’s analytical work on the consumer problems arising in the sector and the CMA’s view of how the relevant legislation applies.The report also sets out steps that companies and consumers can take to make the sector work better and includes the commitments 5 major car rental businesses will make to certain practices.
Avis-Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt will ensure more clarity on insurance policies and tank refuelling options, fairness when handling damages and more price transparency.
Vera Jourov, EU commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: "Booking a car online, renting it in one country and returning it in another is very simple today. Unfortunately, car rental terms and conditions are sometimes too vague or lack clarity. Consumers are too often left with unplanned extra costs.Five major car rental companies have now pledged to improve their information policies and make their terms and conditions fairer for consumers. I welcome their commitment and the excellent work done by the national consumer authorities in ensuring a better deal for European consumers."
The proposals are gradually being implemented by the car rental firms and should be completed by the end of 2015.
European Commission - Press release