Commission works with European consumer authorities to better enforce consumer rights in the car rental sector.
In Brussels 13/07/2015, five major car rental companies have agreed to significantly review how they deal with consumers thanks to a joint action from the European Commission and national authorities. Citizens will benefit from more clarity on insurance policies and tank refuelling options, more fairness when handling damages, and more price transparency.
The Director of the European Consumer Centre of Greece Miss Athina Kontogianni said ”Complaints of rental car issues received by the European Consumer Centre of Greece and the corresponding European Network grew rapidly in the past two years, by almost 1,050 in 2012 to over 1,750 in 2014 ”.
After that, a dialogue was set up between national authorities and the top five car rental companies operating in the EU: Avis-Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt. The EU trade association Leaseurope, which helped set up the action from the industry side, also agreed to further develop their practical guidelines for the whole car rental business sector.
Some of the main improvements pledged include:
- Improved transparency when booking online
- Clearer information about all mandatory charges and optional extras,
- Clearer information about key rental terms and requirements, including deposits charged on the consumer’s card.
- Better information at the booking stage about optional waiver and insurance products, including their prices, exclusions and applicable excesses
- Improved and more transparent fuel policies
- Clearer and fairer vehicle inspection processes
- Improved practices for taking additional charges from customers:consumers are given a reasonable opportunity to challenge any damage before any payment is taken.
An example from the car rental market: A consumer rented a car and paid €600 as deposit. During the rental someone scratched the car causing some minor damage estimated at less than €100. When the consumer brought the car back he was charged the total amount of the deposit, the rental agent explained this was foreseen by the contract’s terms and conditions.