Car rental companies improve treatment of consumers

Did you ever book a car online and find out you had to pay more when you get to the rental desk? Last year, this was the case of 2,000 consumers in Europe, who reported these issues to the European Consumer Centres, which help consumers when they travel or buy cross border.

Following a strong increase of the number of complaints on car rental issues, the European Commission and national consumer authorities engaged with the five leading car rental companies to address these issues.

Thanks to this dialogue with national consumer authorities, facilitated by the European Commission under the lead of the UK Competition and Markets Authority, consumers will benefit from the following conditions:

The total booking price includes all unavoidable charges.

For example, when winter tyres are compulsory by law in some countries, the price will include these in the headline price.

Key rental services description in plain language.

Consumers will be provided with clear information about the main characteristics of the rental (mileage included, fuel policy, cancellation policy, deposit requirements, etc.).

Information on additional insurance is clear.

Consumers will be provided with the price and details of optional extras, in particular for insurance waivers that reduce the franchise to be paid in case of damage. What is covered by the waiver in the basic rental price and in any additional insurance must be clearly indicated before the consumer buys such products.

Transparent fuel policies.

Consumers will be always given the option to get the car with a full tank and bring it back full.

Clear procedure for vehicle inspection.

Consumers will be provided with reasons and evidence of any damage, before the payment is taken.

Fair damage handling processes.

The consumer is given the chance to challenge any damage before the payment is taken.