Five major car rental companies have announced a review of renting practices as a result of the European Commission and the EU Member States’ consumer authorities joint control activities. In the future EU consumers will benefit from clearer contract terms when renting cars.
The European Commission and EU consumer authorities (the Consumer Protection Cooperation, CPC) started discussions with Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and with Sixt in the summer of 2014, because the number of complaints received by the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) regarding the car rentals had significantly increased during the last two years.
The companies have committed to better align current car rental practices to the requirements of consumer legislation. The EU car rental industry umbrella organization, Leaseurope, has participated in the discussions to develop practices throughout the industry.
Car rental companies have promised to improve:
- The website clearly states all relevant information related to car rental
- mandatory fees
- additional costs which may result from accessories
- major leasing terms, such as deposit to be charged from credit or debit card
- Providing better information on the booking stage about insurance products and optional waivers
- Stating clearly rental car refueling practices
- Allow consumers the opportunity to challenge the damage caused to the car before making a charge
Companies will implement promised improvements in stages. Most of them will be fulfilled by the end of 2015.
EU consumer authorities will follow the car rental practices, particularly in relation to issues which have not yet received a response. These include the consumer’s liability regarding damage caused by other persons, intermediary practices and language of the contracts provided to consumers.