CMA crackdown provides greater clarity for car hire customers

Mercedes1If you plan to hire a car in the coming months, you’ll be pleased to hear that new industry measures should mean you avoid hidden charges.

The Competition and Markets Authority is at the heart of efforts to improve the car hire sector, after a number of high profile stings that show customers were not always getting the best deals.

Following a crackdown, numerous car comparison websites will now include all compulsory charges in the initial quotes they provide.

The move follows a review of the sector that reveals that firms were providing low prices by not including a number of key extras.

Around 30 leading comparison sites have agreed to show transparent pricing, which means all compulsory add-ons will be included in the price given.

A further 20 websites have been warned that action will be taken if they are not following consumer protection law that demands clear pricing.

Particular areas of focus relate to young driver fees, fuel surcharges and out-of-hours pick up charges – these were often left out of initial quotes.

Leon Livermore, of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said that consumers will be able to make informed decisions as a result of the CMA action.

The CMA claims it has already “vastly improved” the car hire sector but it has now set its sights on tackling car hire companies that are based abroad but who sell directly to UK drivers via the internet.

Promising enforcement action against those who do not follow the rules, the director for enforcement at the CMA, Michael Grenfell, said the “move sends a clear message”.

“Just because a business is not on UK soil doesn’t mean the law doesn’t apply when it sells in the UK,” he warned.

Data from the UK European Consumer Centre between March 2017 and February this year reveals a 36% jump in complaints and inquiries – relating to everything from high insurance excesses through to hidden fuel charges – from UK customers.

If you do intend to hire a car in the year ahead, you may wish to car hire excess insurance to cover you should your hire vehicle be damaged or stolen. Get a quote today to see how much the added extra may cost.

Date Created: 03 April 2018

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