CMA takes action on European car hire firms

Car hireThe Competition and Markets Authority has led action designed to bring more transparency to the European car hire market and drive consumer confidence.

The continent’s five largest car hire firms will now be held to account when displaying charges and other vital information online.

It should mean that customers are left in no doubt over how much they will be required to pay up front for their rental, enabling them to adequately compare offers.

Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Sixt, Hertz and Europcar made commitments back in 2015 to provide clearer information relating to the booking process and costs – including deposits and excess amounts.

However, a CMA review found that many car hire firms were continuing to display unclear and misleading information on some of their websites, including some relating to fees that customers cannot avoid.

As a result, the CMA has worked to ensure that the firms are in-line with their commitments – including Goldcar following its acquisition by Europcar – and the body is now satisfied that the five firms are working towards making the necessary changes.

It means important information must feature prominently on the page, with the rules applicable across Europe in any nation where the firms operate.

The CMS is currently on a drive to ensure that holidaymakers and those hiring a car overseas are not misled or caught out by hidden fees.

According to the organisation’s senior director for consumer protection, George Lusty, the new changes should help customers to find the best deals for them.

“The big five told us in 2015 they would update their practices, but we’ve found they weren’t doing all that they’d committed to,” he explained. “We’ll keep the firms under close review to ensure they deliver on their commitments.”

On top of the big five firms, the CMA has also moved to tackle two Spanish car hire firms following holidaymaker complaints over hidden charges.

Those firms are required to take action as UK law is applicable since they are selling to British customers.

If you are planning to hire a car in Europe in the coming months, do your research and remember that you might be able to save by exploring your options.

You may also want to consider a car hire excess insurance policy to increase your excess protection in the event you are charged for damage.

Date Created: 30 May 2019

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