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Car Rental in the EU More Transparent after Consumer Body Action

There will be no more “nasty surprises” on car rental bills after six leading providers, prompted by the European Commission and EU consumer bodies, moved ahead with changes to pricing presentation, making it clearer for consumers to know exactly how much and what they are paying for upfront.

According to the Commission report, five leading car rental companies – Avis, Europcar, Enterprise, Hertz and Sixt – have committed by 2020 to have changed the way they display charges on their website and relevant material making rates fully transparent to consumers.

The move comes after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) looked into whether the said companies were complying with commitments  under the EU’s Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. The assessment found that consumers were paying for unspecified charges as car rental companies were still providing unclear information.

“Thanks to our pressure there will be no more unpleasant surprises at the check-out desk when you’re renting your car. It’s really frustrating to start your holidays by having to pay unplanned extra costs and read complicated contracts,” said  Věra Jourová, commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.

Changes to rate presentation include:

  • All charges (plus additional costs) listed and included in the total booking price,
  • Clear description of key rental services in the terms and conditions in all national languages,
  • Listing price and details of optional extras and insurance coverage in the final price offer.

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The European Commission together with national consumer bodies said it will monitor the implementation of the remaining changes “closely” to ensure full respect of EU consumer rules, as well as other EU traders, including intermediaries and smaller car rental companies.

In the meantime, the CMA has published advice for car rental companies to help them comply with consumer laws, and recommendations for consumers on what to pay attention to when leasing a vehicle.

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