4 July 2022
“The European Commission and national consumer protection authorities published the results of an EU-wide website screening (“sweep”) of websites brokering car rentals. Under the coordination of the Commission, authorities of ten Member States, together with Norway, checked 78 websites brokering car rentals, including airlines’ websites, to check whether the major brokers operating in Europe comply with EU consumer protection rules. Overall, only 45% of the websites comply with EU standards.
Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, said:
“Many consumers will soon go on holidays and rent a car. Often, they do so on a hotel booking or airline websites. Consumers need to be provided with information in full transparency about the conditions of the rental and the role of brokers. For example, consumers need to know which company they should contact if their flight is postponed. They also need to receive clear and complete information about the full price of the rental and insurance – to avoid bad surprises when picking up the car.”
In almost a third of the websites, it remained unclear if consumers need to contact the broker or the rental company in case of queries or complaints. Furthermore, 28% of them did not clearly mention the broker’s company name and almost half did not clearly inform about what is included in the insurance. Authorities also found issues in relation to price information, such as incomplete information on mandatory charges (for example, young driver fees or one-way fees). The national authorities will contact the traders concerned to rectify their websites and, if necessary, initiate enforcement actions in line with their national procedures.
When renting a car, many consumers use intermediary services, which often allow to compare and book offers of different rental companies. Under the coordination of the Commission, authorities of 10 Member States and Norway checked 78 of such websites brokering car rentals, including airlines and general booking sites. The purpose of this exercise was to check whether the major car rental brokers operating in Europe comply with EU consumer protection rules.
Overall, authorities confirmed for only 45 % of the websites that they meet the EU standards. On almost a third of the websites, it remained unclear if consumers need to contact the broker or the rental company in case of queries or complaints. In 28 % of the websites, the broker’s company name was not clearly mentioned and in 32 % of the websites, it was not clearly indicated which company would be bound by the rental terms and conditions. Furthermore, almost half of the websites did not clearly inform about what is included in the insurance booked and what is not. Optional paid services were pre-selected on 21 % of the websites and authorities also found issues in relation to price information, such as incomplete information on mandatory charges, for instance, young driver fees or one-way fees.
Read the car rental guidance from the European Consumer Centres Network here.
Read the previous European Commission report on car rental intermediaries here.