In 2019, following a call from the European Commission and EU consumer authorities, five car rental companies – Avis, Europcar, Enterprise, Hertz, and Sixt – have changed the way they present their prices making them fully transparent to consumers.
Until now, the companies concerned had not fully implemented some of their commitments in order for the European Commission and EU consumer authorities to consider them fully compliant with EU consumer law. The assessment published today notes that Enterprise and Sixt have now made all the required changes. Avis has committed to make remaining changes by May 2019. Europcar, which now includes Goldcar, will implement the remaining changes by June 2019. Hertz have committed to make all the necessary changes at the latest by the first quarter of 2020. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “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. I want European consumers to enjoy their holidays to the maximum, without having to worry about nasty surprises with final bills.” The companies have committed to:
- Include all charges in the total booking price: consumers will now be offered a headline price on the website that matches the final price they will have to pay. This fee must include all additional costs such as specific fuel service charges, airport fees, ‘young driver surcharges’, or the ‘one way fee’ if the return location differs from the pick-up location;
- Clearly describe the key rental services in the terms and conditions in all national languages: consumers will not have to deal with unclear or misleading information about the main characteristics of the rental such as mileage included, fuel policy, cancellation policy and deposit requirements, etc.
- Make clear, in the price offer, the price and details of optional extras, in particular for insurance waivers that reduce the amount due in case of damage. What is covered in the basic rental price regarding damages and notably what the driver may still have to pay should be clearly indicated. If additional insurance or damage waiver is purchased, what is or is not included should also be clearly indicated before the consumer signs up.
The EU Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation brings together national consumer authorities in a pan-European enforcement network, through which a national authority in one EU country can call on its counterparts in other EU country to coordinate the response to widespread consumer issues. The European Commission facilitates this work. ECC Ireland’s website has a car rental section where you can find more information and advice when renting a car.