In the car rental market, consumers often use online intermediary websites (as well as
brokers, meta-search providers, airlines and online travel agents) to search for a rental car.
An intermediary website facilitates both price comparisons and the booking process of the
selected car. These intermediary websites should offer the same key information on their
websites as the car rental companies. Information from the European Consumer Centres
(after an analysis of complaints received on car rental) and from the car rental companies
indicates that these car rental intermediaries are not always compliant with consumer
The overall aim of the study was to check if the main car rental intermediaries used
by European consumers comply with EU consumer protection legislation. The study
covered intermediary websites in all EU Member States as well as Iceland, Norway and the
United Kingdom. Throughout the study, a distinction was made between dedicated
intermediary websites (focussing on car rental only), general booking sites (also offering other
travel services) and airline websites. In order to meet the overarching aim of the study, three
specific objectives were outlined:
1) To depict a comprehensive landscape of the main car rental intermediary websites that
2) To map the relationship between car rental intermediaries and airlines and main
booking platforms and, if possible, provide more information on this relationship;
3) To check the compliance of the websites found under objective 1 with EU
consumer protection legislation, including a check of the Terms and Conditions of the
websites in different EU languages.
The findings of the study in fulfilment of these objectives were also used to draw conclusions
with regards to the degree of compliance and the resulting risks for European consumers, as
well as to develop a set of recommendations.
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