Following a large number of complaints received by European Consumer Centers in regard to cross-border car rental services, national enforcement authorities from the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC Network) joined efforts with the EU Commission to improve the protection of consumers in this sector. With the help of the EU trade association Leaseurope, they have reached an agreement with the five major car rental companies (Avis-Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt) representing more than 65% of the EU car rental market, on the 13th of July 2015.
The five major companies promised to respect EU rules on consumer rights, unfair commercial practices and unfair terms. The pledge is to be implemented gradually by the end of 2015.
Key benefits include:
- more transparency on applicable optional and mandatory charges when booking online,
- better information on available insurance products at the stage of booking,
- improved and more transparent fuel and vehicle inspection policies,
- improved practices for additional charges such as payment for damages.
The agreement definitely sounds good, but some issues remain to be addressed in the future:
- renter's liability for damages to the car caused by others,
- practices of brokers and intermediaries,
- insurance offered as part of car rental packages,
- the language of the contract when bookings are made in another Member State.
See for more information the UK Competition and Markets Authority's (CPC Network coordinator) report: 'Short-term car rental in the European Union'.