Car hire customers are set to get a fairer deal after five leading hire firms have pledged to change their practices.
Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, Sixt and Hertz – who between them make up 80% of the market – have all committed to give consumers better upfront pricing information when hiring cars at home and abroad.
The move follows a a Europe-wide clean-up campaign that focussed on poor customer experiences within the market.
The campaign – led by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and involving Which? and other European consumer groups – has established a number of improved practices to be adopted by the hire companies.
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Extra car hire charges
In 2013 Which? found that more than one quarter of customers were unhappy at being being saddled with extra charges after hire.
Of those who complained, six in 10 said their complaint was handled poorly or very poorly.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘The hidden costs and sneaky practices of car hire firms have plagued airport arrival lounges for decades.
‘We now need all rental companies to be totally up front about charges so that people know exactly what they will pay when they book.’
Proposed car hire improvements
The new improvements to be introduced over the next six months include:
- Improved transparency when making a website booking or reservation. You will now be given more of the key information you need to shop around for the best deal
- Better information at the booking stage about optional waiver and insurance products
- More upfront information about pre- and post-rental vehicle inspection processes
- Improved notification of, and dispute processes for, any charges for damage
CMA Senior Director Nisha Arora said: ‘We welcome the improvements made by the leading EU car rental companies to ensure that consumers are given clearer information up front about their rental.
‘These changes go a long way to ensuring that consumers know exactly what they are getting when they rent a car.’