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Car hire comparison sites forced to show full cost upfront

Compulsory charges to be included in initial quote, following CMA crackdown

Three car hire websites have committed to providing clearer prices upfront so consumers can make a more informed choice when renting a car. The move follows enforcement action by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Affordable Car Hire, Flexiblecarhire.com and P&P Associates will now include all mandatory charges in their car hire quotes so there are no nasty surprises for customers when they pick up their car.

The CMA’s investigation and subsequent enforcement work followed an investigation by Which? Travel into customers paying more than they expected at the checkout.

Car hire clarity

The three car hire comparison sites must now include mandatory charges such as fuel surcharges, young driver fees and out-of-hours pick-up costs in the initial quote.

They are also legally required to include essential information such as the size of the deposit and insurance excess, the policy on fuel charges and details of exactly what the insurance covers.

The CMA says that all three businesses are now fully complying with consumer protection law.

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Car hire – more work to be done

The competition watchdog added that, a year on from the start of its investigation, 30 leading websites now carry transparent prices for more than 1,300 companies.

It also announced that it will be taking action against firms based outside the UK for the first time, following ‘extensive complaints’ from British customers hiring cars abroad.

The news follows a Which? Travel investigation earlier this month which found major car hire companies overcharging customers by more than £1,000 for car hire repairs.

Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said: ‘Car hire companies must be upfront and transparent about any charges that consumers will face so they can make an informed choice at the time of booking.

‘It’s good to see the CMA take action to tackle this problem. However, our recent investigation into the extortionate amount of money some people are having to pay for hire car repairs shows the industry still has more work to do to prevent customers being ripped off.’

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