Car Hire Firms Move Up a Gear Thanks to CMA Research

Next time you hire a car you might notice some changes in the way your car hire firm is operating. They are set to make positive changes, from booking processes to added extras, so holidaying and hiring aboard are less stressful experiences.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) are an independent authority responsible for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries which enforce competition and consumer law.

The CMA conducted research and published a report on short term car hire in the EU which looked at problems that can arise in the car hire sector. The CMA then gave their views on how the relevant legislation applies, subsequently triggering the five big rental companies to commit to making improvements to the way their customers are treated. It also revealed steps companies and customers can take to improve the overall experience when hiring a car.

When The CMA conducted their research, they found a number of problems that could affect customers when they hire car:

  1. Lack of transparency about the total rental price when booking. Especially when additional charges were only revealed at the car rental desk

  2. Lack of transparency in the terms and conditions issued with a car rental agreement

  3. The way in which additional excess waivers are sold by car rental companies

  4. Lack of transparency and unfairness of fuel policies

  5. How vehicle damages are assessed once the hire car is returned, how they are charged for and how disputes are dealt with

  6. Additional payments being taken from customer credit cards after the rental period, without any notification or evidence of damage

The companies - Avis Budget, Enterprise rent-a-car, Europcar, Sixt and Hertz have agreed to lead the way and introduce the following improvements:

  1. Improved transparency when making a website booking. Customers will now have more of the key information they need to look for the best deal

  2. More information at booking stage to help you understand additional charges such as excess wavier insurance

  3. Better information on inspections carried out before your rental has begun and once your rental comes to an end

  4. Improving clarity and notification of any charges or damage caused during the rental and a clear process should you wish to dispute the car hire firms decision

insurance4carhire’s top five tips- make your holiday stress free

  1. Don’t forget about the new driving license regulations. You can find out more here: http://www.insurance4carhire.com/guides/car-hire/what-you-need-to-know-about-hiring-a-car-without-a-paper-license

  2. Pre-buy cheaper alternative for excess insurance which include windows, undercarriage, roof and tyres often not covered by car rental companies – just make sure you take your credit card to hold the excess deposit. As long as you take your credit card with you for the waiver deposit, then an insurance4carhire policy will be valid. Debit cards may not be valid. Check through the terms to see whether it’s already covered – it’s usually made compulsory in Spain for over 70’s to purchase an additional ‘comfort plus’ insurance policy.

  3. Check the fuel policy before you book and drive away, so you don’t get stung at the end of the rental. Each car hire firm has their own fuel policy, some say bring the tank back full and some say bring it back empty. Paying for a full tank of fuel from the car hire company may cost you more than it would at the gas station down the road.

  4. Examine those T&C’s – each car hire company will have different terms and conditions making it essential that you carefully read them on the company’s website before any transaction. Some can charge extra at the car rental desk for taxes and additional drivers. Check before you buy and make sure it’s exactly what you were expecting to pay and book.

  5. Check your credit card statement when you arrive home just in case you've had any additional charges or any charges for damage. If you have – get in contact with the car hire company straight away.

For more information on The CMA and their research visit: https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/short-term-consumer-car-hire-across-the-european-union-eu