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Derechos del consumidor

The main car hire companies are committed to greater transparency

14 jul 2015
After the campaign launched in June which led to the intervention of the EU authorities and national regulators, the five largest companies in the sector are committed to revising their hire conditions in the interests of greater transparency

In June last year, OCU in conjunction with the British consumer association Which? launched a campaign to end a number of abusive practices by some car rental companies, such as the “full-empty clause" in which the customer is forced to pay, in addition to the price originally agreed, the cost of a full tank of fuel and to deliver it empty when they return the car without being entitled to a refund for the cost of any unused fuel.

After meeting with the Spanish Agency for Consumption and Food Safety to urge them to intervene to stop these abuses, the consumer authorities of EU member countries and the European Commission decided to act in the face of ever increasing complaints against these companies. And it is now when the Community authorities once again recognise that we are in the right. This time it was on the occasion of the agreement reached between the five major companies in the sector to significantly revise the clauses contained in their contracts and make these contracts more transparent.

The European Commissioner for Justice, Consumer and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová, welcomed the agreement saying "to reserve a car online, rent it out in one country and return it in another is very simple today. Unfortunately, car rental terms and conditions are sometimes too vague or lack clarity. " So the commissioner has welcomed the commitment made by Avis-Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt and has stressed the" excellent work done by consumers’ national authorities to ensure a better deal for European consumers”

The five companies have committed themselves to adapt their current vehicle rental practices to the requirements of EU rules on consumer rights, unfair trade practices and unfair terms.
Among the promised improvements are included:
o Increased transparency in fuel policy.
o Increased transparency when booking online.
o Clearer information on all mandatory and optional extra charges.
o Clearer information about rental terms and conditions, including deposits charged to the consumer’s credit card.
o  Better information when making the reservation about cancelation and optional insurance, including prices, exclusions and applicable excesses.