More than half of car rental broker websites that allow customers to compare offers and book with different rental companies via one platform are in violation of EU law, according to recent research by the European Commission.
Earlier this year, it was reported that prices for rental cars this year have skyrocketed as a result of high demand and low supply. As a result of this, many people looking to rent a vehicle on holiday this year will be looking for the best deals. However, many of the websites that offer such services are not complying with EU laws, particularly regarding transparency.
“Many consumers will soon go on holidays and rent a car. Often, they do so on a hotel booking or airline websites. Consumers need to be provided with information in full transparency about the conditions of the rental and the role of brokers," Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, said in a statement.
Delays and complaints
The relevant authorities of ten Member States and Norway checked 78 such brokering car rentals website, from those linked to airlines and general booking sites, and found that 55% of the screened platforms violated EU law regarding consumer protection rules.
The so-called sweep — a set of checks carried out on websites simultaneously to identify breaches of EU consumer law in a particular sector — found that almost a third of the websites didn't clearly communicate if consumers need to contact the broker or the rental company in case of queries or complaints.
Meanwhile, 28% of them did not clearly mention the broker's company name and almost half did not clearly inform the customer regarding what is included in the insurance.
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"Consumers need to know which company they should contact if their flight is postponed. They also need to receive clear and complete information about the full price of the rental and insurance – to avoid bad surprises when picking up the car," Reynders said.
Various authorities also reported that some websites did not include all price information issues, especially regarding mandatory charges (for example, young driver fees or one-way fees).
The national authorities involved will now contact the traders that are concerned to make changes to their websites. If necessary, they will also put in place enforcement actions.