Fine Gael Dublin MEP, Brian Hayes is today meeting in the European Parliament with representatives from the car hire industry from across Europe. It’s an industry that is worth in excess of €10 billion to the European economy.
“Since my election to the European Parliament I have received many complaints from Irish motorists about excessive charges and hidden costs in renting a car while abroad. 1 in 3 Irish motorists hire a car while abroad. But this issue isn’t about Ireland – it’s about consumer protection for all European motorists.”
“I’ve already asked the European Commission to immediately initiate a special inquiry to quantity the problem and to propose solutions and today I’ll be meeting the industry in Brussels.”
“The EU Commission have informed me that car rental complaints feature as one of the top area of complaints within the EU each year. At present there is no specific legislation governing the car rental sector across the EU.”
Some examples of complaints from motorists –
- Cost of excess car insurance – often exceeding €150 per week.
- Hiring of a child booster seat – EU law requires children under a certain size to travel in a booster seat. Booster seats should be provided free of charge. It is law to have seat belts in a car; a similar situation should exist in the case of child booster seats.
- Fuel Policy – many car rental companies have a ‘Full-Empty’ fuel policy. This means the consumer pays for a full tank of fuel and returns the car empty. This is a disadvantage to those who do not intend travelling far or hire a car on small islands. It is especially a problem on the Spanish Islands. Options should exist for motorists to choose a fuel policy.
- Disputes about unrequested insurance add-ons.
- Unauthorised payments put through on credit cards for mysterious damage. A handling charge for local road penalties.
“I will be using my meeting today to raise these issues with the car rental industry. The current system often only highlights the basic rental costs without highlighting the additional extras. These additions significantly drive up the cost of car rental.
“I want to hear from the industry about their plans to resolve some of these issues in a voluntary way. If this can’t be done the Commission needs to go down the regulation route and quickly.”