Car rental intermediaries

The CMA is investigating whether car rental intermediaries are breaching consumer law.

Conclusion of enforcement action

29 March 2018: The CMA has concluded three enforcement cases against car rental intermediaries. As a result of this work, Affordable Car Hire Limited and Flexiblecarhire.com Limited (both car rental brokers) and P&P Associates Limited, an online travel agent, have given legally binding undertakings. The undertakings require the companies to ensure their prices are inclusive of all compulsory charges and to provide other essential information relating to the customer’s liabilities such as the excess on the collision damage waiver and the amount of the deposit.

The companies have also undertaken to put in place procedures to monitor the information they are sent by their suppliers to verify its accuracy. To support these steps, each company will ensure it has in place an alternative dispute resolution scheme and enter into a Primary Authority relationship with a Trading Standards department of a local authority.

The conclusion of these cases, combined with the CMA’s wider piece of work reviewing the practices of 40 online car rental brokers, meta-search providers and travel agents brings to a close our work in the car rental intermediary sector.

Further enforcement action

On 9 January 2018, the CMA opened a further enforcement case against a third car rental price comparison site in relation to concerns that some of its practices may breach consumer law.

Case information

On 17 October 2017, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) opened enforcement cases against 2 car rental price comparison sites following concerns that some of their practices may breach consumer law.

This investigation builds on the CMA’s earlier work, with 5 major car rental companies, where it was concerned that consumers were hit routinely with hidden charges that should be included in the price. This work, which led to a number of improvements, may be viewed on the Short-term consumer car hire across the EU case page.

Further information on the CMA’s compliance work in the car rental intermediary sector may be viewed on the [Car rental intermediaries: consumer compliance review case page.

The CMA has also written to 40 car rental intermediary businesses to remind them of their legal obligations and provide compliance advice. The consumer law compliance summary sets out the CMA’s expectations for car rental intermediaries and will help them to achieve compliance with UK consumer protection law.

The CMA will undertake a review of the market in the new year, to ensure that the recent improvements continue and to identify any businesses which are not complying with consumer protection law. Businesses that do not comply with the law risk enforcement action being taken against them.

Consumers renting a car overseas should look at the CMA’s advice and Citizens Advice’s top tips for ensuring you aren’t caught out when renting a car. Consumers who have a complaint or who need advice should contact the Citizens Advice Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk.

Contacts

Assistant Project Director

Sue Aspinall (sue.aspinall@cma.gsi.gov.uk, 020 3738 6788)

Project Director

James Macbeth (james.macbeth@cma.gsi.gov.uk, 020 3738 6958)

Senior Responsible Officer

Nisha Arora (nisha.arora@cma.gsi.gov.uk)

Published 19 October 2017
Last updated 29 March 2018 + show all updates
  1. Conclusion of enforcement action published.
  2. Further enforcement action added.
  3. First published.