Of the 78 websites examined, only 45% comply with EU consumer protection rules, according to Brussels.
As summer approaches, the European Commission is raising its voice against sites specializing in the brokerage of car rentals. These services, used by many consumers when they wish to rent a car, make it possible to compare offers from different rental companies and to reserve a vehicle directly. Airline and hotel booking sites often suggest them.
In this pre-summer period, when vehicles are sought after by many households preparing to go on vacation, Brussels and the national authorities responsible for consumer protection, published Monday the results of a review of these sites, to EU-wide. And the results are not satisfactory.
Less than half of compliant sites
In concrete terms, the authorities of ten Member States, as well as Norway, checked 78 car rental brokerage sites in order to check whether the main operators present in Europe complied with Community rules on consumer protection. These rules “aim to protect the health and safety as well as the economic and legal interests of European consumersrecalls the European Parliament on its website. During this work, airline websites suggesting brokerage companies were also examined.
Overall, less than half – 45% – of the sites surveyed comply with EU standards. In almost a third of them, for example, it remained unclear whether consumers should contact the broker or the rental company in the event of questions or complaints. In addition, 28% of them did not clearly mention the legal name of the broker – SAS, SA, SARL, sole proprietorship – and almost half did not clearly state what is included in the insurance purchased. The authorities also noted problems with price information, including mandatory charges, such as young driver fees or one-way fees, to be paid if the rented vehicle is not returned to its owner. originating agency. “Optional paid services were pre-selected on 21% of sites“, also advances the press release.
The European executive is surprised by this situation penalizing households on the continent. “Many consumers will soon go on vacation and rent a car. They often do this on the websites of a hotel reservation or an airline. Consumers must be transparently informed of rental conditions and the role of brokers“says Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice. Additionally, customers should know who to turn to if their flight is delayed, and have transparent information on pricing and insurance.
Faced with this observation, which is mixed to say the least, the Commission will therefore ask the national authorities to “contact the operators concerned“. They will have to modify their website taking into account the criticisms raised during the examination, otherwise “enforcement measurescan be taken to force them to do so, she threatens. The subject is particularly sensitive, as many vacationers will try to rent a car this summer. Faced with strong demand and limited supply, the sector has seen its prices soar. This outbreak considerably increases the holiday budget of the French, already crushed by inflation.
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