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UK car hire firms vow to display all add on charges

car hire desks ukThe Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced a new code of conduct for car hire suppliers. The CMA says around 30 hire car firms in the UK have agreed to show all applicable fees relating to requested quotes up front.

A CMA study found firms offering online reservations were snaring customers by offering cheap quotes which did not even include surcharges which were compulsory. The add on fees apply to the likes of out-of-working hours vehicle collections, fuel fees and young drivers.

The CMA says the 30 firms provide about 99 per cent of the UK’s car hire services. They have all agreed to give 100 per cent transparent quotes. The agency says the remaining 1 per cent are based overseas but will be chased up in instances of non-compliance.

Cautionary letters have already been sent out to the approximately 20 firms which make up the 1 per cent. Commenting on this, CMA enforcement director Michael Grenfell said that even non-UK suppliers were subject to UK consumer protection laws if they wanted to do business here.

The consumer laws mandate that all compulsory supplementary charges are shown in quotes. The lack of transparency over the past year has triggered a huge spike in complaints about hire firms.

Figures issued by the UK European Consumer Centre indicated a 36 per cent rise in the number of complaints about car hire suppliers and their shady practices. The figures were for the year to the end of February and one of the most common gripes was about excess damage insurance.

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