The RAC also claims some of the companies billed drivers for scratches which were already present on the car at the start of the hire, and provided inadequate - or no - information on insurance cover, type of fuel or the quantity in the tank.
'At the moment anyone can set themselves up in the daily rental industry. There are no restrictions, and this is something which needs investigating,' said an RAC spokesman. 'People are putting their lives at risk when they climb into these vehicles and there needs to be some form of Government legislation to change this.'
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, which has 800 rental company members, has supported the call for laws to outlaw cowboy rental companies.