Three car hire websites are now legally committed to be clear and transparent about the charges customers have to pay after Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) enforcement action.
Online travel agent P&P Associates and two operators of price comparison sites - Affordable Car Hire and Flexiblecarhire.com - have committed, under legally binding agreements, to include all compulsory charges in their car hire quotes.
This means their initial quotes must include mandatory charges like fuel surcharges, young driver fees and out-of-hours pick up charges, where applicable.
They must also show all essential information including the amounts of any deposits and insurance excesses, policy on fuel charges, and what exactly the insurance covers.
All three businesses cooperated fully with CMA’s action, which was launched after an investigation into whether certain sites were complying with consumer protection law.
Michael Grenfell, CMA executive director for enforcement, said: “It is important people know what they’re signing up to online when hiring a car.
“Prices must be transparent and include all compulsory costs so that people can find the deal that’s best for them.
“The CMA’s work over the past year has vastly improved the sector and brought the majority of sites offering car hire in line with consumer protection law.
“UK customers can now be more confident that what they see is what they will pay.”
The CMA’s enforcement work was launched as a result of its industry-wide review of price comparison sites offering car rental, which found many were advertising very low prices to customers by not including all costs.
This left people paying more than expected at the check-out, and not having the full information required under consumer protection law about what they were paying for.