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UK European Consumer Centre

Damage to hire car

Rusty car on blocksCase study - Car hire damage 

Case studies are a good way of showing what happens when you contact us at the UK ECC.  They also provide some insight into the processes that we take to provide assistance when you have a dispute.  

The consumer has a problem!

Mr R, a consumer from the UK, contacted us regarding a car he hired from a company in Spain.

Mr R already had an insurance with the company he booked the car through so he declined the extra insurance he was offered at the desk.  This required him to place a block on his card for the security deposit.  The car was returned without any problems at the end of the rental.

On returning to the UK Mr R noticed a debit of over €300 on his card. No post rental check was performed but the hire company claim that damage was found upon further inspection.  Photos were provided as proof but didn't show any details of the damage to the vehcile.

Next step - Legal assessment 

Unfortunately the car rental sector lacks any specific legislation so most matters will be decided by what was entered into in the contract.  In most instances the consumer is liable for damage sustained to the vehicle whilst being hired by them. 

Action taken 

We decided that due to the lack of a post rental inspection, and proof from the photos supplied that we would contact the hire complany to ask them to reconsider.  At first they were reluctant due to the damage allegedly sustained to the vehicle.  When we pressed them further about this they decided that they were willing to provide a reimbursement of the money taken for the damage.

Self-help section 

We understand that it can be difficult to find the time to contact us, it is possible to help yourself out of a sticky situation.  For more information about Car rental please visit our advice page - Car Rental for an overview of your consumer rights.

If you need to write a formal letter to the company you can view our advice on how to write a complaint letter here - Template letters 

If all else fails contact us for free advice and assistance on 01268 886690 or eccnet-uk@ec.europa.eu 

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