Car rental companies agrees not to discriminate
On 8 August, the European Commission made public a letter sent to the CEOs of six international car rental companies, asking them to end practices preventing consumers from accessing best available prices on the basis of their country of residence (IP/14/917).
Three car rental companies were considered not to have responded sufficiently to the concerns raised by the Commission (Europcar, Hertz and Avis). Following the publication of the press release, these three car rental companies engaged in constructive dialogue with the Commission. They reaffirmed their commitment to respect the principle of non-discrimination in the EU Single Market and provided detailed explanations for their pricing policies. They committed to the following:
they will not use automatic rerouting following the identification of the consumer's IP address;
consumers will not be prevented from completing their booking online on any national website of the car rental companies within the EU. They can freely shop around for the best price;
the car rental companies will differentiate prices by a consumer's country of residence only where the difference can be justified by objective reasons.
Michel Barnier, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Internal Market and Services, said "I welcome a clear improvement in the situation for European consumers wishing to rent cars in the EU."
The Commission will continue discussions regarding objective reasons for differences in offers and is reflecting further on how to improve price comparison and information for consumers. It will continue monitoring the respect of the non-discrimination obligation, including where companies operate with franchisees. This dialogue with car rental companies on non-discrimination is just a first step: it will be followed by further discussions on a wider range of issues in February 2015.