Last year, the UK car hire market came under a great deal of criticism. This was mostly surrounding hire companies’ approach to repair charges. Found to be overcharging for repairs and in many cases, not carrying the work out, the reputation of the industry is still very much dented. This led to a sizable investigation, with some of the biggest names in the business uncovered for ill practice.
This included Europcar; one of the most recognised names in the industry. Headquartered in Leicester, the business was investigated by Leicester City Trading Standards. This resulted in the businesses having to pay back a large number of customers; customers that were either overcharged or wrongly charged for repairs on their rental cars.
While the exact price needed to be paid in compensation is yet to be finalised, what we do know is that the company has put aside £38m. But, as a business, they are hardly in the position to combat such a setback. According to sources, Europcar, which is part of a wider French group, filed a pre-tax loss of £40.3m for the year to 31 December 2017.
A statement signed off by Europcar UK’s board said:
“The company faced a very challenging trading environment in 2017 with significant market pricing pressures as a result of increased market supply, corporate uncertainty as a result of Brexit and cost inflation.”
But, when it comes the investigation, Europcar were happy to hold their hands up and cooperate. A Europcar spokesman said:
“Following the commencement of an investigation, last June 23 2017, by UK Trading Standards into repair costs levied by Europcar UK, the company is undertaking a thorough investigation and Europcar UK is fully cooperating with the authorities.”
“Given the ongoing investigation Europcar cannot provide any more substantive comment at this stage.”
Let us know what you think. Should customers be compensated to the tune of £38m?