We receive dozens of calls from disgruntled customers dealing with car rental firms across Europe, we feel motivated to try and help you as much as we can. The majority asked us how they can file a complaint against these firms who seem to step over the line with customers.
Launched in Autumn 2010, the European Car Rental Conciliation Service (ECRCS) is currently being piloted by the big four European cross-border rental companies: Avis, Europcar, Hertz, and Sixt.
(Nice name for a dispute resolution service? I actually searched ECRCS on Google and the search results got me the Crocs shoes store UK as my number one choice. This needs improvement!)
Their service is open to anybody with an unresolved dispute involving a cross-border rental in Europe.
According to the BVRLA, so far in 2011, the ECRCS has been asked to investigate 38 complaints. Of the 33 disputes resolved so far, 84% were decided in favour of the rental company involved.
(Hmmm...of course, let us not forget that the ECRCS is run by rental car companies with the help of its trade association which they pay to be members of. Again...hmmm.)
Anyhow, this next piece of information is interesting.
The largest percentage of complaints concerned additional charges, such as insurances, one-way fees and special equipment. In all cases where the ECRCS found in favour of the rental company, it was because the company provided documentation evidence showing that the additional charges were clearly stated on the rental agreement and were signed for by the customer.
Although some problems are caused by language differences, the ECRCS believes many could be avoided if rental staff took time to ensure that customers understand the rental agreement and provided them with documents in their own language.
|Nature of Complaint||Complaints by country of rental||Complaints by country of residence|
|Condition of Vehicle||6%||France||16%||France||3%|
We pulled the content below from the BVRLA's public website in view that it can help you get started.
So How do you complain to the ECRCS?
Details of your complaint should be submitted in writing to the BVRLA (or ECRCS). To assist you with submitting your complaint you can download a copy of their complaint form below.
The form and copies of all relevant correspondence should be sent to;
Fax: 01494 434499
Or by post to;
What happens next?
BVRLA will acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days and will then investigate your dispute using our informal conciliation procedure. They will request information from the member concerned and assess your activities against the BVRLA's Code of Conduct before making any decision.
They aim to resolve all disputes within 14 working days.
BVRLA Arbitration Panel
If the BVRLA is unable to resolve a dispute using our informal conciliation service then the matter can by request from either party, be referred to the formal Arbitration Panel. This Panel will independently review the matter with its decision being binding on both parties
A dispute referred to the Arbitration Panel is actioned and a decision given to all parties within 30 working days.
Please note that using our conciliation service does not preclude the your right, or the member's right to take separate legal action.
Disputes outside of our jurisdiction
The BVRLA is unable to resolve disputes that have been booked through a third party or non member organisation. We are unable to fully investigate disputes arising outside of the UK, as the scope and application of our Code of Conduct extends only to members operating within the UK. There is a pilot scheme in place called the European Car Rental Conciliation Service (ECRCS) which helps with unresolved complaints concerning cross border vehicle rentals within Europe. For more information click here.
If you are unable to invoke our conciliation service, the following organisations may be able to assist you further.
UK European Consumer Centre
The UK ECC provides free information on consumer rights in Europe and assists in cross-border disputes.
Web Address: http://www.ukecc.net/
Citizens Advice Bureau
Web Address: http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/
Web Address: http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/consumers/consumers.cfm
Web Address: http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/
Last resort, write you favourite customer champions at any of the national daily newspapers. They seem to get the attention you deserve from car rental operators if it all goes wrong.