BUSINESS

Car hire firms told to tidy up their EU rates

The European Commission has given car hire firms an August 30 deadline to comply with directives requiring them to charge uniform rates throughout the EU.

Director General of Internal Market and Services Jonathan Fowl last week published a letter sent on July 23 to six top companies in the sector that used price discrimination depending on the client’s country of residence. For instance, a resident of Germany booking a small city car for his Greek holidays through a hire firm’s site is charged 43.87 euros per day. A Greek resident booking the same car for the same dates would have been charged 58 euros, or 32.2 percent more.

Three of the six firms asked to explain the differences provided satisfactory answers regarding the differences, but the others did not. “We had hoped that the unjustified discrimination policies would have stopped. It appears that this is not the case,” Fowl noted in his letter.

The Internal Market Directorate has been trying to make car hire firms comply with the directive since 2011. Price differences may vary as much as 100 percent and are observed in many countries.

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