The European Commission has recently published a travel leaflet containing advice for consumers in Europe. The leaflet contains advice on various subjects such as car rental, air passengers rights, booking on-line et cetera, as well as several success stories about European consumers. Also the leaflet can come in handy as a travel notebook.
Austrian travellers rented a car in Iceland but damaged it by filling it up with diesel oil instead of petrol. Due to this the car rental company charged them 4.000 EUR and said that any excess would be refunded should the damages prove cheaper than that to repair. However, as the Austrian consumers never received the final bill for the repairs they turned to the ECC-Net. ECC-Iceland contacted to car rental company which then promptly sent the final bill.
An Austrian consumer rented a car in Iceland via internet and paid in advance. He had to cancel the booking but according to the terms of the site he should be able to receive a refund. However he didn´t receive a refund although the car rental company stated that the refund had already taken place. When ECC-Iceland contacted the car rental it appeared that the company had already requested a refund from the credit card company but that the refund hadn´t gone through. After the car rental company pressed the matter again the consumer got a full refund.
A Polish consumer rented a car while traveling in Iceland. The day after he returned the car the rental company contacted him, as there was damage on one of the doors of the car. As the consumer had to catch a plane home he could not attend a more thorough examination of the car and paid 400.000 ISK in advance, with the company promising a refund if the cost would prove to be lower than that. When the consumer received a cost estimate for the repair there was another car than the one he had rented mentioned in the estimate.
A French consumer booked a car on-line and paid approx. 300.000 ISK in advance. When he arrived at the premises two months later the rental company was closed and the telephone disconnected. So the consumer turned to the ECC-Net in an effort to get a refund. After the ECC had tried by phone and mail to contact the company – and the phones weren´t answered and the letters sent back – it was decided to look further into the matter. It then became clear that the company had actually been declared bankrupt four days before the consumer booked his car.
A French consumer caused some damage to his rental car while driving in Iceland. The rental company charged him 290.000 ISK with a promise of a refund if the actual repair cost was less than that. Some time later the company refunded 72.000 ISK without sending a copy of the actual repair bill, so the consumer turned to the ECC-Net in an effort to get the data. After ECC-Iceland intervened the car rental company sent a copy of the repair bill, which the consumer needed so he could make a claim with his insurance company.
A French tourist rented a car in Iceland via booking site. He had to pay a portion of the rental price immediately but according to the terms of the booking site a cancellation with full refund was possible up until 24 hours before the scheduled start of the rental period. As it happened the consumer had to cancel the lease within the time limit so he asked for a refund in accordance with the terms. As his demands had no effect he turned to the ECC-Net, and after ECC-Iceland intervened the consumer got a full refund.
The Ruling Committee in Travel Industry Matters is a joint project of the Consumers’ Association (NS) and the Icelandic Travel Industry Association (SAF). Among SAF’s members are airlines, travel agencies, car rentals, hotels, restaurants and recreational service providers. The committee operates in accordance with an agreement between these two parties and rules on consumer disputes with members of SAF.
Summer is the main tourism season in Iceland and so ECC-Iceland is very busy during summer and fall answering queries from tourists who have had some problems regarding car rental. In many cases there have been, or the rental company claims there are, some damages to the rented vehicle. Sadly such cases do occur even if all preventive measures are taken but it is still good to keep in mind some golden rules when renting a car to minimize the risk of anything unsuspected happening: