Europcar accused of overcharging customers for repair work

Published 27 July 2017

Europcar, one of Europe's biggest vehicle hire companies, has been accused of overcharging customers for repair work over the past 10 years.

Trading Standards are currently investigating the UK branch of Europcar after customers complained about excessive bills for repair work. According to evidence seen by The Telegraph, some customers have been overcharged by as much as 300 per cent.

How does the overcharging work exactly?

Basically, you are asked to pay more than you should for repair work. For example, if you're involved in a small accident - that isn't covered by the insurance - you will be billed for the cost of the repair, as well as an admin fee. Europcar has been accused of pocketing the difference between what its suppliers charge for the repairs and what its customers actually pay.

Damageguide

The price of a typical windscreen replacement at Europcar ranges from £325 - £785

What happens now?

Trading Standards are already investigating the matter and Europcar has admitted, on the basis of its own preliminary review, that the overcharging scandal may run into the region of £30 million. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is also thought to be looking into the matter.

According to The Telegraph, Europcar may have overcharged more than half a million customers for repairs over many years. They also have a £10 million contract with the Ministry of Defence and a £2 million contract with Network Rail. It remains to be seen if either of these are affected by the overcharging scandal.

Could you be owed compensation?

If Europcar are found to breach the Fraud Act 2006, as well as the Consumer Rights Act 2015 Europcar could be fined 10 per cent of its annual turnover. If this happens, it would be safe to assume that Europcar would be forced to compensate customers who have been overcharged for repair work.   

They could also be hit by class action law suits for breaching consumer rights if the investigation finds they've systematically overcharged. With over 500,000 customers estimated to have been affected, compensation would run into the many millions for the company as a whole.

How to avoid being ripped off by car hire charges

It was revealed by Travel Supermarket that British holidaymakers were overcharged £475 million last year because of costs relating to refuelling, excess mileage and cleaning the vehicle after use.

Always have your wits about you when hiring a car. Make sure you read the contract and fully understand it. After all, you don't want to end up paying for unnecessary extras. It's also wise to book in advance to get the best deals as you'll always pay more on the day of your arrival. 

Taking out an excess wavier policy online before travelling means that you won't have to pay a huge excess charge in case you have an accident. You can buy an excess waiver policy for a few pounds before you go away.

Comments

   on 31 July 2017

every time we travel to London from Australia we used europcar at Heathrow
but no more we find them very doddgy when it comes to insurance and many friends have found the same thing massively overcharging for insurance and upgrades we wont use them again.

   on 31 July 2017

We bought a 64 plate Used Kia Carens in June 2015 (registered Sept 2014.) which previously was a Europcar Rental. Obviously sold back by Europcar once it had done slightly more than10k and sold to us as a Kia Assist (As new with the 7 year warranty topped back up by kia.) However it was never serviced by Europcar as per the book and required all round new brake pads, had a new head lamp all by 30k. Shortly after buying it the dealer noticed when trying to fix a mud flap that part of the internal bumper assembly was missing and the paint on the Alloy wheels flaked at 18K. This is all compared with the 61 plate Kia Ceed we purchased, sold to us under the same Kia Assist package but was Kia Owned (Kia Pool car) which we clocked up 50K in, changing only the front discs and pads at 45K. We only part exchanged the ceed because of the need to have a 7 seats with exceptional fuel economy / tax. My wife and I are loyal Kia customers having now owned 3 Kia's (RIO, Ceed and Carens.) The Kia Dealer who I won't name in the national press have been brilliant ensuring that our vehicle is always in tip top condition even if it means us swapping out for a courtesy car so we are not inconvenienced as each visit entails a 50 mile round trip. Europcar need to be held accountable for their under hand practices more so when it costs honest car dealers and causes them headaches selling on etc.

Clive Howarth    on 31 July 2017

Hired a Europcar in Cape Town South Africa from the Loop Street branch, firstly they did not have the car requested even though we made our booking six moths in advance and had to put up with a much smaller car, on returning the car I did a walk around with the check in person and photographed the car all the way round in his company. The fuel was to the top as the filing station was literally round the corner.
So no problems then! When I checked my credit card statement at home in the UK they had taken another £17.50 After I returned the car. No explanation, a amount not worth chasing thought the credit card company and I am told they do this all the time.
Never go near this company.

CORRADO VOLPE    on 1 August 2017

Hired a car in Berlin this year with Interrent. Part of Eurocar. My credit card had 15 euros taken about few weeks later.They still are not advising me why?I emailed both companies. Eurocar have yet to reply This was way back in February.

Bobbage    on 2 August 2017

I worked for Europecar in france. Any current damage not pucked up by a new renter was charged at return. The damage was only fixed once , just before the cars were moved on at max mileage time. So frequently charged multiple times. Franchise owner did rather well.
Never touch them....

David Church    on 4 August 2017

I hired a golf from Europecar last September. When I took it back they found an obscure scratch underneath the bumper. I wasnt responsible and as i had only walked around the car before hiring and not lain on the ground to look up it was not spotted. Interestingly the official who inspected the car went straight to that point. I would not sign agreement and left for extended holiday . 3 months later I noticed amount of £650.00 had been taken from my card. I had taken out excess insurance with third party but they wouldnt cover it as I was outside the claim period. Anyone know what steps I should take to get satisfactory outcome?
Dave C.

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