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Malta consumer body says rules needed for car hire services


The Malta Association for Consumer Rights (ACR) says car hire firms need to be clearer in their pricing policies for customers. A burgeoning number of complaints about hire car suppliers on the Mediterranean islands has forced the association into asking the national Transport Authority and the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority to take action.

The ACR states that the authorities need to investigate complaints in a timely manner and penalise car hire firms found to have scammed customers. The ACR did not single out any particular company for criticism but did note the big five all needed to ensure transparency.

The big five on the main island of Malta are Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, Sixt and Avis. Avis also provides services on the smaller island of Gozo. The ACR report notes there were 2,000 complaints of varying seriousness against the hire companies in 2016 and likely quite a few more which were not reported.

The ACR issued a call to action asking the concerned agencies to check car hire consolidator websites offering service in Malta. It continued by saying full rental prices and add-on charges needed to be clearly specified and there should be no leeway for hidden extras.

The ACR bulletin elucidated by saying all unavoidable costs should be totted up and shown in the first quotes and not tacked on further down the line. The quotes need to be in simple language, state what additional insurance is available and the refuelling policy. In the case of damages, the ACR said customers should have the chance of querying repairs bill before paying.