CODE OF BEST PRACTICE FOR THE CAR RENTAL INDUSTRY IN IRELAND
This Code establishes standards of good practice for the short term car rental industry in Ireland. It is intended to ensure that the customer who rents a car from a company subscribing to the code (hereafter “the Company”) receives a level of service of the highest possible standard and integrity.
Standards of behaviour: Before Reservation
The Company will ensure that all its advertising and literature contain no misleading or inaccurate statements, that its tariffs are promoted transparently and that its terms and conditions are readily accessible, clear and unambiguous. Any website of the Company must provide the visitor with all the relevant information and pricing in a clear, unambiguous, structured, intelligible and accurate manner. It shall in particular provide detailed information on the various options that are available for areas such as fuel policy, damage excess and allowed mileage.
Standards of behaviour: At time of Reservation
At the time of reservation, the Company will clearly advise the customer of what is included in the price quoted to avoid any charges that might, later on, be perceived by the customer as hidden, unexpected or unfair. The Company will provide information with regards to:
- the applicable tariffs and the different kinds of coverage and risk levels possible.
- what the quoted rental price includes and the circumstances under which the price may vary prior to the commencement of the rental. The quoted rental price must include all mandatory insurances and all other mandatory charges and applicable taxes.
The Company will ensure that the customer is made fully aware, at the time of reservation, of any applicable cancellation and no show fee policies that could be compiled, and compensation payable by the rental company. At the end of the reservation process, the Company will recap all reservation details, specifying the applicable tariffs and confirming status. The Company will ensure that each reservation has a unique generic identifier making it easy to trace the terms of the confirmed reservation at any time.
Standards of behaviour: The rental agreement and the Company’s duty to inform
The Company will ensure that the tariffs and conditions indicated in the rental agreement are those confirmed to the customer at the time of reservation. Any tariff condition not explicitly disclosed to the customer at the time of reservation cannot be imposed on the customer. The Company will indicate to the customer their risk contained in the standard coverage and/or insurance policy and inform the latter of the various optional insurances or coverage (if any) that can be purchased, as well as the scope and price thereof. The company will also explain the extent of the customer’s financial responsibility if the vehicle is damaged and in the event of third party claims. For each scenario the company will explain the extent of the customer’s financial responsibility if the vehicle is returned damaged or is stolen. The Company will further explain to the customer the other charges that may potentially apply (including the basis on which they are calculated and charged), in particular those related to
- special equipment (e.g. child seat) or services
- excess mileage
- one-way rental
- additional driver(s)
- young driver(s)
- airports surcharges
- return of the vehicle
- out of hours returns
- parking and traffic fines
- damage liability
- motorway tolls
In addition, information must be provided as regards:
- where and when to return the vehicle (including. explicit mention of opening hours of the relevant office)
- what to do in the event of accident, break-down or theft of the vehicle
- possibility of one-way rental
- applicable restrictions or conditions for the return of the vehicle at a different station; in another country; outside a station or outside office hours
- applicable age or driving licence limitations
- applicable restrictions on driving in a given area or country
- applicable mileage limitations
- the fuel type
- the fuel return policy and the options available to the customer
- any and all other conditions or restrictions that apply to the use of the vehicle
The Company will explain to the customer, prior to commencement of the rental, the role of the deposit and the prepayment (if any) as well as the payment methods that are available upon return of the vehicle. The Company will draw the customer’s attention to the fact that, if the payment of the rental is made by credit card, the customer, by signing the rental agreement, authorises the Company to charge all amounts deriving from the contract to the card account. The information and explanation provided must be clear, accurate, intelligible and properly documented.
Customers must always receive a paper copy of the agreement and the terms and conditions applicable to their rental. The company should always take necessary steps to ensure that the customer reads and understands all the terms of the agreement both on the front and back, and help clarify any terms as requested, before the agreement is signed A copy of the signed rental agreement must be given to the customer prior to the rental commencing.
The condition of the vehicle
The Company will ensure that the vehicle provided to the customer is in a safe, clean and roadworthy condition. To that effect it will maintain the vehicle in accordance with the standards recommended by the vehicle manufacturer and will, in addition, arrange for the vehicle to be inspected at appropriate intervals to determine the condition of those parts that make a significant contribution to its safe operation. All documents and accessories legally required (e.g. emergency triangles, reflective jacket, etc.) must be in the vehicle at the start of the rental and comply with Irish legislation.
Pre and post rental inspection
The Company will provide the customer with a written pre-rental inspection report that incorporates a diagram of the exterior and (if available) interior of the vehicle and will note and indicate any pre-existing damage such as scratches, dents. The report must also include an inventory of the portable accessories available in/on the vehicle. Prior to a rental commencing, the customer must be given the opportunity to check and agree both the interior and exterior condition of the vehicle before signing the inspection report. The Company will offer the customer help to get familiarised with the basic controls, operation, and use of the vehicle. Once the vehicle is returned, the Company will inspect it in the presence of the customer and establish a written post rental inspection report. The company and the customer must record, on the post rental inspection form, any new damage found on the vehicle that was not recorded on the pre-rental inspection report. The post rental inspection form must be noted and signed for by both parties. The customer must sign a declamation if they do not wish to be involved in the inspection. If the post-rental inspection cannot be carried out in the presence of the customer, the Company will, in the event of new damages or missing accessories, for which a charge will be made, send a detailed post-rental inspection report to the customer.
Vehicles returned out of hours
Where the company has agreed that the customer can return a vehicle outside normal opening hours, the company must provide the customer with clear procedures and practices for returning the vehicle, which should include responsibility for insurance, end of rental damage and any road traffic charges or penalties.
The tariffs indicated in the bill must correspond to those detailed in the rental agreement or committed to the customer at the time of rental, except if the conditions initially agreed upon have been modified during the hire by agreement between the parties. The bill must be broken down per each item charged and clearly indicate the reason for any different charges and the calculation methods used. To the extent possible, the customer’s bill must be closed off in the presence of the customer upon return of the vehicle. If the company is unable to this, the Company must send a detailed report to the customer on the amounts charged. The report must indicate the procedure to follow in case the customer has any queries. The report must be sent to the customer as soon as possible in order not to restrict the ability of the customer to dispute any of the amounts charged.
All customers’ personally identifiable data will be held, treated and respected in accordance with prevailing data protection laws in Ireland
Nothing in this Code restricts, or is intended to restrict, the rights of a complainant to pursue remedies through the courts.