Car Rental

Whenever a consumer hires a vehicle from you, they enter into a contract with you. The contract’s terms and conditions spell out the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

While the customer may have made an advanced booking, remember that the rental contract only comes into being when they inspect the vehicle and drive it away.

Tax-inclusive prices

The basic price you give for the vehicle must include tax and give a clear indication of the total amount payable. In other words, there should not be any hidden extras on top of the total price. It should include any booking fee, insurance and VAT.

The terms and conditions of the rental agreement should spell out any additional key services for which a charge applies, such as:

  • Hiring and returning the car to different places
  • Returning outside business hours
  • Fuel policy (eg, return full or return empty)
  • Location pick-up charge (eg, airport/city centre)
  • Insurance options

While certain charges may not be payable on booking and may be added when the vehicle is picked up, the total payable should be clear to the consumer. If the consumer is in any doubt about charges or options, they should contact the company who should provide clarification, before concluding the transaction.

Unfair terms

Consumer law requires that terms in consumer contracts are fair. Read more about your obligations in our Guide to unfair terms.

Before the vehicle is driven away

The customer should check the condition of the car thoroughly before driving it away. A common practice is for the rental company to provide a diagram showing any existing damage to the vehicle.

Before the customer drives the vehicle away, you should sort out several other issues such as

  • Insurance cover for anybody in their party who will be driving the car; third-party insurance is compulsory
  • Whether they are allowed to drive the vehicle into another jurisdiction
  • What documentation they need. Consumers renting a car in Ireland must have a valid current driving licence and a credit card
  • What fuel the car or van uses (petrol or diesel) and what the fuel gauge is currently at

Returning the vehicle

The next stage is when the customer returns the car. Here, your rights and obligations should be outlined in the rental agreement. For example, the customer may be required to return the car with a full fuel tank. If the customer is returning the vehicle outside office hours, these arrangements should be clear, including procedures for resolving any issues, such as where damage may have occurred.

If there is genuine damage to the vehicle, it is the rental company that decides how much the damage will cost, irrespective of whether the customer says they can find a cheaper quote. It is not possible for the CCPC to intervene in disputes regarding damage to vehicles. Consumers may wish to consider obtaining legal advice, depending on the circumstances.

Learn more

The Car Rental Council of Ireland deals with complaints against its members.

Return to Guidelines for Business

Haven’t found what you’re looking for?