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Revealed: How car rental companies are charging customers for pre-existing damage – and not actually repairing vehicles | Independent

Volkswagen Group Ireland, which leases vehicles to a number of major car rental companies, said: “The agreements that we have with car rental companies tend to vary depending on the rental company and brand, but generally, we charge the car rental company a set price per car as a default to cover acceptable damage, but any amount over this is charged accordingly.”

Volkswagen Group wouldn’t be drawn on exact figures, citing these as commercially sensitive, but did add; “It wouldn’t be for us to comment on how the car rental companies charge their customers for damage, but we would say that it is prudent for rental customers to note any damage to the car prior to accepting it.”

The “acceptable damage” varies depending on each deal with each car firm, the spokesperson confirmed.

“Again, this isn’t something we would share for commercial reasons and yes, we repair the cars ourselves before they are sold on again. This work can be done by various suppliers.”

“Joint action on this matter was taken by the European Commission and national consumer authorities in EU Member States, including the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission with the five leading car rental companies in Europe.

“The companies undertook that car rental prices should include all unavoidable charges, that information on additional insurance should be clear, that consumers should always be given the option to get and return a car with a full tank and that procedures for inspection of vehicle damage and for handling of damage claims should be clear and fair.

“The European Commission and the national consumer authorities also agreed that they would continue to monitor the car rental sector closely.

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Revealed: How car rental companies are charging customers for pre-existing damage – and not actually repairing vehicles – Independent.ie.