The Serious Fraud Office Investigates Europcar for Overpriced Car Repairs

Europcar, a major car rental company, has been accused of overcharging customers for car repairs on their rented vehicles. It has been found that the repair costs are quoted as high as 300% above industry standards. The Trading Standards body and Serious Fraud office have both launched investigations.

Routine repairs, such as replacing a tyre, were found to be charging four times their standard price, at £390. This splits down as a £40 administration payment and an additional £350 for the actual work.

These repairs usually aren’t even the customers fault. Many will be from the wear and tear of the vehicle, which just happens to land on a single customer after tens of thousands of miles. All rental companies should be transparent about the charges they may face, so customers can be informed before deciding to rent a car.

Many Britons may have been unintentionally caught out by this, as Europcar mainly operate in Europe, so the large discrepancies are hidden by exchange rates and lack of local knowledge.

If the investigations show serious signs of malpractice then Europcar may be liable to pay up to £31 million back to customers. This figure comes from the inflated cost of car repairs that Europcar have been charging. Customers should be compensated promptly, as they have had to pay sometimes thousands above industry standard costs.

Being in breach of the Fraud Act 2006, may mean the company faces serious penalty, in the form of 10% of its annual turnover, and will have many questioning the leadership involved. Their share prices tumbled by 2.5% on Monday but have quickly recovered.

Europcar have responded with “Europcar takes the allegations very seriously and is conducting a thorough internal investigation … The company is co-operating fully with Trading Standards in its investigations. Europcar’s view is that the implications of the investigation will be somewhere in the region of £30m. It can make no further comment at this point.”

The Daily Telegraph suggests millions of motorists may have been overcharged by car hire firms as the price inflation on car repairs has been going on for a number of years.