Car hire firm Europcar UK has confirmed it is being investigated over the repair costs it charges customers, and has admitted the issue could cost it some £30 million.
The company is being investigated by Trading Standards, and the Serious Fraud Office also said today it was aware of the case, following a report in the Daily Telegraph.
In a statement issued today, a Europcar UK spokesperson said: "Following the recent commencement of an investigation by UK Trading Standards into repair costs levied by Europcar UK, the company is undertaking a thorough investigation and Europcar UK is fully cooperating with the authorities. Given the ongoing investigation Europcar cannot provide any more substantive comment at this stage.
"However, on the basis of its own preliminary review, Europcar's view is that the implications of the investigation will be somewhere in the region of £30 million and Europcar will communicate as appropriate as matters develop."
Europcar UK is being extremely tight-lipped on the details of the investigation - it wouldn't tell us today what exactly the investigation relates to, whether it's about car hire in the UK or also abroad, how far back the problems could date and which customers are affected or if the £30 million could include compensation to customers who may have been charged for repairs. We'll be following this story closely over the coming weeks.
What to watch out for when renting a car
While Europcar hasn't yet given details of the investigation into repair costs, and Trading Standards' investigation is ongoing, we've tips on how to cut the cost of renting with any car hire firm in our Cheap Car Hire guide, including:
- Get cheap excess insurance from as little as £2/day. Excess insurance covers you if you have a prang while you're renting, yet bought direct from rental firms it can be £25/day. With standalone providers it can be just £2/day - see Cheap Excess Insurance.
- Always inspect the car and if possible take photos. That way you can prove what shape it was in when you got it. See more on Protecting your deposit.
- Want to book early but think the price could drop? Consider booking with free cancellation. Usually earlier is better, but if you can bag free cancellation then if the price dips you can always cancel and rebook.
For more help see our 34 Cheap Car Hire Tips.