Who Regulates Car Hire Companies?

By , 13 July 2018

Who watches the Watchmen? Who protects Superman? Who framed Roger Rabbit? These are all big, important questions that we fully intend to get to the bottom of. Not all in this blog post though. Right now, we interested in car hire companies, and who regulates them to keep them in check, and you out of trouble.

It seems there’s always a large swathe of consumers disgruntled by how they’re often treated at the car hire desk, so it’s perfectly reasonable that you may want to know who regulates these companies, who holds them accountable? Who is in charge?

Ostensibly, there are two organisations that you need to be aware of here:


The very catchily named British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association began in the 1960’s and at the very core of their principals is the aim to “provide customers with the reassurance that the company they are dealing with adheres to the highest standards of professionalism and fairness.” That is to say, if the company you’re dealing with is a member of the BVRLA (and you should absolutely ask them if there are, if it isn’t already apparent) then they are at the very least a trusted and valued company by an impartial trade body. Each member of the organisation if therefore under strict compliance of their code of conduct and should act accordingly when problems arise.

There are over 900 members of the BVRLA, too many for us to list here, but here are some of the big UK based ones:

Crucially, you can complain to the BVRLA if you feel you have been mistreated by a car hire company (within the UK). Their conciliation service can be found here. The BVRLA will independently rule on whether the car hire company broke their codes of conduct. For extra information on what specific advice they can give and anything else you may need to know, they’ve handily put together an area that outlines the codes of conduct that car hire companies are required to adhere to, you can find it here.


The European Car Rental Conciliation Service is essentially the EU version of the BVRLA. If you have rented a car in an EU country, then you can use their services to get to the bottom of any complaints you have. Check out their website, but make sure you have a read through their stipulations and requests before you launch your complaint, as there are certain exclusions to their procedures. It is also worth noting that whilst there are 900 members of the BVRLA, the ECRCS has only these companies in its ranks:

And that’s it!

Bearing this in mind, we would definitely suggest hiring from a company within the remit of the ECRCS to make sure you have the best chance of not having to claim for any problems. Hire from a company that is not under the ECRCS and you could risk not being able to fully have the company investigated if you do have any problems.

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