What is the European Car Rental Conciliation Service?

The European Car Rental Conciliation Service (ECRCS) helps customers with unresolved complaints concerning cross border vehicle rentals within Europe.

Launched on 1 July 2010, the conciliation service is currently operating as a pilot scheme including a small number of European vehicle rental operators – Alamo, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Sixt and Hertz. These companies are bound to abide by any decision made by the conciliation service, although the complainant is not bound by the decision and is free to seek legal remedy through the courts.

On the occasion of the 2013 European Consumer Summit organised by the European Commission, Richard Knubben, Senior Automotive Adviser at Leaseurope explains the European Car Rental Conciliation Service.

The 2013 European Consumer Summit by the European Commission focused on stepping up the enforcement of EU consumer legislation, one of the key priorities of the European Consumer Agenda that the Commission adopted in May 2012.

On day one of the Summit, a plenary session looked at key challenges and opportunities to develop an EU-level enforcement capacity for issues of Community relevance. This was an opportunity for R. Knubben to highlight the efforts the European Car Rental industry has made in constructively working together with the Commission and ECC-net, as well as the efforts that were made in establishing the European Car Rental Conciliation Service.

How does the service work?

The conciliation service will investigate potential breaches of Leaseurope’s Code of Best Practice as well as the accompanying guidelines, which together set out the standards it expects from the vehicle rental industry. These standards cover areas including advertising, customer information, vehicle condition, pre- and post-rental inspections and billing.

The conciliation service is unable to investigate any matters which are criminal in nature or fall outside the scope of the code of best practice.   

What is the scope of the service?

The conciliation service can only help with disputes involving a ‘cross-border’ car rental transaction occurring within Europe - the country where the booking is made must be different from where the actual car rental takes place.

For example, a person in Paris booking a rental car via a French website and then picking it up in Spain would be covered. The customer does not have to be a citizen or resident of a European nation.

The service is NOT available to customers who have booked a car through an intermediary, for example a rental broker or travel agent. This applies even if the vehicle is actually owned and operated by a participating rental company.

What if your complaint doesn’t concern a cross-border rental?

Please consult Leaseurope’s National Association member in your country for additional information on how, and where to address your complaints.

How can you complain?

The conciliation service may only be used after the complaint procedure of a participating rental company has been exhausted and its final decision has been sent to the customer. The rental company should advise the customer of their right to refer the matter to conciliation service.

The customer can agree to have the complaint forwarded to the conciliation service by the rental company or they can forward the complaint themselves.


The conciliation service can only consider disputed rental charges and cannot award any form of compensation, for example for inconvenience caused or other consequential losses.


Contact us

The European Car Rental Conciliation Service now has a website of its own. Please visit it at