French car hire firm Europcar may be forced to pay out £30m in compensation after being accused of overcharging for repairs, according to news reports.
Trading Standards launched an investigation following complaints made at its office in Leicester. Reports suggest that as many as half a million motorists could have been overcharged for repairs over the years.
Europcar said in a statement: “Europcar’s view is that the implications of the investigation will be somewhere in the region of £30m.”
Papers have reported that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is preparing to launch an inquiry into Europcar amid claims that motorists were charged four times the cost of routine repairs.
It is estimated that the average British driver spends a fifth of their pay on driving-related costs, with maintenance making up the third largest share after finance and fuel.
The car hire company’s website shows admin fees of £40 per each repair. The amount Europcar charges for each repair can vary wildly, with tread tyres costing between £5 and £350, and up to £450 to replace a door mirror.
In April the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) found that almost half of consumers did not research maintenance services online.