Tuesday, 9 June 2015

UK driving licence change - rental firms leave you in the dark

Congratulations to the Avis and Budget group, which is the only car rental company I’ve found (at the time of writing) to have detailed its response to the UK’s drivers’ licence changes. Despite the fact that DVLA on line system was floored by demand as the change took effect yesterday, none of the other major companies I checked out today mentioned it on their home pages. Consumers are understandably concerned following abolition of the paper licence counterpart, which shows any endorsements or driving bans. I can’t recall ever having been asked for it when hiring a car abroad – but it seemed wise, nevertheless, to take it along in case. As a precaution, drivers will be able to get a printed copy of their licence from the DVLA online, which shows any current restrictions and penalties, or a code that will enable rental companies to check their records. The snag with this is that the code expires after 72 hours. Avis and Budget say customers renting in the UK won’t be asked for a printed copy of their licence or a code. All they’ll need is their photocard licence. But it “will require customers to consent to their licence records being accessed for an additional check”. It notes that in many countries the paper counterpart has not been required, so there’s no change. “Anyone collecting their rental vehicle from an Avis or Budget store outside of the UK will, as previously, need to bring their photocard licence. We understand customers may feel uneasy about the changes, so for peace of mind, UK customers renting cars abroad can also choose to visit the DVLA's ' Share Driving Licence portal and bring along a print out of their licence."

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