Discrimination to Spanish, Italian and Portuguese drivers in Ireland
I am a Spanish citizen, in 2004 (when I was 27)I rented a car online with Buzz car rental which offered a good price for a week rental with Budget. Buzz car rental's website did warn that some companies would not rent to certain nationalities. But nothing specific on Spaniards.
Once in Ireland I went to the local Budget dealer specified in my contract. There I was told Budget did not rent cars to Spanish, Italian or Portuguese drivers under the age of 30. I complained but there was nothing to do, they told me these rule was available on their website (which I never checked because I rented using an intermediary company: Buzz).
I was forced to rent with AVIS, which was much more expensive.
Upon return to Spain I emailed for 6 months all institutions (Court of Justice, European Parliament, Committee of Petitions, Irish Ministry of Justice,... I even contacted the press as I was outraged). No positive answer from ANYBODY. I was extremely frustrated.
Budget replied to my complaint with a written letter stating that they did discriminate because the rate of accidents was higher with these 3 nationalities.
After 6 months of efforts and endeavours I was but in contact with the Irish Equality Tribunal. They were the right body to follow up the case. After close to 3 years of delay I was called for a mediation in Dublin.
Budget contacted me 1 week before the hearing trying to settle outside court. I did eventually after I travelled to Ireland and settled outside the hearing.
Their ruling was eliminated, however I hear from some Irish friends that they are again discriminating certain nationalities.
I would like to participate in a conference where I could share my experience and also gather how the Single Market works and created mechanisms to avoid these cases from happening. I am aware now that other rental car companies such as Hertz in Austria oblige their customers to pay a surplus if they travel to Slovakia (which seems ilegal to me as it is also a country of the EU). But my apetite for more complaints is over.