Rabu, 29 Juli 2009

Aussie Pensioner Wins Ageism Case Against Irish Car Rental Company

An Australian man has just won a settlement in a landmark age discrimination case against an Irish car rental company after being charged an extra fee for being over the age of 70.

Anthony White tried to hire a car in Ireland 2 years ago when he was in his early seventies and was charged a EUR25 fee. He was also told he would not be able to rent a car on his next visit as he would be over 75.

White took his case to Ireland's Equality Tribunal who ruled in his favour that the policy amounted to age discrimination. Irish Car Rentals Ltd has since changed the rule and says the decision will now be made on a case-by-case basis involving assessments of age, health, driving record and insurance coverage.

A senior driver surcharge is pretty common with car rental companies - you may have read a previous blog here about it (Too Old to Drive A Rental Car?) Some suppliers charge extra if drivers are over a certain age, others have a maximum age limit for renters and some require additional documentation (like Irish Car Rentals are now doing). The surcharge is applied to cover higher insurance premiums as older drivers as seen as higher risk.

Does this case mean we may see an end to senior driver surcharges? Is it age discrimination to charge older drivers more as they are seen to be a higher risk?

In that case, surely it is also age discrimination to charge someone under 25 a young drivers fee since they too are seen as a higher insurance risk and more likely to have an accident?

In the case of Mr. White, he has been driving for 50 years and felt it was unfair to blanket all older drivers.

I do agree with this and think the company’s new policy is fair – it depends on each individual’s circumstances and not their age. Will other car rental companies follow suit? We’ll have to wait and see.

Final thought – one article I found about this was entitled “Old Man wins age discrimination suit against Irish rental car company” - “Old Man”? Surely that is age discrimination in itself?!

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