Car Rental Company Allegedly Added Fees Without Consent of Customers
“Payless has used deceptive business practices in order to lure customers into their shop to rent their vehicles”, said Greg Kohn — who is one of the lawyers of the plaintiffs who filed this lawsuit against Payless Car Rental and its parent company, Avis Budget Group — according to this article written by Sandra Temko of ABC News. “They use low rates online to get people to use them over other rental agencies, but when you get there, they slam you with additional fees.”
In one example in which one of the plaintiffs of the lawsuit was expecting to pay $217.00, the final bill was $528.00 with charges for insurance and roadside service protection, which the plaintiff did not want or need because he already had his own coverage.
In an investigative report, producers for ABC News rented four vehicles from Payless Car Rental in New York and New Jersey — and although two of the four rentals had no fees added to the final bill, their findings included:
One car whose four tires considered dangerous during a standard inspection of the vehicle, as they were bald and had holes; and one of the tires was deemed “a blowout waiting to happen” — a full refund of the rental rate was offered by the rental facility
Despite asking for a car with no extra charges, a contract that included a charge of $29.00 per day for loss damage waiver insurance and $5.99 per day for roadside service protection; and the producers were told by a representative behind the counter “You accepted the total” and “It comes with it” even though the fees are optional — and they were also told that if the insurance is removed, the rate increases by triple the amount
Not the First Time?
“Some plaintiffs, according to the New Jersey lawyers who brought the case, were charged as much as $185 for fuel, even after bringing the car back with a full tank of gas”, according to this article written by David Segal of The New York Times. “When these and other renters complained, they were told to call a Payless number and open a ticket with the help desk. But here’s the thing about Payless’s help desk: It doesn’t help. The lawyers say Payless representatives routinely sent a perfunctory message saying, in effect, Tough luck: You owe the money. Pay it.”
Jonathan Weinberg — who is the founder of AutoSlash, which is a service that searches for lower car rental rates on which I first reported when it was launched in 2010 — tends to concur in this article: “The class action lawsuit certainly has merit based on the extensive negative feedback we have received from Payless customers over the years. One of the challenges facing the plaintiffs will be that a signed contract is often hard to dispute. While the lawsuit makes numerous claims that optional services were added without customer authorization (a claim we have absolutely no doubts about), the fact remains that the rental contracts do show the customer having signed for said services as evidenced in the filing. The key will be to prove that customers were intentionally misled in order to get them to sign the contracts as written, an assertion which the lawsuit clearly alleges.”
Check the Policies of the Facility From Which You Rent
Inspect the Vehicle
Check the Vehicle for Any Damage — No Matter How Minor
Report Any Potential Anomalies for Which You Could Be Charged
Get Official Acknowledgement of Your Findings
Avoid Cleaning Fees
Thoroughly Test the Equipment of the Vehicle
Obey All Traffic Laws
Report Damage as Soon as Possible
Stand Your Ground and Do Not Waiver
Routinely Check Your Credit Card Statement
Representatives of the Better Business Bureau claim to have received greater than 800 complaints pertaining to Payless Car Rental during the past three years; and the rental car company has earned an F rating from the organization, which is urging attorneys general in four states — California, Florida, New Jersey and Oklahoma — to investigate Payless and its parent company, Avis Budget Group.
By the way, these problems are not isolated to the companies of Avis Budget Group, as I have had issues with other rental car companies — such as Alamo Rent A Car, Dollar Rent A Car, and Thrifty Car Rental — from whom I have not patronized since they were not resolved in my favor…
…so protect yourself and read those aforementioned 13 tips on what you can do to prevent from being scammed by a rental car company.