Rental cars and cashless tolls: convenience can cost you money
Advantage pointed out that his fees were fully disclosed on the rental agreement he signed. Mr. Bauman maintained that he had not noticed it among the fine print and that it had not been mentioned otherwise.
“There is no way we would ever have paid a fee like this,” he said.
Proper disclosure has been at the heart of the problem, as it has played out in litigation and regulatory actions. And travelers at the front of the line, at a rental desk, on a schedule, can be harassed, vulnerable, indiscriminate consumers.
“A lot of times they’re not in their home jurisdiction,” said Bruce Greenberg, a lawyer who has represented drivers in two class actions, “so they don’t know how the toll works there.”
The companies say the fees cover things like the cost of maintaining transponder fleets and coordinating payments with local authorities. Greg Scott, spokesperson for the American Rental Car Association, said its members are “in a difficult position: to ensure that the toll authorities – which use different transponders, payment and accounting systems – receive the payments they expect, while ensuring that car rental customers receive information and transparency about these tolls and fines.
Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group was successful in two lawsuits where the judges agreed that the charges were correctly described in the rental contracts signed by the drivers. But last year, the company settled a lawsuit filed by the Florida attorney general agreeing to pay $ 330,000 for possible reimbursements and pledging to provide adequate information about the charges and how the charges. drivers can avoid the charge.
Hertz agreed last year to pay San Francisco $ 3.65 million to settle a 2017 lawsuit in which the city accused him of misleading customers about fees they might face to cross the Golden Gate. Bridge. Hertz did not admit any wrongdoing. It revised its nationwide toll policy in 2018 and now charges a daily fee of $ 5.95 for using a transponder, but only on days when tolls are actually encountered.
While the policy responds to criticism, Charles Leocha, chairman of Travelers United, an advocacy group, pointed out that Hertz-owned Thrifty still charges a higher daily fee for each rental day, than a toll either or not met. “They just see how far they can go with the different standards,” he said.