Safety advocates in Washington D.C. are reporting that three of the four major rental car companies in the United States are refusing to promise that they will not rent or sell vehicles which are defective or under recall. Only Hertz agreed to sign the pledge while Enterprise, Avis and Dollar Thrifty refused it outright saying they preferred to leave the matter up to consumers.
This is bad news for consumers and bad news for an industry which has come under increasing scrutiny following several major automobile recalls and an increasing number of consumer complaints. California Senator Barbara Boxer has been working with the four major rental companies (together they control more than 90 percent of the rental car market) to get them to simply agree they won’t rent or sell cars known to be defective. So far her efforts have been met with stiff resistance as three of the four major rental car companies jockey for position, trying to demonstrate they have the consumers’ best interests at heart.
However, refusing to commit to NOT selling or renting cars which are in need of repair or under recall seems like a far cry from having the consumers best interests at heart. In fact, it seems just the opposite.
Hertz was ready and willing to agree to the pledge as laid out by Boxer’s office, citing their responsibility to the consumers who rely on them to provide the very best service possible. This would seem like a no-brainer to most people who rely on customers to keep themselves in business, but apparently the major car rental companies have something else in mind.
For the consumer the solution seems obvious when it comes to renting a car which they know is not currently under recall nor in need of repair. How the other three car rental companies fare in this new business environment is much less obvious.