In the past, if you haven’t been picky about the rental car you’re driving, perhaps you should be. You may be surprised to learn that your rental has been recalled – so why is it still on the road?
This information comes to use via ABC News, which reports these findings after a recent lawsuit against Enterprise. The case in question involved the death of two California women who were killed after their rental Chrysler PT Cruiser caught fire and struck an oncoming semi. Unexpectedly, Enterprise came out and admitted that the company routinely rents out vehicles that are under recall and haven’t been repaired. The PT Cruiser was recalled in September of 2004, because there was a chance that the power steering unit could leak, causing an engine fire.
Even though they received the recall notice a month before, Enterprise rented the vehicle to Raechel Houck, 24, and her sister, Jacquie, 20, who were on their way to visit their parents. In this case, a jury awarded the Houcks a $15 million settlement.
In further testimony, it was revealed that Enterprise often rents out vehicles under recall, and that the company has no standing policy against doing so. ABC News also indicates that other major companies like Hertz and Avis also carry out the same practice.
“When demand called, we rented out recalled vehicles, it happened, I won’t lie,” said Mark Matias, a former Enterprise area manager in San Francisco. “If all you have are recalled vehicles on the lot, you rent them out. It was a given. The whole company did it. Enterprise’s corporate offices look the other way regarding this fact.”
Other Enterprise executives testified that there was no company-wide policy requiring cars under recall to be held back from rental.
Watch the ABC News video report after the jump.