Joining in a promise that heralds improved customer safety, both Enterprise and Avis car rental agencies just pledged not to rent vehicles under recall.
The agreement is in response to Democratic State Senator Barbara Boxer’s request that the companies not rent at-risk vehicles. She also sent a letter to Dollar Thrifty, but so far it seems the company hasn’t replied. In that letter, Boxer cited that another major rental agency, Hertz, had already adopted such a policy.
Earlier this year, Hertz went to the government asking that it enforce repairs on recalled vehicles. The problem was twofold. First, rental companies carry huge fleets that need to be on the road as much as possible to make money. Taking them off the road in large numbers is therefore immensely expensive.
Second, dealerships carrying out the repairs also have volume concerns to worry about, meaning a single customer with hundreds of cars that need to be repaired can threaten to block them up, keeping others in a bottleneck.
That creates a disincentive for both rental agencies and dealerships to carry out recall repairs in a timely manner, if at all. Ultimately, the consumers who rent those cars risk suffering the lowered safety of a compromised car.
Boxer is trying to combat that risk by advocating for better policies. While there’s no arguing that companies agreeing not to rent vehicles under recall is a good thing, Boxer isn’t convinced she’s done enough. Another problem lies in companies like Enterprise and Avis using interim fixes until the vehicle can be brought to the dealer for proper repairs.
Unfortunately, those interim fixes might not be good enough. Boxer is pushing the companies to further strengthen their policies against using potentially compromised vehicles by asking them to clarify their interim repairs.
The issue is ongoing, and likely to continue, but anyone concerned about renting a car and driving away in something under a recall can easily check by visiting the NHTSA site and searching for an open recall on the vehicle they mean to rent.
[Source: Automotive News]